“Fuzzy in the new Sexy”
Portrait of “BILLY THE GOAT”
Goats play an important role in agriculture. It is also called the
"Poor man's cow" because it can live in arid environments. Like the pig, everything is good in the goat: its skin, its meat, its milk, its back (we use it as transport) and of course: its wool!
There are 8 kinds of wild goats and only one domesticated one (Capra Hircus) which grows into several families and produces a wide variety of fibers.
We can divide the types of goats into 2 families:
- Those that produce mohair fiber, coming only from the ANGORA breed
- Those which produce cashmere fiber and can be produced by several different breeds.
Please note: Angora wool is produced by the Angora rabbit and not the Angora goat...
A little note for amateur spinners: The unwashed goat's fleece still smells very strongly... like goat. A quick wash with wool detergent will remedy this.
Origin of the Angora goat
The angora goat originates from Anatolia in Turkey, near a city once called angora and which became... ANKARA, the capital of Turkey!
This city is also the birthplace of Angora cats and rabbits. Angora goats appear historically around 1500 BC.
In 1849, James Davis, a South Carolina cotton farmer, brought the first goats to the United States. He went as ambassador to Turkey to help improve cotton cultivation. In gratitude, the sultan offered him a herd of these precious goats. Between 1849 and 1881, several other animals were sent. But, when the new sultan was enthroned, the export ceased abruptly and was even strictly prohibited on pain of death.
In Africa, Angora goats have also found a favorite land. Also imported in the 19th century in the region of Camdeboo, they flourished as the vine is established in fertile soil and gives an exceptional grape variety.
The Michau family, descendants of British farmers who have lived there for 3 generations, are passionate about this breeding.
Paul Michau, the current owner, is fighting to elevate mohair to the status of precious wool. (Mohair has a micronage around 23 to 24 microns. This places it in the so-called rustic wools. For example, cashmeres are around 15 microns). It produces pure white mohair with an “Adamantine” shine.
Its 3,500 goats roam almost wild in the Veldt. A landscape of rocky savannah with its thorny bushes and aloe trees. Goats share these valleys with lynx, jackals, Kudoo antelopes and venomous snakes: Mambas, striking vipers and cobras.
Goats appreciate the climate which ranges from -5° to 40°
Portrait of a fiber
Angora goats are adorable with their curly fleece like a fresh perm. Their affable characters make them easy to raise.
No other breed of goat produces these beautiful curls.
They must be sheared twice a year because their hair grows quickly (2 cm/month) and the best animals can produce 25% of their weight in wool. Quite a burden!
They require a lot of care because generating so much “Fluff” requires a lot of energy.
The youngest develop the finest fleece with the greatest commercial value. This is the famous “Kid Mohair”. The fleece is harvested when the fiber is 10 cm long, around 6 months of age. It is the first and most precious fleece.
The second fleece is that of the "Yearling", harvested around the 1st year of the goat.
After comes the fleece of the adults which will be used for other weavings.
This wool has an exceptional shine due to the scales that cover it. These are thinner and wider than those of wool and thus reflect more light.
Mohair also has a good resistance to felting unless it is "badly" stirred;)
It doesn't have the elasticity of wool, but can still stretch to a third of its length. It offers a very pretty drape.
Like wool, mohair does not absorb dirt to its core and can absorb moisture up to a certain rate without feeling “wet”. It also offers the same flame retardant quality. This makes it an ideal fiber for making tapestries and rugs with adult mohair.
Exceptionally strong, adult mohair offers an ideal material for making rugs, tapestries and all other creations requiring elegance, robustness and resistance to dirt.
Thanks to its luster close to that of silk, it takes color spectacularly and very quickly.
Ideas for knitting Mohair