Dream Come True Fiber Farm

Spinning Pygora Goat Fiber Into Yarn

Dream Come True Fiber FarmPygora goat fiber is a spinner's dream. It is a cross between a Pygmy goat for their down fiber and an Angora goat for its long locks of mohair. The fiber on a Pygora goat is long curly locks that have the luster from the Angora goat and the shorter wool down fiber from the Pygmy. The best of both worlds, or both goats!

The fiber of Pygora goats reflects the best qualities of both the Angora and the Pygmy. Pygora fiber may be spun and then knitted, woven or crocheted. Because of the fineness of the fiber, it spins into a lovely yarn that is soft enough to be worn next to the skin. Items such as baby garments or luxurious shawls are well suited to Pygora yarn. Pygora also felts beautifully. The locks of Pygora may be used to create wigs, beards or novelty toy, a crafter's dream. Pygora fiber is fast becoming the preferred choice for crafts people and fiber artists for any number of diverse projects. There are three grades to the fleeces A, B and C. Each letter represents the amount of guard hair and softness in a fleece. All are good. B and C need to be de-haired when processed after shearing. A can be used immediately after shearing and washing. I have both A and B types here on the farm.

We have five Pygora goats among other fiber animals. All of our animals are raised for their fiber. Pygoras are shorn twice a year yielding a wonderful amount of fiber. As all goats, they are playful, inquisitive and sometime troublemakers! We love their antics here on our farm. They liven up the barnyard for sure. Kids love them as well.

Caring for them is much like any goat accept for the fiber. It takes a lot of work to keep chaff out of the fiber. I coat my sheep, keeping them free of chaff, but Pygoras cannot be coated because of the structure of their wool. They will felt, and the wool will be of no use. And feeding is an on-going chore. Special feeders are used to keep them from pulling out too much at once and eating over one another. I have a pet grooming blower that I use every six to eight weeks or so to blow out unwanted VM (vegetable matter) and dust.

pygora emily

As I said they are shorn every six months. After shearing I have about 12 weeks not to worry too much about the fiber. After that period of time I begin the chore of keeping the fleece clean. Goats all need a mineral salt in their diet but it differs from sheep minerals so that needs to be taken into consideration if housing both together. I worm them three times a year and, in-between, I serve up a cocktail of apple cider vinegar that acts as a natural de-wormer and has many health benefits.

I love my goats! They are truly the heart of the barnyard! Goat games are a daily thing on Dream Come True Farm. As we say often, goats will be goats.

Shown here are photographs of some of our Pygora goat kids, processing fiber here on the farm, and handspun Pygora goat fiber

pygora goat kids

Pygora kids

pygora fleece shorn

pygora goat yarn

knitted pygora neckwarmer

Fiber Dye Day on the Farm

Dream Come True Fiber FarmHi, everyone, I'm back to share what I did this morning here on the farm. I spent the entire morning doing some small batch fiber dyeing. We are having quite the event here on the farm this weekend. I mentioned it in the previous post but it’s worth mentioning again. Suzy Brown, aka Wool Wench, is coming to the farm to do a workshop on blending fiber, art yarn spinning and plying. Suzy is from the Netherlands and is teaching a few workshops on the East Coast. We were to have some fibers dyed and ready to go. So this morning I got out my Goodwill purchased slow cookers and did some small batch dyeing to add to a color scheme that is in my mind. How I do my small batch dyeing is what I thought I would share with you today.

small batch dey tips and technique

Tools needed:

1. Slow cookers that will be used for dyeing only. I found all of mine at Goodwill for only a few dollars each.

2. I use Country Classic dyes. They are a one-step dye power. They can be purchased online.

3. water

4. fiber

5. wooden spoon

dye day 1

Step 1. Wet the fiber in a sink with hot water for 20 minutes. This is to allow the dye to be absorbed with ease.

Step 2. Fill your slow cookers with hot water and turn them on high

Step 3. Add your dye according the instructions on the jar.

Step 4. Take out your fiber and add it to the slow cookers, making sure it is all covered. You can press it down ever so gently with a wooden spoon. I say gently so the fiber won’t felt.

Step 5. Cover your pots.  In 15 minutes, turn the temp to low and set the timer for 30 minutes. DO NOT uncover.

Step 6. When your time is up, take one pot at a time and dump it into the sink. Be careful, it will be hot. Then fill the sink up with hot water for a rinse. After about 10 minutes, drain the sink and repeat until  sink water is fairly clear. Try not to change the temp of the water by much in between the rinsing, again so as not to felt the fiber. When the water is fairly clear or completely clear, pick up the fiber and gently give it a light squeeze to drain some of the water from the fiber. Transfer it to a screen to dry. A screen will allow air flow from the top and bottom, drying the fiber quicker.  If you do not have one, you can lay out on a towel in the sun.

Repeat Step 6 with each slow cooker of fiber.

dye day 2

I use this technique for all my small batch dyeing. I find it really simple and always successful.

Today the fiber I dyed was Pygora goat locks, a small handful of Wensleydale sheep locks and silk hankies that will be used while learning our new plying technique. It should be an adventurous day. I’ll blog all about it next week! This fiber will be blended with an already dyed sheep wool that I had and wanted to work around the color scheme.

See you soon with more adventures from Pam's Fiber at Dream Come True Farm.

dye day 4