Three of our goats have been with us for just under a year, and the other four, affectionately referred to around here as "the babies", only since July. The adults' first shearing after coming to live with us did not actually yield any useable fiber, as they were severely matted. So, this past fall, along with the first shearing of the littler ones, gave us approximately ten pounds of mohair.
It has taken a while to decide what exactly what to do with the fiber. Do I blend it? What do I blend it with? What percentage of which fiber? Have it made into yarn? Or just washed so I can spin it by hand? In the process of this decision-making, I feel as if I have really gotten to better know the goats as individual beings.
Loki is our adult male goat. He is very pushy, but sweet, and his fiber is the softest of the three adults. It has several colors in it, which, I believe, will give an incredible depth to whatever natural dye color we choose to use, if any at all. The tips are a bit frosted, which gives the whole effect that of a recent visit to a salon.
Dharma, Loki's sister, has courser fiber, but with a lovely little curl to it. Dharma is sweet and gentle, and I think her locks would benefit from blending with another fiber.
Then the Babies. Oh the babies. Their fiber has the most lovely, soft, baby-fine texture I could ever dream of. Three of the four are siblings, and they all have a similar color and texture, though each is individually slightly different. Two of the three siblings, Clementine and Ezra, are quite precocious and curious, and not even a little bit shy. But their brother, Opi, will only come near us for a treat, and is the loudest and most dramatic when we have to trim hooves or shear.
Our last baby, Odin, is very special. He's a bit aloof, and does not like to be touched. He's always been very quiet, and was larger at the start. Though the same size as all the others now, I think his system seems to be the most sensitive to external stressors, such as weather, illness, bullying, etc. But his fiber. Oh, his fiber. By far the most luxurious of all our angoras, it is silky and soft as a cloud, and the only all-white. My mother and I have a theory that his body is working so hard to produce lustrous locks, that he needs a bit of consistent extra attention to make sure he is getting what he needs to keep him healthy. Odin's fiber is going to be kept separate, it is that special.
We have finally decided that the yarn will be a luxurious blend of Finnish Landrace sheep from Maine and our own Mohair, processed at a mill also right here in Maine. I am so very excited for this first batch, and as always, grateful to our animals for giving us these gifts.