From Locks to Yarn

What steps are done before knitting, crocheting, weaving with our mohair yarn ?
Shearing, skirting, washing and spinning: a whole journey awaits our fleeces ! 


Our Angora goats are shorn twice a year: in September (so the fleeces have time to grow back before the cold) and in March (before the births).
The day before, all our goats are in the barn to avoid rain and humidity and their fleeces can be totally dry.
angora goats before shearing
Before shearing

angora goat shearing

The shearing is done in the following order: kids (baby goats), youngs and finally the adults; from the finest to the coarsest fleeces.
mohair fleeceA fleece

angora goats sheared
After shearing

Each fleece is put aside in a well identified paper (or burlap) bag.

Never put them in a plastic bag because the mohair will be damaged due to humidity. Mohair needs to breathe.

To improve our genetics, we select some fleeces that we weigh and have them analyzed to determine their quality and fineness (microns).


Each fleece is laid out flat on the sorting table.
mohair fleece ready to skirt
First, we remove all the dark urine stains and fecal contaminated parts as well as those with excessive vegetation matter (VM).

If a fleece is unfortunately damaged by lice, it is also set aside.

We put in a bag all the light urine stains parts as later, we will wash them and get  beautiful golden mohair locks (naturally dyed).
mohair urine sorting

After that, we lightly shake the fleece so any second cuts (small pieces of fleece that result from the shearer doing a second pass over the same area), dirt, dust fall out through the mesh.
second cut on a fleece
Then, we will work around the fleece removing as much as possible the remaining vegetation matter (like hay, straw).

hay in a fleeceToo much vegetation matter

By doing so, we also sort the mohair locks: neck, legs, belly as well as any short, sweaty, matted pieces are put in a separate bag that will be sent to the wool cooperative and processed into carpets, insoles, upholstery, etc..

skirting a fleeceSkirting
The best portions ( staple length, uniformity, lustre, cleanliness) are put in a bag corresponding to their grade: kid, yearling, young adult and adult.

They will be sent to the fibre mill to be processed into combed tops and yarn.

This is a long and meticulous work but so important because the cleaner the fleeces are, the higher quality the finished products are.
mohair clean fleece
We, sometimes, sell raw fleeces to fibre artisans.
mohair clean fleece

Mohair Locks

Mohair has a coating of grease (like lanolin) that protects it from the severe weather (rain, wind).
This grease may be more or less thick depending on the fleeces and therefore require more or less effort to clean it.
unwashed mohair locksUnwashed Adult Locks

In general, kid mohair fleeces have not a lot of grease and therefore are easier to wash.
unwashed kid mohair locks
To get clean, shiny and lustrous mohair locks, it may be necessary to repeat the washing and rinsing steps several times.

The secret is to keep the water very hot and not disturbing the fibre too much to avoid felting (even if the mohair does not easily felt).

washed mohair locks
Washed mohair locks

We sell naturally coloured (white, golden) and hand dyed mohair locks.
washed and dyed mohair locks
Washed and dyed locks

Combed Tops and Yarn

The fibre mill we are working with, is located in Alberta. They process all our combed tops and yarn.
Here is a brief explanation of the spinning process.
  1. Once the fleeces have been washed and dried, they are blended with other fibres (wool, nylon, silk if necessary) during the carding.
  2. At this stage, most of the remaining VM (hay, straw,..) has fallen; the fibres are aligned and a fine web comes out the carder.
  3. Then, it goes into the combing machine which processes it into combed tops (about 4 cm wide)
  4. Subsequently, the combed top goes through the spinner where it is stretched, twisted into a single thread to the required weight (lace, fingering,..) then twisted with x other single threads according to the number of plies wanted.
  5. Finally, the yarn is wound on cones.
Once we receive the combed tops, we weigh the required quantity and sell them either in their natural colour or coloured (hand dyed right here on the farm).
mohair combed tops
As for cones, some are sold directly to indie dyers and others are wound in skeins of various weights.
mohair cone
They will then be washed and hand dyed right here on the farm.
mohair yarn
We also sell bare skeins (not washed) so you can dye your own mohair yarn.
mohair bare yarn