with Pygora Fiber"
Information by our
resident expert on Pygora fiber, Sally McCarrick
"A" or Angora/Mohair-like
The Angora goat
was bred for many years to produce fine lustrous fiber for
carpeting and rugs. When spun worsted with a hard twist, it
would survive years of harsh wear and come up shining. Type
"A" Pygora is comparable to angora goat fiber. The
plus of the Pygora is that it can maintain that soft curl even as
the goat ages. Depending on how you prepare and spin it, it
can be used for rugs or baby clothing. This type of fiber is
best suited to a worsted, thin yarn.
"B" or Blend
Natural Colored Pygora yarn
Click on photo to enlarge
This fiber is as
strong as type "A" but has less shine and is
shorter. Guard hairs are also present. If it is spun
worsted with a high amount of twist, you can produce a yarn with a
lot of shine. If spun with less twist and woolen, it will
make a very soft, warm yarn. It adapts itself better to a
thicker yarn than type "A". Guard hairs can be
removed by de-hairing with mini-combs or less effectively, by
running skeins through your hands. Fulling can also be used
to remove these hairs. Type "B" is the most
versatile of all Pygora fibers.
"C" or Cashmere-like
Natural Colored Pygora yarn
using the "Fulling"
Click on photo to enlarge
This fiber can be
as soft as fine cashmere. This fiber has no shine.
When spinning using the woolen method, no preparation is needed if
the fiber was plucked or brushed off the goat. It can be
spun thick or thin to make a beautiful yarn that is light and
fluffy. The ratio of warmth to weight is much greater than
sheep wool, so garments should be knitted using an open or lacy
pattern. "Fulling" this yarn will lock in the fluff and help
remove any stray guard hairs.
Louet Mini-Combs to De-hair Pygora Fiber
Click on photo to
very easy to use and prepare fiber that will create a wonderful
yarn. If used correctly, they will not damage even the
by filling one comb with fiber, this is called lashing the comb or
charging the comb. Always keep the fiber facing the same
direction. Put the shorn end of the fiber away from you,
this leaves the soft tips facing you. By charging the comb
this way, most of the guard hairs are behind or towards the tines
of the comb. Fill the comb about half-way with fiber.
As with anything in spinning, to get a quality product, take your
time. If you put too much fiber on the comb, you will find
it harder to work and may end up breaking and tearing it as too
much fiber tends to tangle on itself. If you are using
plucked fiber and it is all facing different directions, charge
the comb by passing the fiber from your hand on to the comb.
During the combing process the fibers will all end up facing the
combing by passing the empty comb through the tips of the fiber on
the full comb. Keep the combs at right angles with each
other and pass the working comb from different sides each
pass. the comb that started out empty will fill with the
fiber leaving the guard hairs and shorter fiber on the comb that
started full. When the working comb is full of the fiber,
remove the waste guard hairs from the first comb and trade comb
positions. The first comb you charged is now the working
comb. It takes 4 transfers to de-hair Pygora.
4 passes, your fiber is ready to be removed from the combs and put
into a roving. This is done by pulling it through a diz or
hold of a button. Gently pull some fiber to a point and put
it through the hole as if you were threading a needle. Now
gently pull lengths of fiber through and you have a beautiful
Pygora roving ready to spin!
Click on photo to
To prepare plucked
fiber with hand cards, charge the combs the same as for the mini
combs. Again, you will be passing fiber from one card to the
other by gently pulling the empty card across the full one.
when most of the fiber is on the empty card, switch hand positions
removing the rolag, you must decide if you plan to spin woolen or
worsted. If you roll the fiber off by going front to back,
you are preparing the fiber for woolen spinning. by rolling
your fiber off the cards from side to side, you are preparing it
for worsted spinning.
1) Fibers all go the same direction
2) Shiny, strong yarn
3) Spin thin
1) Fibers go every direction
2) Softer, fluffier, lighter yarn
3)Spin thick or thin
There are many
different ways to prepare Pygora for spinning. Which method
is best depends a lot on which fiber type you are starting with.
This type of fiber is always shorn. As stated earlier,
a true type "A" should not have any guard hairs.
If there are guard hairs, most times they are very short and
easily removed by brushing the cut end with a comb or hand
carder. This fiber may be spun directly from the locks
with no preparations. For a great textured yarn, leave the
soft tips of the locks sticking out. Type "A"
makes fantastic, shiny, worsted yarn.
Drum carding also
works well with type "A". For worsted spinning,
make sure the tips of the locks are facing away from you and the
cut ends toward you as you feed them in.
mini-combs are the best way I have found to prepare type
"A". You can create a worsted yarn, or by using
the "point of draw' method, you can create a semi-worsted
This fiber is shorter, less lustrous, and has more guard hairs
than type "A". It also creates a softer, warmer
yarn. If you have a goat that will pluck, by all means,
pluck the goat. There will be less guard hairs to deal
with. All methods described above will work with type
"B". The use of mini-combs removes most of the
guard hairs. Type "B" lends itself to woolen
Plucking is the best way to harvest this fiber, combing is
next best. If it is shorn, de-hairing is a must. This
fiber may be spun woolen or worsted; thick or thin. Gentle
treatment is a must to keep from breaking the fiber.
mini-combs, you will get all the guard hairs, noils, and short
fibers out. The yield is very low, about 30% to 40% of what
you started with, but what is left is fantastic!!!
Schacht Double Treadle Spinning Wheel
is great for spinning Pygora
Click on photo to
Pygora is a dream
to spin once you get the hang of it. It is a slippery fiber,
so care should be taken to put enough twist in it to hold it
together, but not so much twist that your yarn comes out looking
and feeling like rope. Here is where keeping a smooth rhythm
and counting twisted really pays off. Most of the time, each
fleece and fiber will tell you how it wants to be spun. The
diameter of the fiber and scale proportion are what causes
this. More scales means more fiber will want to grab in each
draft, less scales mean fewer will catch and a thinner yarn will
be produces. Relax and experiment with some fiber before you
begin your project.
the ratio of your wheel to help figure how much twist is going
into each draft. Experiment and feel the fiber and see how
it drafts and what the singles look like. If it needs more
twist, shorten your drafting zone or drop down a whorl size on
your wheel. If you want less twist, make the drafting zone
larger or bring your whorl up one size.
type "A" should be spun thin. Type "B"
can be spun a bit thicker as it is lighter than
"A". some "B" 's spin a bit thicker all
on their own. Type "C" should not be spun too
thick as the yarn is extremely warm.
will take some time and patience, but your experiments will help
you learn how each fiber will spin for you. Use different
drafting zones, different counts, different whorls and different
fleeces. Always keep records on each trial so you can go
back and reproduce the yarn you want and not make mistakes over
With Short Fibers
Working with short
fibers requires a little more planning. The easiest way to
spin short fibers, for most people, is to spin a woolen
yarn. You can make a great worsted yarn, however, it takes
much longer because your drafting zone is very short. A
normal drafting zone is about half the length of the fiber, so
pull out a piece of what you want to spin and figure how long half
is. Combing the fiber will stretch the drafting zone a
little. While combing is very time consuming, that extra bit
of drafting zone is worth it.
carding is another good way to prepare short fibers, but remember,
it does not take out all the lumps and bumps. Fiber that has
been through the drum carder can be spun either worsted or woolen
depending on how it was drafted. To spin woolen, let the
twist run right into the fiber in your drafting hand. In
worsted, you pull out a few fibers with your front hand then pinch
your back hand. This will keep the twist between your front
hand and the wheel and prevent any twist from getting into the
fiber in your back hand.
cards are also used to prepare short fibers. The way you
roll the fiber off the cards depends on your choice of woolen or
worsted spinning. Planning your project and the way you want
to spin your fiber is very important. If you suit your fiber
to your yarn and project before you start, you will have much
better results. There is nothing worse than doing all that
work to find out after you have finished spinning that the yarn
you made will not work for what you wanted to make. If this
happens, don't throw it away. There is a use for every yarn,
just give it a chance!
for a soft and fluffy Pygora yarn
Soak your Pygora
skein in hot water for a couple of minutes, squeeze the water out,
then soak it in cold Ice water for a couple of minutes, then
squeeze the water out. Do this about 2 more times.
Once this is done, take the skein outside and smack it on a clean
surface several times for a couple of minutes or until the yarn
starts to fluff up giving it the "halo" effect.
Let it dry then re-skein. If it's not fluffy enough, repeat
the process until you will have a soft, fluffy, skein of Pygora
Here for more details between the 3 fleece types