Goat Fiber Descriptions
  • Angora Fiber:
    • From www.answers.com
      Angora fiber is from the Angora Rabbit, a variety of domestic rabbit bred for its long, soft hair. They are believed to have originated in Turkey, along with the Angora cat and Angora goat. The rabbits were popular pets with French royalty in the mid 1700s, and spread to other parts of Europe by the end of the century. They first appeared in the United States in the early 1900s. There are four different ARBA-recognized angora rabbit breeds:
      • English: This is the smallest Angora rabbit of the four breeds recognized by ARBA. In addition to the wool on the rabbit's body, there are furnishings on the face and ears as well. This breed is more common as a pet because of the facial features that give it a puppy dog or teddy bear look. If the texture is correct, the maintenance is relatively easy; if the texture of the rabbit is cottony, it requires a great deal of maintenance. There are many recognized colors in this breed including but not limited to: white, black, blue, chocolate, fawn, tortoise, chinchilla, and chestnut.
      • French: This breed has guard hairs on the surface with wool as undercoat. If the texture is correct, it requires less maintenance than other Angora breeds. Ear tufts are allowed but not preferred. If you wish to spend less time in maintenance, this is a good Angora to own. The recognized colors are the same as English Angora plus broken, which is the combination of white with any recognized colors.
      • Satin: Spinners love the wool and sheen of this breed. However, this breed does not produce as much wool as other breeds of Angora rabbits. Through selective breeding this trait is being improved upon. It should have a silky texture with good guard hair for ease of maintenance. The colors recognized including, but not limited to: white, black, blue, chinchilla, fawn, chestnut.
      • Giant: This is the largest of the four ARBA recognized Angora breeds. It produces more wool than the others in general. This breed may or may not have furnishings on the face and ears. In addition to the underwool and guard hairs, it has an "Awn Fluff" that does not exist in the other three breeds of Angora. The only recognized color is white with pink eyes.
      • There is one more Angora breed, although it is not recognized by ARBA:
        German: This breed is looks a great deal like the Giant Angora, except it only comes in REW, ruby-eyed white or albino. Many spinners breed the German Angora with another Angora breed so they will still have the bountiful German Angora wool, but with many beautiful colors. These Angora crosses are called hybrids and most German Angora sellers will tell you what the percentage of the hybrid is German Angora. Many German lovers are trying to get ARBA to recognize this breed.

  • Cashgora Fiber:
    Cashgora is a fiber resulting from crossing angora goats with cashmere producing goats. It is often also used by cashmere goat breeders to define a fiber that does not meet the criteria of cashmere. It has been compared to the Pygora fiber, but essentially it is undefined.

  • Cashmere Fiber:
    • From www.answers.com
      The Cashmere (Kashmir) or down goat is the source of the wool that becomes cashmere fiber for clothing and other textile articles. The goat (Capra hircus Laniger) is a mammal belonging to the subfamily Caprinae of the family Bovidae. The goats produce a double fleece consisting of the fine, soft undercoat or underdown of hair commingled with a straighter and much coarser outer coating of hair called guard hair. In order for the fine underwool to be classified and used as cashmere it must be de-haired. De-hairing is a mechanical process that separates the coarse hairs from the fine hair and after de-hairing the resulting "cashmere" is ready to be dyed to color and converted into yarn, fabrics and garments.

      Cashmere is characterized as luxuriously soft, with high napability and loft. It is noted as providing a natural light-weight insulation without bulk. Cashmere is extremely warm (in order to serve its original purpose of protecting goats from cold mountain temperatures.) Fibers are highly adaptable and are easily constructed into fine or thick yarns, and light to heavy-weight fabrics. Appropriate for all climates, a high moisture content allows insulation properties to change with the relative humidity in the air.

    • From www.peaceofyarn.com/cashmere.htm
      There is no fixed breed of goat that is biologically named cashmere, but instead in the down that can be found in 68 breeds of goats found in 12 different countries. Most cashmere comes from Asia, particularly China. These goats have a courser outercoat and a fine undercoat, which is the cashmere. A goat only yields about 4 ounces of cashmere per year. This small yield combined with the time intensive process of dehairing it accounts for its high price.

      Cashmere is the fine undercoat combed from a goat, most often from its belly. It has extremely soft handle and no crimp. Cashmere has a micron count of about 11-18. It ranges from 1-3 inches, although usually closer to 1-2 inches. Most cashmere under 15 microns is too short to be suitable for handspinning. It produces a extremely fine, sleek yarn with an elegant drape. It is less elastic than wool and has very little grease content, usually about 0.5%. Cashmere can absorb water more quickly than wool and is very receptive to dyes. Cashmere is various shades of white, brown and beige.

  • Mohair Fiber
    • From www.answers.com
      The fleece taken from an Angora goat is called mohair. For a long period of time, Angora goats were bred for their white coat. In 1998 the CAGBA, Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association, was set up to promote breeding of colored Angoras. Now Angora goats come in white, black (deep black to greys and silver), red (the color fades significantly as the goat gets older), and brownish.

      The long, lustrous hair of the Angora goat, which originated in the area around Ankara (Angora), Turkey. Mohair is a smooth, strong, durable, and resilient fiber. It enhances softness and luster in fabrics. Mohair absorbs dye evenly and brilliantly, retains color well, and permits unusual decorative effects. It is mainly used as an apparel fiber but may be used in upholstery, draperies, wigs, hairpieces, and rugs. Leather produced from the skin is useful for gloves, purses, and novelties.

    • From www.cagba.org/mohair.shtml
      Mohair is a luxury fiber admired and desired the world over. This beautiful fiber is prized for its luster, softness and strength. A good mohair fleece will be characterized by locks or bunches of mohair fibers held together by the curl of the fleece, with a light sheen of oil and a good long staple. Angora goats produce as much as an inch of fiber a month. Since angora goats are usually shorn twice a year, fleeces have a four to six inch staple.

      The grease in a mohair fleece helps to protect the fibers from the dust, sun and rain. Too little grease in the fleece results in a fluffy, dull looking fleece--often with poor lock formation. Too much grease gives the fleece a black look and will be difficult to wash. A light coating of grease keeps the luster in the fleece, protects it from the weather and felting and helps to hold the locks together. The grease in a goat fleece in not lanolin. Mohair ranges from very fine and soft to coarse and scratchy. Kids produce the finest fiber and the first shearing (or fall clip) is the finest of all. These fleeces generally have very little oil, are very soft and are in the range of 20-24 microns. Kids start producing quality fiber by the second clip (spring clip). Progressively, as the animal ages, the mohair gets coarser, and the average fiber diameter increases. Bucks tend to get coarse faster than does, but produce considerably more fleece. Wethers (castrated males) do not coarsen as fast as bucks and produce heavier fleeces than does. Wethers are excellent fiber growers as they don't have the stress of the rut or kidding and lactation.

    • From www.aagba.org/LinkedPages/MoreAboutUs.html
      The Angora goat is raised primarily for the production of mohair, a specialty natural fiber. They have been raised in many parts of the USA, but due to climatic conditions and fluctuating mohair prices, over 90% of USA mohair in recent years has been produced in Texas under range conditions. However, with an increased interest in hand knitting, more active mohair production by the industry, a stong worldwide demand for mohair in the last 10 years, and improved health and management practices in confinement, and small flock operations, there again is much interest and capability of raising Angora goats in all parts of the USA.

    • Taken from www.mohairusa.com
      The Mohair Council of America is located in San Angelo, Texas and is primarily involved in the promotions of mohair useage in domestic and international markets. It does not buy or sell raw mohair "top" or yarn.

  • Pygora Fiber:
    • From www.pba-pygora.com/Fiber.html
      The idea of cross-breeding the Pygmy and Angora began on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. There, Katharine Jorgensen, an Oregon school teacher and experienced fiber craftsperson, saw colored Angora goats. She reports in a 1986 magazine article, “I thought: ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a goat that produced mohair the color of the blue-grey grizzle Pygmy goats?’ I wanted to try and create a mohair-type goat and the traits that were best from both breeds” (Precious Fibers Magazine, Jan., 1986, p. 14-15). By the early 1980s, five years of line breeding an Angora doe to an unrelated Pygora buck finally resulted in the beautiful grey-grizzled goat Katharine dreamed of. The potential for champagne and honey browns was also present because of the Pygmy’s color genetics. By 1986, fleeces were often 5 inches long, had nice crimp and appeared in pure white, silver and grey. Today, Pygora colors reflect the full range of the Pygmy Color Registry and diverse fiber types contain many varied characteristics.

      The Pygora goat is a cross between an Angora goat that produces mohair, and a Pygmy goat that produces a short, very fine down. The fiber of Pygora goats reflects the best qualities of both the Angora and the Pygmy. From the Angora goat comes long, silky-smooth, lustrous ringlets. The Pygmy goat contributes its’ very fine down, in some cases fine enough to be classified as cashmere. This combination of qualities results in fiber with an excellent range of characteristics that maintain fineness as the animal ages.

      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 and locks of Pygora may be used to create wigs, beards or novelty toys. Pygora pelts make wonderfully posh rugs or chair accessories. Thus, Pygora fiber is fast becoming crafts persons’ and fiber artists’ preferred choice for any number of diverse projects.

    • PBA recognizes three fiber types:
      • Type A Type A is a long fiber, averaging 6+ inches in length. It drapes in long lustrous ringlets. It may be a single coat, but a silky guard hair is usually present. The fiber is very fine, mohair-like, usually less than 28 microns. The handle should be silky, smooth and cool to the touch.
      • Type B Type B is a fiber with characteristics of both mohair type and cashmere type fleece. It’s usually curly and should average 3 to 6 inches in length. There is an obvious guard hair. A second silky guard hair is also usually present. There should be luster and the handle should be soft and airy. The fiber should test, on average, below 24 microns. The fleece color is usually lighter than the guard hair color.
      • Type C Type C is a very fine fiber, usually below 18.5 microns, and can be acceptable as commercial cashmere. It must be a least 1 inch long and is usually between 1 to 3 inches. It has a matte finish and a warm, creamy handle. It must show crimp. There is good separation between a coarse guard hair and fleece. The fleece color is usually lighter than the guard hair color.