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Has anyone here ever harvested their own cashmere. I have eight (soon to be seven ;) ) goats and this winter have been turning them out as much as possible. I have noticed that at least two of them have quite a bit of fluff under their coats. I was wondering about combing it out in the spring (will probably take years to have a usable quantity but I reckon it might be a fun experiment).

If I comb it out, I have a feeling that it will be too short to spin on its own - would I have to card it with something else to make it spinnable?

Any thoughts/ideas at all?

hoggie
 

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Glowing in The Sun
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The goat fiber has to be dehaired before it is usable as cashmere. A Kashmir goat only produces a few ounces of cashmere fiber a year.

If you want to grow cashmere, you should just get a Kashmir goat that already has good fiber/coat qualities rather than try to reinvent the wheel from scratch and spend a lot of time and money at it to boot.

Cashmere goats of high quality were all the rage back about 1989-1991. People who knew what they were doing spent a ton of money on starting a cashmere industry in the USA. My old Spin Off magazines from that period are full of cashmere goat ads and fiber ads, as it spread. It was kinda like the alpaca get rich quick scheme. I am unsure how much of this industry has survived til today, how successful it was. I don't see the ads anymore.

I bought the summer copy of Wild Fibers Magazine and the issue had a major article about the cashmere industry in Asia today. They even had cashmere roving for sale that the magazine had imported.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
:D - I'm not looking to go into the cashmere industry. I have the goats and thought I might as well get the cashmere in teh spring if I can. I know I won't get much. But in the same way as the goat who is going in the freezer next week, will also give me a rug and a couple of horns to play with for craft purposes, I would like to make use of the cashmere if I can.

Also I can't just go out and import a goat - it costs hundreds and hundreds of pounds to import an animal into the island for various reasons. So I would just like to make the most out of what I have.

Thanks anyway though

hoggie
 

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Hoggie you can just comb it out but as Lezlie says it will need to be de-haired before it can be used for spinning. Cashmere is a very short fiber but it can be spun, carefully. You don't have anything to lose but time and lost to gain if you get a usable fiber. Go for it!
 

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I harvest a few ounces off of most of my fainters each spring. Use combs and dehair and blend ;-)

My neighbor has Pygoras - and a few of those give off some great cashmere - a wonderful value added type thing.

It isn't considered 'real' cashmere unless you have it micron tested. I usually just market mine as 'fainting goat undercoat' ;-)

Andrea
 

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As long as your goats are friendly, you can pet it out when they start to shed. It's going to be very light, so you need to be careful to tuck it into a bag quickly. You'll want to card it with the finest wool you can find. It will be very warm, I think 8x warmer than wool, so mixing it isn't going to hurt the warmth factor. I think you can felt cashmere also. The cashmere shawls made in Russia, I think they don't dehair.
 

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Yup, the dehairing is the hardest thing about cashmere. I just have two cashmere goats and I've just been collecting it for the past few years cause I haven't found an easy way to dehair it besides picking out the guard hairs one by one. It's not hard, just very time consuming.

You can pluck, comb or shear them. My goats LOVE to be combed. They'll fall asleep while I'm combing them. It takes awhile though so some people like to shear them and get it over with all in one shot.

Processing cashmere is labor intensive, but it's well worth it. I think the only thing softer than cashmere is angora rabbit.
 

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Dont you have shearers? Get a shearer to shear the goats....then spend the energy you would have used combing into de-hairing. I know here in Oz we can send our cashmere away to get dehaired. :)
 
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