This business of processing all that hair that was sheared off my goats has proven to be very time-consuming. I decided to work on Ely’s black/gray hair first, and still haven’t gotten all the locks teased apart. I like to do it when I can sit outside in the sunshine and we have had a lot of rain.
However, my fancy new drum carding machine arrived this week and I jumped ahead to see how it will work. It is really a clever invention. The fiber feeds into a small cylinder with teeth that pulls it under and then brushes up against a big cylinder with fine teeth that collect the fibers all laid out in the same direction and combed out beautifully.
As you turn the crank and feed the mohair into the hopper, it begins to accumulate on the small drum because the big one is too full to grab any more. Then, you use a tool to pull the hair loose from the drum and roll it carefully up into a cloud-soft “batt” of combed fibers.
I have done about a third of Ely’s hair and the batts have already filled a big cardboard carton. I have no idea how much yarn this will make but it is sure to keep me spinning for the whole winter.
Now that I’m realizing how much of this silvery gray fiber I’ll have, I am beginning to think about whether I could dye it to have a bit of variety in my yarn. I haven’t figured out yet at what point I would do the dying – in the batt or after I’ve spun the yarn. On top of that, how will dying work on a dark color to start with? So much still to figure out, and I haven’t even begun with Eddy’s white hair!