I know all you cashmere-savvy readers are thinking, "Why are we looking at bags of raw cashmere in December? The Cloud Harvest is months away!"
You're absolutely right! Of course you are. After all, if you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know a LOT about cashmere goats!
Well, after the harvest winds down in Spring, goats can still look a bit scruffy. I often run the combs over them a time or two just to help them look tidy and feel good - I think it must feel good to get fresh air and sunlight down to their skin after being covered in dense cashmere plus a topcoat for several long months.
Whatever residual cashmere I comb out is discarded immediately - too much guard hair, VM, dirt, or matting.
But this past Spring, I thought it might be worth experimenting. Maybe put some aside for a "spare time" project. Clean and wash a little of it to see if it could be used for crafty felting...cashmere stones? Cashmere landscapes? Cashmere buttons?
So I put some aside.
I put some aside, and then forgot all about it.
Yesterday in the ongoing Plod Toward A Comfortable Home, I moved a box of ornaments (yay, ornaments! great timing!) from a chair, and discovered an even bigger box beneath. This one held several bags, each containing handfuls of raw fiber.
Oh. Oh, right. I put the fiber aside in case it could be useful and then forgot it was there. In a box. Under another box. On a chair that no one could sit in because of the boxes. Yes.
So yesterday during my two-hours-total-achieved-by-many-brief-sessions of cleaning, I assessed all that fiber. Some was discarded, and some was put aside temporarily to make a stuffed chew toy for Piper today. Probably something as simple as a sock stuffed with cashmere and tied shut with a piece of twine. Simple, yet luxurious - ha!
The rest of the fiber is now sorted into labelled samples in general "problem" categories: VM, guard hair, etc. I thought you might find the color variation interesting:
Now if I do experiment with it this Winter, the process will be much more organized and educational. And it may even help with the sorting decisions I make while I'm combing the goats next Spring.
Because in case I haven't mentioned it...
the goats are definitely putting on that cashmere glow again.