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Friday, March 18, 2011

Knitting Buckwheat

I'm knitting Buckwheat.

The breeder of this little Pygora wether informs me that he is no longer with us, but that when he did grace Applebright Farms, he was gentle, cheerful, and very productive of fleece.

Pygoras, developed in Oregon in the 1980s, are a cross between pygmy goats and angora goats.  They exhibit a range not only of color, but also of texture, ranging from a credible cashmere feel-alike (which the breeders call an "A" type) to a silky mohair (designated a "C" type) and a place in between (obviously named "B").

Buckwheat (fleeces are named after the individual that produced them) is silky and very, very soft, but like cashmere, has less natural springiness than many wools.  That meant I needed a stitch with good stretch, to compensate.

A broken rib is working out fine.  It's got good stretch, good memory, and a subtler look than the vanilla k2, p2 ribbing.  These are things designers think of.

Ideally, a good garment is fiber-driven.  Its ultimate purpose and the technical way it gets there should derive from the roving.  Buckwheat is seductively soft.  It would make a spectacular sweater, if I had enough.  But at $16.50 an ounce (from the retail store) for the roving alone, I'm rationing it out as I would cashmere.  So it's turning into a turtle-kerchief.  

I don't think you're going to see much of this yarn on the market any time soon--at this point in time, from a retail store, it's just too pricey (and rightfully so, considering what it takes to produce a skein)--but if you do, I recommend taking it for a test drive.

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