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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Playing With the Pygoras

Day before yesterday I held little Magnolia in my arms.  Less than a week old, she was.  I could feel her tiny heart racing as she peered up at me.  Right now her coat is a lustrous, silky black--baby black, said Jan, the breeder; it will soon turn its permanent silver shade.

But her twin wore a different shade altogether.  Pygoras range in hue from creamy white through wonderful shades of peach/apricot (the "reds"), to a rich brown.

I couldn't resist bringing home a reddish blend, the product of two separate pygora does, put up as a "cloud," looking like a jelly roll, brown paper on the outside, the heavenly soft pygora fiber inside.  I can hardly wait to put it on the wheel.  It's pure pygora, not blended with merino, so it's going to spin, knit, and wear like cashmere, I suspect.

Pygora fiber deserves a wider audience.  Right now, only a few discerning shops stock it.  But breeders who send their fleeces out for processing, as does Jan Becker of Applebright Farms, may sell the resulting roving direct, by mail.

The product you buy bears the name of the individual from which it came, so identification is easy.  Since pygoras come in such a wide range of hues, and of shades within those hues, do be sure to get enough to complete your project, unless you know the breeder/seller has more of that individual's product on hand.

Spinning to a two-ply, sport weight yarn, I find I get about 150 yards to two ounces of roving.  On this trip to Applebright Farms, I brought home six ounces of 100% pygora in a red blend, and six ounces of creamy white blended with 10% tussah silk.

The cost of this exquisite fiber, so highly labor intensive in its production, is more than justified by the luxurious nature of the knitted garment.

And after all, when your own time is your biggest investment, why not work with the very best?

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