I am no expert, but I have gathered some information on mohair, and I will also contribute the knowledge that I have gained in the 4 years that I have been processing it for reborn doll hair.
I look for fleece sellers that have show goats, as I believe that the show fleeces have beautiful shine and luster. Small ranchs also sell very nice fleeces. I am always on the lookout for loose/wavy locks, as these are my favorite to root.
Mohair ranges from very fine and soft to coarse.
Kids produce the finest fiber and the first shearing (or fall clip) is the finest of all. These fleeces generally have very little oil, and are very soft.
Kids start producing quality fiber by the second clip (spring clip). Progressively, as the animal ages, the mohair gets coarser, and the average fiber diameter increases.
Bucks tend to get coarse faster than does, but produce considerably more fleece.
Wethers (castrated males) do not coarsen as fast as bucks and produce heavier fleeces than does.
TYPES OF MOHAIR
Kid Mohair fleece is the first shearing from a young angora goat. It is very fine and soft handling.
Goatling/Second cut is the second shearing from a goat and is also fine and soft.
Yearling is a 3rd cut and is not as fine as the kid mohair.
Adult Mohair is the fleece from the mature goat. It is fine to coarse
*Here is a nice description courtesy of Singing Falls on the different types of mohair locks for dolls.
Recommended Sellers of Fleece
Eureka Mohair Farm: http://www.etsy.com/people/EurekaMohair?ref=ls_profile
Phoenix Farm: http://www.etsy.com/people/PhoenixFarmOrganics?ref=ls_profile
PART 1. HOW TO WASH RAW MOHAIR
This is how I wash my raw mohair. I usually wash 1 pound at a time, but much smaller batches can just as easily be washed.
Note: Keep in mind; raw mohair is right off of the goat. Goats get sheared twice a year, so you will have about 6 months worth of dirt and vegetable matter (hay) that is on the fleece. There is also a definite barnyard smell on the fleece, but I actually like it...husband thinks I'm strange lol.
Raw mohair fleece/locks
Dawn Dish detergent (other degreasing dishwashing soaps can be used too)
Mesh laundry/lingerie bag
Bucket/sink for soaking
Put raw fleece into the mesh bag.
Fill sink/bucket with hot (as hot as you can get it). When the sink is full enough for the bag to be covered, turn off the water and pour in some Dawn soap. Don't add the soap as the water is running to avoid suds.
Put the bag of fleece into the hot water and poke it around until it gets all covered with the water. Leave it to soak for about 15 minutes, or when the water starts to cool. Squeeze the bag gently (do not wring it) and set it aside.
Empty the sink, and refill with hot water. Add soap and repeat the soak cycle. I do this process at least 3 times, or until I don't see any more dirt in the water.
This picture is about the 3rd soak.
To rinse; squeeze the bag under the faucet for a minute or so to get some of the soap out, and then set the bag aside while you fill the sink again with hot water.
Set the bag in the water, and poke at it to get it all submerged. Clean mohair will tend to float in the bag. Let it soak in the rinse water for about 15 minutes.
Repeat this step until you no longer see soapsuds. I usually rinse/squeeze about 3 times.
Squeeze the water out of the bag and then take it outside. Open the bag and remove the wet mohair.
I always lay mine on an old towel in the sun.
Don't try to separate the locks until the fleece is completely dry, as it will get tangled if you do.
When the fleece is completely dry, you can then separate the locks and sort through them. At this time I throw out the mohair that I won't be using, like real short or poor grade pieces.
You will probably still see bits of hay or VM in the clean mohair, but this will all comb out in the final processing.
PART 2. HOW TO DYE MOHAIR
I'm sure that there are different ways to dye mohair, but this is how I have been doing it for a few years now. I love the process, and find it to be fun and rewarding.
Your supplies can be found at Dollar stores, Wal-Mart, thrift stores etc.
I bought my pot at Wal-Mart for $8.00, and most of the other stuff at our local $1 store.
Washed mohair locks can be found on eBay, Etsy, or on the web.
Stainless Steel Pot or an Enamel Pot
(The pot should only be used for dyeing and not for food preparation.)
Note: Do not use aluminum pots as they cause a chemical reaction with the dye.
Wooden spoon (plastic or stainless steel can be used too)
(I use dyes from Mohair Wig, and you only need 1/4 teaspoon per ounce of mohair.)
Sodium Acetate (purchase at Mohair Wig)
(This is added if you are dyeing dark browns. It helps the color set better.)
Washed Mohair (I usually dye 4 ounces at a time, but you can do more or less if you like)
DYEING MOHAIR LOCKS
Total dyeing time varies but is usually 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the color that you use.
*Note: Make sure to keep the water at a simmer, as boiling will cause the mohair to tangle or felt.
I always dye 4 ounces at a time and that is what I'm showing here, but you can do 1 ounce and up if you like.
First, soak you mohair locks in some very hot water while you are getting your dye pot ready. I put mine in a plastic colander and soak the locks in my sink.
Fill your stainless steel pot with water and add a few drops of liquid dish soap and the dye
(For my 4 ounces I used 1 teaspoon of the dye.)
Bring to a boil; let boil for a minute or two to make sure that the dye is dissolved and dispersed in the water. If you are dying dark colors, add about 1/4 teaspoon of sodium acetate.
Turn heat to medium. Add the fiber that you have been soaking. Use your wooden spoon to push the locks into the dye and get them evenly saturated. You can move the fiber around with your wooden spoon, but do not agitate it, as that will cause the mohair to tangle or felt.
Measure out about 8 - 12 ounces of white vinegar into a container and add some water to it to dilute it a little.
Add about 1/2 of the vinegar to the dye bath, and let simmer for about 5 minutes, and then add the remaining vinegar.
As the pot simmers, you will see the dye soak into the fiber.
Watch the water and if after a few minutes you see that the water has too much color in it, just pour in a few more ounces of vinegar.
*Vinegar is what sets the dye into the fiber.
*Remember; do not boil the water...just a soft simmer.
When you see the water is clear and the mohair has absorbed all or most of the dye, turn off the heat.
Note: Blond colors absorb more quickly that dark browns. Blond hair will take only about 10-15 minutes, while browns might take longer. 30 minutes is the longest that I have kept the mohair at a simmer.
Now you will let the mohair sit in the hot water until it has completely cooled off.
After the water is cool, pour the mohair back into the colander in your sink to drain out the dye water.
Rinse the dyed mohair in the colander with cold water and then gradually get the rinse water to very hot.
I then plug the sink and fill with very hot water and add some Dawn dish soap, and let the mohair soak in it for a while.
I then rinse with very hot water again. Conditioner can be added to the final rinse.
Squeeze out excess water, and then lay the mohair out in the sun to dry.
Do not try and separate the wet locks. Wait until it is dry, and then you can easily separate the dyed locks.
Do not let water boil, but keep at a soft simmer.
I left my dye pot unattended and it boiled for about 5 minutes...ended up with a ball of felted mohair!
When in doubt about how the color is being absorbed into the mohair, just add more vinegar.
Just poke or gently stir the mohair when it is simmering to make sure that all of the hair is getting some dye.
Never agitate it too much or it will felt.
PART 3. HOW TO COMB AND CONDITION MOHAIR LOCKS
This is how I do it, but I'm sure that there are many ways that others do it successfully.
I just use a dog grooming pin brush
Bowl for dipping locks.
A tray or flat surface to lay your conditioned locks for them to dry.
I hold the lock by the top, and brush out the end.
I then hold it by the middle and brush out the top.
I then hold it at the top and finish brushing the entire lock.
You will get some waste when you comb out the locks. This is also when all of the hay and other veggie mater gets removed from the locks.
I set the brushed locks on a tray to keep them organized until I am ready for the conditioning dip.
I fill a bowl with hot water and add hair conditioner. I mix this up well.
Holding the brushed lock by the top, I dip it into the hot conditioner water, and then gently run my fingers over it to squeeze out the excess water.
I lay the conditioned locks on a tray with paper towels on it and let them dry in the sun.
After my locks have dried, I cut the top of each lock off to even it up. This way I always know where the top of the lock is.
After my locks have dried, I cut the top of each lock off to even them up. This way I always know where the top of the lock is.
Thank you for visiting