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Four Goats and a Hank of Cashmere

Sep 10, 2008

Note from Sandi: Liz Gipson, managing editor of Handwoven magazine and co-host of Knitting Daily TV, is back today to share more about her fiber “space”. But, this time it’s her backyard. Liz is the proud “mother” of cashmere goats. Truly a woman after my own heart!

The Cashmere Kid

ZeusWhen I was small my grandmother used to take me to the petting zoo. I would wrap my fingers around the fence that surrounded the llamas’ pen in order not to be hauled back to the car when our day was done. I loved anything wooly, and still do. Thirty-five years later—after working on an alpaca ranch, studying wool science in New Zealand, shepherding sheep and goats on a Navajo reservation, and landing a job at Interweave working on Handwoven and Knitting Daily TV—I can look out my studio window and see my own little herd of cashmere-bearing goats.

Diva is the herd queen. She is a little on the temperamental side but as long as she gets her way she is fine. Zeus thwarts her happiness constantly. He is the biggest, and only, male and he can pretty much throw his weight around to get what he wants. He only really chooses to do so when he wants to be first in line for chow. Faith at first tended to follow whichever of the two—Diva or Zeus—was "winning.” bellaBut then Diva got so annoying that Faith decided to abandon her groupie ways and let the two of them work it out. Then there is little Bella. Her full name is Bella Bella Goatarella—so named by a couple of young friends. Everyone picks on Bella—it’s a goat thing. You can't tell goats to hold hoofs and be nice. They have to work out the herd order among themselves, and if you try to impose your will upon them you are just wasting your time.Diva

I love having the opportunity to tell Knitting Daily readers about my little herd because you get it. You smile the same gleeful smile as I do. You don't say, "Why would anyone want to have goats in her backyard?" When people ask that question, I have to patiently point out that they give me fiber and mow my lawn. Then they ask "How much fiber?", and I patiently tell them that I get about four ounces per goat. Then they want to know how much it costs to keep them and they do the math to figure out how much those four ounces cost. They don't get it, do they? Cost, output, usefulness—that's really not the point. The point is that I love my goats, and they give me fiber that I spend endless hours dehairing. Then I dye the fiber with plants from my yard and spin it into yarn to make cloth.

Fluff StuffWorking with cashmere is the ultimate in luxury. It just feels so darn good in your hands. When it is worked up, it produces a slight halo that you can use to your advantage to create lighter-than-air hats, gloves, and scarves. I'm working on a lace headband-and-gloves set using the St. John's Warp lace pattern in our book, Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls. The pleasure I get while using this fiber is worth the blank looks at parties and all the grass in my backyard.

Are you a yarn snob for cashmere?
Leave a comment and share your cashmere love.

Here are some resources for even more luxury yarn, whether you collect it from your own goats or buy it on the yarn shelves. 


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Comments

kaydquin wrote
on Nov 3, 2010 10:21 PM

"You smile the same gleeful smile as I do. You don't say, "Why would anyone want to have goats in her backyard?" When people ask that question, I have to patiently point out that they give me fiber and mow my lawn."  I love that, I have said the same myself!  http://www.foxmoorfarm.com

DawnJ@2 wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 5:08 PM

I was wondering how well they mow the yard?  It is a hot and humid day here in Kansas and your comment about the goats mowing the yard struck a nerve.  Thanks!  Dawn

Bill Z wrote
on Jan 7, 2009 8:53 PM
Many families in my hometown breed goats, my aunt has 300 cashmere goats. Cashmere dehairing plant buy raw cashmere materials year round and then sell to spinning factories to make yarn. We make cashmere yarns in different counts, such as 26s/2 is the most popular yarn to be used to knit 12gg cashmere sweaters, and 48s/2 for 16gg sweaters which is thinner & lighter weight for spring/summer collection. most yarns are made on cone for flat knitting machine, but we also turn cone yarns into skein/hanks for hand knitters. Many designer brands buy 100% cashmere yarn, but some other brands buy cashmere/wool, cashmere/silk, cashmere/cotton blended yarn. Therefore we make yarns in different blends as well, at least 45 colors each blends, ready made in stock service, but we make 100% cashmere over 100 colors in stock because it is always the best seller. We have over 300 colors for 2009/2010 yarn collection, you may see it from http://cashmere.ning.com/photo, we continue to add new colors each year... Bill from Inner Mongolia of China
Carole G wrote
on Sep 12, 2008 8:52 AM

I get it and suburbia constrains me not to have such luxury at my doorstep.  I know a family that lives on Martha's Vineyard and their love for lambs and goats lead them to a yarn business.   Knitting brings me close to  the rudiments;  Cashmere is my addiction and obsession.   My stash runneth over.  Recently my brother came to stay and commented on my transparent plastic bins as high as the ceiling of color coded yarns; most of them cashmere.  I brought out the cashmere and he smiled and grinned when he felt the soft downy silkiness of the yarn.  He understood.  I'm lucky that I have the wherewithal and a husband that likes indulging me.    Life is too short and my spare time is too fleeting not to enjoy the yarn that I'm working on.    

on Sep 11, 2008 7:31 PM

I AM a FIBER SNOB ... cashmere, SILK, BABY ALPACA ...

I could go on ... but, you get the gist of it!

However, I, like a lot ot others ... do NOT have the bank

account (or the backyard!!!) to totally support my love

of fabulous fibers!  LOL!  Someday ... maybe!

on Sep 11, 2008 6:34 PM

It's like reconnecting with the earth, or even the creative universe. You  are involved in every step of the creation of your garment. In a world where 98.5% percent of everything is not only mass produced but is handled by so many people along the way that no one feels responsible anymore, that kind of simplicity is luxurious, even if it weren't cashmere.

Besides, goats are cute. No matter how much they like you at your LYS, they aren't going to lovingly head-butt your hand just to say hello. :-)

AnneR wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 6:09 PM

Where in Canada do you live?  

Anne Ross, Kamloops, British Columbia

Aunt DeeDee wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 5:05 PM

Would love to be a "snob" but can't afford such wonderful things. Your article and all the comments really brought a smile to my face. Like so many of you, I've always loved goats, so much so that even my husband slows down while driving our country roads so we can watch the cute "kids." I would love to have a few but due to health problems I wouldn't be able to care for them; just breaks my heart because we have twenty acres where they could run and play. Keep us updated on your herd because we "get it."

I agree with LailaB about so few seem to really care about being creative--so sad.

Lababla wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 12:19 PM

you're so right, not even by going as far as growing your own fiber in the backyard, but sometimes just simply knitting will get people having math in their mind. I often get the question for sewing my clothes...they don't get that it's not because of budget that people will make their own clothes...

It seems that creativity has lost the heart and mind of too many people.

DianeD@6 wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 11:04 AM

I "get it" as do all knitters/spinners.  Cost is NOT part of the equation in this hobby.  Touch, sensation, look, luxery, tactile and satisfation are the optimum words.

Welcome to Canada - it's a great country and I know you'll meet lots of great knitters/spinners/goat herders in this country also.  I do hope you keep in touch and let us readers follow your exploits.  I learn a lot from this site.

I once kept a baby Billy goat (dairy) for a few weeks as he was the star in a stage production of "Tea House of the August Moon" at our local little theatre.  I know, I know, in the play the goat's name is Lady Astra but we couldn't find a doe in time to start rehersals so as long as the audience didn't complain - neither did we.  It was a great experience for me and my family and the audience loved the production.  You see - goats are for a variety of reason - cashmere fiber being one.

Diane

PatH wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 10:13 AM

Even though I've never had goats, I "get it."  We really don't have to justify everything, and the bottom line does not have to be financial. Goats are great!  Being able to use the fleece is also great. If it works out and increases your happiness quotient, go for it. Let "them" wonder.

on Sep 11, 2008 9:45 AM

OH Liz, They look Great.  I am so happy to say that Liz bought those goats from me and i see they are so very spoiled, as I new they would be.

 Yes I am a cashmere SNOB and I am so proud of it.

 I raise Cashmere goats outside of Colorado Springs CO.  We own the Colorado State Fair Grand Champion Doe every year since 2003 except one.  We also Have the Grand and Reserve Champion does from the Estes Park Wool Market.  

 Once you feel that beautiful Fiber you will be hooked.  They are the easiest keepers of all goats, they eat all you noxious weeds that no other goat will touch AND you get a beautiful fiber off them.  I ask you, What more could you want?

 Mary Ellen.  Zeus and Diva are Zoom Bee's Grand Kids.

 As I tell everyone.  Cashmere Fiber, The only Fiber fit for a KING

www.freewebs.com/sweetgoats

AnnC@4 wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 8:06 AM

I loved your story and through the internet am learning there is much more to knitting than I ever imagined.  Thanks for sharing your goats with us.

kat.felt wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 7:08 AM

Goats and Kids (pardon the pun) aren't an investment, they are love, love is the ultimate pay back.

LindaC@10 wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 6:19 AM

I love all the comments about Cashmere and goats and assorted fluffys.  What's not to love about Cashmere - except the price - but my limited experience with it - ooh la la!  It cracks me up though...it never fails that my cat also loves only the Cashmere and related yarns - I will find her serenely curled up in a little heap right in the middle of the basket of the good stuff.  I can't get annoyed because I think that she is related to it all somehow.  Are goats and cats related?

YvonneC@2 wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 5:00 AM

I'm not lucky enough to have Cashmere (or Angora) goats yet, but I have my alpacas and llamas to start.  

JeddaH wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 2:19 AM

How wonderful to have your own cashmere. I love working with it. As you say, it is so soft. Unfortunately, my backyard is not big enough to even consider it. We do have a 300 acre property my husband planned to retire on. It is rugged and is very much goat country. You've given me an idea. I'll have to work on the husband though.

I enjoy receiving the Knitting Daily and recently subscribed to Interweave Knits. It is a fantastic magazine. Always full of valuable information.

Regards,

from Australia, Jedda Hingston

GerryS wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:40 PM

My 4 Pygoras gave me a bonus I didn't know about before I got them -- they're very affectionate animals!  Three wethers and a doe: Rhett and Cobbler (as in peach) are different shades of strawberry blonde, Beans is white with black legs and face markings, and Luna is brown with a tan cashmere coat.  Beans is near-cashmere.  Last year I added Zeke, a merino/English Leicester heritage sheep.  By now he's decided he's a goat, too, and is also quite affectionate.  I'm a touchy/feely spinner and knitter and love people's reactions to my pets!  (Which also include 2 English angora bunnies and 2 kitties, one with long hair.)  

Gerry in Cecil County, Maryland

MaryR wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:38 PM

Cashmere has become one of my favorite yarns. I knitted a burberry scarf with Plymouth Royal cashmere yarns and it came out wonderfully soft and with vibrant colors. I did it in tan, black, red, and white and people stop me all the time and ask where I bought it. I just got Debbie Bliss's worsted weight cashmere yarn and can hardly wait to get started on my shawl.   Mary

nybargirl wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:35 PM

My sister is a veterinarian who doesn't spin or knit, but decided it would be a good idea to add a dozen goats to clear the poison ivy on her 7 acre farmette in PA.  She quickly discovered that her new landscapers had more than a few drawbacks.  They definitely loved the poison ivy... ate it like candy, but their other behaviors, or should I say misbehaviors, were more than she could bear.  First, there was the whole "Hairy Houdini" thing... escaping from the barn or the pasture to meander and lay down in the middle of the public road right in front of the house.  Despite being summoned from her practice by the local police at least once a week to get them off the road to secure them, she loved and tolerated them nonetheless.  The love affair ended however the third time she had to replace the windshield and sunroof on her car due to the goats persistent desire to perform their version of "Riverdance" on the hood and roof of her car.  While she threatened to sell them to the local butcher, she ultimately found a "knit nut" in NJ who thought it might be a good idea to have a few goats grazing in her back yard. The moral of this story is that the idea of goats is often better and more romantic than the reality... kind of like a husband.

Laura

KateB@2 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:18 PM

This brings up such wonderful memories! ~ Cashmere yarn is divine , but nothing compares to the sheer joy of caring for the goats & harvesting the fibre. I raised cashmere producing goats in the Yukon (that is northwestern Canada, NOT Alaska) for 6 years. I started out with a herd of 18 does & 2 bucks. As nature took it's course, and because I was more than a little crazy, I had up to 70 goats at one point. Now, because the goats were only a small part of work load, I did not process the fibre myself. I sent it off the Mini-Mills in PEI, Canada. ~ We have moved and, alas, that means no more goats. I am so thankful for the yarn that I have. It continues to give me hours of knitting pleasure and to remind me the curious, quirky & personable critters that provided it.

ElaineO wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 8:57 PM

Wow! what a lot of cashmere lovers!!  I too live in Colorado, in the hot dry southeastern part, and have two fuzzy mowers in my yard named Spinner and Flip.  We have about 1/4 acre for their pasture (weed patch) and they are extremely happy.  I supplement feed them corn or oats and grass hay year round and make sure their hoofs stay trimmed.  That little job has only landed me in the emergency room once, when I stabbed myself with the clippers. Their hair is in the freezer now waiting for my spinning abilities to do it justice.  As soon as we get our well fixed I'll probably breed them both or buy more babies.

CarolP wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 8:17 PM

I have 3 Pygoras and 3 Nigoras.  I love them so much!  Some are white and a couple are colored.  They spin the most fabulous fiber.  I got the goats before learning to spin.  Now that I am spinning, I can't ever give them up!  

For all of you that wish you had goats, learn about them first.  They're not dogs and cats.  It's more like caring for a horse; 4 chambered stomachs and hoof trimming, etc.

Loshakova wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 6:21 PM

I adore cashmere, both knitting and wearing it, but I'm posting mainly to make sure you saw the "Crazy goat help please" thread on Ravelry.  I was weeping with laughter by the time I got halfway through, and I don't even own goats!

BarbaraH@5 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 6:09 PM

Goats, I love them - not the bucks when in the rut though - my preference is angora, I have a black fine, doe, and two bucks (both white unfortunatly). We also run a small flock of fine black fleece merinos - which in Australia, is the equivalent of keeping lilve plague virus - but the results are worth it.

And yes, we also get the "is it worth all the effort, when you can buy processed wool cheaper". HMMMM where does the processed wool come from, if not from breeders like me??

M.M wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 5:39 PM

I loved this story! These animals are so cute and don't get hurt in providing something for us humans.  That something is obviously a much loved hobby that is taken soup to nuts--awesome! I get it--so fascinating.

Thanks for sharing.

Liz Gipson wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 5:37 PM

Wow! Jen your past life is impressive! I bet I could learn a thing or two from you.

The goats will be so thrilled to know that they have admirers. I'll go home tonight and tell them about all your lovely comments. Diva will of course think that you mean them all for her.

JennyE@2 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 5:08 PM

Hi Liz, I so enjoyed your story, I live in Tasmania Australia and used to be a large breeder of cashmere. In fact in the late 80`s I exported some 250 head of breeding stock to the USA and also several thousand embryos and semen to get the industry started. I once had commercially spun and mail ordered my own yarn and also of course spun and knitted it.

These days I only have a small herd and while I do knit and still cashmere I am a total yarn snob and usually only knit exotic fibres.

Cheers from Down Under Down Under Jen

liz@2 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 4:42 PM

re: Four Goats and a Hank of Cashmere

I am so jealous!!  I spent nine days with my son in England and kept squealing every time I saw sheep or goats.  There are LOT of sheep over there.  I am a complete yarn snob and have been known to spend over $50 a skein if it feels good.  Can I tell you a secret?  Sometimes I don't even knit with it ... I just hold it and run my fingers through it.....

Aka1 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 4:21 PM

I will soon be learning to spin!  Oh, to have cashmere goats when I do.... it is on my list!

sewclaire wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 4:15 PM

I recently taught myself how to knit and my first project was  a baby blanket make with some special yarn designed for babies with cashmere in it.  Now I really don't like to work with anything else.  I do, but I adore working with cashmere!  Keep those goats.

twinsetjan wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 3:53 PM

I have no goats...and it makes me sad.  But they wouldn't be too happy with my up-to-this-point nomadic lifestyle.  (I'm in the military and move a lot -- including overseas.)  So goats will have to wait until I settle down.  When I do, goats are on the agenda!  In the meantime, I will satisfy myself with knitting with the fluff from the goats of others.  My biggest cashmere effort to date -- a shawl for my daughter's wedding of silk and cashmere.  You can find it at http://twinset.us/?p=379 if you care to see it!

suz wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 3:00 PM

I am a huge fan of all things fluffy. Now I know my neighbours would be straight on the phone to the powers that be, should anything with horns show up in the garden. But I can dream!

However,  we have a very generous Samoyed whose under coat is equally soft and incredibly warm and very legal.

Oh String wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 2:34 PM

I have not spun or knitted with cashmere (yet) but I was given a scarf that is silk and cashmere by my mom. It is my favorite. If I ever have the money and land, I would totally have some goats.

TeresaT wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 2:14 PM

I've found another cheap source of cashmere: yard sales!  I recently bought 3 cashmere sweaters at a rummage sale and am in the processes of frogging one into mounds of lace weight yarn.  It is time consuming, but gratifying.

Not as gratifying as goats, I presume.

FaithL wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 1:27 PM

I would love to get some of Faith's yarn -- we must stick together!  :)

JeannettaS wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 1:09 PM

When those who want to do a cost vs output analysis come around, remind them  to figure the price of fuel savings not having to run the lawnmower! hee hee

KimW wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 1:02 PM

I know somone who has both musk ox and buffalo.  I'm going to have to visit her.  I've been afraid that trip might lead to spinning next and I'm not sure my craft room could hold another hobby!  LOL

HollyL@2 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 12:40 PM

I love cashmere as a fiber, I only spin it with a suspended spindle.  What I am most interested in knowing is whether one can get a reasonable amount of cashmere fiber while having cashmere goats in the northern Sacramento area.  It gets into the 30's in the winter, and the 100's in the summer.

Holly Leeds

MaryC@9 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 12:23 PM

Love cashmere and love goats, too.  Goats are so reminiscent of our visits to Greece and Italy.  Unfortunately, my yard would not accommodate goats and I can't afford to be a cashmere snob.  However, I did once indulge in the luxury of cashmere and knit a beautiful hat for one of my sons.  I still recall the feel of the yarn and how soft it made my hands after working with it.  My son insists that the hat conditions his hair when he wears it.  Jealous in Salt Lake City!!

dakotaland wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 12:13 PM

I recommend at least two goats, they are happier with another's company but I know many people who have just one.

A Cashmere goat will produce roughly 1/2 lb to 2 lbs of raw fleece a year, once a year only.  Of that, roughly 1/2 or less is pure fleece, depending on the goat and the amount of guard hair and fleece.

You never need (or should you) groom a Cashmere goat until you are ready to comb or shear to remove fleece.  Very low maintenance animals.

Also Cashmere goats generally mature out between 70 and 150 lbs for does, but this varies.  Bucks can be well over 200 lbs and quite handsome.  It is a myth that they are aggressive.  Whethers are the nueter male goats and make great companion animals also.

LaurieS@3 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 12:10 PM

Surely you meant "lighter-than-hair"? (grin)

JoyaK wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 12:07 PM

Hi -- Here's a couple of great resources for VERY AFFORDABLE cashmere.  I can vouch for both, as I've ordered from them, and the quality is very good.  One is Yubina.com -- took a month from Mongolia, but very nice laceweight.  Other is Colourmart.com -- fast delivery even from the UK, a little more expensive.  

Happy Knitting!

Joya

KimberlyS wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 12:06 PM

I see a few questions concerning having goats.  Yes, you have to have at least two goats.  They are herd animals, and won't do well alone.  Cashmere goats are fairly small compaired to some of the dairy breeds, and a small lot would be plenty to keep a pair on (by pair I mean two goats, not a mating pair, you DON'T want a buck unless you know working with goats and have the facilities!).  

I personally raise dairy goats, have for many years.  But, I used to also have a few angora whethers.  I miss my angora goats, for sure, but I'd much rather have a grassy yard to keep the debris and mud down on the coats.  Right now my goats are dry lot or in brushy yards, not very fiber friendly.  I'd have sheep too, if I could, lol.

To comprimise, on fiber animals (I have ducks and chickens, too) I have angora rabbits.  I had a herd of up to 30 at one time, but time, money and health issues has me back to a handful.  I can relate to the thought process of having the animals because you love them, and enjoying the fibers they offer.  Most folks would never understand it's not only about cost effectivness, but knowing where your food/fibers/etc came from, and the sheer enjoyment of the whole process.

Kim

http://www.blessedfarm.com

Chingachgook wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 12:03 PM

Yumm. How small do cashmere goats come? I have 4 window boxes hanging from my apt. railing that could grow quality feed... and the 2 apt-cats would be happy to share their cat tree, I'm sure. Seriously, back in my house & garden days I had 6 rescue angora rabbits, and learned patient daily grooming habits and tracked down every single loose fluff-ball.  And now, the himalayan persian rescue cat who lets me live here enjoys daily combing and hoarding of her extra undercoat.

  Thank you for validating our upside-down cost/reward ratio! Fiber Forever!

NanB wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 12:01 PM

Sandi...welcome to Canada.  I am a summer time resident.  We stay at the cottage 5 months and home (US)  the rest of the time.  I'd love to stay in Canada full time, but alas the govt. doesn't want us, we are too old, and non-productive.  

Anyhow, where in Canada do you live?  Our neighbour has pigmy goats and may be interested in spinning at a later time.  Right now she is a bee keepter.  I'm trying to get here to learn to spin on a drop spindle. I'm a knitter and would love the yarn.  

Good luck in your new home.  Nan

LindaN wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 11:43 AM

I'd love to have a couple goats, but being in the city I don't have a big enough yard. I do have chickens, though, so I know what you mean about people giving you odd looks. "Why do you keep chickens?" is not so easy to answer either. Their fresh eggs aren't necessarily any cheaper, but they are pretty, fun, and I like getting eggs from happy hens, not ones kept in a small cage all of their short life.

AnneG wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 11:40 AM

Cashmere, alpaca, merino, I love it all.  Goats and alpacas are adorable creatures, but I'm a confirmed urbanite.  I did, however, visit an alpaca farm in Maine while on vacation and bought some lovely yarn, some of it from the actual alpacas there!  Each skein had a little card with a picture of the alpaca it came from.  Sooooooo soft!

debaccuardi wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 11:26 AM

I purchased my own little herd of 4 Pygora goats this Summer.  They are so sweet I can't stand it.  I am actually adding another (pygora/angora cross) into the group next week.  I can't wait to shear and play with the luxerious fiber they have.  I just pet them all the time thinking about the lovely shawls they will be.  I am so enamored I decided to start a small yarn company so that everyone can get some of this goodness:)  Thank you for sharing your goats!

I would add that they also pay for themselves in companionship!

Air.blueskys wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 11:12 AM

They are all so lovely/handsome. Do goats need companion goats? How many goats make a "herd"? Does the fleece need to be plucked or sheared? Can they tolerate a cold winter? Of course, I will have to go and google...

Enjoy your "kids"

dakotaland wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 11:06 AM

If you are going to have a goat(s), why not have goats you can't keep your hands off!

I am a breeder / producer of Cashmere Goats here in Colorado, since 1992, my herd has been as low as 15 to 150, with presently about 60 goats.

A one acre yard will support goats easily as long as you are willing to supplement feed when they have cleaned up their paddock.  Goats will eat weeds before grass, they will browse the trees before they eat grass.  Cashmere Goats are extremely hardy and durable.

A Cashmere goat will bond and follow you around like a dog and I believe they are equally intelligent.

Owning your own goats will give you an opportunity to comb fleece one a year and the combed fiber can be very clean with little guard hair, depending on the animal.

If anyone is interested in additional information, please contact me at dakotaland@msn.com

p.s. .... I'm Robynn's Mom :-)

LindaB wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 11:05 AM

Watching Liz spin anything makes you want to learn.  She can spin on a drop spindle made with an old CD and it looks perfect.  I am in total awe of this woman, her ability, her calm demeanor and her joy in sharing her craft.

AnneP@2 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 11:02 AM

Cashmere (and cashmere and silk!) is wonderful.  If you are a process knitter (those of us who are quite happy to knit for weeks and weeks on size 2 needles in plain ol' stockinette, stopping periodically to stroke the emerging fabric) THNIK -- for the cost of 2 or 3 plain worsted wool sweaters you can spend the same money and the same time on one fine gauge cashmere.  Something to consider if you are one of us who has to carefully plan yarn purchases.

Anne from Polk County, NC

Cfanning wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 10:54 AM

Ms. Liz - what a joy - being able to watch your 'sweaters on the hoof' as it were.  If you find you hae more than you could possibly deal with, please remember my name!

Carole Fanning, Marietta, Georgia

VeronicaH wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 10:53 AM

Oh, how I wish I could be that snob. Just wouldn't be able to aford it. I love cashmere.

Veronica from Lancaster CA

Sandee_emi wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 10:43 AM

I WISH I could keep cashmere goats, but alas living in suburbia silicon valley and being a renter prevents me from doing it.  I'm a cashmere snob when finances permit (rarely).  I just recently knitted the boyfriend a cashmere scarf and now he actually ASKS me what the fiber is when I make him socks or hats, etc.  I think I've created a monster...I want to knit him a sweater for Christmas but I'm afraid he'll ask for cashmere!!!

RobynnT wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 10:19 AM

My family started raising cashmere goats in the early 90's outside of Denver.  I showed at stock show, shoveled goat poo, sheared and all the rest.  I don't care how fine or better than cashmere your fiber animal is, it will never be cashmere.  

Monkeygurl wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 10:15 AM

I *WISH* I could be a cashmere snob!!  Unfortunately, budget (and living area) won't allow.  I think I'm in love with Bella, tho.  That would be something - to have a goat in the 'hood.  :)

ToniN wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:47 AM

Sandi:  I truly beamed at the pictures of your goats, and now want my own.  Cashmere reminds me of things my mother used to knit for me when I was a little girl -- she also knit little cashmere sweaters for my dolls.  Where does one get such goats??

DebbieR wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:41 AM

I know exactly what you're talking about...when i was 10 my

parents got me a baby goat. 'April' slept in the kitchen for quite awhile; until she was big enough to sleep in her pen in the barn.  i absolutely loved her.

Now that i'm a spinner i would love to again have goats and sheep in the yard (and nothing is as soothing as their 'talking')--but i married a 'city kid' and he "doesn't understand" :(

So... i envy you keeping goats in the backyard....you're a very lucky lady!!!!!

mlduthie wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:38 AM

I downloaded the free pattern "Sandi's Shawlette. The pattern calls for 4 ply Cashmere 155 yds. According to Jade Sapphire 6 ply has 150 yds. Does anyone know which is correct?

Louise in Canada

PeggyH@2 wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:28 AM

OU...OO....OU....PICK ME!   I UNDERSTAND!  I have a small goat herd myself.  They do bring with them work and cost more money than I get fiber from.  But they are my babies and such a joy.  I started with 2 twin sister angora does and one pygora buck.  I've grown to a solid dozen and will stop there.  Most of the babies have cashgora fiber.  This year I had my first cashmere baby, and I purchased a doeling that I think is cashmere.  So, no I'm not a cashmere snob, cashgora is nice fiber too, mohair is great in socks and rugs.  I do enjoy my little goatie herd.     Peggy in Utah

KimberlyM wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:20 AM

They sound like my kids. They tend to gang up on each other too. I'm jealous though, we can't have farm animals where I live. Just deer.

TraceyB wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 9:15 AM

Knitters and Spinners of LA unite - I just saw a news peice that the City of LA is using Goats to clear brushy areas around the city.  They munch away clearing the unwanted brush, they are moved around to cover a lot of area.  

Maybe someone in the know could push for cahseire goats and collect the wool.

lyonsba wrote
on Sep 10, 2008 8:53 AM

I had to laugh at the question your friends ask about why goats?  My mother has a herd of goats but none are cahseire.  I'm trying to steer her towards that direction because she loves to husband animals and I love to spin.  Plus people in that part of the country only ask "why so few?"  Wish me luck!

on Sep 10, 2008 8:37 AM

How big of a back yard do you think I might need for two goats?  I had a huge back yard in the suburban Silicon Valley as a kid, and we tried out a couple of dairy goats one year when I was a kid.  My mom made us give them back cuz we weren't so conscientious about cleaning up after them, but they were so great!  I would love to do this as an adult...  Right now I have a "regular" back yard in Oregon...

Elaine