There are several steps to preparing Pygora™® fleece for spinning: washing, dehairing and combing/carding.
Pygora fiber can be spun washed or unwashed as there is little or no lanolin in the fleece. You can send the fleece to a fiber processor for washing or do it yourself. Wash the fiber gently in warm water with an appropriate fiber wash (such as Soak or Eucalan). The fleece can be contained in a lingerie bag during washing. Use warm water for both washing and rinsing, and do not agitate the fleece in the water. Rapid water temperature changes and agitation can cause the fiber to felt.
Carefully press out the excess water (do not wring). Remove the fiber from the lingerie bags, and spread it onto a drying rack (a clean plastic screen laid flat makes a good drying rack). Fluff and turn the fiber occasionally until it is completely dry.
A Pygora fleece consists of guard hairs that are discarded and the lovely, soft undercoat that is spun. To enjoy the full softness of the fiber, the guard hair must be removed (called dehairing). This is best done on a commercial dehairing machine. Choose a fiber mill that is experienced in working with Pygora fiber, and talk to the mill to make sure they do not ‘work’ the fleece too hard trying to remove all guard hairs as this can weaken the fiber.
You can hand dehair your Pygora fiber using any of several methods, including mini combs, cotton cards or tweezers and a magnifying glass. However, this is a time-consuming process. If you want to hand dehair, do so before washing the fleece.
Some type-A fleeces may have very few, soft guard hairs. You may decide not to dehair such a fleece. Consider carefully, however, as guard hairs prickle against the skin, take dye differently from ‘good’ fiber and could affect the twist of the yarn. Also, nondehaired Pygora yarn will shed guard hairs with use and bloom.
If you send your fleece to a fiber mill, it will be returned in the form you choose (a ‘cloud’, roving, batt, etc.). If you decide to process a fleece yourself, use cotton cards with a fine cloth or mini combs to prepare your Pygora as desired. Pygora may be blended with a fine wool such as Merino to give it ‘memory’.