Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lots of Fibery Pursuits

Well, the sweater is coming along, though I hit a snag about a week after I started. One of the needle tips came apart where the wood fits into the metal base. I called Knit Picks, though, and they sent out a replacement right away. I've finished the yoke now and am ready to put the sleeve stitches on holders.

I also finally dived into our some of our raw fleece from this year's shearing. I had kind of planned on sending it off, but doing that is so expensive, especially since these hadn't been covered. After skirting the fleece, I pulled off a small section and washed it. I haven't done a tremendous amount of fleece processing, so I feel like I'm still learning. In the past, I've had trouble with the wool still being greasy even after washing (Rambouillet have really greasy fleeces). But this time I put it through three washings with lots of Dawn dishwashing liquid and two rinses, and it seemed really clean when it came out. Here's a picture of some raw fleece:

I used a mesh laundry bag to contain the fleece while soaking. Some people separate the locks before washing, but I'd rather wait until they're clean to mess around in them. Especially this fleece. It was from Max, our ram, who apparently doesn't care much about personal hygiene. In other words, be glad smell doesn't transmit over the internet. Anyway, here's some fleece soaking in the wash:

This particular batch came out really clean. They don't always look this nice:

Here I've separated some locks (now that they smell nice) and "lashed" them onto the comb:

Combing really seems to work well for removing the VM and other debris:

Then pulling the combed wool off the comb into a roving:

And finally a little wool "nest" ready to spin:

I've also recently been trying my hand at some felting, but I'll leave that for another post. :)


Marie said...

So you wash it before you pick out the vm? And what combs (flickers?) are you using?

Prairie Daisy Handspun said...

Yes, I washed it first. Some people probably do it the other way around, but this was from one of our sheep that had not worn a cover, so there was a HUGE amount of VM. After skirting, I did shake it to remove what would fall out, but there was way too much left to pick out by hand. Thus, the combs. They are Louet double-row mini combs, and they remove almost all of the VM along with neps and short fibers. It's a pretty slow process, though. :)


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