Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Radio Silence

First, I have to apologize. I knew I needed to write a good comprehensive post regarding the first two fibers from the fleece study.

Ok, I guess I'm going to attempt to give you the same format for each type of fleece so far. Up until now, I have used the same scouring method for each fleece. I'm actually washing each sample (each about an ounce) inside the basket from my salad spinner. That keeps too much fiber from going down the drain in the sink, plus I can just drop it into the spinner, spin as much water out as possible, and they're dry in a flash.

First I kind of pull the wool apart because in my head (a scary place) soaking it if its a little bit clumpy, the soap and water don't get to the center of the clumps. When I scour, I use the hottest water I can get from the tap (and ours is pretty hot since we don't have wee ones going into bathtubs who can't adjust their own water temp), I pour in a big fat dose of original Dawn hand dishwashing detergent, then when the sink is full, I set the basket in the water and sometimes I gently just press it below the water line, sometimes I let it sink in on its own. I soak for about 30 minutes (sometimes little more, sometimes a little less, you know how it is) and I repeat this process one or two MORE times. A lot depends on how dirty the water is after each soak. I DO NOT AGITATE EVER. Here's the thing, wool has little bitty scales on it, and the heat opens them up, so when the fiber gets cold fast, those little scaley bits close up on others and they hold the fibers together. If you remember that, you can remember that also, agitating them will make the hang up on eachother and grab when they cool off. When you're washing a fleece, this is usually a bad thing.

Ok, then when I'm satisfied that the water is coming pretty much clean, I go ahead and fill the sink again with hot water that has no soap in it, lower the basket and let it soak again, but usually only for 10 minutes or so. Then I spin, pull apart again and lay out on a towel to dry.

So, on to the spinning part!

Black Welsh Mountain

Prep: Scoured
Staple Length: 2" approx
Combing/Carding: Ashford fine drum carder - I considered spinning it from the lock, but wussed out and made one pass through the drum carder. I wouldn't recommend that as it left a lot of fibers in it because it's so coarse.
Drafting Style: Short Draw
Type of prep: Woollen (batts rolled into rolags)
Plying: Navajo
% of weight lost from washing/short cuts etc: forgot to weigh before duh

End result: 20 yards of bulky three ply
Very coarse, but lofty
almost sparkly from shiny, coarse fibers.
I would compare it to Corriedale, but coarser and no neps that i noticed.

Final: Wouldn't spin again. In my mind only good for a rug or something of that type.

While drying
After spinning.

California Red

Prep: Scoured
Staple Length: 3" approx
Combing/Carding: Ashford fine drum carder. Run through three times in an attempt to line up the fibers for worsted spinning
Drafting Style: Short Draw
Type of prep: Worsted
Plying: S plied
% of weight lost from washing/short cuts etc: forgot to weigh before duh

End result: 58 yards of DK weight
Softness compares to Shetland I have spun in the past
some reddish guard hairs that aren't very coarse that i kept in.

Final: I enjoyed spinning it. Not soft enough for next to skin, but cardigan/outerwear.
Post-Wash (Drying)
All spun up!

Now, if you don't listen to the Podcast, you probably won't know what the heck this is about.

One of our listeners saw me post on a board that I would like The Fleece Study for Christmas, and she had one marinating in her stash for about seven months. She sent me a Private message, and offered to send it to me if I would talk about what I learned on the podcast (and we are using this blog as a place for me to post my huge long posts regarding the Fleece Study. I'll be doing two fibers at a time, and I have two more all done, but not gonna post here until we have a chance to record about them.

Thank you SOOOOOOOOO much to ToadyJoe who graciously donated this Fleece Study. I hope it helps a lot of people learn more about processing their own fibers. I have something in the works to send to her as a thank you too ;)

Oh, and if anyone is worried, the info is not copywritten in the workbook you get, and I contacted the developer of the Fleece Study, Jackie Bland for her "OK' for us to discuss it on the podcast. She gave it the green light and gave us some tips on selecting a fleece. I'll share 'em later!

1 comment:

  1. it is just as well spinning my own yarn is out of the question!


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