Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I've been busy again...

I worked 19 hours in the first two days this week, and still had supper and kid-stuff to do.  I'm a wee bit tired.

I did manage to get a couple fleeces washed, though.  Two Shetlands and a llama cria.  This should be interesting (and fun!) to figure out what to do with them.  I have two or three more Shetlands to wash, a corriedale, and an English Leister waiting in the wings.  Well, in the basement shower, anyway.  e don't generally use it for showering, and I can hide the fleeces behind the shower curtain.

So there's fiber everywhere.

Last night I grabbed some of the off-white Shetland I had finished washing, to see what it could do.  Roddy tossed himself into the fleece and started grooming it.  Of course.  (And he did NOT want to let go!)  I hand-carded a couple rolags to test-spin, but I'm thinking I might like it better drum-carded into batts.  This particular fleece is a bit long, and not dual-coated like so many of the fleeces I seek out.

I'm still fondling the grey-black Shetland.  It's a dual-coat, and it's gorgeous!  It's from a ewe, over 5 years, and the long outer coat is greying.  It's the under-coat that has me in love.  It's black.  Pure black.  And it's downy soft.  I'm thinking it needs combed out and spindle-spun into laceweight for another Shetland shawl.  The longer hairs will make perfect embroidery thread!  Long, smooth, lustrous...comb them into top and have at it.

The colors I brought back from Rhinebeck!  All different colors!!  White to black to grey to tan to brown...and a couple of two-tones.  Some will get overdyed, but many will stay in natural tones.  I want to spin for a Starmore sweater, and I'll overdye in the fleece to get the tweedy shades.  You can't get the same effect when you dye in the yarn, in my opinion.  I like the random different colors of fibers all mixed together to get the shade you really wanted.  I have 2 other partial Shetlands already clean and fleece-dyed.  I needed more, though, to make a whole sweater.

So my hands are shot.  Hot water + Dawn dish detergent = angry skin on my hands.  We discovered over 20 years ago that I'm allergic to Dawn.  But it's the best for washing fleece.  So I suck it up and do it.   And try to keep my hands out of the water as much as possible.  I have a system worked out that works very well for washing, gets the crud out, and keeps my hands mostly dry. (let me know if you want a tutorial or something, it's only 2 dishpans, Dawn, and a spatula...and a couple dollar store mesh bags).  I've never written a tutorial, and I've been told that my fleece-washing method is "all wrong" and "will definitely cause felting".  Huh.  I guess that's interesting, because I haven't felted a fleece yet, not even a llama cria, which felts if you look at it crooked.  I've also been told that I'm killing lock structure.  Interesting.  I can lay out the fleece and sort it when it's _clean_ after washing.  And it looks like it came off the sheep's back.  Only cleaner.

Oh, well.  To each their own.

But don't tell me "never", cuz I'll find an exception.  Somewhere.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Oh, I hear that all the time too. You can imagine, between dyeing and spinning and general fooling around what abuses I've visited on wool. Never felted anything accidentally yet. (Now, on purpose... that never goes well.) I usually use dishwashing degergent in the kitchen sink, then roll it up in a towel and stomp on it (short version). Is it possible there's something in detergent that helps avoid felting? Or at least doesn't facilitate felting like real soap does? It's a thought.