Saturday, May 9, 2015

Shetland Fleece realizations

I picked up a bag of Shetland fleece (one wash; still "in the grease") at last year's local fibre festival.  At first I was trying to spin it with minimal prep and for a thick yarn.  It wasn't great.

More recently, as I gear up for processing a lot more fleeces, I thought I should try some better fibre prep and I experimented on the Shetland.

As I worked with the bag of fibre, I realized it has quite a lot of second cuts in it. Not fun.  I also discovered I'll be trashing a fair amount as I process. Oh well. It was not expensive. Guess this is why.

Decided to try combing (with a small metal pet comb) some of the locks and using my dog-brush carders to flick the cut end.  Then started spinning a few of those and realized that the fibre was much happier when spun more fine.
You can see the finer spinning on the right of the tube and then a new bobbin of fine spinning.

 I prepared more locks in this manner and carded the not-clear-locks parts into little rolags to spin on the Turkish spindle.

Not the fanciest tools, but they are getting the job done and cost me next to nothing at the dollar store. Comb set has a very fine flea comb and a fine comb. I use the latter.  Here you can see the comb (and its holder) to the top left next to some combed and flicked locks next to some fine-spun fibre. Next is the sample on a tube and the spindle of rolag-prep'd spinning above a wee rolag. Raw Shetland on the bottom and my dollar store dog brushes.

This Shetland went from not-so-fun spinning to dream-spinning.

It was a good lesson, for myself, in the importance of fibre preparation.

For comparison, here is a finished skein of the lace-weight combed Shetland and a skein of the (nicer than previous attempts) Shetland spun from the cloud of the mixed-fibres (with dark fibres) that seems to do best simply being spun without further prep.  Both were spun and plied worsted style - with shorter draws (than my usual) and with my right hand compressing/smoothing the twisted fibres (not my usual either).

Thursday, May 7, 2015

FSM - Fermented Suint Method of washing fleeces

Rain - it's good for many things such as watering plants, making puddles to jump in, and preparing a bath to create a fermented suint wool wash.  [I've linked a good blog piece about this method]

We do not yet have rain barrels, so I had to wedge smaller buckets under our drainage and transfer that water to a larger bin several times during the day. I know I lost a lot of rain water because I was out or sleeping. I did manage to get about half of an 18gal Rubbermaid bin full.

I then grabbed this fleece - which is one of the 5 I skirted at the farm. It's mighty dirty.

There is "this" much of it. Not the most accurate measure, but it's not the largest fleece I skirted so far. (I already scoured the largest)

Took this much rain water - which I will add to today if I can get more - and added the fleece. I considered stuffing the fleece into multiple medium-sized (compared with something that can hold a full load) laundry bags, but then I decided to just pop the entire fleece in as is and deal with pulling it out later.

There she is. Soaking away for the next week.

One started. All the Fleeces to go.