Colour me happy! For starters, I am happy that Joyja could not stand the sight of her ½ fleece of a champion Romney ram a second longer:) We met up at LYS, Spun on Saturday morning. Joyja was so excellent. Right there in the parking lot, she gave me the 411 on ‘scouring’ wool. That term is a total misnomer by the way. Agitation of wool in hot water = felt. There is no “scouring” per se. Repeated dunking & soaking with patience & respect. My crash course was even better because the lot has 1 big bag of it in the raw; a medium bag of it clean; and a small zip-lock of it carded. She could show me what each step gets you. The highlights are: a) the fleece smells well “high” – might want vicks to get you through, b) use blue Dawn as the soap, & c) scour first; spin later – fleece spoils.
Joyja was so excellent that she also showed me Spun’s wheel that rents for $20/hr, and offered hers for my spinning pleasure as well! Thanks so much! IMHO, knitters are at their best when helping other knitters:)
I have totally personified the fleece. He has locks, hence his name is Peter Tosh:
The geekiness knows no end… a lock from tip to cut-end is the staple.
Six pounds of staples is A LOT! This is Joyja’s cleaned wool:
And the springy goodness of the carded stuff:
As soon as I walked the bags in, Toby set to sniffing at it. Very businesslike & thorough & adorable! DH? Not so much!
There are no 2 ways about this… Peter Tosh The Fleece stinks to high heaven. My approach?
I also set up shop in the most ventilated room – our kitchen. Close to the stove, a ceiling fan & a sliding door. All of which only served to mask the Essence de Ram. Yes, it smells. But. It smells like something I want to own: a living, kicking sheep! DH was not quite so sanguine. By about batch 1 ½ he was crying mercy…
Although I am in the kitchen, I wasn’t about to use the sink directly. Luckily, my pails fit in the sink. I dump the lanolin/dirty water in the back garden. The rinse water’s either for my compost bin or the drain. Here’s a pail in action:
The stick is a skewer that I am using to tease out trash (with utmost respect) & plunge the wool. I mix hot pipe water, blue Dawn & boiling water in the pail & then add the wool. It’s taking 3 washes & 2 rinses. The last rinse is with some vinegar.
Honestly, I have not had this much fun in years. In between cleaning/ rinsing batches, I looked into the world of drop spindles. You pull the wool into strands & the spindle twists it into yarn. It spins like a top in mid-air. Long have I coveted one. Thanks again to Ravelry, I worked out that a Stephen Kundert spindle would be a good place to start. I chose his red cedar over cherry whorl:
DH is quite possibly as excited to get this as I am. It tickles his “How It’s Made” fancy you see. May even give us a few laughs by trying it himself! Believe you me, the knitting never got this much interest!
The results of yesterday’s work… 2 batches, smelling up the house:
I’ve completed batch 3 & 4 is now rinsing. Make wool cleaner while the sun shines… and DH is at work! So far, batch 2 has the most varied colour. There’s a shock of white in thar fleece!
I am on the last leg of the Hottie Hottie top & have more new stash to boast about – do that another time. Walk good!