Sunday, 15 February 2015

Meet Mae West

I dug into the 2nd fleece and I am calling her Mae West. I think she liked to roll around in the hay a bit; there is a fair bit of veggie matter in the fleece.

I was a bit too eager in my attack on the first batch and ended up slightly felting some bits of it. I didn't want to repeat that so I turned to Google and found some fabulous articles on scouring fleece by Deb Robson and  Claddagh Fibre Arts. I learned about prepping the fleece before even thinking about putting it into the water. The reason I bought this second fleece was because it has an 8 inch staple length and so I really wanted to keep them separated and loose.

She went from this ....Mae, you dirty girl!

to this.....and by now I am pretty used to the smell. I decided to do this in my studio this time instead of my kitchen, seems way too logical.

I laid the locks neatly and in order in a mesh basket I found at the dollar store which fits perfectly into my totes and put it thru 4 consecutive rinses. the first with soap and the last 3 with just hot water. This time I curbed my enthusiasm and kept my hands out of the water as to not agitate the fleece. 

When I went to lay them out on the drying rack (after a quick whizz in the salad spinner) they came out perfect and still in the individual bundles. Awesome! The prepping took a bit of time but it came out so much better than just a big wad of curls.

words of wisdom...

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Waiting for a website

While my new website is being designed and created, I have made up a Facebook page, Be sure to check it out, I have been posting pictures of my work, past and present and any upcoming shows or sales I may be participating in.

Also, if you "Like" my fb page I will put your name in the draw to win one of my fantabulous mugs!! The draw date is Friday, Feb 20.

photo courtesy of Brian Lawrence

And of course...a bit of Johnny....

Friday, 13 February 2015

Feeling Wooly.....

I am sure that the people who know me think I am crazy already but I have hit an all time high on the Crazy Meter. Not quite Bat Shit Crazy but getting close.

Since I started spinning my own yarn I have gone through a ton of fibre, the stuff is pretty expensive when you buy it perfectly carded and in beautiful rovings. I realized early on that I need to go directly to the source and get me some fleece. To The Man's utter dismay, I mentioned I may want a couple of sheep and maybe an alpaca. Jeez, what is taking out a few rows of cherries in the orchard and fencing in some sheep? Seems pretty easy until I did a bit of research and found out you have to cut their toenails.  I am not really interested in having to chase some sheep around, flip them over and then cut their nails. Brought to mind mutton busting at rodeos...I think I will just buy me a sheared fleece!!!

My first fleece purchase was "Latte" from Wyncrest Farm in the US. 6 pounds came in a nice little box and after The Man went back to work I prepared to take it on and clean it up. I had read about the smell of ram fleece being pretty rank and since this was a small ewe, shouldn't be that bad. I wasn't really prepared for the smell when I cracked open the bag....'barny' is a bit mild of a description.  I am not sure what I was expecting...images of sunshine and roses did not appear, more like 10 sheep standing in my living room. Oh well, I can do it!

Hello Latte!

Once I got going, I had fleece in the bathtub, in both kitchen sinks and my house stunk to high heaven. Air fresheners could not keep up. The encyclopedia of Youtube mentioned you need such hot water to scour a fleece, I had water boiling in huge pots on the stove and my house was so steamy I thought the paint would peel off. As one of my friends said,  "I haven't jumped in with both feet, I have cannonballed right in"!! I was so grateful The Man wasn't home or I never would have heard the end of it. I mean really! Why get so upset over my using the salad spinner to get the water out of the beautiful curls?!!  I didn't think he even knew we owned a salad spinner, he has never used it.

But oh!! When it was all finished, Latte is a real star!! It is beautiful, silvery grey, white and black, soft and lustrous!!

For my first fleece it was pretty easy to clean with very little vegetable matter and it turned out lovely. I have been dyeing it fabulous colours and spinning it into lovely, shiny yarn.

I have since purchased another fleece with 8 inch locks (an 8 pounder!!) from Wyncrest Farms and Mindy emailed me to warn me  that the one coming isn't quite as clean as Latte, as it was her show fleece....uh oh! I think I will be doing this one outside!!!

Fleece number 2!