Monday, March 12, 2007

Dirty Business

No, this won't be an x-rated post (although it very well COULD be....if I wasn't so tired).

It's the dirty business of going from sheep to yarn.

I had 1 pound of Coopworth fleece, which I bought from Heather and which has been haunting me since I brought it home. I've heard the washing fleece is a stinky, stinky affair, so I was waiting for the spring.

Luckily, spring-ish weather came this weekend (50s!!!), so I got out the big, metal pans and thought I'd soak. I wish I'd taken pics of the original fiber before cleaning....god, it was HORRIBLE! It was crinkly and lanolin rich (very nice for the hands), but STINKTASTIC and the brownish parts made me slightly gag.

But, I resisted being a little weiner about it and dove right in....well, my hands anyway.

I think my first problem was that I used TOO much detergent. I've heard that spinners sometimes don't use enough, so I tried to compensate for that. Overly, I think. I used 3 tablespoons of Dawn dishwashing liquid, but later realized that it wasn't regular Dawn, but Dawn concentrate. OOPS!

After I soaked the fiber in at least 4 hot, increasingly less-soapy baths (being careful not to felt it), I finally started the rinsing process. Thank goodness I was able to throw the dirty water outside. UGh. It was awful. (shiver)

1. Here it is soaking...



2. Here we have the newly rinsed fiber drying next to the woodstove on a sweater rack (after a quick spin the washer spin cycle)....



3. One of the dry "locks" (I use the term loosely here) ready to be flick carded....



4. Half of the lock carded...



5. Other half done....



6. Using comb to clean the flick carder (aka dog brush)...



7. Big bag of clean, white fiber ready to spin...



8. Spinning the fiber....



9. Close up of the fiber into yarn...nice, huh?...



I have other things I've been working on, too....my Tote'M bag (the 408 rows of garter stitch to do) and I also spun up the 2 oz. of Bag O'Bunny that I got from Spa. Came out very pretty and super soft, but I'll blog that next time.

I'm a bit under the weather today....when I went to teach yoga yesterday, two of the older ladies were sick and one had pneumonia...yikes! Trying to stay healthy and rest...when I'm not spinning, that is. Also working on the secret project as well. That's a lot of fun and easy to do when I'm in bed.

Off to lay down......

11 comments:

Cayli said...

Been there, done that with the fleece. Somehow the extra $$ spent on done roving seems like nothing. Hope you feel better soon.

yarnophiliac said...

ooooooohhhh, Gina! The fleece looks beautiful! What are you going to do with the finished yarn? I am DYING to dig into my fleece now. (I'm probably ordering a drum carder soon....squeeeeee!) It looks so soft and fluffy and amazingly WHITE! Lilah is ready to be sheared gain, too, so I am debating blending her fiber w/ the wool -- definately will with some of it. (3lbs vs. little bitty bunny? hmmmm) Can't wait to see the outcome of your bag o' bunny!

Jackie said...

How cool is that? I don't envy the job of washing it, but it looks awesome spun up.

Adrienne " A little dramatic at times" said...

Wow, that is a cool process! Thanks for showing it!

Heide said...

Very cool and I appreciate the advice on cleaning fiber! Some people I know have promised to give me bags of sheep and alpaca wool this spring (they have them as pets and normally they just throw it away!). Your yarn turned out so pretty.

Nichole said...

VERY cool! I agree with Jackie - I don't envy the cleaning one bit. Can't wait to hear more about this "secret project" - and to see what you've done with the bag o' bunny!

Amanda1 said...

What a neat process, and the yarn spun up looks great!

Lora said...

OH Very cool!! Nice to see the process :)

brenda said...

Look how white you made it! I loved seeing the process.

HollyEQQ said...

Hehhh, you crack me up!!!
I have to say, I always wondered why fibers cost so much when I knew the farmers didn't get that much a pound. Now I KNOW! :)
Too cool.
The other thing you wonder, is if we are so perticular when we are washing it and picking out the bits, then what happens to all that in the mill? You know they don't sit and pick the poopy pieces out.... so where does it go?
Hope you enjoy it.
Going to listen to your podcast now.
Holly

Kimberly said...

Thanks for showing the process. I can't wait to try that all myself. I really want to dye my own wool so I can go from sheep to sweater but I'm such a chicken. I'll get there someday. :)