Thursday, March 20, 2008

If you think yarn is expensive.

Awww. This is for you!

Isn't this the sweetest thing? Little miss hot sauce is feeding well. It was so warm (weatherwise) today that I removed Nessa's sweater. I will put it back on tonight because it will dip down to -12. She is happily walking around the pen and recognizes us when we arrive with a bottle, even in the dark! I tried to take a shot of her tail wagging but my battery died at that precise moment. I so love my digital camera. The best thing since wool.

Speaking of wool...I climbed into the attic of my bergerie and checked my few bags of raw smelly fleece. I am so worried a squirrel will take off with it. Something ripped through the bottom of the bag of Koonie's fleece so I moved it to a rubbermaid bin in the potting shed. I brought some into the house for spinning. Just a little as to not overwhelm us with reek...and enough to wash up quickly.
This is how I do it. I know there are many methods and as long as you don't ruin your fleece, I think all ways are good. I put small amounts into a lingerie bag. I pour hot tap water into a small bassin with a good squirt of Palmolive dish soap. I sink the bag into the hot soapy water and press it down. I leave it there for about 15 minutes. I take the wool out gently before the water gets cold so the lanolin doesn't return to the wool. Drain the dirty water into the toilet in winter or outside in the summer. I repeat the soapy process once more. I rinse the wool with hot water then spin the bag in the washing machine. I dry the locks then get ready to card them. I pick through the pile and remove the obvious vegetable matter. I open up the locks gently with my fingers and place them tip first onto the carder. Koonie is an older East Freisan ewe and her locks are very long and whispy like soft hair. When I have an even amount, I remove it carefully. I split the batt in half like two pieces of bread of a sandwich and refeed those two pieces into the carder for a second carding one at a time. Every fleece is different but for Koonie's wool this is all it takes and it is ready to spin...yay! I use a leader on my bobbin that is a piece of coton fastened with a double hitch knot and plenty long. I adjust the in-take tension with minimum drag then catch the end of my fleece in the loop and start to treadle. This fleece is so airy that I hardly need to predraft. Here is a sample of my yarn 2 ply. I might actually make this yarn a three ply using my beloved navajo plying but the verdict is still out.

Last week when I layed my visa card down for the damage at the Cross Stitch Cupboard and the lady chirped about how nice it is to have clients buying quality yarn for knitting, I had to agree. When you have your own sheep and go through the whole process from lamb birth to knitting it puts the price of quality into perspective. Don't ask me to grow a field of flax...

As for this gray yarn, I think I will knit next winter accessories for the wee folk. I think I will go mad this year turning hot paw gloves inside out!

Wool be with you

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