Kicking around on a Saturday afternoon…

I’m eagerly awaiting this 1.5lb batch of Romney as it dries in today’s sun.  Again.  Apparently the combo of the new formula for Dawn (much less effective) and the new electric water heater (water isn’t as hot) means that I have to change my scouring procedures.  I did three fleeces and dried them this week before I realized that although they appeared clean when you started to comb them out by the clipped end lanolin glistened.  The fleeces are technically clean with the dirt and vm removed but I’m not a fan of spinning “in the grease” so I’m boiling water and redoing the fleeces.  This picture is 1.5 lbs of locally grown Romney.  The sheep has a name but I totally forgot to write it down:<.  It’s very soft and springy in the hand and combs very easily with very little kemp left over.  The reason I am combing it is to create a preperation that is appropiate to spinning worsted yarn.  Worsted yarn is what one uses, usually but not in all cases, for warp in weaving.  I am challenging myself with a sheep to shawl project as my first step towards weaving garb.  If I were sensible that first step would probably included weaving from store bought first.  Hmmmm, maybe I am nuts.

I have a minimum of 8 lbs of Chocolate colored Romney.  I suspect up to 12 lbs once I empty out my storage shed.  It’s a medium softness and cries out to be made into something for my favorite Rus Viking.  The one who lives in my yurt:>.  This year I hold out hope to find more information about how the Rus interacted with the local Nomadic tribes…other then the killing part.  It spins up light and fluffy.  I’ve been reading lately about some Viking cloaks where you weave a couple lines of ground then put in unspun lockes of wool like a Rya rug from the 70s:>.  Hmmmmm, it’s a very cool thought.  I’ve got Woven Into The Earth on order from the library and really hope it comes in soon.  Just as an explanation for this picture…counting the crimps per inch helps give an idea of how the fiber is going to spin up.  The more crimps per inch the better for close to skin wear in general. Straight wool like Karakul is excellent for rugs.  This wool is a great multipurpose wool.

To prepare the fiber I am flicking open the ends.  This can be as simple as taking a comb or dog brush and combing each end to loosen them.  Then I’m taking Viking combs and combing the fiber to produce a combed top.  This means that the fibers are all aligned in the same direction.  When you add this to a short draw you get worsted singles yarn.  The combing takes out any short bits of wool as well as most of the vm (vegetable matter) like straw and grass.  A sweet librarian sent my dh home with the library’s too latest books…about needle felting toys (shudder).  My child happily brought them to me and pointed out how much wool I have.  Just for the record needle felting is NOT felting.  It makes a prefelt structure but to truly felt something one must get the scales of the fiber to open then lock down, tangle, and shrink.  This is done thru the use of hot water and agitation.   Anyhow I took some of the kemp from the combing process and made Josh a bunny in honor of Tomtom who he lost last Spring but still misses.

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2 thoughts on “Kicking around on a Saturday afternoon…

  1. Ann

    looks like lovely wool, we have snow here so I have to wait a few months to do any washing. If you have a new water heater it is probably set low to prevent scalding, especially for children. You should be able to turn it up. My kids are almost adults so ours is set higher.

    • ladyvirag

      I’m planning on sending the dh under the house today to try:>. I think the Dawn is going to be replaced as well. I rescoured with boiling hot water. The wool is rinses completely clean but once again when I started combing it lanolin glistened from the roots. On the plus side my hands are very, very soft from spinning it and the combing process leaves some nice wool to felt with:>.

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