The boys were sheared in April and I have three bags full of their blanket fiber, plus two smaller bags from their legs and neck. I just love saying three bags full - makes me think of that sweet nursery rhyme, Baa Baa Black Sheep have you any wool, but I digress. On the third day of classes in Bend we will learn to assist our shearer, to sort, clean,to card, and even needle felt some of the fiber. I don't want to get there and say I have three bags full but I've never touched it except to sort and put in bags, so today was the day to put my hands on it.
I pulled out some of the blanket fiber from Lefty's bag. Pretty and white, but with lots of vegetative matter aka vm. So I started by just pulling it a part with my hands, making it light and fluffy and pulling out little pieces of dried grass and twigs.
Next, I used my hand carders. They also make hand crank ones and electric ones (very, very expensive), but, for once, I decided to see if I liked doing the fiber myself or would I choose to send it to a mill for processing before I jump up in cost. I had so much fun today and saw how slow this process would be - fine for a little, but I see a hand crank carder in my future!
It took about 10-20 passes with the carders to get out vm I wanted out and even with that there are a few specks, but for the most part it's clean.
|Trash after carding|
|Roving - ready to spin or felt|
|Lefty's blanket fiber left to card. This does not|
include the legs or neck!