Thursday, June 13, 2013

Playing with Fiber

If you read or follow both of my blogs you will be seeing double!  This post fits the creative blog and the boys blog so I'm using it on both.  I've never done that, but as they say there's always a first time!

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.
Starting fiber

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!
Hand Carders

 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
When I was finished I had two small pieces of roving. This can now be used to spin directly from the roving or use for needle felting or other crafty things.   Pictures show how much I started with, how much vm came out of it, the carders and the finished product.  And it took about an hour or maybe more!

Roving - ready to spin or felt
And then there's what I have left of Lefty's blanket and remember I have two more bags from the other boys, plus all of the legs and neck bags and so you see why there is a hand crank carder in my future!

Lefty's blanket fiber left to card. This  does not
include the legs or neck!
The boys had lots of visitors this week and so more about that coming soon, with some fun pictures.  And I leave for Bend tomorrow!  Exciting time for me - haven't been away from home for 6 days in a long, long time!  I'll miss all of my boys and Bill will be doing alpaca duty while I'm gone!  The hottest week of the year!  Keep him in your prayers!

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