There’s a lot of work to be done between washing a fleece and sitting down at the wheel (or grabbing your spindle). Today was the first day of Spinning Prep.
I wanted a heathery/tweedy sort of yarn, the oatmeal grey/brown of the Romney tinged with greens. Yesterday, I tossed my stash until I found everything green that I had that was even remotely mixable with this fleece. This morning, I sat down with it all spread in front of me, and eliminated the Nots, narrowing it down to my original choices (typical).
Romney locks, green Ramboulliet from Gnomespun, and BFL from Sakina Needles (no longer in business). I kept trying to get the silk I had to work in the mix, but it was a very yellow green and not really right for this project.
I then worked out tentative proportions for a sample batt. My drumcarder handles batts best when they are 20-23 g total. I knew how many grams of each fibre I had, so I knew the rough proportions of each one to the others overall. But of course, I don’t have to use ALL of each one.
I started with a 70-20-10 blend (Romney-Ramboulliet-BFL) that is more or less my standard mix. I weighed out 14 g of Romney, 4 g of Rambo, and 2 g of BFL and carded them together twice. The result:
That seems to be a bit more green than I envisioned, so in the next batt, I bumped the Romney up to 16 g.
Before I carded another batt, however, I decided to put together my “goodie bags”–my name for sandwich bags filled with the proper proportions of fibres for one batt. I made nine goodie bags, each with 16 g Romney, 4 g Rambo, and 2 g BFL.
Then I spun up a second test batt.
Still too much green, methinks.
I shall ponder.
The thing that took the longest was sorting the fleece. This one had quite a number of sunburned tips, and the base of each lock (the part that would have been next to the sheep’s skin) was really matted.
So I sat down with scissors and the fleece, and snipped off the matted bits and the sunburned tips.
It’s always hard to do this sort of culling on a fleece you are processing yourself; each little fluffy bit seems precious since the overall amount of work involved is so high. But the way I think about it is: Do I want THAT in my yarn, and in my sweater? Bits of sunburned, brittle, harsh fibres, no, I think not. Matted bits that never quite get untangled and cause little neps in the yarn? Nope, not them either.
I didn’t get all the way through the fleece; I only did about 150 g; there was about 15% waste after all the clipping had been done (and I was conservative with the scissors). That’s about what I would have gotten if I had processed the fleece with combs, I figure.
At the end of TdF Day 1, I have two 23 g batts (each carded twice); eight goodie bags ready for carding; an approximation of a proportional mix to fiddle with in upcoming carding sessions, and 25-ish g of waste. (We shall see if the waste can be needle felted into cat toys. That would make my masters happy.)
As I snipped off bits of matted fuzz and crispy tips, my mind started wandering…and I thought, hm. This is kind of like what we need to learn to do in our lives. As humans, we tend to be little hoarders, not necessarily in terms of physical possessions, but in terms of our feelings, and behaviours, and people we collect around ourselves. It’s good every now and then to sort through ourselves and ask, Do I really want this in my life? Do I want/need this in my future? And if the answers are “no”, then…snip, snip, snip.
Yes, I know. I think too much.
In the category of I-Don’t-Even-Know-What-to-Say: A gentler, kinder Darth Vader.
In the Category of Things-That-I-Want-to-Eat-Right-Now: It’s a holiday weekend, so maybe you’d like to make a batch of salted caramel chip cookies (and eat them alllll by yourself. I won’t tell.)
In the category of Cute Small Things: A wee mouse on a big flower.