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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Winter Wool Workshop - Part Two

Warning - very picture heavy. I would have broken this down into three posts, but tomorrow is Yarn Along day and I'm hoping to get my Iknitarod sweater swatch done in time to post for that.  At this point I don't even have the skeins wound off, so it looks like some late "training" tonight...which is good practice for the actual race :-).

We'll start the picture marathon with Miss Mira because I fully realize that most of you are only here to see her ;-D.  Yes, she really is as cute as she looks and tiny, tiny, tiny.  She and Maisie weren't far off on birth weight, but she does seem smaller than Maisie...maybe because she was born larger than life ;-).

So, we started with six freshly washed fleece samples and experimented with combing, hand carding, drum carding and flick carding.  I didn't get pictures of everything, but here are some bits and pieces.

Preparing to comb.

Getting ready to pull off the combs.

Yes, we used my fancy beer cheese plastic container diz.  I am nothing if not classy ;-).

Now this is classy.  Nistock Taffy.  Just a gorgeous fleece and a dream to work with, as was Freckles who I somehow managed to not photograph either day (?).  Both were combed and drum carded.  We didn't attempt to hand card them because the staple length was so long.  Hand cards work best between three to four inches.

The gray fleece was another group favorite.  Note the difference in length from Taffy.  Wool comes in many different lengths, textures, colors, crimps (curls/waves)...  This fleece was hand carded, combed and drum carded.  

Combing catches all the too short parts of the locks and any debris that might be in the fleece.  See the short bits left on the combs?  The top (long skinny stuff coming through the diz) that pulls off is perfect.

The two white fleeces were a good challenge for the hand cards.  I'd have thought the the finer fleeces would have preferred the finer cloth (spikes closer together) cards, but we actually seemed to have better luck with a coarser set.

But the finer cloth drum carder handled them best.  Always something to learn.

Some fluffed up Luna headed for the coarser cloth drum carder.  This was another stunning fleece.

Using the "stabber" to pull it off the drum.

After one pass through, ready for a second pass, already dreamy.

Like a cloud.

I'd forgotten I had a teasing board.  I found it when I was pulling out tools and I'm so glad I did.  The board anchors to the table and you can easily flick the tips of your locks open and also catch any second cuts you may have missed when you skirted.  See how it quickly pulled off the sun bleached tips?  I am going to use this for Baaxter's fleece this spring!

A line up of beautiful, fresh from the farm fiber.  What a treat!

Nothing goes to waste.  All the leftover bits and pieces and mistakes and combing set out on the forsythia bush for the birds, because even though it sure doesn't seem like it, it's time to start putting out your collected yarn scraps and wool bits.  The babies might really appreciate some wool lined nest this spring!

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