Why does everything seem to take so much longer lately? part 1
This morning I asked my hubby to please bring up the wool drying racks from the laundry so I could start washing a few fleeces. But first there was the little problem with the hose…. I went out to fix the Non-Kink hose which had sprung a leak followed quickly by a second leek. With the help of a lot of teal duct tape the hose no longer aggressively throws water at me when I turned it on. A fine mist is much better.
Hose patch leaking less. 1-3
While fixing the hose I found that the pots and portable forest all needed watering. Yes my forest is portable. So a round of water for everyone! Oh no, the front garden looks thirsty and the grass seed on the little bit of grass also needs a drink. While watering I washed out the big bin that I am eventually going to use to wash the fleece. Finally all the plants looked happy and my back insisted it was time to go sit down NOW!
Portable forest, planters and front garden 4-14
Sit, sit, sit, sit…. Ok I think I can get the kettle now and bring out the first fleeces. My smallest unwashed fiber is 6 oz. of Icelandic. I also have half a lustrous fleece from the wool growers co-op (from Twist festival a couple weeks ago) there is also a full large possibly Icelandic fleece and 2 smaller full Shetland fleeces. I am not sure if the Shetlands are skirted hence having Glenn bring up the skirting table too.
Skirting table (yes it also looks like a close drying rack but less so with a sheet over it and fleece on top) 15
The Icelandic I am starting with is from Erin at Rocks End Farm. Her sheep have really nice fiber. As you know Icelandic sheep are an old breed and have a double coat. The tog is the long outer guard hair and the thule is the soft under coat. So in one sheep you can make your medieval outer wear from the tog and inner layers from the thule. You can even blend them together. We have heard that the Icelandic sheep in Iceland tend towards a coarser tog than many of the Canadian fleeces. The Icelandic roving I bought from the World of Wool is very noticeably much courser than Erin’s fleeces.
Erin’s Icelandic Fleece 16
My end goal for this and the large Icelandic are to wash, then separate tog from thule. Most would crave the soft luxury of the thule but I’m after the tog. In fact most of the wonderful guild I belong to knows I’m on a quest for Tog. Some have been contributing to my growing tog collection. Once I have enough tog I can wind my wool warp (possibly from the thule or a thule/tog combination) for an Icelandic tufted blanket. It looks like a Raya rug or for those that don’t weave think of a deep shag carpet that you throw on your bed shag side down. The shag part traps air and body warmth. They were used for cloaks and blankets. There have been a few reports online about modern weavers trying this. I want to be one of them!
But back to step one. Wash the fleece, and I might as well wash the other fleeces I had been meaning to wash for a while. I have the drying rack set up. I have the skirting rack ready to check the other fleeces. I learned my lesson with the last Redo Arcott fleece, which was horribly dirty and full of chaff. It was worth every penny since it was free but it was a horrible amount of work to get it to a point I could use it for core wool. (Ann and her amazing picker and carder helped and did all the hard work after the washing!)
I ran the extension cord from the garage to one of my upside down planters that had become my water boiling station. Kettle on, I waited for the water to boil. And waited, and waited, and waited. Oh yah if you’re watching it water doesn’t boil. So while waiting for the first kettle I found my pruners and cut back more of the trumpet vine, then moved some of the thorn-less blackberry canes away from the blacksmithing and back into the bed along the house. Check the kettle, nope but there is a bit of steam. Hummm. Drag the vines to the composter, Yep first kettle done only a few more to go.
Kettle station with Sunlight dish soap 17
As the second kettle refused to boil I took pictures of this year’s set up. I am constantly amazed by what other non-felting, non-fiber people think things are used for. The drying rack is from Ikea (they think it’s for cloths!!?!! Who could not see the amazing fleece drying potential?) The giant gray bucket with rope handles had been for sail last year at Walmart but I found it this spring second hand for a lot less and a smaller thinner one was at Dollerama. The gray bucket was labeled for storing kids toys. Who would keep kids toys in an unlidded container? (My kids had toys Mr. B had a box with a lid for most of his. Evil and Miaka’s were in small chest of Ikea drawers.) The white plastic container with holes in the sides was from Dollerama. There was a bigger one earlier in the year luckily I hadn’t realized I wanted it since the medium sized one actually fits the gray bucket!
The set up, buckets, drying rack fleece 18-23
Over the next 3 kettles worth of water (I will look for a bigger kettle while I’m out in stores now), I thot you might like a peek at the patio and the disaster which is my back garden. You may have noticed the somewhat rusty collection of implements partly hidden by tarps. I have not yet figured out how to use them in felting or garden decorations. That Glenn’s blacksmithing set up. He has a light duty farm forge (the second larger forge is under the trellis covered by a barbeque cover) hum I wonder If I could use one of them to heat the water next time? There is a leg vice it’s for pounding mettle and having the force transfer to the floor. There are 2 anvils back there somewhere and a cutting tool I’m not too sure what it is. It might cut really thick felt?
The west half of the back patio – Blacksmithing 24-28
My side of the patio is more comfortable with honeysuckle vine, trumpet vine and dwarf Japanese lilac standard giving shade. The sheet provides the remaining shade under the trellis. We have a few chickadees, one humming bird, a wood pecker and the evil Chipmunks (eaters of strawberries!). Miaka’s garden swing is in the back yard. She seemed vary sure it was hers and would meow with grate annoyance until you relinquished the spot she wanted. (Evil just sat by the rock edge of the garden and ate chives when he didn’t think we were watching)
The east side of the patio – trellis 29
Ah the water has boiled and I had layered loosely the 6 oz.’s of Icelandic fleece. I checked and the water was finally close to hot. (Not cold and not warm but a little less than uncomfortably hot.) I had run out of distractions and had enough water so in went the fleece. Using the back of my hand I gently submerged the fleece so no dry bits were visible. Then went in to update my note to you while I waited the first about 20 minits-30 minutes soak.
Layered fleece and putting it into the slightly soapy water to soak 32-35
Now that you have had a tour of the back patio and the fleece is starting its soak, Glenn is back from work. He is about to be volunteered into helping with the rinsing. Its probubly best not to tell him yet and let the fleece finish soaking. i will show you what happens next, next week!