Part 3 Why does everything seem to take so much longer lately?
Continuing from Part 2 and Part 1
Life is still trying to keep me from accomplishing my goals by offering other options to the one I thought I was going to be doing.
Earlier this summer I was gifted with a fleece at the Guild demo at the wool growers Co-Op in Carlton place Ontario. It was a horrible day for weather and we retreated to the storage part of the sorting building. Just down the hallway from us was where the volunteer sheep were waiting to participate in sheering demonstrations throughout the day.
Shearing Volunteers 1
Icelandic looking sheep “CCWG Mascot” from the Wool Growers Co-0p Demo. 2
This is the producer of the fleece after shot. 3-4
They said the amount of fleece they have in stock at this point in the year was down from other years. 5
The demo team is across from all this wool! It had been raining very heavily with strong wind gusts so we moved inside the sorting building. 6
The demo team 7-10
The co-op sorts all the eastern wool from Canada and sells it all over the world. A lot goes to china. But some gets set aside for hand spinners. Most of it is soft and crimpy but sometimes it’s lustrous and not quite as soft. The Icelandic-like one I want to work on is soft but the half fleece I got was one of the latter ones.
I wanted to work on the big Icelandic-like fleece next but it’s too big to skirt at home (I no longer skirt on the grass it’s too hard to get up from and it would be embarrassing to have to ask passing strangers to extract me from the little bit of front lawn I still have). So I went to the guild and put a sheet over 2 of their folding tables. They are 5’ long table and once I had the fleece spread out it took most of the table space. Here are views first from the sheep side (inside) of the fleece. You can see a few second cuts on the whiter part. Then the view from the outside of the fleece.
Inside side of the fleece (guild library in the background) 11-12
Outside of the fleece 13
Close up of the tog 14
Colour variations within the fleece, outside of the fleece 15
The very large fleece skirted and wrapped in a sheet waiting for washing. 17
So one more practice washing fleece before the main event! So let’s do the little half fleece I bought from the wool growers co-op at Twist fibre festival.
The half fleece is not what you would call small so off to the dollar store to get more of those handy bucket and then on to Walmart to see if they had any of the really big buckets I saw last summer. Walmart has kept the price the same but made the bucket smaller… Drat. After 3 Dollaramas I found 5 more white or light beige strainer buckets. Back home to start the processe.
The process 18-20
I had forgotten I had the turquoise bucket. It was upside down underneath a large pot of raspberries. The grey one was also a Walmart bucket but I found it second hand this spring and the blue bucket is this year’s Walmart bucket (unfortunately smaller).
I divided the fleece, from cleanest to areas of less careful personal sheep hygiene. Starting with the cleanest and working my way to the less appealing but still-worth-trying bucket the fleece goes into the soapy water, then rinse and repeat. The First strainer only needed one rinse. (I gave up on the hot water idea and found out-of-the-hose is cleaning the fleece fine just as long as I soak it a bit longer.)
Hummm. There is more wool here than I thought. Another drying rack would help immensely! Off to Ikea to see if they still have the grey one I’m using now. Really this isn’t as silly as it sounds I did a quick check on the computer and Ikea is only at the other end of my street. (4 stop signs away!) They have a similar one which will work. It’s now called a “MULIG” Drying rack, indoor/outdoor, white $24.99 Canadian. I like the grey one a bit better but they are the same height and work well for fleece I better write a product review for that!
Ikea images of “MULIG” Drying rack, indoor/outdoor
My neighbour wandered by the fence and I explained what I was up to. He looked amused and a bit skeptical. (the water was pretty dirty) he also mentioned one of the extremely Rubenesque raccoons from the neighbour behind him had been frightened over the fence and climbed into our garage…. “GLENN!! We need to fix the garage door now!” Our Garage is sinking. Some previous owner paved the inside of the garage and right over the sill plates, leaving the 2×4 uprights sticking out of the asphalt. So my sill plates are long gone to dirt and thus my garage is decoratively sinking with a lovely spinal twist since the rafters were not spaced correctly when originally built. Oh and the roof leaks so there is a big silver tarp to stop that happening. Really it’s on the list of things to do but our contractor hurt his back after I hurt mine so I can’t fix his so the garage is awaiting help.
Everything has moved and the door is being inspected, measured and a first pass is made with the cutter 21
If we shorten the door the door will close and no more overweight under-wanted raccoons will consider my garage as a possible winter vacation spot. Our neighbour lent Glenn a grinder/cutter thing and we had to move everything out of the way (that would be the fleece washing I had been doing… plus the dogs litter boxes (the rest of us knew they were really flower boxes) and a couple rain barrels.) Oh well, Raccoon eviction takes priority over fleece. I guess it could have been worse. It could have been the skunk that is somewhere around here wanting our garage.
Glenn removing part of the garage door so it will close and keep the raccoon out 22
Well that is impressively disgusting looking water! 23-26
Drying Fleece at the guild 27
If you are a member of the Ottawa Valley weavers and spinners guild face book group page, you may have watch the video I made to show just how much more exciting it is to watch fleece dry rather than watching paint. (I had been working on the library for 2 full days in a row on a long weekend and I was getting a bit odd. OK, odder then usually odd). My fleece is assisted in its drying by listening to Rammstein and fan noise.
Today’s forecast is cloudy with showers. And if the last set of dark ominous clouds that rolled past are any suggestion of what might be coming I may not start the Icelandic today but leave it for tomorrow and hope to not get a second free rinsing. Although rain water is said to be very good for rinsing fleeces.
Update: i was able to get the Icelandic like fleece washed, i used all my plastic straining buckets and all the big bins to soak them in. i divided the fleece up into colour sections then i used the temperature of water from the hose and left it to soak longer than i had with the hot water fleeces.
unwrapping sheet that holds the giant fleece after skirting, then dividing the fleece up by colour.
earlier this summer while looking for good second hand baskets at a one of the thrift stores i spotted and pounced on an camping/RV hand washing machine. (think giant salad spinner for jeans) it has a switch on the bottom to ether hold wanter in while you wash or you can turn the switch and it will drain the water out a hose that is stored in a little door-ed area near the bottom of the spinner. it works much better on Fleece than it would on close im sure.
the Deluxe salad spinner that thot it was a hand washing machine, (i tracked it down on line its called a Laundry pod and costs about 100.00. mine said 9.99.)
washing and spin drying the fleece
part way through the fleece washing Glenn wandered out and started moving around blacksmithing equipment on the patio (adjacent to the fleece washing. he had a small project to finish and an eviction to make. the sulpherus smoke from starting up the forge helped knock out the squatters who were eventually knocked down and added to the forge at the end of his project. unfortunately some of my fleece now has that fresh black smith smell.
the soon to be evicted (there in the roof above Glenn’s forge, most did not survive the Coal start up smoke. the few remaining did not survive the forge.)
Final outcome: what started out looking defiantly like an Icelandic or Icelandic cross fleece Pre-Wash (we pulled at the long stringy bits that looked like tog and it separated just like tog and left shorter stuff ) Post-washing seems to have been a humongous Shetland fleece. i must have washed out the Icelandic! Or maybe i over spun dried it?
OK change of plan, i now have the fiber to spin the warp for my blanket so i will keep collecting more tog to make the tufts! but that will take a while so i will have to show you that Much latter!