June 14, 2009

Sheep to Sweater Sunday n° 6 "Making Choices"

Every fleece is different. And for the spinner, it is always a challenge to know how to best proceed.

Even if you have a rather large box of tools and a certain amount of expertise in using them, you have to weigh out your options ... always keeping in mind that every method of fiber preparation has certain advantages and disadvantages.

So here is my challenge :

Praline's fleece, after cold water soak

I love this fleece. The color is just breathtaking!
But there is one big problem. This is a very small fleece.
After being carefully skirted, the fleece only weighed 622 grams (just under 22 oz.).
After the week long cold water soak, the dried fleece weighed 480 grams (17 oz.) : that's a 23% loss from "sheep grime"!
From experience I know that combing would create lots of waste! Waste that I don't want to create. I want to use and save as much of this fleece as I possibly can!
So, after a bit of thought I decided to try a "hybird" technique!

This is what I'm doing.

First, I'm carefully pulling out individual locks of fiber from the fleece. I do this by grabbing the tips and gently pulling them out of the fleece. I then arrange these locks in a box with butt ends together.

Washed fleece on the left ; arranged locks on the right

Then using the flicker brush, I am carefully taking each lock and teasing (brushing) the butt end and the tip end. Then I put all of these brushed locks in a large flat box, keeping the butt ends together.

Looking good! Box full of flicker brushed locks!

Using the flicker brush has one huge advantage : there is virtually no waste. I'm hoping that by using this technique, I won't lose too much more fiber in the preparation process.

Once brushed, I'm loading the locks (butt end) on a static wool comb. I am NOT combing the fiber. Rather, with the help of a diz, I am drawing off the fiber into a sliver.

Brushed locks loaded on comb and diz threaded

After being drawn off, I end up with a beautiful little "cloud" of noisette (brown) wool, ready to spin!

Praline's fleece, noisette (brown-fawn) ouessant

But here's the best news yet!!

Static wool comb after drawing off fiber!

Hardly any waste at all!
I am so excited! I'm still in the middle of this. But so far, so good!
It will be very interesting to see how much fiber I have to spin when I'm finished.
I'll keep you up-dated!


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the results...just wanted to let you know that because of you blog on cold water I'm trying g it. I never heard of it tip I read your blog. Thanks!!!

Diane said...

Hi Keli! Thanks for stopping by.
I haven't started spinning Praline's fleece yet. I'm making myself finish the fiber prep before I start spinning. Otherwise .... well, you know!
Let me know how the cold water soak does for you. I LOVE it. Easy & the results are just stunning. :)

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