Apr 16, 2007

Fleecy goodness

The pound of fleece I washed last week, from Chloe of Desired Haven Farm, is now dry. Woo! So I'm going to take that back to Brian's with me, where my roving carder currently resides, and start carding it tonight or tomorrow. (For interesting reference, if I didn't do something funky while I was weighing it ;), the wool now weighs about 8.5 ounces, about half its previous weight, although I didn't weigh it before to make sure it really was a pound.) I'm also washing another pound of fleece today, this one from Desired Haven Farm's Maggie, a black Romney/Dorset/Rambouillet (according to -- I think -- the owner of the farm). If I have enough time and room, I might also wash all or some of that tan llama from the Davises.

Today's washings will be the first I've done with Dawn dish soap, rather than with either Eucalan or the natural/organic dish soap we have actually for dishes. The procedure from last week, to be followed generally today, was: shake out the fleece to get rid of ambient dirt and particles, put the fleece in a mesh laundry bag, two five-minute (or so) hot water soakings to remove whatever comes off that way (the first soaking was chocolate-milk-colored last week, but a super-clean fleece would obviously not need two pre-rinses), hot water + soap till the water feels "slimy" for about five minutes, then as many five-minute rinse/soakings as it takes for the water to stay clear, which last week was two, or maybe three. I'm squishing the wool a little at the beginning of each soaking session, even though that puts it at risk of felting, because I'm reckless like that and it makes me feel like I'm getting out more dirt. ;) Then I sling the mesh bag plus fleece around in the shower (since it seems prudent not to go outside and fling wool water all over the porch, at the potential hazard of passersby) to replicate the spin cycle effect and get as much water out as possible. Then I spread the wool out on a window screen in the front room and let it dry. Ta-da!

In processing news, some of the mystery destash wool has a rather short staple and is being difficult to drum-card -- it won't stick to the feeder drum so I can let the carder "tease" it for me -- so I think I'm going to have a go at it with the hand carders first. Even if I make a big tangle of it, at least a big tangle will probably stick to the feeder drum. ;)

And for today's pretties, I actually took a photo of the loom that Brian made me over the weekend:

He bought stretcher bars from Jo-Ann and put them together into a square, sanded it, marked and drilled the holes (1/2 inch apart), sanded it again, stained it cherry, then put in the nails and snipped off the sharp bits. I neglected to tell him beforehand that the nail heads should be on the ends of each pointy bit and not stuck into the wood, since they help keep the yarn loops from popping off the nails, but that's all right; he'll know for next time. ;) Some of the nails are a little crooked, and the heights aren't competely even, and the ends of the nails are still a little pointy because the wire cutters aren't the kind that cut flat, but all in all, it's a pretty little loom and it cost under $10 to make ... and he said the next one will be better. The square is 12", so the woven square that comes off it will be a little smaller, which didn't occur to me until we were in the process of making this one; doh. But that's all right, no one's going to be demanding precisely 12" squares from me.

So: Happy belated birthday to me. ;) Now I get to go try to figure out how to use this thing. The tiny Weavette came with weaving needles and instructions, but, er, I'm not sure whether I ought to use a needle with this, or what. Must go read the Files section on TriLoom...
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