We finished Third! August 1, 2005
out of 3, but whatever – we
out of 3, but whatever – we
This weekend we finished spinning the yarn for the pre-knit portion of the sheep to shawl competition. here is some of it still on the wheel
And here is some of it on my couch surrounded by rolags.
now all we have to to do is knit it up!
Since I haven’t uploaded any pictures of us carding, i thought i might explain how we washed our wensleydale-cross fleece.
I have had experience washing only 2 fleeces before, with my friend Gen. The first was Speckles. Speckles was some kind of targhee blend that had really crimpy (frizzy)
wool. She must have lived on the range because the amount of dirt in her fleece was too great to be from some normal farm sheep. we also suspect that her name should have been a clue to how dirty this sheep was, since the wool was actually white. Lordy, she was dirty. you can read a bit about our adventure washing
her in one of my earlier posts. The general idea with washing a fleece is to use water hot enough to dissolve the lanolin (the natural oil in the wool), but not to temperature shock or agitate the wool, as both of these things can cause felting. The fleece is usually contained in mesh bags and put in a large washing container. Then there is some soaping, some rinsing and then a little vinegar to shine things up.< For our first washing of Speckles, gen and i used my washing machine as the big container. we didn't let it go through the wash cycle, but just let it fill up,
soaked the wool, and then let it spin out. Speckles was so dirty, however, that
waiting for the washer to fill was a real waste of time when the water would
instantly turn dark brown. we decided to use 5 gallon buckets filled w/ hot
water for the initial rinses. this has become our preferred method, and is what
we started doing for the Sheep to shawl fleece. This fleece was pretty dirty
too. In fact I questioned wether not the wool was going to be white when it was clean. It turns out that it was nothing compared to speckles (did i mention
that speckles was really dirty?).
Gather locks of the fleece and put them in mesh bags
Put the bags of fleece in 5 gallon buckets filled with hot water and Dawn (it takes grease out of the way!)
This is a really easy way to get most of the loose dirt out. We poke the bags just a bit to get them submerged, but resist the temptation to stir.
Repeat the rinse…. Take the bags out of the bucket, pour the dirty water out, fill the buckets back up, put the fleece back in. Do not pour the water
directly on to the fleece bags. this could felt it. Do this until the water is just a bit dirty, and a few soap bubbles survive on the top. Also remember to not let the water get cool. this will redeposit the lanolin back on to the
Fill up the washer (hot water!). Stop the washer (perhaps by leaving the lid open or pulling out the button on the dial) and turn to the spin cycle, but leave it off. At this point you could add more soap, add no more soap, or add vinegar if you think this will be the final rinse.
let the wool sit in here for about 10 minutes, then spin it out. If this is not your final rinse, repeat step four. if it is, go to step
Step 5 It’s drying time! Carefully open the bags, and spread out the wool to dry , preferably in the sun. We spread ours out on giant tupperware lids, but some type of cloth or mesh frame would be
Ta-da! That’s it. Now you are ready to get carding, flicking, or spinning!
I think that everyone got a good start on developing their carding callouses last night. There was carding from about 6-11 pm. i think that the quality of the rolags may have peaked at about 9 p.m., but we will see how things go tonight.
Here is a list of resources that have videos about how to card wool:
ICanSpin.com They have a some good video clips, but also describe how to card “effortlessly” which seems impossible to me. They have their own name for rolags: Ho-ho’s.
Joy of Handspinning
There are several videos on this site, and I swear I have watched them before, but for some reason they will not show up on my computer. I get audio only. Good luck.
Manitoba Museum I am not crazy about this ladies method, but
if she can get kids to do it, it should work for us, right?
We also have a homework assignment to be completed by next Tuesday. Everyone needs to know how to join knit pieces together, so B is going to show us how. Knit 2 swatches in worsted weight wool to be joined together. It is probably most useful to make them longer than they are wide. To practice using selvage stitches, always knit the first and last stitch, while working the rest of the swatch in stockinette stitch.
Hooray! The fleece that we need to prepare for the pre-knit portion of our shawl arrived! Here is a crappy camera-phone picture of the filthy wensleydale-cross lamb fleece.
Eeew. It supposed to be white… Gen and I (mostly Gen) washed it up at my old apartment on sunday and it looks just great. Interestingly, it looks a lot like Gen’s hair.. only white. Man is it some nice wool. And it washed up nicely. It really makes me want to buy a wensleydale fleece.
I think that the rest of the sheep to shawl activities will take place in my new tiny apartment. Since my landlord cannot seem to get the idea that he MUST call us 24 hours before showing our old apartment we had a huge argument. since he is always there (without our permission) and i cannot seem to stop him, I prefer to not run in to him there and make myself angry. Yes people, i think I am giving up the fight. while we were washing the fleece several groups of people came through to check out the apartment. It just makes me uncomfortable to be there while that is going on. Plus, one of them tried to convince me to let him sublet a room from me starting now since he had to move out of his old place immediately. It was weird and i don’t want to have to have conversations like that.
i updated my cafepress store with some potential sheep to shawl uniforms. They have a cute graphic and our name on them. A few of the shirts have the picture of the sheep only, so if you want to buy one for yourself go right ahead – I am not making a profit on any of these items.
After assembling a 7 person knitting and spinning team, we will be participating in the Sheep to Shawl competition at the Lambtown USA Festival .’Sheep to Shawl’ is a demonstration that shows how wool is made into garments. In 4 1/2 hours, a sheep is shorn, its wool is carded and spun, and the yarn is made into a shawl. At Lambtown USA the participants are primarily weavers. A team of 7 people work with freshly-shorn kool-aid dyed wool to make a shawl. Everything takes place the day of the competition, except for a little bit of preparation. To speed things along, teams of weavers are allowed to show up with the warp of their loom already strung (These are the vertical strings that everything else will be woven on).
Last year we attended Lambtown and saw the competition, but did not participate (pictures here).
This year, we will be a team of knitters which might prove to be a little more challenging. Knitting generally takes a bit longer than weaving, but we will be allowed to have multiple people knitting at once. Also since the weavers can arrive with their warp already spun and set up, we will be allowed to show up with some of the shawl already started.
Here are the reasons that you should keep an eye on our progress:
-we barely know how to spin. Three of us have been spinning for less than a year, and while i
think we will make it, it will certainly be hilarious.
-The even will take place in 100 degree heat. And i hate the heat. expect photos of me sitting in a cooler.
-we attract minor disasters. what will it be? a felting-while-washing incident? complete disorganization? who knows!?
-we are good at having fun.
This week, the bit of the fleece that we will prepare ahead of time should be arriving on my doorstep. If you want to see our grueling training schedule, it can be viewed here .