Friday, July 24, 2009


It happens every year. I go to Olds for Fibre Week. I spin, I talk to spinners, I fondle the loverly fleeces in the fleece shows. I covet fleece. I buy fleece. I come home and want more fleece. I buy more fleece.

I now have 2 1/2 fleeces in my living room, 1 in the studio, and 8 in the basement. This is not counting the two that I blended into batts last fall and have stacked against the studio wall, waiting to be spun. I am, more or less, up to my a** is fleeces.

Now, normally, this would be a good thing. Except that I am a lazy spinner and really do not enjoy fibre prep. I looove greasy fleeces, I even like washing them. I live to spin. It's just that in-between bit where you make the clean fleeces open and aligned and spinnable that I try to avoid.

I have a perfectly wonderful drum carder. I have 3 sets of handcards. I have 4-pitch English wool combs. I have mini-combs. I have a marvelous hackle. I just don't want to use them.

So here I am. Swimming in fleeces. Beautiful fleeces. Clean, well-skirted fleeces. Creamy white and natural black fleeces. The aroma of lanolin in the air is ambrosial. Now what?

Roll each one open out on the deck. You will notice signs at the end of the deck. One says "No: Bicycles, Skateboards, Rollerblades" and one says "No Playing On The Deck". Nowhere does it say "No Fleece Sorting", so I am good.

I did a super-finicky final skirt, taking out any cotted areas or bits with too much VM (about a handful on this particular fleece from Jody McLean--she does an awesome job of skirting!) I had to break the fleece into quarters to fit it into my sink. Scoured each quarter and laid them out to dry.

On to the next fleece, same procedure. So far, I have done a lovely Cotswold cross from Joybilee Farms, 1 1/2 BFL Merino crosses from Jody, and 3 of the 6 Scottish Blackfaces that I inherited. There is a flock of clean, shiny fleeces scattered about to dry.

Apparently, this makes the animals happy...

At least someone appreciates all my hard work!

So I have the fleeces clean. That means they can be stored for a while, while I wait for the Fibre Preparation Fairies to come and turn them into nice, spinnable rovings and tops. right?

Good! 'Cuz meanwhile, I have a whole lot of spinning to do!

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