Friday, January 30, 2015

Batts and Nests

I have not had a minute in the weaving studio this week, and very few in the spinning studio!  What I have gotten done has nothing to do with the reorganization that remains in process.  What I have done however is still on the to do list for January and February, washing fleeces and getting clean fleeces ready to spin.

Late last week I rewashed a Jacobs fleece that I had, that was still a bit sticky.  I had picked up 3 sweater drying racks that were stackable on Saturday and it was the perfect amount of space to put the fleece out to dry.  I spread it out and left it for several days to dry.

While that was drying, I started working on another dark brown Shetland fleece that I found while I was carrying the boxes across the hall.  This one is a nice toothy medium fleece that will be perfect for a sweater to wear out to the barn.  I must have washed it before I had my wool combs, because I was not careful to keep the lock structure.

I first combed this fleece on my combs to get rid of the short bits and trash, then I loaded  it onto the drum carder.  I stacked up the batts after the first pass, as I normally do when I want to blend a large amount of fleece.  Then I took each batt and split into 3 pieces and made 3 new batts mixing up the strips.  I must have had a dozen batts on the table when I started this afternoon.

  I wasn't able to finish this fleece today, but I will be able to make short work of the last 3 batts when I get back to it, which will probably be next Monday.
 Earlier today I was able to get to the Jacobs fleece that was finally dry.  In this fleece there is a lot of bits and pieces of hay and brush.  There is also something called kemp, which is small wiry hairs that you do not want in your yarn.  I thought that the wool combs might not be able to help me get them out and that the best approach would be to open up the locks using my hand carders.
 I take a lock and hold tightly to one side, sometimes putting a twist in the middle of the lock to hold it steady.  Then I carefully brush out the tip end until you can see through it.  All the yucky stuff is gone!
 I then do the other end of the lock.  This fleece is much softer than I anticipated, I am really pleased with it.
 I keep at it until I have a box full of fluff.  Then I took it over to the drum carder and made a couple of batts.  I ran the batts thru a second time, splitting them up first to blend this fleece well.

(I had to stop brushing the locks after a couple of hours, this part of the process is really hard on my hands.  That is when I turned to the shetland fleece posted above.  All very confusing I know, a bit like time travel.)
I have just recently taken to using the drum carder that I have had on hand for quite some time.  It is wonderful for some of these fleeces and I love the huge nests of fiber I am able to pull off of the carder.

I suppose if I had a big hackle for my combs I could use that instead for the same results.  I may look into that, but for now, I will use what I have.  This Jacobs fleece has 3 distinct colors, white, gray, and brown.  I will keep the colors seperate as I get it ready to spin.  What a fabulous fair isle project this would make!

Until next time, Happy Spinning, Knitting and Weaving, Tina


LA said...

YUM....all that fiber goodness!

Theresa said...

I can almost feel all that fiber fluffiness going on, but oh my what a lot of work, most of it a mystery to me really.