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It’s Fleece Season!!

Oh yes, happy day!

It may still be snowing outside but I still love spring – I usually stock up on my fleeces and this year I’m pretty pleased with what I was able to find 🙂 (lol, to be honest, I have always been pleased – I just love fleece)

There is the Romney fleece – purchased from a seller on Ravelry.

Romney fleece

It was very clean to begin with, hardly any vm.

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I separated the locks and laid them in a basket.

I really like taking the extra time to do this – the results are excellent and the fleece cleans very easily. I place these locks in a wire waste basket from the dollar store and then this basket is placed in a large pot of simmering water on the stove. I keep an eye on water temperature with a candy thermometer. I do the same with the rinse water and I have a second basket so I can keep one washing at all times. The going is a little slow because I don’t overcrowd my baskets but it’s easy and the results are excellent!

Romney all washed up

And this is the whole fleece, after washing.

Romney fleece/washed

The next fleece is a shetland lamb fleece – really nice!

Shetland lamb

Charlie really loves fleece!
(our dog really loves this fleece!)

I purchased this from a little etsy shop.

It is a beautiful fleece with minimal vm, well skirted and soft. Count me as a happy spinner 🙂

Shetland, ready to wash

Washed shetland lamb fleece

I found some lovely suri alpaca – baby suri, just a little so I could try it…lol, I fell in love…

Baby suri alpaca

I ended up blending the suri with a little of the shetland lamb and have not yet plied the singles.

Happy spring 🙂

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Swiss Lateral Treadle – A Very Sweet Wheel!

Good morning my friends!

Yes, we’ve added another wheel to the flock.  My husband has definitely earned his enabler’s certification, lol, as he very smartly and wisely guessed I might really REALLY love this little wheel as a birthday present/project.

Purchased off of our local Kijiji from an elderly gentleman who thought it was polish (though I’m not sure why and the gentleman did not have time to talk and did not share details on any known history of the wheel).

When we first got her

Very loose, very rickety but complete with all of her parts except the tension peg. A very experienced, well used (as evidenced by the oil stains and appropriate wear) lateral treadle swiss wheel! Not really very common where I live and I feel very blessed to have her 🙂

I took her apart as much as possible and cleaned her. Then a coat of blo and turpentine mixed about 50/50. She could drink that for days but I didn’t want to overdo so I’m waiting a few days now for another coat.

Be ever so careful if you are using this mixture – it will self combust and you MUST lay out rags or anything used outside to dry afterwards before safely disposing. Do not crumple up rags! Also, use in a well ventilated area.

after blo/turpentine

She was definitely in poor shape. Her flyer had been bent off center, possibly by too much tension over too many years or possibly by a fall or some other accident. Her orifice leather needed replacing, her frame needed shimming from underneath to take out the rattle and the lean. The mother of all arm which holds the orifice needed shimming from underneath to take out the other rattle, lol.

before the oil

with old leather

Check out this treadle pin!

Check out this treadle pin!

I actually love getting to know these old ladies. It’s like we have this long talk about their every ailment, and then I do my best to fix them one by one by one until the little old lady is ready tCo spin again. You know, the kind of work where you can spend nine hours or so before you even realize that the day has passed? A labour of love 🙂

She has captive rings, which I thought was pretty sweet. To me, it means that someone loved the lady who owned this wheel once-upon-a-time. In it’s day, a wheel was a necessary tool. Only people who love people specially decorate their tools, I was thinking…

more captive rings

hand carved spoked/captive ring

So, after the shimming, she can now be carried with one hand, nothing moves and she is, perhaps, the most sturdy wheel in the house!

swiss lateral treadle

She stood for having her flyer shaft bent back into straight. Her bobbin degunked nicely for me.

swiss flyer

It took a little work carving shoe leather thin enough for her orifice leather but she is now releathered. I did leave the top of the wooden orifice without having the leather come around and it works perfectly with the soft cord as a tensioner. I am planning to replace the cord with leather lacing for a brake.

The only thing left to do is to carve her a proper tension peg (I’m thinking captive rings are in order…) and to become much more skilled in the art of bobbin led spinning!! LOL. These are wheels that pull like crazy and want to put in light light twist. I left the original thread there from the lady-who-spun-so-long-ago. It’s good for the wheel karma. It appears she was a pro – it is very thin, very perfect flax.

Yes Sir, Yes Sir, Three Bags Full…..

Oh yes, I DO have wool!!! :)))

I’ve been accumulating a variety of wools and fibres this year. It’s the ‘year of the blend’ around my house. Last year I had a couple different types; shetland and jacob and some very dirty suffolk/dorset (actually unknown – this is my best guess). This year, I bought two shetland fleeces, both silver and cream — one is silver thel and cream/brown tog and the other is cream thel and silver tog. Absolutely soft and silky. Though I don’t know the micron count (and frankly am not too concerned with it), I’d guess they would class as fine or superfine. They both came from youngish animals, possibly yearling fleeces. They are my faves….a repeat purchase from a fantastic seller here in Canada. I’ll go back year after year!

Ok, so, to begin at the beginning – the shetlands; (approx 10 lbs total before washing)

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Then, I was given some beautiful alpaca, in shades of honey and brown (which I had already blogged about), also from Canada, Ontario actually. I haven’t any idea of weight but it’s at least one full fleece and parts of another or two?

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Some sari silk waste fibre caught my eye. I bought 100 grams and love the effect it has carded with wool! You could make a really nice silky tweed yarn with this! (I like it so much I’ve now bought another 100 grams – hopefully arriving soon) Gotta love ebay. It seems I didn’t take any pictures of this…

I purchased one pound of border leicester fleece. It’s a lovely, strong, long and shiny fibre which cleaned up nicely….from a yearling ewe.

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I was then sucked in by some beautiful red mohair…lovely stuff! I purchased one pound and have tried it with some of the shetland — truly beautiful 🙂

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Icelandic fleece (again, from ontario) was my next find. 2.7 lbs of black and white (mostly white, really). I haven’t done anything with this yet, besides cleaning it. It seems very soft and silky (the softer undercoat does, at least)

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Then, of course!, I couldn’t help but order more of the lovely mohair. This time I bought a pound of charcoal/silver/black. Seems not as fine as the red but the fibres are longer. I think it’s going to be beautiful mixed with the right wool or perhaps the brown alpaca….

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Romney fleece became available and I thought – why not? I had never tried romney (actually have not tried most things and how do you know until you experience it for yourself?) and wanted to so I purchased 2.5 pounds and washed it up. I had to flick the tips before washing to get it to come up white but it was worth the work. Beautiful bright white and very soft!

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This next picture is after flicking, but before washing!

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My one, ‘non bargain’ purchase was some local (very local – we could drive to pick it up), very long, fine, white alpaca fibre. The staple is 6 or more inches. I WAY overpaid for these two pounds of alpaca but I don’t even feel badly about it since the fibre turned out so very very perfect! The fleece was absolutely covered in burrs and so I had to hand comb the locks before washing in order to clean them. It hadn’t been sheared in two years which is not usual and is why the staple is so long.

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I am waiting for some mulberry silk top (500 grams) – thinking this would ply beautifully with the white alpaca…perhaps for my next up pattern Multnomah Falls by Magit Sage of Fiber Fiend. Very beautiful, isn’t it?

And then, on Saturday, I was given four fleeces! Suffolk/dorset or a mix of some sort – the shepherdess isn’t sure since they are more pets than anything. One is deep black and seems to be a lamb fleece. One is charcoal, one silver and one (very large one) is white. The blacks are cleaning up easily and the white is a little more difficult – there is a bit of vm in there that’s too fine to come out without combing. I’m positive it will be fine once I comb it out. All of the fleece is fairly soft with the black black one being the softest of all.

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So, I’m overwhelmed. A little. I’ve been washing fleece for what feels like forever since I can’t handle leaving it to do later. I’ve got the silver and the white free fleeces to wash but the rest of the list is washed and waiting in pillowcases to become some very beautiful yarn this year! On the plus side, I haven’t bought any yarn since I began spinning and my yarns are a higher quality and much more interesting than anything I could buy 🙂