Thursday, May 5, 2016

MDSW

I did finally get all the fleeces off of my 9 Nigora goats.  Some of them are nice but a few were not as good as I had hoped they would be.  Heat and  agitation seem to have felted a bit more than usual this year.  It is a difficult thing to judge, I don't like to shear the goats because we still have plenty of cool weather well into spring.  For example it is so cool today that I should have been wearing a sweater all day!  The Goats have not shed their regular coat yet, which would have been cut off of if  I had sheared them.

This week I have been going thru the fiber stash:  fleeces and processed fibers.   Right now I have 8, 58quart tubs full of processed fleece ready to spin. (Most of it I have combed, but there is some indy dyed top)  I have 3 fleeces that are washed and ready to comb, and 1 more fleece that I have almost finished combing.   These are all sheep fleeces not the Nigora goat fleeces.   I have several different sheep breeds represented in the stash:  corriedale, shetland, polwarth, merino, cormo and cvm to name a few.  (That doesn't even count the 6 fleeces that I use for spinning demos at the museum!)

When I do demos, I take hand cards and show the public how they work, but my favorite way to prep fiber is to comb it.  I will show you a couple of pictures of the fleece I am working on.  This is a Jacobs fleece, I call it #2, I had gotten 2 fleeces from Betsy some time ago.  I had washed them but hadn't combed them yet.  I decided to start with #2 because this fleece isn't as soft as #1 and there was a lot of kemp in it.  Kemp is short wiry hairs that are at the base of the lock of wool.

 Jacobs sheep usually have a multi colored fleece, this one has 3 colors, white, gray and black.  I have separated out the different colors as I loaded the combs.  I did the white first then the light gray /tan color, then I searched for the darkest locks and did them all together.  I am still working on this one, I had hoped to finish it tonight, but it will have to wait until next week.
The kemp combed out beautifully!  When you do a combed prep, you comb out all the shorter fibers, all the kemp, all the vegetable matter, and in the end you are left with lovely, lovely soft clean fibers.

My combs are by far my most used fiber prep equipment.  In fact, when I come home from the Museum of Appalachia, I take all the rolags that I carded as I demonstrated, and I comb them and put them in my little wicker basket to spin at the next demo.



My eldest Daughter and  I are going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this coming weekend.  She is going to be helping in one of the booths and I get to wander around and smell the wool fumes, see the sheepdog trials, listen to Judith Mckensie McCuin talk about wool, go to the podcaster meet up, and run errands for the booth.  I plan to go to the fleece sale, but I think you will agree with me that I do not need any more fleeces!  Surprisingly enough, I do not have very much yarn, I have a lot of bits and bobs, but not much that is enough for a project!  I know that they will have yarn there!

Every year at MDSW there is a used equipment auction,  I have always been jealous of those who got to go to it, and this year I will be there!  I am on the look out for a rug loom at a really good price!  The loom needs be 36 inches wide, have 4 harness, and 6 treadles and to be heavy enough to be used to make rag rugs.   You need quite a bit of tension on the loom and a heavy beater bar to make rugs.

Wish me luck, Until next time, Happy crafting, Tina