Wednesday, April 29, 2009

To Card or To Comb?

On this beautiful Spring day (the heat wave of the past 5 days is over...for now) the birds are singing, the sun is shining, the Crab Apple looks like a white cloud & the Cherry trees are in full bloom , violets are peeking out all over the place and I should be out in the gardens weeding and cleaning up the winter debris; but, I am still washing my Gotland puny 14-ounces of fleece...I am on the third day of fleece washing...what will happen when I get POUNDS of the stuff??

Yesterday, DH & I set up my new Strauch Petite drum carder and I just had to try to card some of this fleece I have been diligently washing and rinsing and washing and rinsing and...well, I now understand why Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is so picky about how she washes fleece...I just put mine into the wash pot, then into the mesh spinning bag and then onto the drying rack...didn't worry about keeping locks and fibers lined, what a mess! it will take me forever (OK, an exaggeration, but you get the point) to get this all carded. I have to tease each lock and this fiber is VERY curly & VERY crimpy (see photo), so to try to line up the fibers just a little before sending it into the carder is say the least. I spent about an hour and just got 1 rolag completed...I had to send it through the carder 3 times! However, when I finished and removed the rolag from the carder it was a light gray cloud and so incredibly soft I had to keep 'petting' it...and it spun like a dream. Yes, I had to sit right down and spin a part of the first carded bit...the blend of colors in the yarn was fabulous. But my question, to all you Master Fleece Preparers out there, is should I buy a set of combs and comb the curly, crimpy fleece first before carding? I do want to spin wooly, but not fuzzy.
The timer just went off...down to empty the 3rd rinse (the one with the vinegar in it) and then a final quick rinse, a spin and then set out to dry. Only one more batch to go. Yes! Now I need a good cup of tea...what will it be? How about a lovely Tippy Yunnan...that will make the carding go better...sure!

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