Friday, May 18, 2007

Flicking Wool

What could be better than sitting outside on a warm Californian afternoon hand carding newly washed fleece and drop spinning? Maybe sitting on an island. Other than that, not much.

Last Sunday, I went ot Fleece Day at Deep Color studio. We leared how to choose a good fleece, wash it, flick it, card it, and drop spin it. I am pleased that after a year and a half of spinning, I am able to now focus on the intricacies of the different kinds of wool and their individual charachteristics.

I learned two important things when shopping for a fleece: buy a fleece that has little vegetation stuck in it and has been sheared recently.

We washed mystery fleece from Sonoma County, Romney from Australia, and Icelandic fleece from Tongue River Farm in Montana. Pictured above from left to right. We spun these as well as brown Polwarth (my personal favorite) and Finn.

I acquired a new tool called a flick carder. It is similar to an animal brush but has a longer handle -- thankfully making it harder to put a hole in your knuckle. You use the flick carder after you have washed the fleece in order to get out any small bits of debris before you start carding.

A year ago, I took a slightly shortend version of this class. I thought to myself, "I'd have to be crazy to go through all of these steps". Well, times have changed. I am getting closer to the idea of moving out to the country and taking the time to process my own wool. Now the question becomes -- Do I have my own animals or buy from local ranchers?

We are so inspired by Fleece Day that we have asked my mom to fly out from Minnesota to take a road trip to The Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon. Stay tuned to see how we put our skills to the test.

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