Monday, November 14, 2011

Back again

 I had my Saturday at Fiber in the 'Boro and I thoroughly enjoyed my day.  The day was a success and will be back next year (YES!).

I was the first at the spinner's circle and others came and left during the day.  I only stopped once to wander, buy some fibery things and a bottle of water.  I haven't taken pictures of all the stash enhancement but here come a few:
This is 10 lbs of Rambouillet fleece which was a first prize winner.  It was used for a class on selecting a fleece.  I hope to get between 6-7 lbs of cleaned fiber to spin - but we'll see.  Some people asked to see what I do, so I'll refer them here to see the whole thing.

I measured out 8 oz of dirty fleece - about all that would fit in my 5 qt dutch oven.  Heated water and a dollop of Orvus (enough to make the water feel slimy) to 140°F.  Added the fiber and let it soak for about 30 min.  Then I lifted it out of the water, and fixed new water for rinsing.  It tdirty ook 3 rinses before the water was pretty clean.  The next photo shows the fleece close up.  See that crimp?  That is awesome!  Yep, the lady is off her rocker going on about crimp in dirty smelly fleece.  Oh ye of little faith - just wait until you see what this will turn in to!
 The photo below shows the clean fiber, the 8 oz (now 5.75 oz) and then a lock of the fiber so white and soft and pretty.  Next to get photos when I spin this up.  

I'm still cleaning merino lamb's fleece for my "frog hair" spinning.  Since I doubt you have seen the hair on a frog, imagine just how fine that stuff is.  We are talking just about sewing thread here.  I have 3 lbs of fiber in the grease - so about 1 1/2 lbs when all is cleaned.
 I did get some fiber you don't have to clean first but still have to take photos.  I also got some cashmere but have to dehair it - will take pictures to explain that.  Tussah silk, a honey colored "wild" silk, came home with me along with a gorgeous merino/silk blend that just about makes my mouth water.  Two skeins of yarn came home - one is a superwash (machine washable) wool with cashmere in it and the other, a purple with some sparkle - those for socks for the younger granddaughter who loves the hand knit socks. 

The final purchase was a Tibetan style support spindle.  Support spindles have been used for thousands of years.  It sits on the ground, on a piece of wood, rock, whatever.  I'm using a custard cup.  The spinner sets the spindle spinning and drafts the fiber out.

Just imagine - until about the 1300-1500's (not sure of the dates right now) every bit of cloth was spun on a spindle then woven by hand or knit.  All your clothes, ship sails, blankets, bedding, curtains or draperies, rugs, outer wear - everything.  The spinning wheels came next in industrialized areas but the spindles were still used in many areas - and still are today.  Finally with the Industrial Revolution commercial production of fiber began to happen.  Then synthetic fibers - the nylons, polyesters and so forth until you come to today.

Time frames?  Well say I spun about 4 hours in the spinner's circle.  I was able to spin about 4 oz of singles.  I just plied those yesterday and have about 150 yards of a heavier weight yarn.  That's enough for a simple cap, wrist warmers to cover the space between jacket end and mitten beginning, or a skinny scarf.  Imagine how much is needed to weave a set of sheets, a pillowcase, even a towel to dry yourself.  An adult sweater can take 1200 to 1800 yards of yarn.  Socks are about 425 yards.  Plus the time to raise the crop (linen, cotton, hemp and those types of fibers) or animal - takes about a year to grow a fleece.

So with that I will close for now.  I'm going to double check my dates and get some other info together along with additional photos.  I'll be back after Thanksgiving in the US.

For those who celebrate - have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Enjoy the blessings of family and friends.