Monday, June 9, 2008

Some pics from the weekend.

So as I previously wrote, on Saturday a friend, my daughter and I all went to a local farm and picked up 10.5# of fleece, and then dropped it at the processor to be made into roving.

We picked up all told 4# of Southdown, and 6.5# of Tunis - both good for teaching a new spinner in my opinion. We held back a half pound of the Tunis so sunshyn689 could learn the whole process from start to finish.

Jerimiah from Twist of Fate was awesome, and gave us the tour allowing both Tessa and sunshyn689 to see how roving is made on a larger scale than our little drum carder. Tessa was delighted to see how it all was done and was awestruck by all the bags of fleece waiting to be washed, dried and picked and carded.

From my daughter's perspective, it's always been done in a tub in the sink or bath tub with a little dish soap with as hot of water as Mommy can stand and repeated until the water was clear. We then hang it out on a rail on our porch to dry, and later it is brought and flicked out by hand and then run through the drum carder to be made into a batt.

Those Bats get torn down into strips and then I spin them into yarn, so for Tess to see it all on an industrial capacity was pretty impressive - especially when she got to see the spinner. She was pretty stunned to see that it wasn't a spinning wheel making the yarn. I have to laugh as she see's yarn at places like AC Moore and is convinced that it's all made by people in their living room watching TV while they spin.

The carding machine they have is a smaller machine as mill machines go, but that's not a bad thing. It allows them to do batches as low as 2#, making my 4# (Pre wash weight) of Southdown a sure bet to make it through after it loses at least a fourth of it's weight to the wash bin... There was much more than just the machine you see to the right, but I forgot my camera so you get what I nicked from their website... that said, if you are looking for a really nice processor - these guys are awesome.

The wool was pretty well skirted so when it gets to the stage of sitting on that conveyor belt there should be very little vegetable matter that makes it into the roving.

I have to say I like how close the spinnery is to where I work too - as I have a couple more fleeces to drop off for processing and I'll be doing that this week after work. Probably on Tuesday or Wednesday - allowing the fleece to sit in the trunk all day to kill any thing that might be living with the fleece... like say - moths or anything else that they could have been exposed to during the past 6-8 months in my sun room with a busted screen window...

While I won't get the roving back until October, I've been saying for months that I was going to drop the fiber off to be made into roving and I've just not done it.

Will I keep some back to process and blend at home? Probably. But I've decided that at 6.00 a pound to be washed and carded, that I'm just ready to have it out of my house as I don't know when I'm going to get it all processed. Their price as listed on the website is a bit more than I'm being charged, and I'm not really sure but as my stash is all pretty much low grease wool then I don't feel too guilty for the discount.

Jeremiah is a sweetie too, and the time he spent explaining to Tessa was appreciated. He also gave us a brief tour and Tess got to see the Goats and Alpaca they have as well as a couple of Ewe's and Rams they have... and the poor guy was flustered when sunshyn689 asked why he wasn't shorn down low in the back. "That's his balls ma'am." I think she was pretty embarrassed/mortified too... but it was a very funny moment. I wish I'd have gotten pictures when we went to both the farm and spinnery, as the farm was something out of my brightest and most desired dreams... oh well some day.

Anyhow - after we got back sunshyn689 started on the scour of the Tunis we held back. I don't know if she's taken any pics of it yet, but I know it's not dry yet as we got a heck of a thunderstorm yesterday which soaked the heck out of everything - including the freshly washed fleece. Next Saturday morning we'll be running it through the drum carder and then spinning it up before dying it.

On other fronts - this weekend I got some merino I've been working on finished spinning up - it came out beautiful.

The photo's not so hot, but that's ok - the single twisted up nicely without over twist, it's going to be allowed to sit on the bobbin a week or so before I run it through the yarn winder so I can create a center pull ball to ply. After measuring it up, and skeining I'll put it in the bin for photo's and sale on Etsy... it's a rather lovely yarn if I say do say so my self.

So my previous post I mentioned the BFL I had hand washed, flicked, carded and spun - here's some pics from that. This was all done from 12am Saturday to 2am sunday.

Yes - again the photo quality isn't the greatest, but it was a last minute thought of "Hey I ought to take some pics of what I've been doing for my blog... especially as I've gotten requests for them recently in my other blog. I still have half the BFL fleece to finish up - it's still slightly damp as it was on my porch when the rain that drenched the Tunis drenched my BFL as well... Given that today is going to be a scorcher, I fully expect that I'll be able to card it up in the next couple of days. It should be dry by tonight.

At present I have some Mohair/Romney in the bin you see in the far left above... I've been flicking it out, and opening the locks as well as doing a first blend with the hand cards, and then will be putting it through at least once on the drum carder. That will be set aside to spin later this week too.

I promise more photo's to come and maybe even a video from this Saturday if sunshyn689 isn't too nervous about having herself be the guinea pig in a how to session. :-)

Oh for those of you HitchHiker fans - yes the wheel is still in my car, poor thing is in the trunk with 4# of Navajo Churro and 2# of Jacob. It will probably come out of the car smelling like a sheep farm. That ought to be fun at S&B on Wednesday ;-).

(BTW - Why use sunshyn689 as a guinea pig for photos and video? She's 1. Younger 2. Pretty & 3. I'd be the one holding the camera for all this LOL!)


thinggtwoo said...

That sounds fantastic - I wonder if Boo would like a tour of that place?

The WoolWytch said...

I am sure she would - it's a very small processor - the size of a very long garage and pretty well laid out. Jerimiah was a pretty nice guy and would most likely be able / willing to do so. Give them a call - it's worth the try.

kittygotclawz said...

I had forgot I could post comments here! :) I can't wait to see what you do with it all. That place sounds absolutely fantastic!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

I didnt realize Twist of Fate had tunis! I would be very interested to hear what you think of it. I raise tunis sheep an mine are all pretty standard medium grade, except for the ram I just sold, I enjoy spinning his fleece. I went and bought another one though, he is a quite a bit softer than the old one. Sounds like you all had lots of fun!

sunshyn689 said...

i don't think he was anywhere near as embarrassed as i was...but, what can i say? it was honestly the first time i've seen an uncastrated male sheep, so i really didn't know ;-)

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