Fridays are for Fleece

There has been a notable dearth of spinning in my life, and that’s because all extra fiber energy has been completely devoted to cleaning, dyeing, and carding fleeces for Breezy Willow. So that it gets done before I die, I’ve decided that Fridays are for Fleece, in all its various stages… and here’s what I’ve got to show for the first month or so of this effort.

I’ve been slowly making my way through Sarah‘s fleece, dyeing a bunch more of it with pokeberries over the past few weeks. The above is a purposely lighter pink than the product of my pokeberry tutorial, but the same general idea. The below I let simmer for as long as I could stand it in an effort to make a truer red. Some of it is red; some of it is just more pink, but that’s better than going over the line to brown-ish red. Don’t worry, I’ve got plans to do a variety of interesting things with 3+lbs of pink fleece…

Remember the beautiful 1 lb of Shetland roving that Jared got me for Christmas? Remember how I boiled the heck out of the pokeberry dyebath I put it in, ending up with some sort of washed out sasquatch intestinal tract?

It was still ugly when I pulled it out to cry a few more tears over it. But now I am armed with pokeberries, so its overdyeing time!

I am SO pleased with the result. The variegations in the ugly orangey-brown turned into subtle differences in the fuscia. It’s not quite as garish as it appears in this picture, but some day… when I have time to get into spinning again… this will be a beautiful something-or-other. For now I am thankful for the roving-braiding skilz I picked up working at a yarn shop.

Then there’s the fleece cleaning, which I’ve been dutifully plugging away at while it’s still habitable outside. I spent three hours tenderly plucking the burrs and other VM out of this beautiful grey Fresian, but some sort of tragedy struck. I’m not really ready to talk about it yet.

There’s not much to say except that I salvaged over 2 lbs of it… the rest of it might be able to be reused in a John the Baptist costume or something.

Today I attacked the other Fresian, just to be sure I still know what I’m doing…

Several hours later, I have to say… after cleaning this fleece, I could probably clean any fleece on the planet. I would take a fleece packed full of regular burrs to this one, that found the brush pile full of chopped up burr-bits to roll in. And seriously… what freakish creature peed on this animal whose urine is still wet no less than five months later?! Impressively gross. It’s going to be gorgeous, but boy oh boy am I glad I only have one fleece left to skirt this year.

Reading week starts today. In undergrad, that meant “road trip;” in grad school, it means “hunker down.” Jared & I will be escaping for a few days to read the same books and write the same papers in a nicer setting, but maybe when I’m back…

We’ll talk about dyeing with black beans…

5 thoughts on “Fridays are for Fleece

  1. Linda says:

    Oh my gosh, I am really excited to hear about dying with black beans!! I have 4 pounds of Alum in my hot little hands and I so can’t wait to get back into dying with all sorts of substances again.
    Those fleeces you are working on ARE beautiful. Save the skirting of the last one for us to do together over Thanksgiving break? It would be good for me to see this done. And remember that speaking to a fellow artist I can say that just about all mistakes can be recovered from with a little persistance and imagination!

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  2. Rebecca says:

    Lol! I don’t think I can wait that long; it needs to be done outside so I want to get it over with while it’s warm. Besides I don’t think you will need a tutorial on picking poop etc. out of a fleece.

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  3. Linda says:

    Oh well, if you say so. But if I buy a proper poopy fleece at the S and W Festival, you think I’ll be able to skirt it OK by myself? I LOVE that Fresian one.

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  4. CC Z says:

    Things I miss about you being nearby: your capacity for creative descriptors. Like “sasquash intestinal tract.”

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  5. Rebecca says:

    Mum: If you buy a proper poopy fleece @S&W and have trouble with it I’ll help you myself. I hope to be back in MD for that as Cloverhill is going to sell my yarn again (yays!)

    CC: I miss you too!! And discussing things that require such descriptors :-p

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