Friday, January 13, 2012

The Fleece Goes on

Two of the five new fleeces are washed and one is being carded.  I love the way the fleece changes from clean locks to teased fiber and into a carded batt.   This is luscious feeling stuff.

      It's clear that a good wool fleece storage system has become imperative in the Studio; carding and spinning can only proceed so quickly and I want to enjoy the process, not just push for product.  The major issue with storage is how to keep the precious wool from harm and infestation by marauding, wool-consuming vermin until it can be converted into gorgeous garments.  After some extensive research I decided that I like the combination of thoroughly clean and dry fleece inside a muslin bag, placed inside a clear plastic lock-top tub, with a tulle wrapped bundle of dried artemisia and lavender tucked inside.   My reasoning is as follows:  Clean wool is the only kind to store for any period of time; grease, dirt, etc. (especially etc.) attract bugs and are just yucky (technical term). A cotton muslin bag both contains the sparkling clean and dry wool and lets it breathe.  The clear tub is a physical barrier to random intruders of the dusty, buggy, or (heaven forbid) rodent variety, it lets in light (wool eating bugs hate the light, love the darkness) and even though the top locks, it is not totally airtight, which again is good for letting the fiber breathe.  Dried artemisia and lavender give off scents that repel the unwanted visitors and are not noxious to the rest of us.

     Artemisia is historically favored as a pest repellent (and as the flavoring for absinthe).  I find these herbs to have very pleasant scents.  Growing, collecting, bundling and drying them has become a favorite summer practice.  Wrapping the completely dry herb bundles in a layer of sheer fabric keeps the fragments from adding sticks and stuff to the fiber.  Pretty, too.  A nice gift for spinning pals.
     Wait a minute. Back up. Muslin bags? Yes!  Did I buy muslin, wash it and sew these bags?  No!  I found a great source of 100% cotton muslin "bags" in the form of the very reasonably priced Dvala pillow cases from IKEA®.

So here you go, clean locks all tucked in awaiting the teasing and carding.   I'm ready to spin the first batt, probably during tomorrow's daily spinning.  What an amazingly fulfilling experience this all is.  And then I get to knit with the yarn.  Can it get any better?


  1. Beautiful system. Your last paragraph reminds me of Rita Buchanan. She says on her dvd that prepping and spinning wool gives you the opportunity to have more fun with your fiber before you knit (or weave) with it. Enjoy!

  2. Thank you Cheryl, this is so helpful to us newbies!