Sunday, September 04, 2011

Fleece on Earth

I found a gigantic black fleece in the tractor shed, brought from downstate (a term one often hears around here). Sadly, or, I should say, tragically, I'm beginning to face the fact that the absence of the mineral silenium in Central NY soil, causes the sheep to produce weaker wool. The sheep must have an injection of selenium at least once a year, and definitely prior to breeding, to make up for the lack of it in the soil. Mohair does not seem to be affected as much as wool, fortunately. I just put this monster fleece in a Power Scour bath in my washing machine. Yes, my one machine does double duty with clothes and wool. It does cause some concern when I'm washing dyed fiber. I have to make sure I rinse the wash tub to prevent turning human clothes into various shades of Jacquard residue. This newly discovered treasure must weigh 15 pounds, a nice hefty load of wool, with no breaks and very little VM (vegetable matter in sheep lingo). I will overdye it Jacquard Russett, a color that works nicely with black wool. You see, black wool may not be completely black. Wool that is not pure white is considered black, even if it is very light brown as this fleece is. I found other treasures as I rummaged around the farm when the power was out...tubs of lovely bag fabric, old photographs (God help me if I find a cheap scanner to buy - they will all go online) and a couple of bags of mohair and wool already dyed red. I'll combine them with this fleece I'm working on now. It's late in the season to be shipping fiber to the carding mill, but here we are. The best way to do it is to drop it off to them at the big shows, then have them bring it back a year later, saving shipping both ways. I never have it ready on time for that, or am willing to wait a year to see how it comes out. I shipped out 17 pounds from Morristown while visiting Mia, and can't wait to see if my various color and fiber combinations work out. It's a thrill to open the box and see the big balls of luxurious fiber, ready to spin. I'm known for unusual color combinations, with lots of angora and mohair which adds an interesting texture to the yarn. Last year a run came out rather weird, I thought, and I winced as I saw it come out of the carding mill trailer. Turns out it fairly flew out of the booth as people thought it was really different. Works for me!


Cornerstone Fibres said...

Your wonderful dark brown with chartruese blend that FLEW out the booth at Rhinebeck -I had to fight to get a pound of that wonderful fibre!
Right now I'm spinning some of your heavenly mohair blend which is STUNNING!

Maggie's Farm said...

Thank you Tulip. You are so sweet. I'll try not to throw my leg over you when we sleep in the back of your van at Fingerlakes F.F. Please bring me some angora to trade if you have any.

Cornerstone Fibres said...

Okay will do :) I'll try not to snore too loudly LOL

Gretchen said...

You can use my scanner any time - at school!

I think my friends and I will come to Finger lakes this year - on sunday though - my father is having a birthday party (70!) on saturday...which mussed up my plans.

See you Tuesday!

Maggie's Farm said...

Never minded snoring - my mother snored like a bear! Gretchen - thanks a million. I will bring in the photographs next week. I found some real gems. And you'll love Fingerlakes. It's much smaller than Rhinebeck, with everything you could possibly want in the way of vendors and food, and some fiber animals, too.

Marilla said...

I just finished spinning some fiber I bought from you at Rhinebeck a couple of years ago. It's orange, gold and yellow, and I just love it. Lots of admiring comments from my spinning friends too on the color. Have a wonderful time at Hemlock. Wish I could go this year, but I'm frantically dyeing for the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.