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!