Friday, February 19, 2016

Lucy's First Fleece - Part 4

Since mastering the basics of spinning, and loving every moment, I have been experimenting with the inferior bits of my precious Lucy's fleece.

By the time I reach the best wool, I will hopefully have discovered the easiest way to wash the locks without felting them; pick out the vegetable matter without leaving tiny spiky bits to be spun into the yarn; comb or card the softest fibres and spin the loveliest type of wool.

I have spun 'in the grease' where the lanolin stays in, but so does the mud. I have washed the fleece so squeaky clean that it feels chalky to the touch. I have combed the fibres into the airiest puffs of lock which I have spun individually into a shinty smooth semi worsted yarn and I have carded clouds of rolags which spin into a fluffy woollen yarn... all this on one bobbin. 

Most importantly, my skill is slowly improving as I am spinning a little more evenly each time I try. 

Decadent Dad turned  two drop spindles on the lathe for spinning on the trot. The first, most beautiful one is rather heavy and rests on the floor while I spin 'park and draft' style, but the second is a dream to spin 'on the fly'. 

The unspinnable (is that a word) fleece is fun to play with. Two delightful little girls and I have made felt balls which we dyed with food colouring and then threaded into Rainbow Lucy Necklaces.

 It was a lovely opportunity for learning the names of colours in English and Sesotho, opposites like wet/dry, dark/light, rough/smooth and counting words in both languages.

I also experimented with home made mulberry dye.

The resultant pinky felt looks like carpet-underfelt. I haven't found a use for it yet but, in true Elastic Mom style, I will. 

An internet exploration led to my discovery of the craft of needle felting which has the potential to produce magnificent works of art. I managed to create a simple little flower with my sharp felting needles and some Waldorf-dyed fleece.

Now I am ready to start with the superior sections of Lucy's fleece. Last weekend I washed half of it. I am in no hurry. A little sorting here, combing there and spinning when I can and eventually I will have enough wool to knit into something lovely. I find the whole process relaxing and after all these years I understand the nursery rhyme my mother taught me as a child:

Cross Patch draw the latch
Sit by the fire and spin
Take a cup and drink it up
Then call the neighbours in

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