Hi, I'm very new at working with wool, and like most everything else in my life I'm jumping in at the deep end. We're a bunch of girls that have been avid knitters for years, making sweaters, and everything simpler from that... We live on a farm and recently bought two sheep that will be ready to shear next spring. Meanwhile I've accumulated bags and bags of wool from people who don't want it...
YES, I know what everyone is thinking, bad idea for a newbie especially... Anyway, I'm going through it to see if there's anything I can use, and I've been told that no straw or VM comes out in any other part of the process except for you manually picking it out before washing. However, I'm hardly finding any wool that isn't super strawy, and since I'm new I have no gauge. Maybe I'm crazy and this is stuff that people took no care with and has way too much straw, or maybe I just have to get to work and this is what everyone does, though it does seem insane to go through 2inch locks for 4 garbage bags! I don't have that kind of time! Maybe you will all tell me, 'of course! you cheaped out and haven't bought any real wool from a person who knows to keep it a bit cleaner' or 'yes, girl, get to work'. I'm willing to hear either answer. It just seems like so much straw, long bits, and bunches of really small straw..!
Any help would be great, Hope K
I hope the pictures help a little bit, though it's really hard to get the scope. imgur.com/a/5G5bHHy
Post by Ann @ frabjous fabrica on Oct 14, 2021 8:38:22 GMT
What you really need is a drum carder. Hand carders would also do it, just take longer. When you card, a lot of the debris does come out, although probably not all of it. Personally I'm too lazy (and old now) to bother with raw fleece for felting - or spinning; I'd rather get straight on with the project at hand. I'd be amongst the "you've cheaped out" camp, but I'm sure many of the members here will tell you how you can proceed with what you have. Love your puppy - s/he looks gorgeous.
It looks pretty dirty and full of VM. But it can be used. I would suggest before you go to the trouble of picking out VM that you try a sample to see how it felts. There is no sense in spending the time if it doesn't felt easily. You can just felt with the VM in place for the sample.
And I agree that a drum carder is a must for this much fiber.
Thanks for the replies! Pardon my ignorance, but why are you saying I should felt it? Is that a test or are you saying it would be best to use it for felting. I'm not a clean or germ nut, and all I want is to be able to make an arrray of clothing for my family. I do have a drum carder, it's an old antique but I think it works??! Not sure yet.. I actually haven't yet washed much wool because I couldn't decide how much to pick through or skirt (is that the right term?). This is my big worry, for all I care some straw can stay in, but will it be a pain once I get to spinning and especially I think about how annoying it would be to step on straw bits in knitted socks! Maybe I should just begin though and get cleaning and carding and I'll see..
Another question, if I buy raw wool, how clean should it be? Like I definitely didn't buy this as reputable wool, but if I was going to? Also if it's a finer wool does that make it worse to skirt?
Thanks! She's a livestock guardian dog, and Kangal/Great Pyrenees. Her name is Priya, she's an absolute sweetheart. We've lost so many chickens to a fox this year, so we're hoping she'll solve this issue by next year, it's an amazing breed (as long as you remember they are very different from other dog breeds and you must treat them as such; I learned this the hard way!) Very independent dogs, and so self-sufficient, but she's so sweet it's painful!!
If you're spinning then knitting then ignore the felting suggestion. There are members who buy whole fleeces and prepare them for spinning - here is one post that may interest you and there are more within the forum and the forum blog:
Post by Ann @ frabjous fabrica on Oct 15, 2021 7:52:01 GMT
OOps! Sorry about the advice to felt it - I'm principally a felter now so automatically think that way. I used to spin and, so far as I can remember, a lot of VM would drop out as you spin. Whether to wash it first is a question a lot of spinners argue about. There is a school that says you should spin "in the grease" others say you shouldn't - certainly wheels of the former tend to get very mucky, although I remember that spinning unwashed or lightly washed fleece was easier. It did not take me long to convert to spinning purchased fibres though, seeing the beautiful fibres available that I could get straight into without having to spend ages skirting, sorting, scouring, picking, carding (or combing) first. But then I do tend to go for the easy option given the opportunity.
Sorry for the assumption that you were going to use it for felting. I'm not a spinner but have processed wool from start to finish. It's loads of work. There are lots of posts about processing wool on our blog: feltingandfiberstudio.com/
Just use the search function and it will bring up lots of information for you.
I think I get what you're all saying. I live on a family farm and we have many kids and grandkids, I've been knitting things for years that you can't buy, good baby balaclavas, good winter socks, and nice fitting sweaters, we live in a climate that dips to -35C in the winter. So I know it's a lot of work, but there's 5 girls in the family and I think it'll take up our winter time. We just really need a lot of good winter clothes, and can't be itchy else I'll have a lot of complaining nieces and nephews! So I'm hoping that we'll be able to wear the finer wools. I also have just started reading about the spinning in the grease thing. What my plans are so far is to just soak my wool, I don't want to wash it as I really want some lanolin still in, but I couldn't work with completely unwashed wool as it is too dirty! I'm very suprised how clean it is just after soaking and then a few rinses. Right now it's drying and then I will try carding! I also plan to spin thicker wool to keep things moving and get some yarn to start working with. I just have to figure out my way a little as I need to do large amounts to provide for us. Lately, we've been getting more threatened when going into stores, and that's inspired me to start making our winter clothing. Thanks again, I'm sure I'll have more questions later.
A lot will fall out in the processing and spinning. I prefer to wash it, then pick and card. If you are looking to spin a worsted yarn you will want to comb it. It is amazing how the dirt comes out of wool with just a soak.