Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Story of a Fleece

Sorry it's been 20 days since the last update. I've been busy busy busy this last month with thesis work. I've gotten my proposal written and accepted by my committee, however, so I'm right on track and was able to take a vacation-at-home during spring break (tomorrow is the last day :-( ).

On the knitting front, I've finished the right front and back of my Hot Pink and Vintage and started on the left front. No pictures, though. My Damson shawl is in a long term time out until I can stand to unknit (stitch by stitch) 6.5 rows. Don't ask, it's still too painful.

Spring is continuing it's march forward. I caught this little ladybug on the green of the daffodils in the back yard.

What I've really been spending my time on, though, (besides the thesis stuff) is my spinning. Here are some better pictures of my first yarn that I discussed a couple posts back.

It's wonderfully soft and sproingy.

I also finished my second yarn, which I started spinning just before the winter Olympics started. My consistency in weight improved with this yarn. It's going to make a lovely something, probably modular in garter stitch to showcase the colors.

But my big project has been my fleece. My alpaca fleece. I got an alpaca fleece, fresh off the alpaca for a steal (it was going to be burned!!! Who burns alpaca fleece?!?!?!). It's a first shear (as in, the first time this alpaca had ever been sheared) so there aren't any guard hairs to worry about. It was incredibly dirty from the dust baths this alpaca had enjoyed. Wanna see it?

That's a regular size laundry basket, for reference. I tried cleaning it in it's natural state, but the dirt was all trapped up in the locks. I ended up borrowing a drum carder from a friend of mine.

I carded all of the alpaca (a two day affair that left my right shoulder and arm sore) and knocked a lot of dirt out of it (plus picked out large stuff by hand). Now it looks like this:

It's just about doubled in volume, and is even softer now. It is cleaner, but still has dust and some vegetative matter in it. I tried washing some of it yesterday, but it didn't work well. I think at this point the best thing will be to spin it and wash it as yarn to get the rest of the stuff out of it.

The wheel in my last spinning related post is going home today. It was a loaner from a friend who was recruiting for the cult of spinners. Now that I'm hooked, I found a great deal on craigslist for a wheel of my very own. It's smaller and more portable and fits much better in my tiny space.

The woman I bought it from had left the bobbins full so I inherited that. I wound it off so I can work on my own yarn. Like this:

This is some lovely brown alpaca that was a gift from a friend of mine. I've got positively tons of this roving, so I should get a good amount of yarn out of it.

That's all I've got for now. I've got to work on reorganizing (again) my yarn stash so that it seems to take up less space.

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