Friday, May 09, 2014

Playing With Fiber

Since my last post with raw wool for sale, I've been getting questions and emails about what to do with fleece if you don't have all the expensive fiber tools (combs, carders, pickers, etc.) 

Pictured are some washed Corriedale locks, lower right, inexpensive dog combs and finished combed fiber, top, ready to spin!
Good questions!  And one I understand because I didn't always have the equipment I have now.  You know, there are tons of great videos, websites, articles, downloads available out and about by people that know a lot more than I do - do a search for them when you can and you'll learn a lot about processing or prepping fiber for spinning without all the equipment.  My post here isn't really a "how-to" I'm just sharing a few photos sitting on my couch in my living room with a basket full of washed fibers and some really inexpensive tools that can get you started on your fiber prep journey!

First you need nice fiber (see my last post if you're looking for great Corriedale fleece!)  Next, you need to wash that fiber (unless you're planning to spin in the grease)  See my series of posts on Washing Wool, The Way I Do starting here.  So now, you should have some nice clean wool ideally still in the lock formation.  At that point, you could just tease open each end of the lock, fluff it up a bit and spin from the lock.  Or you could flick card (using a flicker or an inexpensive dog brush - the kind with rather stiff wire teeth).  Here's a short, simple video showing the process.

As I've mentioned many times, I really like combing wool for spinning.  Wool combs are expensive, even the small ones.  So why not start with a pair of dog combs from the pet store, farm store or even discount stores!  Not perfect but it are a few pictures of some that I picked up for .99 each in the clearance bin at the farm store:

Load one comb with a thin layer of fiber, not to thickly
In the picture above, I've combed the fiber from one comb to the other two times.  The little pile of fuzz both next to and on the comb is "waste" -short stuff, chaff, throw away.  Next to it is fiber ready to spin
Three little birds nests of combed "sliver"  A delight to spin!
I measured these particular dog combs and the tines are 3.5 and 4 inches wide.  Teeth are 1 inch high and the wooden handles are 3.5 inches long.  They're very comfortable to use.

And what if you don't have a spinning wheel yet?  Here's something I just discovered, thanks to my new fiber friend Jill ~ a support spindle!!!  See it nestled in the basket of fiber, below?

I can't tell you how fun this is for me!  I've never mastered the drop spindle and at this point, don't care to keep trying ;)  I've got three spinning wheels but I'm really enjoying learning the support spindle and have even made some "rustic" yarn on it already!  My point being, spindles (drop or support) are a good way to spin before you're ready to invest in a wheel.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Looking For Corriedale Wool

And I have some to share!  I feel so fortunate to have people interested in finding and trying Corriedale and Corriedale cross fleeces, as a small farmer/shepherd your continued support is what keeps us going.  I'm going to share some photos and descriptions of fleece we have available right now.  If you see something you like, please send me an email at serenityfarmswool at yahoo dot com or PM me on Ravelry to check availability and to figure a total cost for you.  It might be helpful if you have a second choice as well, because these tend to sell quickly.  I'll list them as sold as soon as I can, so you won't be disappointed.  We happily take Paypal, personal check or money order and cash if you're close by.  We're happy to sell fleece by the pound, you don't have to buy an entire fleece (most of these listed are partial fleeces)  All of these fleeces are $15 per pound, plus shipping.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me about a particular sheep or fleece.  As always, remember that all computer monitors are different and may not accurately represent the color of the fleece.  I'll try to give the best descriptions that I can.  All of these first fleeces listed are lamb fleeces, and while those are often the nicest fleece a sheep will have in its lifetime, they can also be dirtier or have dry or gummy tips.  I don't begin coating my lambs till after they're weaned so they've already lived half the year without a coat and they tend to get into a lot of stuff ;)  That said, I'm very happy with the cleanliness of this years fleeces.  

Here we go ~

KELLY - white Corriedale ewe ~ S O L D ~

Very pretty, traditional Corriedale crimp, dirty tips but very little vm as you can see in the photo.  5" staple length.  About 2 pounds available

KITE - white Corriedale ewe  ~ S O L D ~

This is probably the prettiest white fleece, very fine and lacy.  4.5 inch staple length, dirty tips but not vm.  About 2 pounds available.

KARL - white Corriedale ram lamb ~ S O L D ~

Bright white, nice crimp, dirty tips but very little vm.  4" staple, about 3 pounds available.

KLONDIKE - white, Corriedale/Bond cross ram lamb ~ S O L D ~

Really nice crimp with a 4" staple length.  A little finer than Karl's fleece, but also a bit dirtier along the staple.  About 3 pounds available.

KENNEDY natural color Corriedale ewe ~ S O L D ~

I've got two pictures here of Kennedy's fleece because I just couldn't get a good color representation.  Its probably somewhere in between the two, and I'd call it a divine steel blue grey color.  She's got lovely crimp, good 5" staple length and I've got three pounds still for sale of her original twelve pound fleece!

KIMBLERLY natural color Corriedale/Bond ewe ~ S O L D ~

This little ewe has the most elegant fleece!  Its nearly black, 4" staple length and good crimp.  Some fading on the tips as you can see from the picture.  Now three pounds available.

KASTLE natural color Corriedale ram lamb ~ S O L D ~

This is my favorite fleece of the year and the picture just doesn't do it justice.  This is an awesome fleece!  Another steel blue grey, a bit finer crimp than the other and a little more variety in color, making it more complex.  This is a very active ram lamb and though he was coated, you'll find more vm in this fleece than the others.  I'm keeping half of this fleece for myself!

And now the moorits, the Corriedale/Bond crosses!

KODIAK moorit (red) Corriedale/Bond cross ram lamb ~ S O L D ~

Paler, rusty red fleece with faded tips and a shorter staple length, length varies from 3 to 4 inches throughout.  This is a very clean fleece and I have 2 pounds left to sell.

KILLIAN moorit (red) Corriedale/Bond cross ram lamb ~ S O L D ~

This is a rich, dark red, chestnut fleece, dark all the way to the tips!  Fine crimp and 3.5 to 4 inch staple length.  Not quite as vm free as Kodiak's fleece but still nice.   

And that's it for the lamb fleeces this year - I hope you'll see something you like!  I've still got adult ewes to skirt and list, but that may not happen till lambing is done.  If you miss out on a fleece you like this year, be sure to contact me about 2015 shearing.  Thanks for looking!

I just love fresh fleeces, don't you?