Here are some random thoughts and updates as I move towards spring.
I gasped quietly when I saw in my yard on April 1st:
The snow is receding like a glacier and this gives perspective on my excitement at the sight:
Crocuses by snow
On Saturday spinning friends gathered at my house and as promised some big scary dangerous equipment came also. The picker is used to open fiber up for spinning and is the first step to getting rid of any short fibers and vegetation. Short fibers can be the result of what are called second cuts when shearing. The path of the shearing blades is not always exact and they may have to go over an area again- like when a lawn is mowed and a small length remains on the side of the path-that results in some short fibers in the fleece. A few second cuts and some vegetation are not a problem and come out with processing. If I am choosing fleeces and there are a lot of short cuts and a lot of vegetation I pass it by since a lot of time would be needed to get them out and wouldn’t be worth it.
I love the sign that comes with the picker. I feel so important because of it. Like I operate heavy construction machinery.
Wool picker warning
Here is why it works so well, why we wear protective gloves and why I would never have it anywhere no matter how well guarded in a house with children. What a great feature it would make in a murder mystery.
Picker with fiber
I have some beautiful Cotswold fiber I dyed green in it here. Truth be told I seemed to have felted it a bit so opened it up with the mighty picker jaws that I swing back and forth. Now I will hand comb it to get out any end felted fibers that came off and will be able to use it good as new. Cotswold is a rare breed with long lustrous curly locks. Its shine, or sheen, remains when spun. Some day I will talk more about that breed since it is so beautiful.
My last Gulf Coast fiber from my sheep of the month March is Fernando. Here is the picture I posted of him as unprocessed washed locks.
Here he is after going twice through the picker:
He weighs 22 ounces. Not sure what I will do with him but he’ll be ready when I am.
So, you know you are an out of control spinner when you were on an escalator yesterday at Logan airport and you see on the floor below tiles that create different Massachusetts scenes such as a runner in the Boston Marathon and you are delighted to see a spinner at an old walking spinning wheel pictured so you stop when you get to it and realize it is a fisherman at the wheel of an old sailing ship. Which you love too but not the same. Darn it.
Funny Spinning Fact
It is a scientific fact that every spinner who has a significant other be he or she called husband, boy friend, girl friend, partner has gone through an initial time when this person has tried to get the spinner to limit their fiber stashes, and failed. Supposedly reasonable comments such as “don’t you have enough” “what will you do with it” “where will you put it” are silently ignored and after a time they give up. It is bigger than they are. But here is a funny story about old time spinners in Iceland that I read in Bette Hochburg’s book Spin Span Spun. It says that after the men finished their work they would card wool for the women and someone would tell stories and lead the group in singing. I am sitting here enjoying the image of our partners engaging in that together. Especially singing. But I know they won’t go that far!
Last but not least:
Update on discarding fiber paper clutter:
I have been working my way through paper files that I have on fiber and fiber related information. I am happy to announce that I am done and since I like to weigh things I can say I have discarded and recycled 19 pounds of paper and files. Nineteen. Now my home files and my fiber files fit in one file cabinet drawer. Hurray! Can you get rid of some too?? It isn’t mandatory to weigh it, just dig in, do 5 a day like I did!
Happy April and the start of sheep and wool festival season in New England. Saturday April 26th is the Connecticul Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival in Vernon Connecticut. http://www.ctsheep.org/sheep_and_wool_festival
Let the games begin!