Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Summer of the Fleeces, The Plan

Big plans for this summer, see how it all works out.  I am excited which is why I am writing now, after a brutal winter of cold, and a brutal summer of flood,  I need to plan for a peaceful, educational and productive summer.

A friend of mine has an unknown numbers of fleeces that she can't deal with, and has handed off to me.  They are fleeces a shearer in British Columbia gathered up instead of putting in the garbage.    The sheep were NOT raised or sheared with spinning in mind.  They are of unknown breeds or no particular breed at all and, at the moment they are packed in two green bags on my back deck, 3 or 4 fleeces to a bag.  And an unknown number of bags in her garage.

I opened one bag, hauled out 3 fleeces, did some quick skirting when I got them, dirty, lots of VM, smelly but not impossible to use.  Soaked a small amount but it froze instead of drying.

So here is the plan:

Weekend One
- open up all the bags and spread them out in the back yard
- number, photograph, and describe
- decide if any of them are absolutely not worth trying to process and compost those
- skirt, shake, pick,  they are free I can afford to get rid of 3/4 of a fleece and only work with the good parts
-weigh and photograph
- organize in order of how greasy they are
- repack one to a bag

I want to use the suint fermentation method of cleaning, so the greasiest fleece goes into the water.  And then I see what happens.

Weekend Two
-first fleece comes out, second fleece goes in
- rinse, dry and consider

Weekend Three
- white fleece goes into dye pot
-coloured fleece goes though the drum carder


use the suint fermentation method
dye a lot of fleece
blend in the drum carder, natural browns and white and the dyed fleece

None of this could work out at all.  I might not be able to get a suint bath going, very little might be worth saving though the ones I looked at seemed good.  But I'll learn a lot.

At the minimum, I'd like to have 4 or 5 lbs. of spinnable fibre for the winter, cleaned, dyed, carded or combed, none of these processes do I want to do in the house.  And clean enough fleeces to store in
the house next winter.

I might end up with 20 lbs. of fibre. that I can sell at the Guild Sale.

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