Friday, January 30, 2015

We all got to start sometime... Processing raw wool for the first time!

Used my new hand carders purchased from The Woolery to make rolags from washed tunis wool!

 For my 29th birthday, my beloved husband blessed me by driving us to the Capitol of Kentucky (3 hour drive from us) to visit an amazing shop for my spinning passion, The Woolery!

 This lovely shop had everything a spinner/crocheter/knitter/felter would desire! The people there were so immensely helpful and full of joy that I wanted to purchase everything there! 
 I walked out of the shop with 4 pounds of Tunis raw fleece, some acid dyes, color wheel for these type of acid dyes and a measuring card so when I spin, I can keep consistent to the size of my yarn!

Had an awesome time shopping at the Woolery!

had lunch/coffee at a library setting cafe! It was yummy and a lot of fun to visit which was just around the corner from the Woolery!

 My hubby and I are researching on what kind of dual sheep we desire to have on our future homestead/farm when the time comes (dual = meat/wool), and I have been curious on Tunis sheep, upon researching (for wool),Tunis wool is a lustrous 24 to 30 microns, long-stapled 4 to 6 inches that has found favor with spinners. Ewes typically shear a fleece weighing 6 to 9 pounds of this 3/8th's blood, 56 to 58 spinning count wool.

 We've been looking at Romney's and Tunis sheep, and the Woolery had Tunis raw fleece so why not give it a chance, right?

 The next morning after our trip was a nice warm enough day (for Tennessee in January!), so he and I went outside to sort out the already skirted fleece with Sadie at our heels sniffing curiously the fleece that were in the plastic bags.
My hottie hot hottie of a husband helping me try and take out the VM that was clinging to the wool before washing it!

 Right when we opened the bags, an aroma that would probably gross out most people came out, but it didn't gross me out one bit! Instead it made me smile! It smelled like we had our sheep farm and all I needed was the "Baaaaa" of them running around! It made me ache for our own sheep so badly! But alas, this was as close to having sheep as we can get... for now!

 Touching the fleece was greasy and yet soft. We tried to get us much leftover vegetable matter (VM) and poop out of it (and into our compost pile it went) before moving onto washing it.  Getting off the VM was near to impossible! Because the lanolin (wool grease) was just too much and VM was not  coming off the wool without a fight!

 So I put the wool in our washing machine filled with hot water and a large amount of Dawn dish soap (enough that when you touched the water it was slippery with the soap) and very gently (as not to agitate the wool so it would felt) submerged the wool and left it there for about 20 minutes. When I checked on it I made sure it was clean by seeing if I the water was "see through". 

Raw tunis wool soaking in hot soapy water
Can you see the difference between clean and dirty wool? What a difference!
After making sure the water was "clear", I put it on spin cycle and then rinse. After that I took it out and put it on a towel to dry. Because of how cold it is outdoors, I have to dry it indoors which take quite a while! It dried within 2 days (after gently separating the wool to get some air in it).

Our Sadie was so interested in the wool she settled herself down and watched the fleece for quite a while. Perhaps she thinks she's guarding sheep!
After it dried there is still so much VM in it, I have to comb through it gently again before I dye and spin it... when i'm all done i'll be sharing that as well! This is quite a long process but it's so fun to learn and to know that I am doing this from scratch! 

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