I headed to B’s yesterday for the aforementioned carding party–just the two of us and that was terrific. I met B at the guild’s spinning meet-up, and while everyone was lovely and helpful, B and I really hit it off. Turns out we have NY in common and a bunch of other things like camping, hiking, traveling, yep. A kindred spirit. She is also a terrific teacher: patient and fun. She see’s all this fiber stuff as totally possible and do-able. And for a newbie, that’s all I need to hear.
Her approach to JK’s fleece (this is the trade-for-socks-fleece) was to just go for it. Others might have been put off by the age of the fleece, the amount of dirt and poo and VM . . . but not B. She just dumped it out, started sorting and we put it straight into the drum carder in the grease. Wow. So it’s that easy.
Now, she did explain that her way is a particular style of processing and that others are more meticulous and prep their fibers differently–that, indeed, the prep of the fiber does make a difference to the final product. I get that. But I also get that I am new, this is a free-trade fleece, and I’m in this for the experience and the practice–NOT the perfect yarn. I have washed fleece before (and posted about it here) and so this was fundamentally different and it’s all worth a try, I think. I believe one should check it all out before one decides on a preferred method.
As it turns out, this dirty fleece cleans up OK after going through what I called the “beast” and then going through further processing by B and her secondary–finer–carder with the addition of some nylon for the sock yarn portion.
Here are some pictures of the rough batts (having just gone through the beast. You can see some of the seconds that are mixed in and lots of the leftover VM. I need to get pictures of the second run batts to show you the crazy transformation that happened once B took hold of the fiber:
And here is the beast!
B lent it to me for the rest of the month, which means I can finish the rough processing AND process my beloved Blue Texel all without too much hand carding, which I’ll admit, I’m kind of excited about.
As for the swap: we’ll probably meet up again to exchange batts for the finer comb. In the meantime, I’m practicing my spinning–almost have two bobbins full for some plying practice. Can’t wait.
All told, the carding party lasted about 3 hours and involved homemade bread and jam, beautiful scenery, fun conversation, some chatty parakeets, and goodbye hugs. I can’t wait to head back over and learn some more 🙂
In other news: all kinds of yarn is showing up at my doorstep today . . . yeah, yeah, I know. Mostly, it’s some knitting books and yarn for one quick scarf project and one back ordered skein for that 3-in-1 sweater I have been waiting to start for about 2 months now. In short: a busy weekend that also includes some real life things like kid’s soccer games, dissertation reading, and Greek Easter!