sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

fleece parade

It's kinda hard coming back and pretending everything is the same-- I had a really good driving trip thru Utah (stopping to see dad in Vegas), on which I got my rented 4x4 stuck in a surprisingly deep snowdrift and had to sleep in the 25deg car wrapped in a sleeping bag while preparing myself mentally for a 16mi hike back to the nearest smalltown the next morning. We made it 4 miles before being picked up by a set of kindly retirees from South Dakota-- and it's still very hard to wrap my mind around and talk about, the fear I had and how it was tied to my son. I don't want to talk about it-- but I don't want to forget either.

But that's where I've been! And I've been unpacking and washing the fleeces that were waiting here for me to try and bring me back to the real world...

I try and name all the fleeces in my closet (if the sheep didn't have a name), it's silly but I like when sheep have names. This one I've nicknamed "Mistake"...

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I was sent this Polwarth on accident and decided with the shepherd to go ahead and pay for/keep it-- the chalky black color and crimp is beautiful! It is an uncoated fleece though-- and I'm thinking I will send it to a mill for carding since I just have an aversion to even innocous VM in fleeces.

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Silly though-- I could easily wash this in pieces and just use the combs to get it clean, no skin off of my nose. Haven't decided yet... It is beautiful wool though-- from Nancy Ortmann in Montana (ad in spin-off, no website). I picked up the 3 partial colored cormos last year from her flock and they went out for blending/pindrafting to Morro Fleece Works. One batch came back while I was away, too.

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It's a 55/45 cormo-baby alpaca blend, a little over 3#. Morro did SUCH a good job-- I sent 3 packs of dark brown baby alpaca Handspinner's Dream combed top from Alpaca with a Twist to be blended with the cormo and the resulting blend is just heaven-- spins both fine and to a heavier weight with ease, and is this rose-ish brown/grey color that is better than the parts put into making it.

I'm also really excited about this color...

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When I opened up the box this fleece came in, my son asked if it was wool from a different animal-- he's used to the crimpy fine wools pouring out of the cardboard boxes. Instead it's a naturally colored Blue Faced Leicester, "Shelley" from Tumble Creek Farm. Yall know how I feel about colored fleeces, and that color is a recessive gene in BFLs/more white than anything to be found, so I was really happy when Robina from TCF let me know she had this one fresh off the hoof for sale. It is very different than anything I've tried washing before, so I'm not sure what I'll do yet-- but it will be fun! :)

I did decide to wash this Romeldale from Peeper Hollow Farm in pieces rather than by lock formation...

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"Hartley" is a coated lamb's fleece, a big baby girl at around 5# and a gorgeous medium to dark grey. The fun thing about CVM/Romeldale (that I first learned from Sarah who raises covered CVMs and will probably be talking about HER fleeces for sale soon ;)) is that their wool gets darker with age-- not lighter like most sheep. Hartley here started out white with brown spots and over the year grew grey, and will probably result in a tweedy, deeply complex yarn once spun up.

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The staples are more indistinct/don't fall into locks as easily like previous fleeces I've washed, and have so much more loft! Even though she has a long enough staple for combing (3.5-4.5"), I may handcard her to take advantage of the loft/life in the wool. Told you I really liked handcarding lately :)

That has to be it for now, I have no more storage for raw wool 'round here :)

Missed you.

9 comments:

Rachel said...

I didn't realize you son was with you! Thank goodness for those South Dakotans.

BFL is a different animal. There is BFL in one category and all other wools in the other. :)

Jasmin said...

OMG. I bow to your superior taste in fleeces.

lexa said...

Thank goodness those people stopped and picked you up!

Tikabelle said...

Oh my gosh I'm so glad you're safe! And holy criminy is that romedale cross fleece beautiful or what?!? I'm going to have to keep an eye on her website...

Maia said...

Swoon!

Mistake is gorgeous! I literally gasped when I saw it. My heart is racing and I am positively GREEN with envy.

I got a lovely white BFL hoggett fleece last fall and have not figured out what to do with it. There are different. Delightfully so.

Very happy to hear you are safe and sound! That is a scary story.

Marlowe said...

Such beautiful fleeces. Makes me want to find the time to finishing combing the cormo I got last summer.

MaryjoO said...

OMG == thank goodness for good people. Cold is no fun when it is dangerous.

Nice stuff about the fleece -- can you believe I JUST found Wild Fibers -- what a great READ.

thanks for stopping by my blog (re getting on Facebook and Twitter -- somehow when I was clicking the yes you can follow me when I clicked on you, I clicked the wrong one ... don't quite know how to get it undone. But you have plenty of people to follow LOL -- a ton!! I think I'm going to take some people off, but it is nice to get quick updates from knitting businesses rather than slog through my ton of Blogline feeds, which I can never get through in a day!

Linda said...

Wow! Sooo glad for the S.Dakotans! AND to find ur blog! What a wonderful collection of fleeces! Speaking of which, I have your moorit finally carded! (Long story - lots of family illness.) Please email me at vt dot edu (lindaw) so I can get ur addr to send it on - Finally! Cheers! ~Linda (WildIrisWool - used to be on etsy)...

Loanx said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. I think I'm fleece crazy and I find I'm not alone after all. The crimp in raw fleece sends shivers up my spine and the scent of the wool is earthy and whole. I'm currently processing a dark chocolate merino fleece and loving the process.

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