Studio Notes 20/09/19 - I've got three bags full of black sheep's wool, so I'm learning how to clean fleece, card it and deciding how to turn it into art.
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My house is full of wool!
I just love the random things that life brings. This week, it brought me a bin bag full of Hebridean sheep’s fleece.
Yep, it has been an unexpectedly smelly week!
Jenny (of walnut ink fame) asked me if I would like a fleece, because she knew a guy… and of course I had to say yes, despite having no idea what I would do with a fleece, or how I could do anything with it in the first place. Seriously, no clue.
As an aside, how cool is it to have the kind of contact who can serve as a fence for fleece?
Washing, washing and washing, and maybe carding at some point in future
My bin bag sat for a few days until I could tackle it early in the day. I discovered that I actually had three whole fleeces compressed into the bag, and it seemed like a good idea to wash them all at once in the bathtub.
Actually, two rounds of soaking and draining hardly touched it! I think I need to wash it in smaller clumps to make it more manageable. Still, I’m glad that I didn’t felt the wool during my cleaning attempts – probably because I was so paranoid about felting that I only used cold water.
Also, I think that was a good idea because of the water draining out in the bath… at least I didn’t send a lot of lanolin down my drains.
At the moment, the fleeces are drying on the line; thankfully we’re having a good bit of weather for it. Once they’re dry and I can re-bag them to store for a bit, I’ll tackle cleaning smaller pieces.
So now my single bag has expanded to three bags’ worth. I kinda know what I have to do to get these gargantuan things clean and usable, but what am I going to do with them?
First, I’m going to buy another cheap pet brush* (thanks, cats, for letting me use yours) and see if I can card a small amount of it to make it into yarn. Probably not a lot though, since I haven’t knitted since 2006 and I’m not yearning to do any more right now.
Next, I’m going to needle felt myself a sculpture… probably a portrait of myself.
But right now, I just have to say how impressive these sheep are. Some of them are greying, some have gone a bit blonde in the sun, and some have cute little matted curls. I really do feel as though I have a lot more appreciation for these lovely wooly dudes, now that I’ve spent most of the week smelling like one.