Saturday, November 5, 2011

A-Skirtin'

The result of a great thrifting trip--two Santa mugs, two lovely (and very old) silhouettes, and five boxes (only one pictured) of really adorable old fashioned Easter ornaments. :D  Yay!

This is so idiotic.  Will my computer and camera problems never cease?!  So I can now upload pictures from my camera to my husband's computer, which is great, as long as the stupid computer doesn't distort the stupid pictures and make them stupidly rainbow-colored.  This is extremely vexing.

I was not going to post at all until I figured out what the problem was, but then I thought it would be better to post something with slightly strange-looking pictures than to keep putting it off.  I'm already so backed up on post ideas from early fall that I still need to write!  So here is my post, and please excuse the camera issues.

Day before yesterday I began the long process of skirting Irma's wool.  In case you are wondering, skirting does not have anything to do with a familiar article of women's clothing (except, I suppose, in a very distant, circle-of-life sort of way).  To skirt wool is to pick all of the large pieces of dirt and debris from the fiber.  It is important to do this prior to washing the fleece, as pieces of leaves and moss get a bit more difficult to remove once they've been washed in. :)

After skirting wool for at least an hour, I had only gotten about 50% of the job done.  In fact, I still have only 50% of the job done.  I decided to go ahead and wash the fleece that I had skirted, and then finish the rest later.  My patience was waning--I really wanted to try my hand at wool washing! 

After reading several different versions of "How to wash a fleece 101", I decided to go with the washing machine method.  It seemed to me that this would be a bit easier to handle, and I like the idea of being able to extract water from the wool via the spin cycle rather than by hand squeezing (during which it is possible to agitate and felt the fleece).   I will do a post on the washing process later.  For now here are some pictures of the skirting process.  Enjoy!

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This little strand of fleece is called a staple.  Fleece that has a long staple is very desirable, as it is easier and smoother to spin.  The fleece that grows around the neck and shoulders of an animal typically has the longest staple, and is therefore the most valuable. 


See this little booger?  This piece of moss is an example of the sort of thing that needs to be skirted.  The smaller bits of dirt and dust will typically fall out during the combing process, so they don't matter as much.


I think this is the most distorted image, but you can still see the result of a small bit of skirting--lots of little leaves and twigs. 


That's a lot of wool!

Did you know that one sheep's fleece can typically make about 3-4 sweaters?  

Alright--I've got to go give my fleece its final rinse.  Have a great weekend!

Bessie



2 comments:

HazĂ el M. said...

My goodness, that is a lot of wool! How exciting this all is! :) Have you ever spun wool before? :)

Bessie M. said...

I am a novice spinner--I have a wheel, and I can spin pretty well. I still have a lot to learn, though! :D