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Now is my way, the only way ... no ... This is a guide to how I do work wool into yarn. I hope others will pitch in with how they do it also. (hint, hint :D)

First you need some sheep, yours or the sheep farm down the road. (or across the state. :gaah:)

There are more breeds of sheep than breeds of any other livestock species. Worldwide, there are more than one thousand distinct sheep breeds. There are more than 40 breeds in the United States. Sheep come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Then one much sheer the sheep, again you ... or the farmer down the road.
Grey lady said, she sure did like her hair cut and cleaning up under the apple trees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How does that go ...
Bah, Bah a black Sheep,
Have you any Wool?
Yes merry have I,
Three Bags full,
One for my master,
One for my Dame,
One for the little Boy
That lives down the lane

Well, a little more than three bags full...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My hubby skirts the wool at the barn so I can skip that part. When you skirt wool you are removing very nasty wool that can not be used. Next up for me is to wash. I use an old top load washer, one that I kept just for wool.

I fill the washer with hot water and dish liquid. Add the wool and let it "SOAK" No agitating ...
 

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Hi Andi,
Please tell me all those bags of beautiful fleece didn't come from that one little fur baby. So far what you've done is exactly what I'd do if I had sheep and clippers. I've cleaned fleece fresh off the critter but in much smaller batches. I use an old salad spinner to get most of the water out after washing and rinsing. Then I put it on a sweater dryer and, during the summer, hang it outside to dry. Then comes combing or carding and off to the wheel or spindle. Would love to see more photos of how you finish the process.
Take care,
Moose
 

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Hi Moose, thanks for posting! (And thanks for the tip about the old salad spinner ... :2thumb:)

More pictures to follow but first a few pointers ...

:bullit:Some folks spin in the grease, spinning the wool without being washed. To be honest I have never came across a fleece, so clean I could spin in the grease. (but maybe one day :D)

:bullit:I soak the wool for about an hour, spin and remove from washer. I check the spin water to see how clear it is ... Dirty water, wash again. Clear water rinse and dry.

:bullit:So I washed my wool twice and rinsed once. It is now on a sweater dryer (like Moose posted) to dry.

:bullit:One more thing you MUST watch out for ... A Chihuahua in the wool basket :D LOL ... (picture to follow -storms- :gaah:)
 

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Hi Andi,
I've only spun once "in the grease." I got a really clean merino from the Denver stock show. The owner had blanketed her critters. My hands were in great shape for weeks. :)

The salad spinner works really well. It won't handle large amounts at a time but its the most effective way I've found to get the water out without any felting.

Chihuahuas and kittys, what's up them and wooly stuff? I've got a bag of "mystery" fiber in a basket and every once in awhile it makes the cat insane.

Take care,
Moose
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wool on sweater dryer to dry ...
 

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A Chihuahua in the wool basket...
 

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Hi Moose, thanks for posting! (And thanks for the tip about the old salad spinner ... :2thumb:)

More pictures to follow but first a few pointers ...

:bullit:Some folks spin in the grease, spinning the wool without being washed. To be honest I have never came across a fleece, so clean I could spin in the grease. (but maybe one day :D)

:bullit:I soak the wool for about an hour, spin and remove from washer. I check the spin water to see how clear it is ... Dirty water, wash again. Clear water rinse and dry.

:bullit:So I washed my wool twice and rinsed once. It is now on a sweater dryer (like Moose posted) to dry.

:bullit:One more thing you MUST watch out for ... A Chihuahua in the wool basket :D LOL ... (picture to follow -storms- :gaah:)
I wash my wool twice for sure. I use my bathtub and can do an entire fleece in one tub full. I just let it soak a good long time.
And yes, if the rinse water is dirty, wash again. I had one fleece so dirty recently it took three washings and two rinsings! yuck
I wash on very sunny breezy days as i need my wood deck to dry the fleeces. they get good air circulation bottom up and top down then I just go fluff it and turn it periodically. Takes about 4-5 hours to completely dry. :)
 

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Box of dirty wool....



after washing, I got two full bags of fluffy clean fleece of the gray, but I had washed 6 fleeces, a variety of wools, and wound up with 8 large garbage bags of fleece! I am about to transfer them to boxes with Lavender from my garden as pest control. :) The gray wool I cleaned is the top right bag.

 

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here is the full pic of the gray fleece I cleaned from that dirty box full..
(note: I didn't realize i had my jar of elderflowers brewing in olive oil in the pic!)
lol
 

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Ready to start carding:

Here are my carders. Look closely and you will see I designated one for Left hand and one for Right hand. Because I use the right hand to begin the carding. You want to get out all the vegetable matter left over from washing and this helps separate the fibers which in the next pic you will see a finished 'rolag' sitting on the carder. The rolag is bit loose which is what I like. some make tighter rolls.





 

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A finished ball of yarn that I wound on an antique bobbin but because of the nice taper I use as a nostepinne!
This wool was different from any I have come across. lol It looks really rustic and rough but when plyed so so soft to the skin! I was surprised! see the swatch i knitted with this brown wool below.



another view of the nostepinne and tray of wound center pull balls of wool.


swatch: 4" x 4" on size 6 knitting needles
 

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Carding the cleaned wool

I wanted to show how to card wool.
But I couldn't get my video camera working :gaah: so i took some stills of me carding and will try to explain how it works step by step for those who have never done it. those of you who know this stuff please help me fill in the gaps. lol
Andi??? :wave: hehe

1. Take the left hand carder holding it with handle up and teeth down. Now take a handful of fleece and drag the fleece in a down ward motion filling the carder but not too much. (see below)
See how the teeth are facing up?


2. Now hold the left hand carder handle facing up, the comb part facing down. The right hand carder will face up so what you have are the teeth of the carders going in opposite directions.


3. Now as you bring the right carder down the fleece will be separated and any vegetable matter or fuzzes that you can't separate , you pick off.

** notice the fibers are literally combed!



4. When you have done this a couple times you need to transfer the fleece to the right carder to finish your rolag. So now you must have both hand carders facing in a up position. Then touch the tops together (see pic) and gently comb down to transfer the fleece to the right carder. I hope you get that. :p




5. Now lay the right carder in your lap and starting at the top you should be able to roll the fleece down like a noodle. Then roll it gently back up and down again for a uniform noodle like thing and there you go! A spin-able rolag!




I will try to do a quick vid of this cuz I know for me, it is easier to watch something than just pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Picking the wool ...

When you "pick the wool" you open the wool ...

:bullit:teasing - open the wool by hand.

:bullit:picking by equipment.

:bullit:Flick carding ... :eek: (I would take a finger off.)

:bullit:pre-carding ... Much like lhalfcent showed us.

lhalfcent - Awesome pictures:D

I have a wool picker (picture to follow;)) It's not a mid-evil swing picker but a smaller, travel friendly picker.

But more times than not I pick by hand or pre-carding. Again - using the hand card that was posted by lhalfcent.
 

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I am pretty much self taught Andi. lol
I want to learn all I can but also am willing to share what I have learned and still learning!
I tell ya tho...I am thoroughly addicted to fiber! Fibernista, fiberdiva etc....lol
fiberholic...fiber......................... :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Picking by equipment...
 

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