Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

Sheep in People’s Clothing

October 5, 2008

Here are Corriedale Sheep wearing the little coats that keep their wool clean.  If you don’t have these coats on your Corriedales, and the wool gets stinking filthy, there is still hope that homeschoolers will buy the smelly fleece on eBay when they do a unit study on Sheep and Weaving.  But personally I would invest in the coats.

To Dye For

October 4, 2008

Well, the dying of the stinky wool came off without a hitch… well, except for the unexpected colors.  We did two natural dyes, bougainvillea and onion skin, in addition to purple and red Kool-Aid.  The kids all broke up the bougainvillea flowers and we boiled them for 30 minutes. 

We strained out the flowers and simmered the wool for another 30 minutes.  We did the same with the Walmart onion skins. The night before dying I went in and cleaned up the yellow onion bins for the nice produce people at Wally’s World.  I gathered a whole bag of free skins!

 

The Kool-Aid dyes we cooked in the microwave for 8 minutes with the wool and then let them cool to room temperature.  Here are the masterpieces.

Guess which one was the hot pink bougainvillea?  The yellow onion skin?  The purple Kool-Aid?  and the red Kool-Aid?  Ok, the Kool-Aids were easy.  But the other two are the opposite of what you’re thinking.  The pale yellow one is the hot pink flowers and the deeper brown one is the onion skin.

So, why in the world did we do this?  And what in the world did we learn?  I figured out tonight that our wool is from a corriedale mixed sheep (whatever that is!). We learned that vinegar breaks down dye and makes it spread evenly.  We discovered that pink flowers make pale yellow die…. go figure.  The sheep and weaving unit is under the Godly character trait of Trust.  Sheep really do have to trust the Shepherd, just as we trust our heavenly Shepherd. We also got this wool business out of our systems so as not to have to go through it again.  Ever.  Forever.  Forever and eternity.

Actually, I’m addicted to pulling little balls of wool over my kitchen sink … it’s therapeutic.  And I have about 50% of the smelly wool left to wash the pick.  Yes, I’m considering it.  Remember, people, I said THERAPEUTIC!  And I fell in love with the brown dye from the onion and the passionate purple from the blue Kool-Aid.  Sorry, Jennie.  Now, to make a drop spindle and have at it.

Monotonous Job X 27 = Washing Raw Wool

October 2, 2008

If you’re sick of hearing about the sheep’s wool…. imagine how we’re feeling!  We’ve come a long way, baby, from the stinking fleece on the back lawn Monday night.  I realized at approximately 11:32 p.m. on fleece washing night that I had a book titled Back to Basics from the library with a detailed explanation and colored photos of the sheep-to-sweater process.  Whew.  So, the top picture is the semi-washed wool that only semi-stinks, but some of it is semi-ruined because either I agitated it too much or the water temperature changed too much during it’s 17 baths.  So it felted its way out of getting cleaned any further.  And I’m kind of glad… less IS more.  Another discovery was the hole in the bottom of the red tub.  Good grief, you should have seen the puddle on the kitchen floor.

This is not a new pet or a fur trim for a Bag for Zaza.  It’s a strip of curly wool that got felted into a row that is a semi-smelly neck wrap or a fantastic dog toy.  Trixie LOVES it.

This is my TA-DA picture.  The puffs of wool in the Walmart bag have been separated individually so the debris has fallen out.  The fluffs on the counter still contain vegetable matter and require separating over the kitchen sink until junk-free.  When you separate the fibers the ball of wool doubles in size… at least doubles!  The farm smell is still lingering in there just under the surface of the clean soapy smell.  I’m hoping that Friday’s dying in boiling water will cure the end of the stink.  Can’t you hardly wait to see the results?????  Me either.  Christy, I wish you were here to help me….. sigh.

Where is Mary when I need her???

September 30, 2008

I don’t know if Mary would have been much help, however, because this was not a little lamb.  Yes, today the seven pound fleece arrived in the mail (thank you, eBay!)…. this is for our homeschool study of sheep and weaving, for those who aren’t in the know. 

Can I just say that sheep stink and now I know why.  They have their fuzzy coats on for a year while they lie in the dirt and grass and walk in the barnyard… and I don’t think they wipe after they you-know-what.  I divided the wool into four semi-even pieces and bagged three of them for my fellow homeys.  I proceeded to pick off the poopy ends of my 25% and threw them out.  We picked out grass and hay and weeds and sticks and dirt and straw and twigs and … you get the picture.

That picture makes it look kind of clean… IT WAS NOT!  So I proceeded to put the smelly pile of wool into the kitchen sink…. I’m on sink #6 of clean water… HELP!  I don’t think this will ever be clean.  I used L.O.C. (liquid organic cleaner) but there is so much dirt and stick and pieces of undesirable tidbits.  Does anyone know what I should do?

The game plan is to dye it, card it, spin it and look at it…. I’m not sure if we will get to weaving or knitting at this point.  Please email your fellow sheep farmer and ask how they get their fleeces clean for me, OK?

Did I mention that I’m a city girl who only went on dirt roads with grandpa when he went to the dump in Heppner, Oregon?  (Read:  A little clueless here.)

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned…

September 25, 2008

in the fiber weaving store on a field trip.  Yes, we are still studying sheep and today’s journey led us to a spinning lady way across town.  I figured the boys would be bored stiff, but I was looking forward to learning how this ancient craft is done.  I’m prone to try any new fangled craft set before me, so now I’m itching to get my eBay fleece in the mail.  The window to the wool spinning world was opened to me this afternoon…. and never shall I be the same again.

So here’s what I learned today from the weavers and spinners:

1.  KoolAid can dye wool and it contains the same poisonous dye that is in RIT clothing dyes. Scary.  (I did comment to the spinner at that point that it is similar to eating Saran Wrap… you have to eat twenty-four boxes to have traces of cancer.)

2.  If everyone in the world would learn to spin and participated in spinning for ten minutes a day, there would be no wars.  (Gandhi taught all his followers to spin…..  on the flip side, Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”   hhhmmmmmm.)

3.  Bright HOT pink bougainvillea when boiled, dyes white wool yellow.  Go figure.  Here is bougainvillea, for those unfamiliar with this gorgeous flowering desert vine.  (And that’s my first published book too…. please go read excerpts and order one at www.LindaCrosby.com)

3.  You do not eat with a Navajo fork.  It is strictly used to bat down the hills of wool in the loom.

4.  A Hip Spindle is not a dance, however my husband has a few un-named moves that this could apply to.  Here is a hip spindle.

There were several other techniques and truths learned, but I’ll spare you just now.  I will for surely blog about my fleece’s bath, dye, carding and spinning as the action unfolds.