Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything

That describes today to perfection. Actually it describes my entire weekend. Just kinda bouncing from one thing to another never really focusing on any one thing for an extended length of time. Today is a perfect example of my short attention span. Started off the day like I do every day....doing chores. Usually I will spend time out with the ewes rubbing bellies (lots of growing baby bumps to rub!). Not today. Everyone was so engrossed with eating that they didn't want to be bothered. So I watered my back gardens. Headed inside and decided to dye some silk. Got my dye jars ready and out in the sun they went. Moved onto a bit of spinning on the Sonata. Still spinning a 3-ply yarn for a sweater. From there I spent some time machine quilting on a quilt that should have been finished quite some time ago. Took a break for lunch then decided to spin on the Orkney.

 That in itself has been something else. Both uprights are still a bit loose and I can't seem to get them tightened so the drive wheel wobbles when you spin. Then the tension is still off. She wants to pull the fiber from you instead of gently taking it. I've a feeling it's the drive band. The original drive band is on it and even with both maiden posts at their lowest she still wants to pull the fiber from you. There's just no give in the drive band. Takes the fun out of spinning. I can't even set her up for scotch tension because to do so you are supposed to double the drive band on the whorl....which I can't do....not enough give. So it's been frustrating to say the least. I did get two small skeins spun on her. Both are a Shetland/Angelina blend. She will spin a nice fine single. Just need to get a handle on the tension and other small adjustments that need to be done.

After my frustrating spin on the Orkney (and getting some dinner) I decided to head outside to skirt some fleeces....and get things ready to be sent off to the mill. Went through my Suri blankets first. Not much to do there since they are rather clean when it comes to vm. So it was more of enjoying the feel than anything else.  :)  Moved onto Shetland fleeces. The first two were a dream to handle. They felt great and were pretty clean. The next one....not so much. I thought about trying to salvage what I could but ended up putting the whole thing on the compost pile. Just way too much vm for me to deal with. I'm sure it could have been picked/shaken out but I honestly didn't have the patience for it. The next two fleeces were also a huge disappointment. They were from Trixie. One from last year and this year's. She is hit and miss with her fleeces. The first few years I had her I never got a decent fleece from her. She is a dense double coat who tends to blow out way before anyone else (and is the hardest one to catch when it's shearing time). What she doesn't leave on branches, tree trunks, and fences is felted. The last couple of years I actually got really nice fleeces from her. These last two fleeces.....not so much. What wasn't filled with tons of micro vm was felted. What wasn't felted or filled with vm is heavy with outer coat. There's maybe 8 ounces of lovely neck/chest fiber that is clean and has the most amazing crimp. I just might process this by hand and compost the rest. I don't know. It really depends on how I feel when I look at what's left of her fleeces. (Wonder if she will give me a pretty little katmoget ewe lamb with an intermediate fleece.)
Sometimes I think the best time to get a fleece from me is when I'm frustrated. I tend to skirt the heaviest then. I simply have no tolerance for vm and it shows with my skirting.

I ended my day with spinning on the back porch. I'm spinning Suri roving on my Herring Alpha. He's my outside wheel. He's lovely to treadle and takes the fiber oh so gently. Plus I can sit in my hammock, spin, and watch my animals out in pasture. It's a great way to unwind from a frustrating  day. Especially one where I can't seem to focus on any one thing for any length of today.

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