New fleece

Originally uploaded by midnightskyfibers

New fleece from sheep in Oregon arrived a few days ago! The cat has been absolutely planted on the drying fibers the entire time. One of my parent's cats was the same way when I brought a couple batts of it to their house. Stepped on the batt and wouldn't move for hours. I felt so bad kicking him off at night since I worried about him eating it accidentally (Joey doesn't eat yarn and fiber, and minus his felt balls and strings pulled around just for him, could really care less about fiber, unless it is good to sit on).

I got a lovely "black" sheep fleece in shades of browns, grays, etc that has slightly bleached tips, as well as a creamy white fleece. I am processing some of these to varying degrees, but will also have some for sale raw. The fleece is nice and clean for a sheep fleece, and soft enough for me to actually hold it up to my neck (surprisingly since I work with wool I suppose, but I can't actually wear most wool both due to the fact that it is wool, the lanolin, and the processing chemicals and dyes. Angora is worse and gives me hives. Not that that stops me from working on it...)

At any rate, I use my washing machine to wash fleece. Being a small machine, it is slow going, and since it is a fine fleece I want to maintain lock structure more than I normally would bother with- more fun for dyeing too that way with the white. I am using local soap instead of a detergent to clean the wool since I do not want to damage the fibers in this case, plus I don't like the smell of any of the detergents I have around. Using soap instead means I can leave a bit of the lanolin in- just a tiny bit. Perfect for the sweater and mittens I want from this!

I knit up a swatch in the two predominant colors of the fleece, but on closer inspection there isn't enough of the lighter brown to do it seperately, and since I am belnding anyways, I ended up blending all the colors together.


I also dyed some of the locks with lac, madder, and pomegranate in color blending and layers. Works especially well with the gray hairs throughout the section I dyed. I fluffed the locks before blending them in to batts. I love love love dyeing natural colored fleeces- love them natural too of course. Such fun variations of color are possible, and since most are at least a tiny bit variegated it results in such beautiful shades!

I read about a way to start processing the wool with a long soak in the newish Spin-Off, which I really want to try. It involves letting the wool almost start fermenting (or maybe it actually is?) to help get the lanolin etc off. But it apparently stinks to high heaven, so it is not something I can do in an apartment or house (not on the scale I need anyways, pretty sure neighbors in both places would not be happy, hehe). If you have space though and not so close neighbors who don't think you are totally strange for hanging wool outside, you should check out the Spin-Off, it seems like I great way to save some energy. I'll just have to be content to perfect my low water low energy dye methods instead.

My car is now fixed! It took my dad (thanks dad!) five minutes to fix my car. Now I can't turn the battery off, but it won't be turning off constantly either- it had started turning off after I turned the car off too, not just when I started it. The remote for my garage and front door access also stopped working this week, and then when I got a new remote they couldn't get online to connect my remote so it still wouldn't work!

The only GOOD car thing that happened was getting to go to my all time favorite gas station. If I can at all avoid it, I fill up at this one station in Mukilteo. No special reason, though it is enough less than Seattle to make it worthwhile, though I really hate filling my car up anywhere else. Maybe because 9 out of ten times I have always filled up at that station. Weird I know. Ok, that and realizing that my brother's car had 20k more miles on it than my car, which is ten years older than his. Ha! My car is now running perfectly since the screw to the battery was disconnected and put on again sans screw.

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