View Single Post
Old 03-26-2011, 04:27 PM   #10
Sock Yarn Bliss
Shandeh's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 16,369
Thanks: 4,369
Thanked 2,850 Times in 1,912 Posts
Spinning is a LOT of work. But, it's also very rewarding when you finish making the yarn, then make something by knitting, crocheting, or weaving it.

When I first learned to spin, I got a very small amount of wool, washed it, let it dry, then carded it and spun it with a drop spindle. Next, I dyed it with Lime Kool-Aid. It was just a tiny amount of yarn, but I was able to knit a little coin purse with it. Now, I use it to hold my knitting business cards.

After that experience, I was "turned on" to spinning, so I bought a whole fleece (dirty) and set to work on preparing it. OH MY GAWD! It was awful.

Using a mesh laundry bag, I placed about a 4th of the fleece in it, and soaked it for 30 minutes in my washing machine in very hot water (no agitation, of course). After one wash, I carefully lifted the wool bag out of the machine and placed it in a laundry basket on the floor. I then drained out all the hot water, and was grossed out by all the gunk on the inside of my machine. I had to use about 8 paper towels to wipe it all off.

Then, I had to soak the same bag over again, because it was not clean yet. Once again, had to wipe out the lanolin and dirt with a paper towel when it came out of the machine. GROSS!

To make a long story short, I had to soak that one bag about FOUR times before it finally looked clean enough to use. It took almost a whole day, and I was exhausted. And I only got one quarter of my fleece clean. :(

I then laid out the fleece on an old bed sheet in my back yard, so it could dry in the sunshine. That was a lot of work also, shaking out the sheet, pouring the wool out of the bag, and spreading the wool all over the sheet. When it was dry, it took a while to pick it all up and put it back in the bag.

So, now I finally had a clean bag of wool. But, it wasn't ready to spin yet. It still had little bits of trash in it. Weeds, grass, burrs, seeds. All of those had to be picked out by hand. That took another whole day.

The next day, I was finally able to card the wool, so I could get it ready for spinning. So, I placed another old sheet on the floor of my living room, and sat there carding wool to make rolags. ALL DAY LONG.

The next day, I set up my wheel in the living room, and finally started spinning my wool. I had originally planned on dyeing it before spinning, but I was sick of the wool by then. I just wanted it to be OVER. So, I spun a little bit of it, then set the rest aside for another day.

I gave the rest of the dirty wool to a friend who does historical re-enacting. She was thrilled, and so was I. I will never buy a dirty fleece again.....EVER.

I still enjoy spinning, but I buy my wool at fiber fairs, already washed and prepared and dyed lovely colors. It's much more satisfying to me.
Shandeh is offline   Reply With Quote