I have mentioned before that I was part of A Spinner’s Study on Facebook, and that they issue monthly challenges for us to work on. I did actually get my yarn finished on August 31st, but WordPress on a tablet kinda sucks and I have to sneak in my computer time around NASlacker using his Raspberry Pi and Little Buddy’s PBS Kids addiction.
I started with 8oz of raw Jacob wool. I’d have taken a picture of it for you but, like an idiot who has never smelled a ram, I was sucked into a description about an old ram who was cantankerous and mean, but loved shearing day, and ordered some. Old rams need some fiber love too, right?
Big Mistake. Huge.
I just threw up in my mouth a little just remembering the smell, it was so bad. Kinda like old, spoiled, urine soaked meat. I thought having two little boys would have prepared me for anything, olfactory-wise, but nope. Ram smell wins the Funk-Off, hands down.
Since the fleece was so smelly I decided to try using a fermented suint bath to clean the fleece. It couldn’t make it any smellier, right? Wrong(ish).
I started the bath outside just before one of the hottest weeks of the summer. So while it got the fleece good and smelly, adding some strong septic undertones, it didn’t do much to actually clean the fleece (total PEBKAC issue though). After about 6 days of soaking the lanolin had redeposited so I still had to haul it downstairs and give it a soak in some Unicorn Power Scour to get it clean. After all that it, and a week drying next to the dehumidifier in my basement, it STILL smelled like spoiled, urine soaked meat, so in a last-ditch effort I soaked it in some Charlie’s, which did a pretty decent job getting rid of the smell.
Picking & Carding:
When I first started picking through the cleaned fleece I was not impressed. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the feel so I looked closer, and realized that there was a shitton of guard hairs. I picked them out while I was hand picking the fleece, when I was carding it, while spinning the singles, and again when plying. It drove me kinda insane, to the point where, the last time I looked in the mirror I, my first impulse was to start plucking out my gray hairs because the looked so much like the fucking guard hairs.
The more guard hairs I removed though, the softer the actual wool felt, and I started digging the springy texture. The previous thing I has spun was a romney and alpaca blend, so the textural difference between the two was very apparent.
Due to my lack of good combs (hint hint) I decided to separate the two colors as best I could and card them separately. Aside from the springy-ness of the wool holding on to the little bit of vm that was in it for dear life, it was a fairly easy and painless process to go from the mess above to roving.
I knew that no matter how hard I tried there would still be guard hairs in the finished yarn, so I decided to spin a 2 ply sport weight for a new winter hat for myself. The guard hairs will blen right in with the alarming amount of gray hairs I’ve been sprouting lately and the two colors will make for some quick, brainless, but snazzy looking color work.
Thanks to the Yarnometer this is some of my most even spinning yet. I spun semi-worsted, using a short draw on roving for the singles on my 8.5:1 whorl. I then wound each into a center pull ball and plied using my 5:1 whorl. The gray skein clocks in at 174yds and the black at 150yds. I’m very happy with the finished yarn and want to start knitting with it right now, but Halloween is coming, and I need to be concentrating on a couple of dragon costumes instead.