Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Finding My Feet; life with baby and wool

For the past 3 months, my life has been all about establishing routines. Something I find very grounding. 
Our babe has quickly become a 3 month old. And I know next time I blink, he'll be a 4 month old. 
I have been loving every bit of figuring out motherhood and forming a family.
I've also been learning that raising a baby and working with wool, go so nicely together. 

Lately I've been thinking a lot about and missing showing up to this space to share my work. 
As we figure out routines, care for, play with, and generally stare at our baby waiting for him to wake up (which is happening right now), I've been wanting to show up here but also feeling too scattered to do so in a way that feels right to me. 

But this past Friday I was given the gift of time to travel on my own up tp the Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine as my husband took charge of our R. 

It was blissful and I was giddy as I moved through the fair with an energy I don't quite remember happening since long before I was pregnant.

Once there, I bee lined it for the fleece tent and people in there must of thought I was nuts as I darted around with my cart looking at every single fleece. I smooshed 5 fleeces into my cart to open up and decide upon. 
I went home with 4.  

On the way out, I found this dye garden with a weaving project in the middle. Dream dye garden. 

dye garden by the wednesday spinners. very inspiring for my soon to be dye garden.
I was so so pleased with the fleeces I found. Three of which are from Eolian Farm~ a brown/ grey finn and 2 very light grey/ very light tan shetlands. And a beautiful brown icelandic from another grower- name is escaping me at the moment. 

The following day I started my fiber prep process. This fleece is also from Eolian Farm that I purchased this past June at the Fiber Frolic. I was way too pregnant to do any prep- then my water broke one week later. 

I soak my skirted fleeces in a my double sinks. Giving them several baths until the water is clear.

Just look how snow white that comes out!!! 
I use Orvis paste for the soap. 
Washing fleece is really easy and you can even have little ones help. 
I fill up my sinks, or you can use basins or bowls, what ever size. I found I'm able to fit a pound of fleece in one sink. 
I fill it up with the hottest water from the tap, shut off the water, add a scoop of orvis paste (I found mine on amazon), stir it around, sink the fleece in- dirty tips down if your able. 
Let sit for a few hours to over night. I'm impatient though and I only let mine for for a few hours and then change the water. 

This is the brown/ grey Finn I mentioned. So so lovely!! I can't wait to spin it up. I've already envisioned making a little cabled sweater for my R. 

I typically go to the Frolic, Common Ground, or help put farms with skirting for all my fleeces to produce my yarns for my etsy shop. But I've had a super sad realization about my work. That is, I never spend time knitting these yarns I work for hard to make! That is changing now. From each fleece I'll be keeping enough yarn for myself to make at least something small. Especially to showcase what this yarn looks like to help encourage you along too:) 

As I started washing all my raw fleeces, I also started to set up my carding operation outside on my porch. I have 7 fleeces left to card. Some are only 1 pound where others are up to 8!! My goal is to have all these carded up before the weather turns too cold to do it outside. Then, come winter, my work will switch over to spinning 10 fleeces by the spring. Let me tell you what they all are, because I'm so proud of my selection this year. 

But before I do, here's a Scottish Black Face fleece on the carder. Speaking of carders, I have an extra wide Fancy Kitty and it's a dream to work with. Once my fiber is weighed out, I'm able to card up 4 ounces in 5 minutes. 

So these 10 fleeces I've got:
Scottish Black Face from Nina Fuller at Lily Brook Farm
A Cheviot mixed breed from Wolf's Neck Farm
A white Shetland and two grey/tans and a brown Finn from Jenni Johnson at Eoilan Farm
A brown Icelandic from a place that's escaping me at the moment. 
and a creamy alpaca, also can't remember where it's from
A white churro from New Mexico from Pat at the State Fair
And a creamy cinnamon Churro from New Mexico from a lovely weaving center, again, my brian is starting to take flight. I will post about all these later as I'm working on them so stay tuned. 

That's my work for this week. 
I wonder what I'll get up to next week. 
What are you working on?