Wednesday, July 27, 2011

.... I enjoyed the visit from the In-Laws

This past weekend Mom G and Dad G came down to visit us and it was great to have some one on one time with Mom G and the boys had fun playing golf. I am suprised they survived the heat but they did okay and had a good time.

Me and Mom G went to several fun places on Friday. We had a great and tasty lunch at Red Tree Coffee. We both loved their decor and colors on the walls. I had their roast beef panini with a salad and Mom G had the Chicken Salad Salad. The balsamic dressing was delicious. Then we went next door to Ewe and Company to look at some yarnie goodness and exotics. Glenna was so hospitable and answered so many of our quirky questions that we learned so much about different yarns in her store that I was overwhelmed by the variety of bases for yarn. There was milk, corn, silk, and others. The most exotic was the Zealana - Kauri Yarn which is a blend of 60% New Zealand Merino, 30% Possum, 10% Silk. Now that sounds exotic right? And what is Possum? It is not the O-Possum we have here in the states. Accoring to Wikipedia, Possum (with no O) is a small to medium-sized arboreal marsupial species native to Australia, New Guinea, and Sulawesi (and introduced to New Zealand and China). Possums are the eastern hemisphere cousin of the western hemisphere Opossum. See pictures below:
Possum (New Zealand)

Opossum (American)
Is there one that looks better than the other??? Not to me. Well I like the Possum for their soft fur for great yarn. I am hoping to make a scarf since their fur is warmer than wool.

The Mom G found some yarn she fell in love with for herself and her mother and is wanting me to make something extra special for them. I love making gifts for others and glad that my knitting allows that. We are still picking out the patterns but I will let you know what we pick when we decide.

Then the last place we went for yarn is Haus of Yarn which is a great place but does not have the ecclectic feel as Ewe and Company. But fun none the less! Here I got a skein of Schaefer Yarn, roving from Chrysalis Fibers and some buttons for the soon to be on the needles Tappan Zee Cardigan.
We had so much fun in those two places that I was worn out!

Oh but now I have to back up a bit because I forgot the most delightful part of the visit. When they arrived Thursday with several gifts in tow. I was waiting for one special gift, a New Zealand Fleece that Mom G got from her daughter. About 10 years ago Mom G received this fleece and she never touched it since she put in a hand made basket (she made the basket) and she decided to hand it down to me and get me to use it. Well I was so excited about this fleece that I already did some research and knew what to do to clean, process, and spin it (before it arrived). I already drop spin so I was some what ahead but I did not know how to process raw fleece straight from the animal. So today was the day to get started.
Raw fleece in handmade basket
Above is what the fleece came in and looks like. The feel on it is kinda sticky because of the lanolin which is a wax that the animal secreates on their skin. Who knew? I didn't. Lanolin attracts alot of dirt and debris so the true color of the fleece is not shown since the wax has a yellowish tint. So once cleaned several times in soapy warm water and rinsed the color and weight of the wool changes. Evidently the weight of the wool can decrease by a third to a half of what it was because of the amount of lanolin in the wool. The color completely changes and the true hue of the fleece is revealed.
Cleaned wool
The great grey and off white wool is revealed. I still have half the fleece on the back bedroom drying but the sample above was done on Friday morning so I can play with the clean fleece. Then this morning I decided to take the sample and card it. Carding is a process to line up the fibers to make it easier to spin. I carded the sample with a couple of dog brushes that are rectangular and have the wire teeth. After carding I spun the wool and made a bit a yarn. I will take pictures once I get more on the spindle.

It was fun to see and do the process of processing wool. I will have more pictures up as I go through this fun process. I know it is not for everyone but I think I am on to something. It is cheaper to buy unprocessed fleeces and makes me feel like I am part of the by gone era of sheep herders that lived off their animals. Although I do not do the herding, milking, or eating my own sheep, I do love knitting from other peoples sheep. I would love to see someone shear the sheep up close instead of on video because I think those people are so talented to be able to get a fleece in one piece. I know I would end up like Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs when he tried the old school method of shearing. Enjoy the video!

Well this was a long one and I hope you enjoyed it and I will surely post more pictures of the wool as I process it. Have a great rest of the week.

P.S. Me and the hubby have a date night tomorrow to see Doc Watson at the Ryman Auditorium. Should be fun!

1 comment:

  1. can't believe how clean the wool looks after washing! i remember buying that and shipping it home to mom - long time ago; glad you will make use of it.
    have fun on your date night!