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Topic: this is not as easy as you guys make it sound.  (Read 1175 times)
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gmadanger
« on: February 22, 2009 07:49:54 AM »

first: my wool is sort of in clumps. apparently i'm supposed to have locks? (sorry, another newbie, i know how annoying that is but how else does one learn? also, i don't  know what breed this is, if that matters.) if i am supposed to form this into locks, how do i go about that? the instructions i found for flick-carding (which appears to be what i'd do) assumed that the stuff would be in locks already. small bits. this is not easily going that way.

also: your VM (vegetable matter--fellow newbs, you will be searching through this entire board before someone defines this acronym for you, so there it is). you're supposed to actually be able to pick it out, it seems, from what y'all say. this appears to be in really tiny bits. like straw. small pieces of straw. i can't even grasp most of it (should i be using tweezers?) and when i can pull some out, a bit of fiber comes with. as in, by the time i pull out *everything*, i'd have nothing left to spin.

i'm sorry; it must seem like i need a strangely high level of hand-holding. if there's a tutorial already written about this stuff, just point me at it, or at appropriate google terms, 'cause i am just not getting it.
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2009 08:17:08 AM »

Gma,
First things first.  The wool you are using.  You're saying 'clumps', and I'm not understanding.  Has the wool been cleaned at all?  Is it right off the sheep?  Does it feel sticky? 

Usually, spinning fiber comes in 'tops', 'rovings', 'batts', 'clouds', 'rolags', 'locks'.  All which have been scoured (washed/cleaned).  What you have doesn't sound like any of those.

Top is where the fiber is combed so the fibers all lay in the same direction and it looks like a long snake.
Roving is similar to top, except it is carded instead of combed.  Most of the fibers lay in the same direction, but not all.  It also looks like a long snake.
Batts are fiber that has been drum carded and looks like a small blanket of fiber
Clouds are when the fiber is picked and all fluffed up, no real definition except fluffy clouds.
Rolags have been hand carded.
Locks are cleaned wool that has not been picked, carded or combed.

The purpose of fiber preparation before spinning will dictate if your yarn will be woolen or worsted (we'll get to those definitions later, they don't matter right now).  It allows the fibers to slip past each other as you draft, or attenuate the fiber in preparation to be spun.  If you place a hand on each side of your clump and gently pull in opposite directions, you should see it start to attenuate.  Your hands should be at least the length of your fiber staple apart (staple, the length of individual 'hair' of fiber).  If it does not slip past each other, move your hands a bit farther apart.

Let's start here and work our way through it.  We'll hold your hand all the way!

eta: I sent you a PM.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2009 08:19:30 AM by mullerslanefarm » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Cyndi

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gmadanger
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2009 09:15:12 AM »

>>You're saying 'clumps', and I'm not understanding.  Has the wool been cleaned at all?  Is it right off the sheep?  Does it feel sticky?

hmm... by "clumps" i mean that it does not look anything like the pictures i've seen of "locks", where, from what i can tell, the hairs are all basically lined up. like a lock of hair that's been cut from the animal.

 from your definitions, "clouds" would be the closest thing to what i have. i think it was cleaned a bit, as there are no really large chunks of anything, but it's still fairly brown--and the bit i've washed turned white--so i'm pretty sure it is not right off the sheep. it doesn't look like a recently-shaved (shorn, etc) fleece, anyway. it was shipped to me in a few ziplock baggies; could the compression have something to do with it? it's not sticky, but it does feel like frizzy, dry hair; the bit i washed softened up a little, but there are still harder parts. (it's tough to describe this sort of thing! i sort of wish i had a camera.)

so far, i've only used commercially-prepared rovings or tops (i know etsy sellers don't always label them quite right, so i can't say 100% for sure which) and i haven't had problems. it's getting it to the roving stage that's giving me the business.

and thank you for your help!
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2009 09:51:09 AM »

If the bits you've scoured turn white and what you're trying to work with is brown, then I'd still call it 'raw'.

I'd put it in a sink of hot soapy water and let it sit a bit (15-20 minutes) with NO Agitation, remove it (having it in a colander or mesh bag helps), empty water from sink, refill with same temp of clear water.  Add a bit of hair conditioner and let the fiber soak again.

Let it air dry thoroughly, then get some dog slicker brushes (2) and card them.  Fiber prep is key.  You don't want to be working with dirty fiber.  I've spun plenty of fleeces 'in the grease', but I always gently scour the fiber to remove the dirt before I spin it.
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gmadanger
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2009 10:05:37 AM »

prep is, even at this "experimental" stage, definitely making a difference! i've been combing the bit i've cleaned (definitely need to get proper combs, though--Using What You Have only goes so far) and i can *hear* bits falling out of it onto my cardboard surface.

it's actually kind of gross.

it still doesn't look like what i expected--definitely cloud-y, and i'm going to have to wash it more thoroughly than i did--but, as often happens when one lets go of her preconceived notions, i'm having hope. the helpful comments help with that, too. Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009 05:47:38 AM »

You're doing fine. 

That's what we're here for, to help you out.  If you have a question about something you don't quite understand, just give a shout here.  There are som any helpful spinners here.
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2009 11:31:50 AM »

mullerslanefarm, you are made entirely of win: spinning is next on my Crafts To Learn list (after crochet) and I have been SO confused about a couple of things that you explained here [grin] You are lovely and may end up holding my hand a bit when I start learning :-p

gmadanger, good luck - it sounds as though you're getting there, keep trying!
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2009 12:25:43 PM »

No problem PH
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.
.
.
.
as long as you don't tell me I look stupid in my wooly hat!!   Tongue

 Grin
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009 12:27:11 PM by mullerslanefarm » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2009 12:32:57 PM »

No problem PH
.
.
.
.
.
as long as you don't tell me I look stupid in my wooly hat!!   Tongue

 Grin

LOL...........sound s like me!  I don't care how dumb my knitted/crochet products look to others............. if I like 'em.............I wear 'em!................. Grin
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2009 12:46:49 PM »

[laughs] I'm really sorry about that, I just happen not to like them :-p It's almost an in-joke with me these days, my boyfriend has this really dumb woolly hat that he insists on wearing constantly and it's become this whole hilarious thing, you know how it goes.
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