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Topic: Prepping Fleece Tools?  (Read 1164 times)
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« on: August 22, 2007 10:02:06 PM »

Ok, ok, ok.  The obsession is officially out of control.  I got a sample of raw fleece off of etsy with one of my orders, and now I am obsessed with learning how to prep it.  I mean, I already make the yarn, I might as well take the DIY thing all the way, right?

Now, I figure I need either hand carders or those steel pin lock picker things?  Or both?  And would I need a hackle as well? 

Luckily, the smell doesn't bother me. :-)  I used to work in a barn so it just brings back memories....

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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2007 02:45:09 AM »

The spinning I have been doing so far from fleece has just involved flicking open either end with a pet slicker and spinning raw, or else cleaning it before hand.

When I am cleaning fleece and what I have isn't too grotty I pick a lock, flick it open, then twist it in the centre and back against itself like when you are making a skein- only just in the centre- to keep it together. Then I do some soaks and rinses in the laundry sink, and when it is dry it is good to go. There are plenty of different ways of prepping and cleaning fleece, including a thread on this board.
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2007 08:42:21 AM »

i was having some serious troubles drafting out my wool ((long staples...argah)) and thought if i could card some batts and make rolags it would work great, so yesterday i bought two large sized dog slicker combs and had at it, and it worked awesome.  and sooo much cheaper than "real" carders.  if youre just starting doing it, i would recomend using pet slickers, theyre cheap, and theyre working awesome for me. and it looks like im not the only one either.

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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2007 02:52:19 AM »

Hmmm...interesting.  Ill have to pick up some dog carders.

What do you all mean by flicking a lock?

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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2007 05:59:09 AM »

When I flick open a lock, I grab it by the end and brush out the other end, effectively opening it out and clearing it of any left over VM. I then turn it and do the same to the other side. This means that instead of having a condensed lock, it is much more open and easier to spin.

To clarify, I don't prep my fleece into any kind of batt, but spin from my little opened out lock of wool. Its probably closer to spinning from prepared tops rather than batts in that all the fibres are pointing in the same direction; you just need to be aware of when the beginning and end of the lock is so you can keep up a continuous flow of fiber.
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2007 09:35:35 PM »

Hi I just prepare my fleece similar to zeeblebee  and only wash if first if it's very old or dirty most fresh fleece spin well with just a the tips being flicked  some many not even need that  I like spinning not wool preparation


« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2007 12:19:34 AM »

I really enjoy prepping fleece.

I ALWAYS wash a fleece before I spin it, I don't like the way dust and grossness gets trapped in the twist, I like bright whites and colours.

For wool, I generally give a quick sort through and open out (with just my fingers) any really dirty tips and pull out any VM or dead bugs.

Then, I just wash it using a bucket of very hot soapy water and a bucket of very hot clean water.

I recently processed a cashgora fleece that was really matted and dirty, I used a flick carder (which is just tiny, it came with my Wee Peggy to get of most of the crap and open out the lock. To do this, I held it by the cut end first (since this is where it was matted) and brushed the tip ends to get out any dirt, then turned it around and held the tip end while I really brushed out the cut end, removing any matted parts, short cuts and VM.

It took a while (I didn't mind, I find it meditative and it was a summery day) and there was a LOT of waste, but the resultant fleece is GORGEOUS.

Back to wool, once my wool is completely clean, I dye it or leave it naural, then blend it on my drum carder if I want to add anything else, otherwise I spin from the lock. When drum carding, I run it through a few times by itself, usually, and then another 2 or 3 times with any additions, like silk or angelina.

If you want to spin worsted, you use a drum carder or hand cards, if you want to spin woolen, you need combs (which are the steel pin things you're talking about) or a hackle. That's a whole lot of info that you may not be looking for, though, so I won't go into it.

Here's a pic of some English Leicester I prepped this week, it turned out so beautifully brilliant white, I was really happy with it:

Hope this helps.
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2007 12:22:04 PM »

This is all a HUGE help.  I think I am almost ready to buy a pound (or two..or three...)  and see what happens.  Grin


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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2007 03:54:03 PM »

Yeah... I have 8 or so alpaca fleece, four or five different wools, some more cashgora, angora and mohair fleeces in various stages of readiness.

Don't say we didn't warn you! It's like an addiction.
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2007 08:08:25 AM »

A couple of ladies at my Guild just comb the locks with a dog comb and then spin from that. They spin it up 'worsted' so don't make rolags which makes 'woollen' yarn.

(They pre-wash their fleece beforehand.)

I suppose it depends on what you're going to use your yarn for, whether you need it lofty or smooth and firmer.


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