Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fiber Fun - part 2

After the wool was washed (I preferred the results from the front loader over hand washing), there was still a bunch of little sticks and blades of hay stuck in the fleece, sadly. Besides that little vegetable contamination, the fibers are somewhat matted and not at all ready for spinning. The next step in the process is a sort of combing, called carding.
A real spinner would have a drum carder, and an enthusiast may use nicely crafted wooden hand carders. Either of those options were pricey, so we settled on large plastic dog brushes instead. Everyone is having so much fun with straightening the fibers, producing soft and much cleaner roving. Ideally, one produces a sort of fibery roll called a rolag, which can then be fed into a drop spindle or spinning wheel. We're working on that!

 Meanwhile in the basement, the husband is hard at work on a drop spindle to spin the roving into yarn. Sadly, the first attempt didn't withstand the torque on the lathe, so stay tuned. He'll figure this out in no time.
I'll take you on a little tangent now, because you've never seen our basement, and because it's father's day today: Here are some glimpses into the revolutionary world of wood turning... (revolutionary.... get it? :-D) These bowl blanks sit around in between stages of turning. Either because they need to dry, or because the husband has to work out his frustration over yet another crack that will have to be fixed with one of those magic tricks of his. When the time is right, he'll turn them (there I go again.... LOL) into something shiny, beautiful and functional, as always.
At every single step along this way we are reminded that there is so much to learn, and so much to do, if one were to live a truly sustainable life. Yet it is so satisfying to be able to craft something useful and usable from scratch. Instead of possessions, those items are an expression of ourselves.

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