Today is Sunday, right? I've been off by a day for about two weeks now. When I'm at work, I run by a daily schedule of 45- or 30-minute blocks. If it's Monday, it must be beginning instrument lessons. If it's Friday, I must be at Carder. Oh yeah, you don't know what or who "Carder" is. There's eight elementary schools in my district, mostly named after area luminaries. My home school is Calvin U. Smith, former district superintendent who consolidated many little one-room schoolhouses in the area into our current district configuration. My other school is Frederick Carder, of Carder Steuben art glass fame. That might give you a hint as to my specific location, instead of the generic Finger Lakes in the sidebar. So when I'm not at work, I quickly lose track of the wide-open swaths of time that I fantasize everyone else has.
On Friday, I traveled up to visit some friends on their farm/shop. Bob and Patrick own and operate Winderwood Farms, and once I figure out how to, I will post a link to their eBay and etsy shops. For now, you can go to those sites and punch in the above. They sell beautiful fibery goodness, some of it produced by their own beasties, and some not; some if it naturally colored, and a lot of it dyed by Bob in the kitchen. Bob has also been getting into glasswork lately too, so you can also find dichroic glass buttons and dizzes too. He has an eye for color, that Bob does, and a wicked sense of humor. Patrick is equally sharp and takes care of their beasties. I often meet a mutual friend who lives outside of Rochester there, too, and Friday was no exception. (She's Fiberfollies in the blog list, and shared a hysterical picture of her new granddaughter.)
Nearly two years ago, when I was a total beginning spinner, I got all excited and bought half of a Shetland fleece with visions of a sheep-to-shawl kind of thing. Well, then I moved, and then I found other things to spin, and then I finally swapped for a pair of handcards, and then I finally learned how to use them, and that got me to this summer. I also finally had a space to spread out wet fleece while it dries, also known as my back porch. So finally I decided it was time to light this candle and get the fleece ready.
To make a long story short, if you ever decide to wash a fleece in your bath tub, it's do-able, really it is. Just don't toss the whole dang thing in the tub all at once. And if you have to toss it in the tub all at once, at least sort out the really filthy parts first. But if you have to throw it in the tub all at once without sorting out the filthy bits, at least sort out the unusable parts. And if you really have to do all of the above, take into consideration the state of your house or apartment's plumbing, and consider all that sheep grease (aka lanolin) and crap going down the drain. It might be OK, or you might clog the pipes.
So I thought I had it nice and clean, and then realized I would rather eat live crickets than hand-card this thing. Not because there's a fair amount of fleece, but because I don't really like carding, and I prefer to spin combed top. Oh well. Put it back in the bag and let it sit in time-out while I figured out what to do, throwing it out not being an option.
And then on Friday, as I decided what to take with me to work on (when visiting Bob and Patrick, it's ALWAYS OK to bring knitting, spinning, or whatever), it occurred to me...Bob processes fleece. Bob has a picker. Bob has a drumcarder and batt-making thingy. Maybe Bob will show me how to fix this mess. So along with my Circle Socks
and some bread
(if you want to know what it looks like baked, imagine it darker brown...I don't know why I didn't take a final-product shot)
I packed up the Shetland, plus some other loose fiber I had from a spinning class last year, some of it already carded into rolags. I also packed my puppy-dog eyes. I need not have worried, because Bob of course agreed to not only wash this mess for real, but to make it into a batt for me. It probably helps that there's less than two pounds of raw fiber there, and it's not a complete disaster (just too greasy still to go through the machines), and that Bob is made of teh awesome.
So that being settled, we sat down to have tea and bread and chat, and Bob admired my sock wistfully. Of all the things that Bob does, and does so well, knitting is not so easy anymore. Bob is missing his left arm from just above the elbow down, and size 1 DPNs just aren't going to cut it. So when he left the room to take a business phone call, I quietly asked Patrick what shoe size Bob wears (and in telling me that, Patrick told me what shoe size HE wears, too), and the next time I visit there will be a pair of Thujas for each of my friends.
Clean fleece. Hand-knit socks. Wonderful friends. Neato.