Jun 28, 2021
How to select a wool fleece and where to purchase a wool fleece are today's topics. This might cause money to fly out of your wallet so beware! Also, some interesting pooling shows up in an FO.
Show notes with photos and links, as well as a full transcript can be found in the podcast section of our shop website: TwoEwesFiberAdventures.com.
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I have a finished project! I finished my Walk Along Tee by Ankestrick. I love it and it fits so well. I highly recommend this pattern.
I had knitted halfway down the foot of my second Drops Fabel socks when I realized I had not turned the heel. So now I need to frog to the heel flap. Not happy with myself.
Picked up a long dormant shawl called Simple Shawl by Jane Hunter that I started in March 2018. Using Michael CWD in the colorway San Francisco Fog.
Started swatching for the pullover Atlas by Jared Flood for my brother. The yarn I’m using is Navia Tradition. It is a very wooly wool. Mark likes his sweaters to be slim fitting but I think this sweater should have some ease. Also, I’m not great at colorwork so this sweater is going to be a challenge.
I’m still spinning on my green/brown merino.
I finished a Perendale braid from Sheep Spot. I spun 3-ply and used a fractal technique. I split the fiber into 3 pieces lengthwise. Spun the first one, split the second one into two and split the third one into three.
Found two more bobbins with Santa Cruz Island singles. I have some carded fiber left so I guess I should spin the rest of it onto a third bobbin and ply it off.
No knitting or crochet this week, but lots of dog training! Beary is doing great, his thyroid is stable and he’s lost twenty pounds in the 8 weeks that we’ve had him.
Don’t forget your tetanus shot!
what to look for
Spinner’s Book of Fleece, Beth Smith
The Great Fleece Makeover, Emonieiesha Hopkins, SpinOff Magazine
A great article on how a fleece that is not a coated, prize-winning, spinner’s fleece can still be a good experience and make good yarn.
Black Sheep Gathering: Show cancelled for 2021 but there is a list of producers selling their fleeces.
Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival: Festival also cancelled this year and there is also a list of vendors selling raw fleeces
Oregon Flock and Fiber 2021 in Albany, Oregon, October 23-24
Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival 2021, October 2-3
Natural Fiber Extravaganza, July 9-11, Lebanon, Tennessee
Knitters Review Fiber Festival directory
Check out your county fair website
Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em directory
Nistock Farms: Still have 2021 fleeces available. Informative website. Located in the Finger Lakes region of western New York state.
Sanctuary Wool/Homestead Wool: Located in Wisconsin. Their fleeces are from rescued sheep.
Also, Fibershed Directory for California
For example, Red Creek Farm, Peggy Agnew emailed her for information about purchasing.
On Etsy: Lots for sale by the pound or the entire fleece
Check out your local spinning guild!
Sheepspot has dyed fiber braids using less common sheep breeds.
Sincere Sheep Fiber is locally sourced (California)
Valley Oak Wool Mill has roving.
Hi, this is Marsha and this is Kelly. We are the Two Ewes of Two Ewes Fiber Adventures. Thanks for stopping by.
You'll hear about knitting, spinning, dyeing, crocheting, and just about anything else we can think of as a way to play with string.
We blog and post show notes at Two Ewes Fiber Adventures dot com
and we invite you to join our Two Ewes Fiber Adventures group on Ravelry. I'm 1hundredprojects
and I am betterinmotion.
We are both on Instagram and Ravelry. And we look forward to meeting you there.
Enjoy the episode.
Good morning, Kelly.
Good morning, Marsha.
Well, how are you today?
I'm doing fine. As we were talking about earlier before we started the podcast. I thought I'd have a nice quiet morning to record and apparently the city has to come inspect our roof work that we had several weeks ago now, maybe months ago. Anyway, so there may be someone on the roof outside my window looking in as we're recording.
If I suddenly scream in surprise, that's what happened.
Well, I have lots going on too. We were a little late recording because I was on the phone with the plumbers. I'm having the plumbing redone in the basement. Well not completely redone but I had a leaky waste pipe. So I have that replaced and I'm having a new washer dryer delivered in July. And so they had to redo the plumbing for that. I'm relocating them and that's been quite an endeavor. But the big waste pipe was leaking. So I was all excited to go down there the first they came. They were here two days. And the next morning I go down there look at the floor to see, Oh, it's gonna be all nice and dry and everything. I won't have to have my five gallon bucket there anymore. And there's a cascade of water down the
So I called. I thought well maybe just one of their seals didn't seal or something. Come to find out that it's actually the the four inch waste pipe that goes up. The vertical one that goes up between the two bathrooms. So I now have a hole in the wall in the main floor bathroom, and I cannot use the second floor bathroom. Which is the one I use. So they're coming Friday. This is what? Wednesday? They're coming Friday to fix the pipe in... the big four inch pipe in the bathroom wall on the main floor.
That's not too long.
No it's not too long but it is a challenge living with it. I didn't realize... okay this is gonna... This is gonna make me sound very elitist when I say this and very privileged what I'm going to say. I haven't lived in a house with one bathroom and multiple people for a long time. And so you know I I'm living with Ben. He's living with me right now. And so I have to run down in the morning. You know, I have to run down to the bathroom, but he's in there. And so what do you do? Well,
coffee can in the basement!
Worse than that!
Backyard! I went out in the bushes in the backyard and tried to find a place where the neighbors wouldn't see me but I thought afterwards maybe I should not have worn my bright red bathrobe!
Right exactly. Like when we used to go to hunt tests. I learned when we used to go to hunt tests that that was when I did not wear my white underwear. That's when you have your darker colored underwear so that you're not flashing white in the bushes! [laughing]
Do you remember your Civil War socks for Robert?
Wasn't that part of the things-- they had to be a dark
you didn't want to take your boots off and then be seen and shot... so anyway...
You need a camo bathrobe. [laughing]
That's probably way too much information. But anyway, I was delayed because I my point of bringing all this up as I was delayed this morning because I was on the phone with the plumber. So yeah. Anyway,
well, yes. This is the old house version of the Two Ewes Fiber Adventures.
Yes, I know. Anyway... Well, that probably was probably the whole world did not need to know that but desperate times call for desperate measures. [laughing]
Well, after all of that, let's get to the projects, shall we?
Yes. And you have some big news, huh?
Yes, I have big news. I finally finished the Walk Along tee!
Yay, very excited. It fits great. And I really recommend the pattern. Now. It's true. I didn't do it exactly. Actually, I really didn't modify it that much. I just really what I did is I made the sleeves a little bit longer, not the, because the pattern is either like cap sleeves or full length sleeves. I just made the sleeves a little bit longer, but not full length. And then I just didn't add the sort of the look of having the sweater under a sweater.
I didn't do that. But it's very nice. And I I really like it.
All right, I saw the pictures. It looks really nice, I think. Yeah, I love the color. You have to wear it. You have to now wear it to Seabrook.
Yes, I will. I'll wear it
Down to Mocrocs. Is that the the name of the town or the beach?
Well, the official town, I think Seabrook is actually in Pacific Beach is the name of the town, but the actual beach that I believe Native American name is Mocrocs.
Okay. And that's the name. I mean colorway. Yeah, that's to let everyone know why I suddenly made this divergence.
So Kelly, I just wanted to.... are you on Ravelry? Can you see my...
Oh, no, I am not. But I can get there soon. Keep talking.
Well just... I want you to take a look at my picture. And I look at it and I really love the T shirt. But it does.... We've talked about this before. I believe I have a little pooling on the left breast on this one. [laughing] Remember, I was talking about that in something else?
So just take a look at this. Let me... nobody's commented, but I look at it. Now when I wear it, I will not see it because I will be wearing it. But when I look at the photograph,[laughing]
oh, yes, you do. [laughing]
Okay, so pooling on the left breast and peeing garden. In the same episode. [laughing]
Oh my gosh, [laughing]
we might have to have a an explicit rating. [laughing]
But wasn't there something I've ...
You have a little matching pooling going on the right hand side, too. [laughing]
I started laughing because I thought, do you remember the endless discussion about how I was blending the yarn?
All the yarn management!
So much yarn management. And I have
but it's really pretty. And I don't t hink it's a big deal. I mean, when you look at the picture of it hanging kind of flat on the on the dress form, it's different than when you actually are in it.
Yes. And I think I'll have to actually try it on and post another picture because that mannequin is not my dimensions necessarily. Oh, well, that's life.
It just goes, it just goes to show you that that sometimes all that yarn management turns out to be no different than if you had just worked from one skein? I mean, who knows? It might not be but
yeah, cuz it's, you know, it's hand dyed.
And you can actually, if you look at it sort of below the pooling, there's a little sort of diagonal striping going. Do you see that?
It's just so again, it doesn't really bother me. I just think it's... I find it kind of amusing. And I, I really don't understand how it happened because I was so careful. And I had labeled everything. And that part where it happened is I'm not doing any shaping. at that point, right, I'm just going around. And I also use that great technique that helical knitting where you... Now the helical knitting, I will say, You're... the point where you change yarns keeps moving around the sweater. So because you're in that point where you change. Yeah,
So that makes it a little different than if you had always changed in the same spot.
Yeah, and I don't know if that has something to it.
Yeah, I don't know. The people who do planned pooling might be able to tell you more about that. But I've never done it.
Yeah, there's I mean, there's patterns for that where you... remember we saw at Stitches
Your, your sock? Well, yes. And then your socks. You did the
Oh, right. For Dennis, the Bengal socks?
Yes. Now those were a little different because it was planned pooling but then you also did short rows to turn around and go back the other way to make this to make the point at the end of the stripe, like so where the where you you know, because the tiger stripes have don't go all the way around the tiger. You know what I mean? So anyway, yeah, very interesting. And I think your sweater, your your tee, looks really nice. Your sweater turned out really good. All laughing aside.
Oh gosh. Okay, and then um, so I'm still spinning on the green and brown Merino. I've just been working on the brown. Then what else? Oh, I started knitting Well, I've been continuing to knit on the...my Drops Fabel socks. But the other night I finished the Tee shirt and so I thought Okay, I'll go pick up my socks and start knitting on them. I thought... I went to measure them against the... I'm halfway down the foot of the second sock. And I went to measure it against the first sock to see how much further I had to go. And I thought that's weird. Like the heel looks different. And then I realized I didn't I did not turn the heel.
Oh, no! I've done that before.
And it's like, What is wrong with me? Like I like how did I not do that? I that's so weird. And I what's also really weird about it is I remember my when I did the gusset. My numbers were way off. Anyway, I should have known. So now I have to rip back.
Yeah, that's something to keep me busy. You know, start again. It'll keep me off the streets, you know, out of bars. And then I... Oh, I forgot to put this in the show notes, Kelly. But what I'm knitting on right now is... I had to look it up. I cast this on probably two years ago. It's a shawl. It's just called Simple Shawl. Oh, yeah. It's from hedgerow yarns. This was yarn that I bought down in San Francisco.
And I'm looking at it right now. That's pretty
Yeah, it's a...
Kind of denim looking.
Yeah. And it's... I bought this at Atelier Yarns in San Francisco. Actually, I bought it in 2017. And I think that was the time when I met you for Stitches West. And then I went into San Francisco, right. And just went to some of the yarn shops and I think that's when I bought that. Anyway, the colorway is called San Francisco Fog. That's why I love the colorway. And it was hand dyed. And it just says on the label Michael's CWD so I don't know anything about them. He's not you know, in that there's really no information about that company but anyway, it's very nice. It's kind of like denim, it has... okay, it reminds me of dirty jeans. You know, muddy jeans because it has that denim blue, but it also has some brown. Yeah, kind of a cocoa brown in there. Like you have mud on your jeans.
Yeah. And it's pretty I like it. It's a pretty color.
it's really nice. And it's kind of... what I think is kind of nice about it is it's it's quite a kind of a neutral yarn, where a lot of the shawls I make have lots of color in them. Yeah, this one's kind of neutral, which I think will be a nice.
Let's see, when did I cast this on? Oh, I cast on in 2018.
Yeah, well, it'll be nice. Your your point about it being a neutral is, is a good one because I have a shawl that I made... Oh, man, way back when I started-- first started to spin. And I didn't even really know how to make a shawl. I mean, I didn't have a pattern. I started at the bottom and then I just made increases on the sides. Like I was doing... I had a dish cloth pattern that did that. And I thought oh, I could do this for a shawl. So I did. So it's with my handspun but it's like three different colors of blue. That kind of blue gray, Blue, a blue gray, and then a more tealy kind of a blue. Anyway, it turned out really good. And I use that all the time. That shawl. I mean it just it's just a good color with almost anything I'm wearing. I can grab it. Yeah, I think you'll be really happy with it once it's done.
It's probably happy to be out of the knitting bag!
I know. Well, it's been... you know, it's funny, because it's been to Scotland. And it's been... I took it to Iceland.
Oh, it's kind of like the Pismo Beach socks. Yes, you're gonna have to, you're gonna have to bring it with you now everywhere you go.
Yeah. And then I started swatching for another project. And it's the Atlas pullover by Jared flood. And this is for my brother. Do you remember when you were up here? I think for the dye workshop that we did. And we went over with our friend Janis over to Tolt and Mark was our driver. And he bought this yarn for me to make a sweater. And so it's Navia Traditions.
Yeah, that's gonna be a really pretty sweater. Color work yoke.
Yes. And so he he likes color. So I think a lot of people would have reversed these colors, but he's using a really bright kind of grass Kelly green for the body. And then the color work there's the color work is in that grass green. And then two other colors. In his case he picked navy and a kind of a bright blue light, like robin's egg blue. And so I did the swatch I not really proficient color work. So I'm going to need a little help on this. I think I'll be asking questions probably. You are great though. Because I called you other night when I was doing the swatch because they said obviously you want to do the swatch in the stockinette, which is the main body of the sweater. And then it's a color work yoke. And then you want to do a swatch in the color work, which I did. But I was swatching, you know, color work knit side and then purling back color work. And I said... my comment to you was isn't my my gauge going to be off? Because the whole... when I do the sweater, the color work is all done in the round. In stockinette. So all on the knit side. And so you said what a lot of people do is you knit on the right side, then slide your swatch to the other side and leave a huge long loop in the back and pick up the yarn and knit again. Yeah, so that's what I did. And it worked out a lot better. I do think-- I think doing color work in a swatch is going to be very different than doing the actual sweater. It was very slippery. Because I you know, it's I mean, I made a pretty sizable swatch, but it's still not like having all of that weight of the sweater and all those stitches, you know, to get any kind of rhythm. Yeah, so but it looks pretty good. And I think this is a very well written pattern. And I-- and also when you get to the part where you're doing the color work, it tells you of the three colors that you're using, which one is supposed to be the dominant color. I'm assuming, and listeners can give me some feedback, that I'm assuming that the dominant color is the one that you're going if you are throwing the dominant colors in your right hand. I'm assuming
Yeah, I don't know.
I have to read up on that. Or as I say if anybody wants to weigh in on it. The other thing about this sweater, too, is Kelly you and I talked about this. That Mark likes his sweaters to be very slim fitting. He's slim and he likes slim fitting sweaters. I think because this wool is it's worsted weight and it's it's a very woolly wool. The kind I think you probably want to wear over a flannel shirt. Yeah, I think he's gonna want more ease in it then he thinks he wants because it does... what does say the pattern say? Three to five inches of positive ease and I think he's gonna want that. So we're having some...we're in discussion right now.
And then and I'll talk more about this too when I start doing it but I think Jared Flood is also the designer of the other sweater that I made for Mark which I am now drawing a blank on it. What was that that blue one I made for him? Oh, here it is Cobblestone. The sweater is designed that you you you do a tubular cast on at the bottom of the sweater, do the ribbing and knit up to the armholes. Put the body aside, do the same thing with the sleeves and attach them and then do the yoke. But I found I did not do that with cobblestone. What I did is I provisional cast on for the body, knit up to the armholes, provisional cast on for the sleeves, did stockinette up to the armhole, attach the sleeves, did the yoke and then I went back and I actually had to knit some stockinette down before I did the ribbing to get the correct length. And because what I find interesting about this method that the pattern says is how do you know where the armhole is going to fit? Is it gonna be you know, an inch from the armpit or two inches from the armpit? So and that makes a difference on how long the sleeve is going to be? Right, depending on where the armhole hits on your body. So I don't... I can't really wrap my head around doing that method. I think. So. I'm going to do this method.
Yeah, I think worked with the other. I think it's a good idea that you had when you did that last sweater. Mm hmm.
So anyway, that's what I'm going to do on that one. And then that's it for me for projects.
All right. Well, you have more than I do. I did spin a four ounce braid, which was good. I had done a little bit of spinning for the last episode with that Santa Cruz Island which I need to talk about a little bit more, but I had a Perendale braid and Perendale is kind of a medium, I would say a medium to long wool. A little more woolly than Corriedale, which I consider to be usually like a medium. Or a little less against the skin than a Corriedale. I probably wouldn't make a hat out of this. But it's... but it's not. It's not as coarse as I thought it was going to be just based on what I had read about Perendale. And when I got this braid from Sheep Spot, and she has a lot of interesting breeds to select from. And I bought this last year, I think I bought it when I was buying prizes for the for the spin in and I bought it for myself. But anyways, blue and yellow. And then of course green where the blending happened in the braid, and I decided to do it as a fractal. It's a three ply fractal spin. So just to describe what that is, the way I got ready to spin this... For those of you who don't know, I divided the braid into three parts, because I was going to make a three ply. So vertically stripped it into three parts, vertically. And then one part I just spun it straight from the from the start to the finish, you know, I didn't do anything different, I just spun that. And so that gave me relatively long color repeats. My sections of color were were pretty long. And then the second bobbin, I took one of those strips that I had stripped out and I had weighed them and they were all roughly the same weight, I had to make a little bit of an adjustment as I was pulling it apart to make sure that I got this, you know, equal, kind of equal sizes. The second one I then split into, I split that one into two pieces vertically. So I had thinner strips, and I spun. And so I spun those. And I spun, you know, the first one end to end and then got the second one end to end. And I kept track of what order, you know, what was the start of it, and what was the end of it?
And so my color repeats are less, right? They're smaller. Because the fiber was... the piece of fiber that I was spinning from was was more slender. And then the third bobbin, I did exactly the same thing. But this time I did it in three, three parts. Yeah, three parts. And so it was 1/3 of the braid, split lengthwise, and then I took that 1/3 and I divided it again into three parts.
And spun that. So now my color repeats are even smaller. So I've got one bobbin with longer color repeats, one bobbin with a little bit shorter color repeats, and then one bobbin with even shorter color repeats and I a plied those together. And that's what they call fractal spinning. I'm really pleased with the skein. I'm not sure it looks any different than if I just like, spun randomly, and then plied it together. But when it's stripes up, when you when you knit it up, it does have a different... I've seen in a couple of books or articles about fractal spinning compared to other ways of managing the color in your braid. It does look a little bit different when you knit it up. So it will be a little bit stripy, when I knit it up, but pretty blended. I mean, there's a couple of sections that are all blue and a couple of sections that are all yellow, and mostly it comes out... it reads green even though the the braid by itself just looking at it was more blue. This this yarn actually reads more green when you look at it, but it came out really nicely. And I plied it kind of loosely. I didn't i didn't ply too tight. Like I usually try... I usually like to ply tightly. But since Perendale is kind of a longer staple, I thought, Well I'm gonna ply it more like a longwool without so much twist in it. So that's what I did. I'm really happy with it. So that was kind of a fun experiment. And then I took what was left I'm not sure I'm gonna have enough to really be able to tell... but I took what was left over after the first bobbin ran out. And then I just plied a two ply because I want to do a little swatch of each and compare the two ply fractal to the three ply fractal spin. But I am going to do a little swatch of both of these so that people can see the difference and I can see the difference between a two ply fractal and a three ply fractal. The one thing that you will definitely be able to tell is there's not as much color variation in the two ply. Partly because it was only two bobbins worth of color playing together.
And partly because there was only a very little left on the bobbin. So you know, it didn't really have enough yarn to get all the way through all the different colors. But anyway, it'll be an interesting little experiment to make a swatch with both of those and compare them side by side. Yeah, so that was my spinning. Going back to the Santa Cruz Island, fleece. I was so excited because I had emptied bobbins of the Santa Cruz Island. And it's like, okay, I can call that finished, you know, even though I still have some fleece left, but it's like, okay, I can call that spinning project finished, right?
I was looking around in my stash for what else I had that I could just do a quick little spin with. And I found two about third full bobbins of Santa Cruz Island singles. Two, not three, two. And it's... I want to make, you know, to match the yarn I already had, I wanted to make it... I would make a three ply. Not that I really need any more of that. I was gonna make socks with it. And I have plenty for a pair of socks, but just kind of like Oh, no. So now, I do have some more fiber that's already carded. I did find that too, when I was digging around. So I will spin the yarn that I have, or the the fiber that I have that's already carded, and spin the third bobbin. And I just want to be done with this project. But you know, the little bits that I didn't want to throw away on those other two bobbins are insignificant compared to the mountain that's on these two bobbins
In comparison. I could have easily thrown that away. But anyway, I I now have another Santa Cruz Island job to do. So. I will do that. I like that fleece. It's really fine. It'sjust, it's tricky to spin. I mean, I have to do... I talked last time how I really am doing kind of an inch worming technique. And then I had to stop and pull out little neps of tangled fiber every so often. So it's not it's not exactly rhythmic Zen spinning.
So I did no knitting and crocheting. In my... since the last time we talked, I mean, I didn't even do any. I finished the last dish cloth. And I didn't even... I didn't even get any more on those. So that's kind of strange, but I've been doing a lot of dog training. Nothing formal, and not any real formal stuff, but you know, walks and, and trying to keep them from fence fighting. And so Beary's here sort of crunched into the corner where I'm recording right now. So you know where I am Marsha in the dressing room. Right? Well, he could be lengthwise and have plenty of room. But he's crosswise. So his head is jammed up against the cabinet. And his rear end is jammed up against the closet. The size of him is you know, the whole width of this little dressing room area. So, but he's, he's snoring. So he's happy. He doesn't mind being crunched in the corner here.
Well, and he can probably curl up into a tighter ball now because he's lost so much weight.
Yes, yes. He had a vet appointment last week. And so we got to, you know, get him weighed and get his result of his thyroid test and all that. He had a new thyroid test. But yes, he lost. He's now 113 pounds.
Wow. So that's amazing.
Yeah. Yeah. So just just to kind of recap for people. When he got to the ASPCA in January, he was 163 pounds. When we brought him home, he was 133 pounds. And now he's 113 pounds. In like ...it was about seven weeks, seven and a half weeks that he lost the 20 pounds.
Wait a minute, I say 50 pounds. Yeah, he's lost 50 pounds.
Yeah, he's lost 50 pounds. So he's got another probably 10 to go maybe. Maybe? I don't know. At first I thought he would... He was you know, he was shepherd and just heavy and needed... He could be probably 90 pounds would be his his final weight. But he may be crossed. Well, we talked about that.
Yeah, he's big, big boned. You know
He's got something in him that makes him bigger so it may be that he only has another 10 or so pounds to go so we'll see. But But yeah, the vet was really happy and his thyroid is stable. It's good, it's all in in the good ranges and the vet said keep doing what you're doing which is a lot of exercise and training and organized, you know, chewing activity like the frozen Kongs filled with dog food mush, doggy milkshake.
Did you like my comment? You posted that on Instagram. And it was like everyone thought Oh, it looks like milkshake. Yeah, but knowing what's in it, I think it looks disgusting. But the dogs love it.
Yeah, it is. It is pretty disgusting. I have some turkey fat from Aunt Betty made a turkey. Like a turkey breast roast last night for dinner. So I have some turkey pan drippings that are gonna go in the next version, the next round of the of the frozen Kongs, and it's funny because you know, I had to I wanted that magic bullet so that I could, you know, make smoothies and stuff. And I got it one year for Christmas. And I did use it for the first year. But, you know, before we got Bailey, it hadn't been out of the cupboard for months and months and months. And now that's what I use it for. Making dog milkshakes to pour into the Kongs to put in the freezer. So anyway, yeah, the dogs are getting healthy. I don't know about me, I'm not having my kale smoothies anymore. [laughing]
That's really good news.
It really is good news. Because he's just... I'm sure he feels so much better and you know he can move so much better.
He had the the senior dog blood panel because we know they told us he was eight at the ASPCA. But I have never had an eight year old dog acting this lively. And I'm pretty sure he's not eight. I mean, just watching him with Bailey and the, the constant playing that they do and all his I mean, just the things that he's doing now it's like, Okay, this dog is not eight, I just can't believe it. And his teeth. I mean, you can't always tell by their teeth. You know, we had one dog whose teeth were good for her whole life. And then the other dogs, you know, their teeth got bad right away. So you can't really tell. But his teeth are good. And his his energy level is high. So I just think he's not eight. But there's no way to know except,
how long he lives, you know? Yeah, if he lives another 10 years, then he's definitely not eight.
But we won't know that. Yeah, so huh. So anyway, yeah, Beary's doing great. He starts obedience class at the SPCA on Saturday. And I got an email with homework that was like 10 videos. I was like, Oh, my God, I have to watch 10 videos, because I am not a video learning person. But I did. I watched them. They were all really short. But they were good. So I have homework before we go to our class. So he's supposed to be doing his name. And, you know, responding to his name and a couple of other things that I need to do. I have been working on down with him, but he doesn't like to lay down. I mean, he lays down fine when he wants it.
Yeah Really! Yeah.
But he's not he doesn't follow a treat to go down, which I've never had a dog that wouldn't do that.
So that's interesting. Yeah.
He, he pops up. And I've tried all kinds of different ways to keep his rear end from popping up. And it doesn't seem to work. So I need some tips and tricks from the from the trainer on that when we go to class, maybe. I've been just waiting. Mostly just waiting until he's tired. And then I tell him to sit and then I just stand there. And then when he does finally lay down, I tell him down. He's getting there, but that's going to be a tough one.
Yeah. So anyway, he doesn't really like to be told what to do.
Right. That is true. Yeah, he's getting better. But yeah,
He didn't come that way. We know he's learning. But
yeah, yeah, he's already... he's doing some crate training now, too. He's doing great now that he can, you know, he's thin enough that he can actually turn around in the crate. He's using the Wolfhound crate, and he fits great. And he goes in there just fine and he's quiet. And he doesn't break the crate.
So that's a nice fresh breath of fresh air compared to Bailey.
Well, good. That's really good to hear. I mean, I think that that's just really good news that he's lost so much weight and his panels are all good.
Yeah, his health is great. Yeah, his health is doing really well. So, yeah. Well, now that we've talked about all our projects, including our plumbing and dogs and all of that kind of stuff. We have a summer spinning topic for everybody.
Yes. So we thought we would talk about the whole process of selecting a fleece and where to buy a raw fleece. And so let's just dive right in. Okay.
And before we do that though, I just want to remind people that if you are going to be working with raw fleece, you should just make sure that your tetanus shot is up to date.
Oh, that's a good idea. I wouldn't even have thought about that.
It seems like every time you have an injury of any kind that could be tetanus related they give you a tetanus shot anyway, even if you're ...even if you just had one almost But you should have had a tetanus shot, I would say, because it's easy to... it's easy to have a puncture wound, using carding equipment or wool combs or being stuck with a sticker in your fleece. It's easy for that to happen. So anyway,
that's a good idea. Yes, that's good, because I would not have thought about that. So and you probably just get that at the pharmacy. Don't you think? You can get so many vaccines now just at the pharmacy? I mean, if you can get a tetanus
maybe, Yeah, probably.
I don't know. I have to look into that. Okay, so I have about selecting a fleece. How do you start just buying a fleece? What do you look for?
Kelly, any thoughts?
I tried to buy a fleece this morning from Instagram. And I don't think I'm going to get it because there was somebody else who was interested in it before me. But so what did I look for? Well, it was Wensleydale, a Wensleydale cross, which means it was a long wool, which always attracts me seeing those long curly locks. Just gets me. So that's what I look for. It was six pounds, which is a decent size. Again, that's what I look for. I am not... I'm not wanting to buy fleece, you know, oh, I'll just take a pound of that. Or, Oh, is it three pounds fleece? Now six pounds is a good size for a fleece. It's kind of like cones of yarn, you know, big and juicy. So, so that was an attraction. And then, and then it was gray, which is also an attraction for me. So long wool, gray, six pounds. And the price was right, it was priced at $50, which is about $8 a pound. And I think that's pretty... I think that's that's excellent. And then plus shipping. So for for a long wool that's a good price.You're not going to find... you're not going to find Merino at that price. But
But for a long wool. So that's what I look for. I wasn't thinking of a project, I wasn't imagining what I was going to do with it. Nothing like that. It was just like, oh, pretty long, curly, good pric-- buying!
Well, I will confess, before we really get into this, I will confess that online, doing some research, I was looking at producers and Etsy and there was many that I wanted to click buy. But I had to restrain myself. And what really gets me in this is excellent marketing. And if there's any producers who listen to this, this is excellent. This is how you get people to click buy. If you have a photograph of the sheep that the fleece came from, or just the name of... just the name of the sheep makes me want to buy because there's like this... I don't know it's just sort of... it's very... it's like a story and anytime there's a story about a product I get more and more tempted to buy it.
Yeah, well it's the same as a yarn having a name like Mocrocs Beach as opposed to you know the colorway
or San Francisco Fog. I bought San Francisco Fog because I liked the name.
as opposed to color number 5973.
Or I remember at... now we're getting a little off of the topic of buying a fleece but I remember one time at stitches. I do not need another skein of hand dyed sock yarn, but I bought one because the name of it was It Was Comic Con and I Was Drunk. I had to buy it, right? So, yeah, so if there's a backstory or something it's really very appealing for me anyway, personally. But so anyway, but what I was gonna say the first thing is... I was gonna say is online, there's... The Livestock Conservancy has an article about selecting a raw fleece. And I would really recommend that, because it talks all about staple length, coated versus not coated. What else Kelly?
it talks about the health of the lock and looking at health, the strength of the lock or the health of the sheep. It talks about the different breeds.
And so I-- that's just a great source, I think just start there. You get much better information than well, we could, and concise information to what we could give in just the podcast. But I think that's excellent. And the other thing we were sort of talking too before we started recording about-- let me just back up. When I, the first time I bought a fleece, I was like, Oh, I want it. This is what I want to make out of that fleece, I'm going to buy that. I think I bought a Shetland fleece at Black Sheep gathering. And I didn't know anything. No, I take that back. It wasn't, it was I split it with a woman down there. And it was now I don't remember now I think was like a Merino Corriedale mix, I think or something. And I didn't know anything. And I just thought, Okay, I'm gonna buy this. And then this is what I'm going to make out of it. Well, I don't think that really is. ..Maybe if you're really knowledgeable, you can get to the point where you can say-- you can look at a fleece and know how it's going to spin up and know how you're going to-- what you're going to make. Yeah, but I kind of think I think as a beginner, you probably just have to buy the fleece that you will like, and after you wash and card it and spin it. It will then tell you what you should make out of it.
Yeah, that's true.
Because you may have an idea that you want to have yarn, a yarn that really blooms, but that particular fiber is not going to do that. So it doesn't mean that it's going to end up being a bad yarn. It's just a yarn that's not-- it's gonna be a beautiful yarn that's for another purpose.
Yeah, yeah, that's true. I mean, so my love is when I see fleeces that are silver, silver gray longwool.
So I that would not be a good choice if what I wanted to make was a you know, a light fluffy cardigan. You know, like my Funky Grandpa sweater. If that was what I wanted to make, that would be the wrong choice. If I'm going to buy a romney for example long wool, I might be able to make like a coat kind of sweater, cardigan. Or blanket, or you do some weaving with it, weave a blanket, but I'm not going to be able to make a light fluffy cardigan out of a romney wool. So a lot of it depends on on what it is you want to do with it. I mean, you know, my, my advice is you just spin to spin, right? And see what happens. And so my advice would be for first spinners it would be to try all the ones that you just you look at it and you love it. Yeah, if it sings to you, and you go, Oh, my God this is so gorgeous. Get it! You know, if the price is right, and you're up for the adventure, I would say just go ahead and get it. And then you'll see what what the yarn is that it makes. And you don't have to spin the whole thing. You can, you know, and you don't have to buy the whole thing. Sometimes you can split fleeces with somebody. Or you can, I know on Etsy you can buy... sometimes people are selling them by the pound and so you can buy just a pound of a particular kind of fleece. So
If you do buy a whole fleece though, I think there's a couple things to sort of keep in mind. Find out if it's been skirted. And that's when they remove all of the wool that's not really usable and the tags which is manure. And you can buy a fleece that has all of that, but just know that you're paying. You're gonna be throwing away a lot that you're paying for.
Right right. Yeah, so if you're searching on Etsy, I would say one of the things to put in your search is spinning or hand spinning. Just to make sure that you know you're going to... you're going to get something that people are at least calling a hand spinners fleece. Although we will talk later, I found a great article on those bargain fleeces or free fleeces and how do you, you know, make sure that you can use a fleece like that. So, yeah.
And then the other thing and I, I've never had this experience, but they talked about it when we went to the Black Sheep Gathering. Well what they had said and people who were there, the general consensus is if, if you're buying a fleece that's been part of a show, you're going to get a good fleece. Just because people have carefully prepped them for showing
And spent money to put them in the show.
Right? Yes, there's an investment to show them. And so you really couldn't go wrong buying any of those. We did have though, do you remember the one judging where the fleece had an odor to it, like a sour odor or something? And they said that it was, I don't know, I don't remember now what was wrong with it. But I guess what the general... what I would take away from that is smell the fleece. If it just doesn't smell like that delicious, wonderful... which we like. Some people hate but we like that lanolin woolly smell. Then avoid that one. If it has any kind of weird sour or off putting odor that doesn't smell right.
A dirty dish cloth.
And so anyway, I was gonna say that the... I think that the Livestock Conservancy website is really good. And we'll have the link in the show notes. Yeah. And also the spinners book of fleece by Beth Smith is really good.
And that can help with you know, like, what kinds of fleeces will do what kinds of thing. What breeds will do what kinds of things, you know. Is it a medium, fleece? Would it make that fluffy cardigan? Is it better for outerwear? Will it be just good for rugs and blankets? It will give you a good idea of of that. Yeah, the other thing to think about too, is what kind of preparation you're going to work on. What kind of ability do you have to wash it. So like, if you're gonna buy... If you don't have a good capacity to wash a fleece and you're gonna have to wash it, you know, little by little, and you're not sure how it's going to work, you might not want to buy a Merino--a really greasy fleece like a Merino. You might, or you might want to, if you do buy a fleece like that, you might want to have someone else do it, have it processed.
Or even just washed by a processor. I mean, that's a possibility. That you can have a processor just wash your fleece and send it back to you clean. Just because that that does take a lot of water, a lot of soap, a lot of time to get all that grease out of the fleece. And so depending on what your washing situation is, you might be better off having a fleece that's not quite as greasy. So the article that I did find about the kind of fleece that I've always liked, the bargain fleece, is called The Great Fleece Makeover. And it's by Emmioneisha Hopkins in Spin Off magazine. And she talks about three different fleeces that she had and, and they were, you know, dirty in different ways. They were flawed in different ways. And yet she was still able to make beautiful yarn out of them. Time, you know, there's a time investment to that. If you have, you know, flaws. So for a lot of people any kind of veg matter in their fleece: stickers, hay, anything like that is just a no go. And I've never been like that. That has never been something that I totally just you know been put off by and I think partly because when I started spinning, coated fleeces were very rare. And so you know, you always had some of that in your fleeces, but now with coated fleeces, you can get, you know really pristine fleeces without any of these problems. But you pay the price, right? So if you get a free fleece or you have the opportunity to get some fleece for a very good price, I would really recommend this article The Great Fleece Makeover. So you can see, you know, what kind of things does she look at? And what kind of things does she do? Wool combs are what she uses, because they take out a lot of the garbage you know, the short cuts of wool, the really short pieces, you know. If the shearing is inconsistent, they take out a lot of the vegetable matter if there's a lot of that, and they make a really nice preparation. So wool combs are a really good thing to have if you're interested in working with the bargain fleeces. A carder also gets out a lot of the stuff that's in it. A drum carder, or hand cards, but not as much as combs do. So anyway, that's a good article that I would recommend to people looking for a fleece. But there is just something about walking around a fleece fiber festival looking at all the fleeces and just falling in love with one. And and if, if that doesn't happen to you, then maybe you're just not a spinner for fleeces, for raw fleeces, right? If you can walk through a fiber festival and you don't feel pulled... drawn to fork over money for at least you know, three or four of them and have to rein yourself in, then, you know, maybe braids are your are your jam. And that's okay. You know, yeah, processed fiber might just be what you are in love with.
Well, and the thing about the processed fiber you said about time and like, you can just start right away. I like that. And that's nice. Like I've used... it's all been, you know, the commercially processed roving that I've used for the combo spins.
Yeah, Yeah, I'm in a really bad place right now because this Perendale was my last... was my last dyed braid. I have a couple of braids of Coopworth that are natural color. And that's it. So you know, I don't have anything that I could just grab. Which is kind of on purpose because I have a lot of stuff that I need to process. [laughing] So how do you buy one? If you are going to fall in love? If you think you might fall in love, where would you find those fleeces?
Well, so the first place I know where I bought all of mine was going to some sort of festival. So now, the pandemic has, has changed all of this because a lot of these festivals are not happening. So Black Sheep Gathering is always in June. That's also been cancelled. But a lot of them have online sales.
Or a list of the producers and you can contact the different producers. So we have links to the Black Sheep Gathering in the show notes. There's the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Kelly, you added the Ore`gon Flock and Fiber in October is that on?
Yeah, in October, it's on. And they moved it to Albany so it's in the same location where Black Sheep Gathering was the last time we were there.
It's a possibility.
Oh, but school's in session ... Oh, no, but you're
Yeah, but I'm online.
Ah. Oh Kelly!
So I yeah, there's, there's a possibility. Yeah.
Vermont Sheep and Sool festival is also happening in October, according to their website. They have dates in early October. So and then I found another one that's actually happening coming up fairly soon. That's the Natural Fiber Extravaganza in Lebanon, Tennessee. And it's July 9 through 11th. It's a mostly alpaca. It's put on by an alpaca association. But that looked, that looked interesting if you're in that part of the country. And then I also found Knitters Review has a fiber festival directory. Now I put the link to that in the show notes as well. A lot of them when you go to the website you see the 2020 information and you see "cancelled" but if you're willing to like search out your area. If you're looking for a particular area you can in a particular month you can narrow it down pretty well to just look at the ones that are, you know, pertinent to you and see if they have them. And then our county fair last year I kind of spaced and didn't even think about it but the Monterey County Fair last year they had their wool show, their wool auction, they just had it online.
So and then you had either pickup or shipping of the fleece that you had bought. I didn't even know about it until after it was already done. It was already done is when I realized.
Yeah, and I know the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival that one actually I think that was in May. It didn't actually happen but it was all online. But there you could check it out and see if there's still things available. And as I say, they all have vendors listed that are still selling their fleeces.
Yeah, the listing of vendors is the nice thing. Yeah, in these websites, so. So yeah, check out your county fair website. And then the other thing I just put in there, I know we've talked about the Shave 'Em to Save 'Em, and that's through the livestock Conservancy. The same website that Marsha mentioned about selecting a fleece. But they have a directory. And you can find different, you know, the rare breed fleeces there. And then also, there's the Fibershed directory. California has the Fibershed, I think Canada, Canada has a Fibershed organization. I don't know if other areas have a Fibershed organization. But if you have a Fibershed in your area, you can look at their website. And they usually will have a directory of producers of all kinds of things, not just wool. I think there's a, there's a hemp farm, and a flax farm on the Fibershed directory. And so there are some other websites, so lots of resources in this set of show notes.
So I just, I also just googled where to buy a raw fleece, you know, and the first one that came up was a farm in, it's in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York State. It's called Nistock farms. And they--you have to reserve the fleece. But they still have some available. But it was interesting. They have an interesting website just to read it too, because they they have a lot of information about processing your...washing fleeces. They also are part of the Livestock Conservancy. And they're members of the livestock Conservancy. And they talk a lot about how their... how important is to keep their their flock healthy. So they no longer take their sheep to to be judged at shows because they don't want to expose them to all the different diseases that sheep can get, apparently, and they don't bring in rams from outside the farm for breeding. They just have their own rams. And then, and now I'm getting into something I really don't know anything about. But the breeding of sheep. You can't breed them too many times because you have to bring in new
So when they do bring in a new ram, they have to be quarantined, they're tested and then they have to be quarantined for a certain merit amount of time before they enter the breeding program. Very, very interesting. I mean, if you if you want to go really deep into it, it's a very interesting website. And then the other one I found and I just think this is just sweet. And Kelly, you said we had talked about this before but the Sanctuary Wool website. They're located in Wisconsin, and their fleeces are from rescued sheep. This is the one where they have their pictures. And you know...
Which, I'm looking at them right now. Oh my gosh.
Good looking fleeces, too. I know when we first mentioned them, one of the caveats was, you know, we had not bought fleeces from them. And I don't know if they even had a website at that time or I don't think it had any pictures. So it was kind of, you know, I don't know what this will be like, but here's some information about it. But these look beautiful! East Friesian Polypay. And that's another thing! That.. so that's another thing that gets me-- a breed I haven't spun before. Yes, when I see a breed-- that's how I ended up with the Santa Cruz Island fleece.
It's rare, and I had never spun it. And it was just intriguing. And this one is also intriguing East Friesian Polypay.
Huh? What is that? I know there's Friesian horses. I think they're from Holland.
You're asking me a question I don't know the answer to. I really don't know what East Friesian sheep is. And I don't... I know Polypay is is a relatively newer breed. Anyway, one pound six ounces for $18. Wow. Add To Cart! Tthe lambs fleece, the locks average four inches long and there's very minor debris remaining to remove. So I anyway, I would say take a look at this. If you don't worry about the danger to your wallet, take a look at this website. [laughing]
Well, and there was another. I don't know if was this website or there's another website I was looking at. And what I wanted to put in the cart the name of the sheep was something like Big Gal, something like that. Anyway, but she was an older sheep and so they said as she's gotten older, more and more gray hair is in the fleece. Oh and that one I just like oh, I want it! Yeah, because of her story, she's just this old lady, you know, and I kind of wanted the old lady fleece. But anyway...
Sally's Fox on her Vriesis website would sometimes have her older sheep fleece. And she would describe it in such a way that just made you want to buy it.
Yeah, yeah. Oh my god very good marketing.
For those of us with no self control,
I'm clicking closed now. I'm having self control, because I already tried to buy one this morning. I do not need any more fleece. How many do you think I have in my garage?
I don't know. Because I know how many I have.
I think I might have I think ten.
Oh Kelly, I think I have eight.
You know that True Confessions will be next next episode. [laughing]
Actually, I take that back. I think I have nine because I think I'm not counting the... my friend of mine in the knitting group gave me the alpaca fleece. So I don't think I'm counting that one. And that thing's a monster. It's huge. I didn't know alpaca had such big fleece but this thing seems huge. I don't know what I'm going to... I don't know but I was hoping during this our summer spinning that I would.. I obviously I can't wash and card all of it. But just some of it. Just because I've never spun alpaca. So anyway, the other place to buy, too Kelly, is... I didn't even think about this. You recommended it, Etsy. So that was another thing that I started sort of doing a deep dive into Etsy and there's tons and tons and tons of fleeces on Etsy
And if you know the name of the farm, that's a good way to look online. I follow some farms on Instagram. And so you know i've been, I follow them for you know, they might have lamb for sale, or they might just post nice pictures, or but some of them if you go to their website will have, you know, might have some fleeces for sale or might have processed fleece for sale. So that's another resource, too. If you're still not able to find a fleece, there's another way.
Anything else you want to add about where to buy a fleece?
Another thing to look at is fiber ills. So Valley Oak, she's the one that that posted this morning about the fleece that I almost bought. Marcaile at Valley Oak Wool Mill, but she also has roving that she sells, you know. She doesn't usually sell fleeces. She's helping someone else sell a fleece. But she does have roving. And so if you have a wool mill, that you know about, near you, or you know, that that you follow on Instagram or whatever, check out their website and see if they have their own roving for sale, and you can buy already processed fleece from them, you don't just have to buy a fleece and send it to be processed, you can just buy wool that's been been processed. So you know, your local, if you have some local mills, you can take a look and see if they have anything on their website. But then there's also those people who you know, there's a real nice thing about grabbing a braid and starting to spin. And I just my recent purchases, I mentioned Sheep Spot already. And I purchased a couple of braids of fiber the other day, which I think are going to be prizes, from Sincere Sheep. Her fiber is locally sourced. And then I also love the colors of that Huckleberry Knits has. That's up by you. Up in up in Washington, and there I mean, there are lots and lots of other people who have braids, but these are some examples of places that I've recently purchased.
The other thing I forgot to mention this is spinning guilds. Sometimes somebody will have something that they want to sell, or they know a producer that has too many and they're just looking for like, maybe they'll give it to you but if you pay for the shipping, right? So but that's also a resource. So I belong to the Northwest Spinners Association here in the Pacific Northwest and they have a Facebook group. And lot of times they're posting things.They post things, you know, funny articles, funny spinning cartoons and stuff, and interesting articles. Sometimes the equipment for sale, and then sometimes there's been fleeces too, that's another good source just to find, you know, they're all good sources.
So yeah. Yeah, we have lots of ways to make your money fly out of your wallet. .
Yeah, really. [laughing] Anything else on this topic,
I think just the main thing is that, you know, if you're interested in, in that process that you know, fleece to fiber, that whole, you know, the whole spectrum of the process, I would say it's, it's definitely worth doing once. And after you do it, you'll know what parts of the process you like, and what parts of the process you don't like. And then you can you know, you can decide. No, I'm just going to buy already processed braids of fiber, or I like washing fleece, but I have to wash it in small batches. So I'm only going to buy fleece by the pound I'm not going to buy entire fleeces. Or you could be like me, and if it's 10 pounds, that's even better. And so you really want, the bigger the fleece, the more attractive it is.
That is true. Like that was when we went to, I don't remember, I think it was the Monterey County Fair. And they had the auction. We got a really good deal on those. Like remember, we got a 10 pound fleece or something or a 12 pounds. I mean, it was a huge fleece that we got. And it was really quite inexpensive. And part of the reason is because it is so much for a hand spinner, right for hand spinner to go through 10 pounds
Now granted... Oh, I one thing we didn't say is when you do buy a fleece, too, that when you wash it, you do lose. The weight will go down, right, because that weight is debris in the fleece
And when you card it, when you card if you do your own processing, or if you send it out to be processed, when you card it, there will also be waste. So you could lose, you know, you could lose as much as half by the time you have, or more, by the time you skirt it, wash it and process it and have it ready to ready to spin.
Because every time you do something to it, you lose. Right?
Right. So like I carded yesterday, I have an Oxford fleece that I started carding yesterday. I didn't put that in my projects. And I carded. I picked which means you pull the fiber apart. I picked and put through the drum carder what was 100 grams. So I decided I was just going to do it in 100 gram batches. So I did 100 grams. And then I put it through the carder. And when it got through the carder, it was only...When it got, you know, done being carded the first time, now it's only 95 grams. And I'm going to put that through the carder probably two more times, just to get it really nice. And by the time I do that, I'll probably be down to, you know, 75 or 80 grams. But yeah, the big fleeces are attractive to me. But they're not attractive to everyone. You know, it's helpful if you have a friend who will split it with you right, Marsha?
Yeah. So I'm always, I'm always willing to split.
So. All right, well, I think that's a, I think that's a good amount of information for someone who was interested in how to go about purchasing a fleece for the first time. And what are we going to talk about next time. Do you remember?
So the next episode, we're going to talk about carding of fleece, blending, prepping and process. Okay. So that's the plan.
So good. We have to do some research. Yes.
Well, I have one on the carder too right now. So I'll start now. I'll do my research. Partly do my research that way.
Okay, cool. All righty. Okay, well, with that we'll say goodbye.
Okay. Bye. Thank you so much for listening. To subscribe to the podcast visit Two Ewes Fiber Adventures dot com.
Join us on our adventures on Ravelry and Instagram. I am betterinmotion and Kelly is 1hundredprojects.
Until next time, we're the Two Ewes doing our part for a world fleece.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai