Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's only going to get into the Teens today

Teens, not as in 15F or 18F but 115F.... Bleh! What is a person to do when it gets this freaking hot? Road Trip!

I found out last Thursday that I had Friday off. We had 2 choices: the Dine "Sheep is Life" festival up in Window Rock, AZ or the Estes Park Wool Festival in Estes Park, CO. Mike and I priced tix to go there and between airfare and hotel it would have been $1000 for the weekend in Colorado. YIKES! So, we thought about driving. 14 HOURS? No thanks. So, we called up Mike's folks and we all met in Window Rock, AZ. We had a great time, learned all that we wanted to know about Navajo Churro sheepies, learned about washing and natural wool dyes and met up with some friends on the Res! (Hi Ida and Virgil and kids!) The weather was beautiful, only in the mid 80's F. I came home with 10 lbs of Navajo Churro sheep hair and washed it up. Man, this stuff turned out beautiful. I still need to card it and it will go into my rug that I am making up right now. (No, not weaving).

Here is a great method I found to wash most all fleeces:

1. Clean the fleece. This involves shaking out the crud, seperating out the really dirty bits and taking out the second cuts.
2. Turn your water heater up to 140F (or use cold water in the heat of the day at my place)
3. Fill up washer with hot water and turn off washer (no agitation, the fleece gets angry when you agitate it and it felts)
4. Add 2 cups Arm & Hammer laundry detergent and 1 cup of ammonia
5. Add Dirty Fleece
6. Close cover on washer and let soak for 40 minutes
7. Turn washer to final spin cycle (the spin cycle without water) and spin fleece. It may be a good idea to turn off the water to the washer to make sure that no water gets onto the fleece while spinning.
8. Remove fleece from washer and clean out the dirt in the washer with a wet cloth.
9. Turn water back on and fill washer again with hot water
10. Add 1 cup of Arm and Hammer laundry detergent, add no ammonia
11. Add damp fleece back into the water and soak for 40 minutes
12. Spin the fleece again on final spin cycle.
13. Remove fleece from washer and clean out the dirt in the washer with a wet cloth.
14. Turn water back on and fill washer again with hot water
15. Add damp fleece back into the water and soak for 40 minutes. Add no detergent or ammonia
16. Spin the fleece again on final spin cycle.
17. Dry fleece with your favorite method of drying.
18. After fleece is dry, card and spin to your liking!

I found these really cool screened laundry baskets at IKEA that I put my fleece into and put it out on the front porch for a couple of hours to dry the fleece. With temps in the hundred and teen range, it doesn't take long to dry. I have found this method cleans some of the dirtiest, greasiest fleeces I have done. I have cleaned Churro, Shetland, BFL and Ramboullet using this method and it has worked for all of them! (Fine to course wools) I got these instructions from a wonderful helpful person in one of my Yahoo spinning groups!

I am REALLY behind in my etsy store. All of this roving and yarn still needs to be put up in my store, YIKES! I have found a good use for my son's old bedroom, it has now become my wool room. Here is where I put my wool up to dry, braid it, package it and store it for sale in my site. I am going to get a new site (my own store) up late summer/early fall once I get back onto nights and have my 3 & 4 day weekends to get the site up and running. I am also hoping to do 1 -2 wool shows this fall and sell some of my rovings and hand-spun yarns. I am not sure if this will work out since I am in the middle of a plant start-up at work, but I think I may be able to do this.

OK, the spinning bug has bit me really hard! I signed up for the SOAR retreat (the annual Spin-Off retreat) and signed up for a workshop called Spinning 201. Of course, I did this late and I am now number 2 on the waiting list for this class... Bummer... So, I decided to sign up for a Master Spinner Class at Olds College. Yup, I am going to Oklahoma in October to go to the Level 2 class to learn to ply better, learn to spin exotic fibers and learn more about sheep fur! I am REALLY excited! I have no clue if anyone I know will be there, but the idea of 5 days of spinning classes (full days) really makes me happy! I hope to be a teacher one day and this will help me learn all sorts of new stuff! They have 6 levels of Master Spinner classes and I covered all of the Level one stuff in my 4 week class I took at The Fiber Factory here in Mesa. I am finally feeling really confident in my spinning abilities. My yarn looks really great and I am having a blast doing it.

Today's fiber to spin up: Superwash BFL. I order 3 lbs of Superwash Blue Faced Leicester roving from Sheila over at Wool2Dye4 and got really prompt delivery. (Sheila has been great to work with for both yarns and rovings. No Affiliation, I just love getting stuff from her.) I dyed it up in a Royal Blue color and I am going to start spinning it today on Lenny (my current name for my Lendrum spinning wheel). I have some Shetland lamb fleece on Vicki (the Louet Victoria wheel) but I need to re-card some of the batts since I am finding them difficult to spin with. (Difficult meaning I didn't card them enough and I still have some clumps in it.) So far, the only thing I didn't like was that it got "yucky" in the dye pot when I dyed it a solid color. I am sure this is because the wool is superwash and slides easily. I will let you know how it spins up. This roving is SO SOFT!!! It is yummy! I just want to cuddle with this stuff. If the spinning goes well, I will probably paint some up and sell it on my etsy site or at my store when it gets going.

Today, I am taking the wheel and headed up to New River to celebrate the Summer Solstice with some great folks! Whee! There will be spinning, swimming, food and great company. On Wednesday, I have a meeting with the bosses to find out when I can move to shift. I sure hope it will be soon, this working 10 - 12 hour days 5 days per week is not fun. I would love to have my 12 hour shifts back working 3 - 4 days per week! Keep your fingers crossed for me!