Fiber Fusion Fiasco

This was a pretty crazy weekend.  I took Shaft’s fleece to Fiber Fusion for sale, and we took a peek around.  Compared to last year, Fiber Fusion had more vendors and appeared to be busier.  A lot of the people appeared pretty interested in buying and there was a shift in vendor makeup towards vendors that supplied equipment and finished/processed goods rather than “raw” fiber.

Having said that, there was also a massive increase in people offering raw fleeces for sale.  The increase was so great they set aside another building just for raw fleeces.

But then they didn’t really let anyone know how to get to it, or where it was, or how to submit a fleece for sale or judging (two separate desks).  So I and a bunch of other people put our raw fleeces out excitedly and hoped for a sale, but nobody knew our beautiful fleeces were there, so almost nothing sold.  The same fleeces I saw when I put mine out were still there at the end of the day on Sunday when I went to claim my unsold fleece. Alas.  Here’s hoping they’ll get the hang of things next year, this is still a new festival and working all the kinks out takes time.

As for the rest of the fleece, we broke down and got a dehumidifier so air drying would not take days on end.  It’s been quite effective and we are delighted with the results.  We set up in the garage, it is easiest to dry fleece there.

The sheep hacked the barn and ran amok when I lay all the fall fleeces out to air dry in the barn after shearing day.  So my project for the next few months is to shake all the hay out of the fleeces.  It looks pretty bad, as these pictures suggest, but it’s not really.  However, I’m not eager to do it again, so next  year all the fleeces go straight into mesh bags on shearing day.

WP_20141019_010

Fleeces waiting to be air dried.

 

 

WP_20141019_008

Air drying. This is a drying rack meant for “herb”, but we find it works great for wool instead.

WP_20141019_006

The VM situation looks terrible, but most of that stuff comes out quickly when the locks are totally dry rather than slightly damp.

WP_20141019_005

This drying rack holds a full mesh bag of fleece, which is about 2 fleeces’ worth of wool.

WP_20141019_001

Bucky’s fleece survived the onslaught and is drying on a metal rack that is good for individual fleeces, but not as awesome as the “herbal” drying rack.

WP_20141019_004

It hangs from a rafter. Very easy to set up and take down, just a wonderful find.

WP_20141019_003

One last look at Bucky’s fall clip. It is soft and looks pretty good. Should wash up nicely for sale.

As you can see, we’re finally starting to formalize our processing so I can develop a routine and just always be preparing wool for sale or home use.  Also, I’m taking up knitting.  It’s a great way to use up the bulky, lumpy yarn I am likely to produce with my current newbie level of wool combing experience.

The actual sheep are doing ok and already have plenty of wool grown in for the winter.

Advertisements

“I used the crook!”

My husband said that the other day after separating the ram lambs out.  There’s a trick to it that I can’t recall right now because I’m still enjoying postpartum sleep deprivation, but he figured out how to hook the legs so that the sheep stands still and lets itself be led to a new paddock.  This was fabulous news, as it means more flexibility in managing the flock.

We are going to Fiber Fusion this weekend.  I’d hoped to put up at least three fleeces for sale, but will probably just see if I get a bite for Shaft’s fall clip.  I don’t think I can have his and Bucky’s spring fleeces (which, being lamb fleeces, are still plenty spinnable and worth putting up for sale as whole raw fleeces) ready in time, but we’ll see.  There were some challenges with the drying, as the spring fleece was sheared and a bit dense with winter growth, so it was thicker than the tuftlike rooed wool I collected from them in winter.  Plus they have a bunch of straw stuck in them, large pieces and easy to remove, but more than I remembered being there when I shoved them in a mesh bag for long-term storage.

The fiber sales plan is to put out what I can at the festival, see if it sells, and for the rest process them for sale as raw locks/fleeces and possibly roving.  I am getting steadily better at combing into top (considered a form of roving, which is aligned wool fibers ready for spinning), but I have yet to comb out enough to make more than a few feet of yarn.  And roving is generally sold by the ounce, which is at least a yard of yarn for one piece of roving.  My efforts at combing top yield fractions of an ounce per bundle.

That’s all right now, I am too tired to type more today.