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Baymule

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I’m fascinated by wool. There is a reason why I don’t have wool sheep.
1. I’d have to learn to shear them
2. I’d have to learn the whole processing of the wool.
3. Buy a spinning wheel
4. Learn how to spin
5. Learn how to crochet
6. Learn how to knit
7. Give wool gifts at Christmas-terrible copies of actual useful items
8. My family would avoid me

You see where this is going?
 

Ridgetop

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Shearing is not that hard. The equipment is expensive. You need a sheep shearing head on a big clipper and lots of blades in various sizes. You use 2 blades on the clipper to shear and the blades dull about every 3 sheep. The blades cost $10 each to have sharpened (last time we did it about 6 years ago). So every 3-4 sheep you are paying $20 in blade sharpening costs. The wool doesn't dull the blades but because the wool is full of lanolin the fleece gathers all kinds of dirt in it and the dirt dulls the blades. Oh, and you also need blade wash and blade cooler spray to lube the blades. And be careful when taking off the whole fleece since those blades will take off a teat or castrate your ram by accident.

Processing is harder than shearing. You have to make a carding table which is basically a large table with a screen on it that allows the bits of straw and foliage to fall through as you pick them out of the fleece. Getting the fleece ready for processing takes time. THEN you have to wash the fleece with dish soap to cut the grease. If the water is too cold the lanolin won't come out and the fleece stays greasy, too hot and you felt your wool. Much easier to send it for processing which is very expensive! But easier and it comes back nicely carded into batts ready for spinning.


Spinning wheels come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Some are easier to use and some are harder and you won't know which is which until you have bought a few. $$$$$ They are also large items that will need to find a large space in your house. That won't be a problem since you will need a room just for all the batts of wool which really do take up a lot of space. The spinning wheel can fit in a corner of that room. If you fall in love with spinning (some people do) you will probably have several wheels anyway, so just figure on a room just for the batts, yarn, and wheels.

Spinning is not as easy as you would think. DH was much better than I was. My yarn was very lumpy. After sighing in exasperation over my bad spinning my teacher kindly referred to it as "art wool". Spinning also takes a long time to spin enough yarn to actually make something. And the problem with wool yarn is that it is - well, wool - which has to be washed in cold water and can't go in the dryer. Think about that expensive wool sweater my sister borrowed without my permission and washed in hot water. :somad No, let's not think about that.

Once you have the yarn, you may want to dye it. Many spinners will tell you about "natural" dyes from leaves, berries, etc. They will insist that these natural plant dyes are the only way to go. They will go on and on about the wonderful colors that can be obtained from weeds, berries, bugs (not kidding here) and insist that this is the best thing to use. This is just a way to make you feel inferior since the colors from natural plant dyes are ugly. Imagine a pretty color of paint and then dump some brown paint into it. Those are the colors you get with "natural plant dyes". In addition, these "natural plant dye" fanatics will insist you will go out in fields and try to gather the stuff yourself. These "natural weeds, berries etc. are only to be obtained miles from the road in a large field covered with stickers and thorns. If you decide to use commercial dyes, you will not be a bona fide "natural" wool spinner. Instead, you will be a pariah among the wool spinning crowd.

Once you finally have your yarn (in a year or two), you have to either weave, knit or crochet something with it. If you weave you need a great big contraption called a loom. $$$ For this loom you will need to add a room to your house. The benefit of the loom is that you can weave cloth which you then can sew into garments. And you will need the extra space in this "loom room" for more yarn and wool.

If you decide against weaving, you need to get knitting needles or crochet hooks. And learn to use them. They come in all sizes and you will have to know what size you need. In addition there are other things like sizing gauges, things that look like safety pins to mark certain spots where you change stitches, and stuff that is unrecognizable. Don't worry though, there are lots of knitting patterns - all of which say stuff like 35kn, 4p, 23tsk 4ko, etc. These patterns are incomprehensible to anyone who has not got a degree in knitting. I can knit and crochet. Sadly, my crochet turns into a bowl so I can only make dolly hats. I can do 4 stitches in knitting, knitting on, knit, purl, and knit off. I can make blankets, slippers, and I learned to use 4 needles and make socks. I can only make tube socks since I never learned to turn the heels. I made DH a pair of socks, but they were so small that his toes would barely fit in the top. I gave them to my youngest daughter who is only 100 lbs. Then I made much larger ones for DH. They fit and he was properly appreciative, but he hid them somewhere so he didn't have to wear them.

I promised my family that I would make them all something for Christmas but they took my knitting bag and I didn't find it for several years. They gave it back when I had to knit baby blankets for the newest infants. However, now that I have knitted a blankie for all my grandchildren including the 14 year old boy who was polite but confused to be gifted a baby blanket, I am knitting smaller baby blankets to donate to the abused women's home. I find knitting to be very calming, so I knit my way to Texas and back several times a year. Yarn has become expensive though.

To end this story, I sold my Dorsets (whose wool spun very well) and bought White Dorpers. We love lamb meat.
 

purplequeenvt

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I’m fascinated by wool. There is a reason why I don’t have wool sheep.
1. I’d have to learn to shear them
2. I’d have to learn the whole processing of the wool.
3. Buy a spinning wheel
4. Learn how to spin
5. Learn how to crochet
6. Learn how to knit
7. Give wool gifts at Christmas-terrible copies of actual useful items
8. My family would avoid me

You see where this is going?

What’s the problem? I don’t see a problem here. 🤷‍♀️
 

Mini Horses

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For ME...I could not deal with wool sheep. Nope. To much matted mess for me. I come from a world of slick coated animals -- winter hair is the most I want. For those who like woolies, I'm good with that. 😁. Just not my thing. Besides, I don't knit. 🤣

Appears it saved me some money and space over the years. 👍. My sewing machines are enough to deal with. We won't talk about fabric buys. 🙄🤫
 

SA Farm

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I didn’t think I wanted to deal with wool or learn the whole shearing and processing stuff either. When we got our original girls, we were SUPPOSED to just get a few to raise for the summer and put in the freezer, but, of course, they were my bottle babies and GIRLS so we kept them. And they were woolly, so I had to learn all the things.
It wasn’t until I was bored and needed something to do that I decided to give processing a fleece that was already over a year in storage a shot to see if I liked it.
Shockingly, I did!
I spin with a drop spindle, so not too much space there. The carder I’m getting is a smaller version, so shouldn’t take up so much space, though a bit more than the dog brushes I was using 😂
Most of the space taken up so far is bags and bags of various stages of processing. Bags of raw wool, bags of skirted wool, bags of washed wool, bags of picked wool, bags of waste from picking, and bags of rolags ready for spinning 😵‍💫 I don’t have too much yarn done or in storage, really, but I have a completed hat! I crochet and never use patterns, so that makes it both easier and more complicated lol. I’ve made plenty of hats, scarves, throws, the occasional full-sized blanket, and a few odds and ends—like egg baskets and the like. (From yarn I bought, of course. Don’t have to do that anymore lol)
I do a lot of the work outside on the porch (sometimes I have help lol) and store most of it in the basement.
2D1A7B7A-70BC-4C48-8F1F-1502726319E9.jpeg
I just finished a skein of Coy wool and have one more to spin up to finish her first fleece. I bet you can guess where the other one is 😎
I decided to chain-ply it. Kept the colours separate when carding and it came out really pretty imo 😍
17297AF2-2B80-490D-A7CE-D1303E99C726.jpeg
Oh, and this is a project that I will never do again, but am doing my best to complete as a surprise for a friend: chiengora, people supposedly call it. It’s dog hair from my friend who collects teddy bears, so I’m going to try to make her one with her own dog’s hair. It spins surprisingly okay, but I definitely don’t plan on doing more!
5762922A-3D3A-41D0-BEF3-FFA0B71D8F3D.jpeg
I actually can’t wait to finish it, just so I don’t have to do it anymore! It’s definitely a one-off.

Apparently my sister has some Alpaca wool for me, so that’s probably going to be another thing to try and see if I like it. Not planning on ever getting one, though. I have enough fiber with my sheep!
 

Bruce

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The wool doesn't dull the blades but because the wool is full of lanolin the fleece gathers all kinds of dirt in it and the dirt dulls the blades.
Alpacas don't have lanolin and, as I found out this spring, you can blow the dirt out with a leaf blower prior to shearing so the blade doesn't dull. Sometimes professionals know what they are doing ;) If these shearers my neighbor found don't come back in the spring as planned I'll buy a leaf blower and see if that solves the "dull before one side is done" problem I had previously.
 

Show Sebright

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I’m fascinated by wool. There is a reason why I don’t have wool sheep.
1. I’d have to learn to shear them
2. I’d have to learn the whole processing of the wool.
3. Buy a spinning wheel
4. Learn how to spin
5. Learn how to crochet
6. Learn how to knit
7. Give wool gifts at Christmas-terrible copies of actual useful items
8. My family would avoid me

You see where this is going?
Shearing is the easy part lol
 

purplequeenvt

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Shearing is not that hard. The equipment is expensive. You need a sheep shearing head on a big clipper and lots of blades in various sizes. You use 2 blades on the clipper to shear and the blades dull about every 3 sheep. The blades cost $10 each to have sharpened (last time we did it about 6 years ago). So every 3-4 sheep you are paying $20 in blade sharpening costs. The wool doesn't dull the blades but because the wool is full of lanolin the fleece gathers all kinds of dirt in it and the dirt dulls the blades. Oh, and you also need blade wash and blade cooler spray to lube the blades. And be careful when taking off the whole fleece since those blades will take off a teat or castrate your ram by accident.

Processing is harder than shearing. You have to make a carding table which is basically a large table with a screen on it that allows the bits of straw and foliage to fall through as you pick them out of the fleece. Getting the fleece ready for processing takes time. THEN you have to wash the fleece with dish soap to cut the grease. If the water is too cold the lanolin won't come out and the fleece stays greasy, too hot and you felt your wool. Much easier to send it for processing which is very expensive! But easier and it comes back nicely carded into batts ready for spinning.


Spinning wheels come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Some are easier to use and some are harder and you won't know which is which until you have bought a few. $$$$$ They are also large items that will need to find a large space in your house. That won't be a problem since you will need a room just for all the batts of wool which really do take up a lot of space. The spinning wheel can fit in a corner of that room. If you fall in love with spinning (some people do) you will probably have several wheels anyway, so just figure on a room just for the batts, yarn, and wheels.

Spinning is not as easy as you would think. DH was much better than I was. My yarn was very lumpy. After sighing in exasperation over my bad spinning my teacher kindly referred to it as "art wool". Spinning also takes a long time to spin enough yarn to actually make something. And the problem with wool yarn is that it is - well, wool - which has to be washed in cold water and can't go in the dryer. Think about that expensive wool sweater my sister borrowed without my permission and washed in hot water. :somad No, let's not think about that.

Once you have the yarn, you may want to dye it. Many spinners will tell you about "natural" dyes from leaves, berries, etc. They will insist that these natural plant dyes are the only way to go. They will go on and on about the wonderful colors that can be obtained from weeds, berries, bugs (not kidding here) and insist that this is the best thing to use. This is just a way to make you feel inferior since the colors from natural plant dyes are ugly. Imagine a pretty color of paint and then dump some brown paint into it. Those are the colors you get with "natural plant dyes". In addition, these "natural plant dye" fanatics will insist you will go out in fields and try to gather the stuff yourself. These "natural weeds, berries etc. are only to be obtained miles from the road in a large field covered with stickers and thorns. If you decide to use commercial dyes, you will not be a bona fide "natural" wool spinner. Instead, you will be a pariah among the wool spinning crowd.

Once you finally have your yarn (in a year or two), you have to either weave, knit or crochet something with it. If you weave you need a great big contraption called a loom. $$$ For this loom you will need to add a room to your house. The benefit of the loom is that you can weave cloth which you then can sew into garments. And you will need the extra space in this "loom room" for more yarn and wool.

If you decide against weaving, you need to get knitting needles or crochet hooks. And learn to use them. They come in all sizes and you will have to know what size you need. In addition there are other things like sizing gauges, things that look like safety pins to mark certain spots where you change stitches, and stuff that is unrecognizable. Don't worry though, there are lots of knitting patterns - all of which say stuff like 35kn, 4p, 23tsk 4ko, etc. These patterns are incomprehensible to anyone who has not got a degree in knitting. I can knit and crochet. Sadly, my crochet turns into a bowl so I can only make dolly hats. I can do 4 stitches in knitting, knitting on, knit, purl, and knit off. I can make blankets, slippers, and I learned to use 4 needles and make socks. I can only make tube socks since I never learned to turn the heels. I made DH a pair of socks, but they were so small that his toes would barely fit in the top. I gave them to my youngest daughter who is only 100 lbs. Then I made much larger ones for DH. They fit and he was properly appreciative, but he hid them somewhere so he didn't have to wear them.

I promised my family that I would make them all something for Christmas but they took my knitting bag and I didn't find it for several years. They gave it back when I had to knit baby blankets for the newest infants. However, now that I have knitted a blankie for all my grandchildren including the 14 year old boy who was polite but confused to be gifted a baby blanket, I am knitting smaller baby blankets to donate to the abused women's home. I find knitting to be very calming, so I knit my way to Texas and back several times a year. Yarn has become expensive though.

To end this story, I sold my Dorsets (whose wool spun very well) and bought White Dorpers. We love lamb meat.

Ha! Somehow I missed your post last time around. I definitely have a room mostly full with fiber-y stuff.

I’m a spinner and knitter. I own 4 different wheels. Due to a knee issue, the only one I’m using currently is my little (but very versatile) e-spinner, the Electric Eel 6.0 from Dreaming Robots - EEW 6.0.

My preferred projects are “start to finish”. I shear my sheep, process the wool (I have 2 drum carders and a couple sets of combs), and then spin and knit. My Shetland wool is my favorite to work with.

My most recent project was a lace weight hap (square shawl). I started it last September and finished it a couple weeks ago. It’s almost 5’x5’ and weighs only 250g (less than 9oz). I could have finished it much sooner, but I’m busy and easily distracted. The wool came from my Butthead Shetland ram.







 

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