Friday, January 3, 2014

Carding & Spinning

This week Emily and I learned to card and spin from our Mennonite friends in Puerto Octay.
Our wool is not the best quality coming from mainly animals bred for meat and with a novice shearer and more novice washers and carders but you have to start somewhere!
My last post on wool was the washing and drying. I was scared to wash it too much for fear of felting or matting the wool so it has bits of grass and stuff in it.
The wool on the left has just been washed. The wool on the right has been pulled open by hand so it cards better.
The wool is pulled through the brushes or cards to align the fibers

The wool on the right has been carded and rolled so it is easier to spin. It is called a rolag.
Here is Emily drawing the fibers out into a thread while spinning the spindle. The twist holds the fibers together and gives it strength.

Here is Emily unwinding her spindle. The yarn is thick and coarse which gives it a rustic look. It would make a great hat!
Here is a great book on how to spin with a chapter on the history of spindles. This simple little tool was the only means to clothe yourself unless you wanted to wear animal skins. Any kind of fiber can be spun from cotton to flax to all kinds of animal hair. Every culture had their own kind of spindle with basically the same design. Very interesting!

Some of you have been asking what I have been doing with my time besides carding wool. I have been doing a bit of gardening mostly in pots and mostly herbs. I have also been doing some herb & botany studies as I learn the different plants that grow in this area and what they can be used for. I cook a lot as we rarely eat out because of the expense. It has taken me some time to adjust my cooking skills and methods as I get used to improvising and making recipes with things I can get easily and cheaply plus I am learning how to make some chilean things like sopaipillas and onces and other traditional foods.  I bought some sheets because I didn't have any used ones and ripped them up to make a braided rug so we would have something to wipe our feet on before climbing into bed.

I have been doing some cross stitch. This is almost done and will become a pillow.
I have also been studying Rosetta Stone spanish.
Tuesday we bought 2 new sheep from our neighbors, the Kuschs. Christel brought them over and we put them in the pen so Jim could shear them before we let them out to pasture. They were real jumpy and scared but Jim managed to shear them pretty quickly. Oh goodie! more wool!
They seemed to calm down a bit so Jim introduced them to our other sheep and all seemed well for a few minutes when they both hopped the fence and ran back home! during the middle of a driving, cold rain storm, of course. and there they stay until Jim and the boys can go chase them down and bring them back. In the meantime, Jim has made super shackles for these 2 wayward sheep until they get used to living on this side of the fence. Pictures will follow.

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