So I've tumbled head over heels into the world of fiber preparation.
I wasn't really ready, I know I wasn't. But I wanted a Cormo fleece because I'm so in love with the fiber itself lately. And I knew Brooke could get me one, a local one, a fleece from a sheep with a name, and then Kira kindly brought it to my sister's place, which is how I ended up with this much awesome in my house.
This is from Karo (like the syrup! Five pounds of sweetness!):
Look at that crimp! Could you die? That's what it looked like when I peeked into the bag.
I did a bit of rudimentary research online (thanks, Ravelry!) and decided to go for the quick-and-dirty top-loader method of washing. I got the water in the washer as hot as I could (by turning off the cold tap entirely), added some liquid dish soap, and threw some fiber in to soak. (This isn't actually that much; I wasn't going to risk much of it, I swear. But it looks like a lot.)
Oh, GOD, was it disgusting-looking in there. It got worse the wetter it got:
That's poop, people. Okay, not much poop because it was beautifully skirted, but there's oil and vegetable matter and dirt from the field. Lemme ask you this: but do I want to re-skirt it before I wash more? I do plan on getting lingerie bags and using them instead of letting the fleece roam free in the washer. I didn't agitate it (of course), I just spun the water out for all five (FIVE!) soaks, but I was completely convinced I'd felted the whole thing, because you know what? When you pull wet fleece out of a washer, it's flat and thin and looks irreparably felted. I asked Twitter, which told me it was normal to think that and to stop panicking.
And it WASN'T felted, as you can see here on my uber-classy drying rack.
Uncarded, just dried Cormo. Almost clean. Ish.
So: there's still a little dirt on some of the tips. Is this normal? Should I have clipped ALL the darker bits out before washing?
And for something like this, how do you prepare it? I bought two dog combs, figuring worst-case scenario we'd have better-groomed dogs, and I've decided that making rolags is what I like best at this point:
I think the way I washed it caused me to lose too much of the lock definition to flick it, so carding it what I should do, right? (Ignore the little neps you see. I think that's because I over-carded that bit. As in, I carded it about forty times instead of five. I'm getting better at the motion.)
And here's the first bit, spun up:
I'm thinking three-ply. Oh, yeah.
(For those of you who warned me against starting with Cormo, bless you. Yep, I see what you mean. But you know me, I like to jump in with both feet until I'm underwater and fighting my way back up to the surface. It makes breaking into daylight and fresh air that much sweeter.)
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