Thursday, May 12, 2005


why of course

I'm utterly whelmed. Pretty sure I'm not overwhelmed but one more thing and I will be.

One of the most fantastic men on campus came into my office today. He's the one I mentioned before who might have a fleece for me. He is one of the finest men I know. Alas, he is 20+ years older than me, and I don't believe his wife lets him date.

So anyhow, he says "what would you charge to spin a fleece for me?" Please note at this point that a) I do not have a wheel and b) I do not know how to spin. Naturally I do not mention this, and say to him "Oh, not much. You could pay me in fleece -- the old barter system."

I do not seem to place a high value on my work. Perhaps because a) I do not have a wheel and b) I do not know how to spin.

Then he says "Well I've got three fleeces for you in the truck, I'll give them to you tomorrow. I'm going to give those to you anyhow, but I'll pay you as well for the spinning."

Please note at this point that a) I still do not have a wheel and b) I most certainly do not know how to spin. I know I said that earlier (twice), however I do believe at this juncture that it bears saying more than once.

The wheel problem is being solved tomorrow. I have an older wheel, in working condition but about which I have little information (apart from the fact that the Xian youth group that is selling it wants $150cdn -- $120usd -- for it) to be picked up tomorrow night after work. I also seem to have an Ashford Traveler coming to stay with me for a while until I find out if I like her. I believe her name may be Dolores.

The first fleece that he's giving me is to be spun for one of the faculty members. She seems to have somehow adopted either a sheep or a lamb (please dog, make it a lamb) and that fleece, recently shorn, is to be made into yarn for her. (I just read that the average weight of a fleece is between 8 and 12 lbs. Please let it be a little tiny lamb! Perhaps an anorexic lamb or something. And the runt of the litter. And maybe with some bald patches.)

The rest are just for me, for free and gratis and such, and are fleeces from adult sheep. I think at least one is last year's crop so I don't know how good they'll be any more. Do they go bad? All the lanolin is still there; they shouldn't be dried out, should they? (I do not know if the "three fleeces" include the one to be spun or are in addition to same. All I know is that there will be an awful lot of sheep poo and twigs and hay in my house by tomorrow night. None of these are cleaned.)

He said these are "border sheep". What is a border sheep? I've found both "Border Leicester" and "scottish border sheep" in my searches. None of the search results have been all that enlightening.

So now, while I a) still don't have a wheel and b) really, honestly don't know how to spin, I seem to have scooped myself two wheels and ninety bazillion tons of wool, as well as my first paid commission.

Oh yes, and I might be in need of carding combs, but I think the lady with the Ashford wheel may have some to sell.

And did I mention she has "a lot" of clean fleece she's bringing tomorrow, too? I think we all know how much "a lot" is to a fiber junkie ... to wit, "an assload".

Two weeks from deciding I have to open an online store and that one of the things that I'm going to sell will be hand-spun and dyed or painted wool, to getting my first commission. Two or three days from deciding I need to get a wheel, and fast, and I have two arriving tomorrow.


I've seldom had so many things start to fall into place all at once. Think I maybe should have mentioned my plans to the universe a little sooner? Could it actually be my turn for things to go right?

Dear dog, I hope so. (And I apologize about the "funnier than you" bit in the other post, but really, the platypus thing? You were just trying too hard with that one. And nobody but me got the joke anyhow.)

Could it also be true that I will have somewhere between 24 and 50 lbs of fleece to process?

That would be like between 96 and 200 skeins


Fortunately he doesn't need the first fleece to be completed before about November.

I'm not sure if you should envy me, or just put me in a darkened room somewhere.

Fleece-lined, of course.

The fleece could be absolute rubbish and not worth spinning.Find someone who can spin to look at it.
Washing and carding or combing [two different methods,one uses cards,the other combs] a small fleece takes ages,and is a lot of work.3 or 4 fleeces might be better sent to a mill to be washed and carded.
techniques found here :

I love spinning and hope you will too.Have fun.

p.s. So,why won't he get a job ? !
You're making my head spin! Somethings lining up here. Let's hope those fleece (fleeces, fleeci?) work out for you.
If you go to - there is a forum for spinners, maybe someone there can help you.

There are alot of local knitters on this board.

Post some pics of you and your fleece & wheel & just of you having fun doing it.

PS: I like knitting dish clothes - they are fun
The only thing I can add is that I'm pretty stinkin positive that fleece don't go bad. I have one in my trunk that is a good couple years old and it's just fine and surprisingly has very little "extra crap" (ie hay, twigs, etc) in it... Not sure if that part is totally normal though because, well, my boyfriend's family is SLIGHTLY anal about their sheep.

Have fun though and let us know how it goes... I think I might want to start spinning....
It takes me back - the amazing smell of unwashed fleece.......and the amazing things you find in them.
I don`t know what a "border" sheep is either, but some breeds just don`t produce a fleece suitable for handspinning.
Good luck - you`ll be busy!
It takes me back - the amazing smell of unwashed fleece, and the amazing things you find in it.....
I don`t know what a "border" sheep is either, but some breeds jut don`t produce a fleece suitable for handspinning.
Since no`one bothers to shear anything tiny, you`ll be busy!
The border sheep is a sheep that is on the verge of being another species.
You gone and done it now. Have fun!
Personally, I'd go for the Tom Sawyer method. I hear Vancouver's a hotbed of spinning. There's got to be someone(s) out there dying to practice on all that wool.
[Sorry, don't look at me, live in NYC, don't know a card from a comb.]
LOL - When I first read "might have a fleece for me" I thought you meant he had the hots for you, especially with the sentences that followed. I do think you may have invented a new phrase...
See, didn't I tell ya that I had a "feeling" things were about to turn around for you? ey? ey? You keep putting joy and passion into your requests of the Universe (otherwise know to some as "dog") and a flood of opportunity and synchronicity will be apon you. You go girl!

If the spinning bug bites you as hard as it did me, you will be glad to have all that fleece to practise on. Just a suggestion....use some of the "less-than-lovely" stuff to practise on. "Spin-Off" magazine has an article about coiled baskets made with homespun, and I have found it is a great way to use up coarse fleece, beginner crud, odd colors, and the like. It kind of morphs them from 'UGH'ly to pretty damn nice.
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