I’ve tried to do wordless Wednesday posts before, but I don’t seem to be able to shut up. Strange that. But despite the weather (hailstorms and thunder at the weekend; not that much better since) shearing time is almost come upon us, and this is a sort-of-wordless post celebrating the fact that I do love fleece:
This originally belonged to a Texel cross from a nearby farm – and I do love fleece but…
Normally I get absurdly excited, though not quite to the point of suggesting that shearing feasts be reinstated. But this year I’m a bit flat, partly due to the ongoing health problems (good news: neurologist reckons it’s nothing neurologically serious and that the nerve fibres are not badly damaged; bad news: am still waiting for MRI scan without which we can do nothing and have to come off the painkillers in the meanwhile, ouch, my head), and partly due to the fact that I’m just not that good at fleece wrangling.
(A BFL cross from the same farm.)
Part of me enjoys it, and I certainly manage to make a terrible mess especially when Next Door’s Cat is also involved, which is always. But part of me – the rational part that is not soaking wet and reeking of wet wool – knows that I’m not much cop at it.
I can start with a beautiful fleece, albeit one which is liberally surrounded by a sheep-shitty skirt and decorated with raddle, and manage to reduce it to something that is not entirely – er – useable. Maybe 75% of it is, eventually, on a good day; maybe 50%, maybe less. Not good, though a much more experienced spinner than me once confessed that as she got older and more experienced she threw more and more of a fleece away. That’s because she’s discriminating, not because she’s rubbush at dealing with raw fleece, though.
(More Texel cross)
My new negativity (aka realism) is a shame, because I love the whole idea of controlling the means of production and having absurdly low wool miles to my knitting. But the steaming mounds of wet fleece everywhere, the buckets of mankyness consigned to the compost, the chaos for a whole day, the whole business of carding, etc, without adding lots of unintentional noils by over-processing? Nah. You can buy some lovely roving, quite reasonably, and without becoming over-acquainted with how well gorse spines can hide when the fleece’s original owner has been raised on the hill, foraging under bushes.
Plus, of course, I have got five washed fleeces ready for processing, plus one already processed… and that does make giving into sentiment much less likely. And the money I save on wool I can spend on plants. Though I do have one coloured fleece reserved since last year. It’s been growing up… oh dear.
And a postscript: my reserved fleece (oh, OK, its owner) was unfortunately one of the winter casualties. Sad – he was a ram lamb and had a lovely coloured fleece which he would have passed on when he worked his way up to being the Big Man – but also not so sad: it gets me off the hook. After all, I do HAVE ENOUGH FLEECE…