Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Perfect Trifecta for Washing Fleece

I realized early this morning that today is a unique day.

First, last Sunday evening, our water heater bit the dust. Actually, it leaked all over the garage, so we spent most of our tax refund on a new water heater (how is it that unexpected expenses always pop up right about the time the refund hits your bank account?). The new water heater is actually capable of producing hot water over 150 degrees, without needing the assistance of a tea kettle.

Second, DH's aunt is staying with us for a few days, so there's an amazing lack of trains and other toys littering the living room floor.

Third, it's actually sunny in San Francisco today.

A perfect trifecta for washing fleece. First up, the lovely CVM fleece I purchased at the Black Sheep Gathering last summer, and was produced by Black Pines Sheep. It was a great find. I wasn't looking to buy fleece, but then, what spinner ever is? But I'd had an itching to try CVM for some time. There were a couple of CVMs in the wool show at Black Sheep, and this was definitely the better of the two. It has all the qualities you want in a CVM -- although technically a medium wool breed, it can get pretty fine. This one is definitely on the finer end of the spectrum.

I spotted it during the viewing of the fleeces. When I noticed the sales line starting to form, I went out and got into line, maybe about a dozen people back. When the doors opened for buyers, I headed straight for this fleece and snatched it up. There was a couple who had been nearly at the front of the line who made the tactical error of grabbing another fleece first, because I saw them turn around and look disappointed as they saw me closing up the bag. Heh. It pays to only shop for one fleece at a time. Hell, I'm still working on three fleeces from two years ago -- I'm not looking to acquire a barnful.

Anyway, back to the washing... I really don't trust myself to sort and wash a fleece properly, so I sought the email advice of several friends. Everyone seemed to agree that it would be best to do the outside bits separately, and to try to separate out the nicer wool in the center, and particularly the dark center stripe. So, that's what I did. I didn't have enough time today to do all of it, but I did get the center stripe and the nicer white bits on either side of it washed. They're out drying in what's left of the afternoon sun. It's absolutely glistening. I can't wait to start spinning it.

Of course, standing in its way are a half-spun Black Welsh Mountain, a half-spun multicolor grey Romney, and a half-spun Jacob. One project per wheel. Guess I better finish something up soon. Or, buy another wheel :)