Travis, The day after Thanksgiving would work great. I do have family obligations on Thanksgiving. Just let me know a time and place. I do not celebrate Black Friday Shopping chaos, so I am free for sure.
I might have missed it but didn't see any posts in this thread with reference to this California company Duren DyeWorks
...a Yarn and Fiber Studio
Duren DyeWorks specializes in fleece processing and custom carding of hand spinning fleeces. We are a small fiber studio that hand processes wool and other animal fibers into beautiful batts and hand-dizzed roving for the handspinner. Sheep shearing and fiber festival season is upon us, and my obsession is your gain. I will take your raw unwashed fleece and turn it into clean, soft, fluffy batts or hand-dizzed roving. If you haven't spun from a hand processed fleece before, you will be amazed at how soft and bouncy the yarn is. Batts and roving can be spun many different ways from woolen to semi-worsted, depending on spinning technique and desired yarn.
Skirting and prepping : Please skirt your fleece before sending it to be processed. Spread your fleece out on a large flat surface with the "pretty" cut side down so the "dirty" side is facing up. Remove anything and everything from around the outside edges of the fleece that look poopy, felted, matted, or globbed with grease. Carefully look over your fleece and pick out any bits of grass, hay, stickers, etc. that you would not want in your finished batts or roving. The better job you do skirting and prepping your fleece translates to a much better finished product. Turn the fleece over so the cut side is up. Look for and remove any second cuts(short chunks of wool).
I came across them in an odd way. I found a small bag of yarn at my favorite thrift shop yesterday...it was special, not the usual four ply acrylic that is usually there. When I inspected it more closely at home I found a folded piece of tag in one of the balls with DurenDyeWorks name. I'm doing some burn tests to see exactly what I've got...all is lace weight and some is apparently a wool/silk blend and others wool/yak/silk? I'm trying to compare at their etsy shop. Beautiful color ranges and lovely feel.
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
“When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
Just a comment. I could not find a natural fiber beanie anywhere for a long time and then started seeing them for high prices as part of a charity clothing line. Finally, just as I had decided to buy and consider it a donation, my daughter went to Iceland and found a simple beanie for me for Christmas (still waiting to see it). It cost the same. Handmade. Probably out of wool. My point is that there is a market out there. There needs to be attention paid to exposure in the market. The idea of having regional co-ops is a very good idea - like the organic dairy people have. I guess I should go on Etsy or someplace. I'd like to buy some more things but my old sources have changed or dried up. High quality, consistent sizing, good customer service. Buying from the producer is becoming more and more popular. This approach works so often it might work again!
For making wool stuffing, I think a picker would do an excellent job, and is much faster than carding. I used a Pat Green picker and it did a wonderful job of fluffing up the fleece, getting some of the vegetable matter out, and was much faster and more brainless than carding. I also want to mention that blending some alpaca fleece with the wool does wonders for the softness and warmth of the finished product. Not useful so much for pillow stuffing, but for garments or blankets, the blend is really nice.
I read your comment through, Candace, before wondering to myself, "What do those funny little yarmulke-looking hats with the propellers on them have anything to do with the woolen industry?"
Then I remembered that, for some reason, what we in the North call toques, those shapeless woolen hats designed to keep your head from freezing and your ears from falling off, you call beanies.
My favourite toque is black wool, handknit by my girlfriend's mother, who also hand-knits my favourite socks. I am wearing a pair right now. Sooo comfy.
My girlfriend had a great idea for supporting the local woolen industry. We're doing on the cheap, and we're trying to get her mom to see it as a business opportunity herself, but we are going to be giving custom-made, hand-knit socks to my family for next Christmas, using wool local to her. We are going to commission them, and pay her for them based on the going rate for hand-knit socks on online craft marketplaces like Etsy.
If we want to see the woolen industry rise from the ashes, we should probably look to raising it ourselves. Find a local knitter whose work you like and do your Christmas or birthday shopping early. Vote (or motivate) with your dollar.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Cob is sand, clay and sometimes straw. This tiny ad is made of cob:
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