Friday, 16 September 2016

Spring Time in The Shed

Here, in New Zealand, it is spring.

It crept up on us, this warmth and generosity of blossom.

The plum tree, always the first to display, has become a frosted delight. There are lambs and ducklings everywhere.

This week I helped with a calving.

We go into Daylight Saving mode in a week's time.

I have about six new fleeces to get spring for me is Shed-Time.

The Tin Shed
Isla and I go in there and have a great time. She lies and watches the birds. I draft while the bobbin hums.

It is a magical time. The world stops and fibres run smoothly and evenly under your fingers. You can mull and undo muddles that are in your head. The birds chatter and swoop down to collect grass for nesting. The sun changes position until it bores into the open door of the shed. For about an hour it is warm, then it adjusts its angle and shadows shoot up.

I know to stop when I start to get cold, Isla gets bored, or the spinning isn't as smooth,...usually all three.

I just love working on a new fleece.

Storage for fleeces
The important thing is keeping track of who and where your fleeces are from. This is an important selling point for me when I can tell customers the origin of the fleece.I use archive boxes and this season they have all been neatly labelled with A4 paper to cover up the scribbles. The fleeces are not processed prior to spinning. I skirt as I work.....there is always a bin with "daggy bits". These get soaked in hot water....yup....smelly and when cool, go on to the base of the young sycamore tree by the shed. The wool becomes mulch.

The raw fleece won't get moth-eaten because the lanolin acts as an insect repellent. The cardboard "breathes" allowing moisture out....much the same principle as storing mushrooms in a paper bag.

Direct drive bobbin
Yes, I do use an electric spinner. The simple reasons being two-fold; 1) Capacity 2) Smooth reliable movement. I also ply on an electric spinner. There is no drive band or wheel, so less wear and wobble.

Antiseptic Wipes
While all natural is lovely, hygiene is a must. There are still ladies out there who refuse to work with a raw fleece because they remember getting ringworm as children. I might add that would have been prior to 1950 because it was post-war that farmers here began dosing and vaccinating livestock. Anyway, a simple wipe of the hands and the equipment at the end of a day's work keeps things clean.

End of the day

....and me plying in The Shed


Fiona MacBride

Tin Shed Yarns

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