Monday, March 08, 2010

Since You Asked

About the wolves. I took two shots on the walk because there was two wolves in the exercise pen. This is the black wolf. I don't know anything about these people, only that someone told me they use the animals in photography. They have a couple of white wolves as well, but only two are in the exercise pen at any time except for when they let in a pup. I have to laugh because this part of our road is overrun with rabbits. At night, their little shiny eyes are everywhere, so I assume the coyotes steer clear.

The wolf pens are in the back and beyond the capability of my little camera. I'd guess they have a half dozen wolves in all, and I've seen the owners get in the pens to work with them. That's all I know, other than that their area appears to be securely fenced. They have quite the security system.

Since you asked, I don't care to spin or knit with llama. Our llamas aren't here as fiber animals, but as guard animals. Our work day was 11 hours long, so we just felt better about leaving our little sheepies in their care. Our security system was llamas and a good fence.
One of the reasons I told Mim that I didn't want to judge the alpaca is because I'm not crazy about working with camelids. I don't like knitting their fiber. I have to admit that it's fun to spin, but this sample one wasn't fun. It had no lock structure at all so it was hard to prep, and on top of that, was full of VM and poo. I was angry but Mim reminded me that these breeders are in the dark. They have no idea about the fleeces, and that's why it's so important to give them serious criticism. It was so full of VM that I absolutely couldn't draft the fiber and as a result made a terrible skein.

Contrast that sample with this one. This breeder took care in the selection and submission of their sample. It's a clear representation of the blanket and I knew I was prejudiced by their care in preparation and choice of locks. However, once I pulled the sample from the bag and did some ping tests, I was even more impressed by the softness and soundness of this fleece. When I turned it over and saw the cut side, I knew that I was lucky to not be in the presence of this temptation.
The guard hair was minimal and it was so easy to prepare - the locks literally exploded in blooms on my hard cards. The second cuts were minimal and I was so glad this was my last sample.

I culled excessive second cuts and put them in plastic wrap for the breeders to see, but when spinning, left in those that I had missed. If they're selling fleece, they need to know what second cuts look like in yarn. I removed big pieces of VM as I carded but left in the small bits as I spun. Breeders need to know what these omissions produce. This last sample needed no special care. I just got to enjoy it. It was my dessert. My only regreat in this venture was that the prettiest color (I didn't show it) and my favorite skein scored low on the grading scale. I just hope my comments help the breeder to prepare and present a saleable fleece in the future.

I had spun nine samples in all for a total of 4 1/2 ounces in sample skeins. I prepared all the samples the same and tried to spin to a standard. I'm glad to be shed of this for the time being.
Ian couldn't wait so ordered this from the UK. However, he also couldn't wait for the latest John Burdett in the Bangkok series. H just had to order it and that's his current read. That means, the bookmark you see is mine. Heh, heh.


Theresa said...

Interesting posts about judging fleeces and a great service for the breeders too.
Enjoy the read!

Benita said...

I was wondering about the wolves. We have a wolf park in northwestern Indiana and one of my coworkers LOVES wolves and has gone up there several times to help work with them. When you look into their eyes, you realize these are not dogs. They look so human. No wonder the American Indians befriended them.

Also, very interesting about the fleeces. I am surprised someone actually submitted one full of trash and poo. I hope the next one they submit is all clean and ready to spin. You're right, this is how they learn.

LA said...

Reading your comments about the fleece almost makes me want to spin!

bspinner said...

I'm so jealous that you're reading the last of the Stieg Larson books. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Life Looms Large said...

Thanks for posting about the wolves. I've seen them in captivity here, and they are intimidating. I just read yesterday that they are the number one wildlife reason that people go to Yellowstone to visit.

Last night Mr. LifeLoomsLarge was out in the woods trying for some night photos. At one point two coyotes came down the trail to check him out. That would have scared me. I have to be more careful about our dog when we're out.

That seems like a great service that you're doing for the fleece providers. I'm sure that if you don't spin yourself, it's hard to know what the standards are.


~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

You haven't mentioned anything about 'Pillars of the Earth'; did you finish it? Did you like it?

Annie said...

Is that the third of the Stieg Larsson books? Then we're both reading the same book at the moment. Isn't it a page turner!!