I’ve gone to the last couple of fiber festivals with only $30 to spend on wool. This has actually been a blast rather than depressing because I take a penny candy approach to fiber and only buy an ounce or two of something here and there, and come home with a riot of color and new breeds to try out. If I’ve got a little extra cash after seeing all of the booths, I’ll go back for something in 4 ounces or so that caught my eye and spend my last $10-$15.
What caught my eye at the last NJ sheep festival was some Gotland – I had “gotten” some the previous year in a pale grey and loved spinning it. This was a darker chocolately grey – not too light, not too dark. I fondled some roving that was loose in a basket and asked if the breeder had more for sale.
I got it wound flat and sealed in a bag – it looked a bit odd to me, but I’m still a bit of a sheepy noob and figured it was just processed a bit differently…
But when I got home, it was what I feared – a felted mass.
It could have nearly been a sheepy collar as-is.
I’m not going to call out the breeder (who I spotted at Rhinebeck as well) because it was my fault for not inspecting it before I bought it, and frankly, not exactly knowing what I was buying to begin with – perhaps this wasn’t really roving but woolen rope? Instant dreadlocks? A chair pad? When I asked for roving, the breeder thought I said, do you have a spiral of felted mess for sale?
So I ripped it apart and tugged it a bit to see if it could be salvageable into yarn.
(I didn’t want to leave it as felt – the point was to spin some more Gotland, and I wanted to get what I thought I got.)
The resulting “roving” was a limp yet stiff, lifeless mess.
So I tugged, and tugged, and tugged some more and managed to free a lock:
But I nearly freed some tendons and joints from their connective bits in the process, so it was not going to be worth it to try to completely free the fiber back into a softly spinnable state.
So I ran the whole shebang through the wheel to add a slight bit of twist to help round things out.
It was the fastest spinning I’ve ever done.
After a nice long soak, it looked even more like dreadlocks.
I had to try them on – playing with them took up more time than spinning them…
But now I’ve got a tad over 20 yards of mega bulky Gotland…
And I might end up needle felting it into a chair pad after all…