This is what a finished, tidy fiber studio looks like:
The painting is finished and dry, the curtains are hung, the furniture and equipment is all back in place. The only thing missing is my wheel, which was still downstairs in the living room when these photos were taken last night. Even the desk is clean! This state of affairs lasted 15 minutes--about the time it took to snap the pictures, complete with the happy artist standing in the doorway of her studio.
As lovely as a clean studio looks, it doesn't stay that way for very long because I need to work. The current work is finishing the picking and carding of nearly all the washed fiber I still have. There are two fleeces I'm not touching: the white Border Leicester cross that I carefully washed by the lock is done until I start to use the locks; and the black Romney I bought from Ace Vandernack a couple years ago that is awaiting combing. However, there's more than enough for me to do right now.
One of the tasks I set myself this week was to go through the fiber stash thoroughly, both to check on the condition of my fibers, and to refresh my memory regarding what I currently have. It's quite a bit of fiber, including:
- 1/2 a black Jacob
- a moorit Border Leicester
- the above-mentioned black Romney
- the above-mentioned white Border Leicester/Corridale/Merino
- a black Merino, already turned to pin-draft
- a Romney/Coopworth hogget, turned to batts
However, fibers have to be made ready to spin before they can be spun, so I'm picking and carding the moorit Border Leicester and the Jacob. Quite frankly, I had forgotten I had that fleece--I carded half of it on Joan Kintcher's big Duncan double-wide motorized carder in 1997, and although I washed the other half of the fleece, I hadn't carded it when I stopped attending the spinning class. The remaining fleece, stored in a bin, has sat since that time, waiting for me to remember that it was there. I pulled it out and checked it, and it's fine; more than I can say for the yarn I did spin from this fleece (it was attacked by moths and was thrown out several years ago).
The Jacob is completely different than the Border Leicester--it's soft and bouncy, more like a Down sheep than the longwools I've been handling recently. Picking it is different--it jack-rabbits through the picker and into the box, so it doesn't take long to fill the box with fiber to be carded. Carding takes time and muscles--I've discovered that I can pick enough fiber to fill the box in less than ten minutes, but it can take 20-30 minutes to card that same fiber. It's work to do the carding, and I find myself wishing I had a motorized carder to make the job easier, but I know it will be done (eventually), and I can relax.