Monday, March 29, 2010

Good Bye Fleece...Hello Yarn!

This past weekend I headed up to Bowling Green for the Black Swamp Fiber Festival. My mission: to send off my bags of merino fleece I have been hoarding for a while to get processed. I’ve been holding on to these fleeces since they are the last from my merino, Elizabeth who sadly passed away. In the past, I’ve always sold her fleece at whatever fair or function I exhibited them at-she never placed lower than reserve grand champion-so usually I had a handful of notes from spinners offering to buy them from me.

Now that she is gone, I didn't want to sell them and want to keep them for myself! I have been reluctant to send them off to be processed, partly because I didn't know where to send it, I didn't know what to do with it, and well it's costly. I was referred by a LYS owner to use Zeilinger’s in Michigan. The issue: shipping. I had quite a few bags of fleece and they are quite heavy. Anyone who's dealt with merino fleece knows it's rather spongy and doesn't pack easily. Much to my delight, Zeilinger's was at the fiber festival and brought their trailer to haul fleeces back up to Michigan with them. Which for me means no shipping costs! Plus, they also are having a sale for the month of March when you send fiber in for processing into roving, batting, or combed top. So my mom and I make the drive up to BG with all the bags of wool in the car. We estimated the weights but we only weighed a few bags, not the whole batch. When we got there and they weighed it, it totaled to 78lbs! Quite a bit more than I expected but I was thrilled.

The people from Zelinger's were rather excited about my fleece and commented on how they hadn't seen fleece that nice in a long time, commenting on the staple length and the crimp of the fiber. They helped me decide how to have it processed and my options. So here is what we settle on: yarn and combed topsYou need 30lbs to do a yarn run so I clearly had plenty for that! The rest will be made into combed tops, perfect for spinning. I still have to decide how to have the yarn run- what weight/ply. So if anyone has suggestions or requests, let me know. I am thinking nothing more than 3ply based on the fine fiber that it is.

Now, I am excited to have plenty of yarn for my own use, but I am going to have SO MUCH YARN AND FIBER! I am planning to sell a lot of it so I am looking for ideas as to where to market it, how to market it, etc. Anyone who might be interested or has ideas... let me know! I'd like to try my hand a spinning some of the combed top, but I am not planning to spin 50 lbs of it. I also would like to attempt to dye some but also, no experience in that area either.

So many options... at least it takes a good 4-5 months in order to get the wool fully processed. Lots of time to figure out my options!

Pretties from the Fiber Festival


  1. Lisa I would definitely be interested in buying some from you, and I know a ton of spinners, I can ask if anyone is interested if you would like!

  2. Thanks Sara! I will put you on my list of interested persons. I have a lady interested in some of the combed tops and one other that might want yarn (yay) That would be great if you can spread the word for me. I cannot wait for this wool to come back! I want to try my hand at dying and spinning-I figure this is the perfect opportunity. I want to get some less expensive BFL to try some dying and get a top or two to practice spinning. I don't even know where to start with dying. I've been trying to read up on it...perhaps you and I can experiment with it? You interested? ;)

  3. Definitely interested! I have done a little bit of dyeing, not with acid dyes yet, but I love it. I've just been stalling on getting the equipment I need for acid dyeing.

    If you have any questions let me know, I can ask my dyeing mentor :-)

  4. Yay we can have some adventures in dying together! There is a new knitting shop in Lodi and she offers spinning and dyeing classes! She has a dyeing kitchen in her store. She told me if I was ever interested she would open the kitchen for me. Perhaps we can go there together sometime.