Thursday, October 09, 2008

Raw mohair up to my armpits part 2

Let me preface this post by saying that I am assuming you have some basic knowledge of fiber processing. How to use hand combs, etc. My intent in this tutorial is to give hope to those who have purchased some really dirty fiber that they are considering tossing. You may end up tossing a good deal of it but there may be the opportunity to salvage some really lovely bits of it. Before you toss it, at least try to process a small bit of it to see how turns out. I can't guarantee you'll be able to use it but you may. My first raw fiber purchase was on ebay before I knew much about buying fleece. It was hopelessly felted and filthy but I learned a lot from it. This batch of fiber I recently purchased was like a diamond in the rough in many ways. It was seriously filthy but I knew that there was some real yumminess underneath. For a bargain price, I was willing to put in the work. If you're willing to put in some work, you just may get some great fiber from that "what was I thinking" purchase. I recommend hand combs and flick carders in this process because they really help get the fleece much cleaner post wash than hand cards. You can always blend your fiber later using a drum or hand card knowing that you won't be getting it dirty or causing damage to your equipment.

Okay, here goes for part two of "really dirty" fiber processing. Sam (Mrs Pao) adds vinegar to her wash to cut the sheepy smell. I am definitely going to try that because the wet animal smell can be really overpowering!
So, you've scoured and dried and things still look a little full of vm and not so wonderful. Here's how to go about processing the rest of your fiber.

Step 1:
Shake that dry fiber like a polaroid picture to get out any extra vm. Really give it a good look over to see if there are any parts which are just incredibly still full of vm or even tangled. For those really nasty parts, just toss them. Now that your pile of clean fiber is waiting to be processed, let's gather our flick carder and combs.

Step 2:
I personally use a cat brush or a wider tooth metal hair pick to open the locks to the fiber. This helps me get out any tiny vm that the wash didn't and makes my fiber ready for combing. Grasp your fiber at one end and begin using a flicking motion with your wrist to brush out your locks.

Once you get one end brushed out, brush the other end of the fiber  out. This fiber is now ready to lash on.

Step 3:
Lash the fiber onto your hand comb taking care not to stab your fingers!!

Step 4:
Use the hand combs to transfer fiber from one comb to the second. Paradise Fibers has a wonderful video tutorial for this as well as some excellent and affordable hand combs. Pull the fiber from the combs. You can use a diz if you like.

Step 5:
Admire your results. In front of the yarn in the photo are two "puffs" of mohair that were handcombed using this process.You went from icky to lovely! Enjoy your fiber!

1 comment:

mrspao said...

Worth the effort :)