Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Feeling Sheepish

I've been thinking about my knitting. What I have done, what I would still like to learn. One of D's coworkers put a bug in my ear this summer. She was asking me about my knitting and if I ever planned to spin. My answer was a quick no, I don't plan to be a spinner. I like making things (clothes) too much to use part of that time making yarn to make into things. (No offense to any spinners out there, I just know what I enjoy about my knitting.)

I did tell her the thing that I could see myself doing eventually is buying a fleece and having it processed in a mill. I would get all the fun of selecting a fleece without stealing my knitting time. I said this in a way that lead her (and me) to believe that it would happen in the distant future. "Oh, in a few years I could see myself buying a fleece eventually."

Well, ever since then the idea has been throwing itself onto any part of my brain that will listen. Buy a fleece! Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival is sponsored by a mill go talk to them. Their name is Battenkill Fibers go look at their website. You should see how much it costs, then you would know. See how easy it could be? We could buy a fleece and be a real knitter. And on and on.

It does not help that I am prepping papers to be scanned at work. It requires very little of my active mind, which is more than happy to think about owning a fleece.

So finally I gave into myself this week and started doing research. I have some questions that must be answered before I make this decision.

  1. How do I identify a good fleece?
  2. What should I avoid in a fleece?
  3. How much raw fleece would I need to make a sweater?
  4. Do I have to buy a whole fleece for one sweater?
  5. How are fleeces sold? Whole, half, by the pound?
  6. If a fleece is enough to make two sweaters, would matching sweaters look silly on D and me?
  7. Does the cost outweigh the idea?
  8. How much am I willing to spend?
For question one and two I am looking online and in a couple of spinning books from the library. The advice seems to be similar for all the sources I've looked at so far. I found an article on Knitty and a couple of other places. I'm reading through and starting to take notes so I can really understand what I'm looking for and what to avoid.

Three, four and five are not answered in any of my research yet. Other than the basic non-answer, it depends. I'm not sure six can be answered by research.

I think seven and eight will get answered closer to the festival. I am willing to spend a bit more for this yarn than something I can find in a store. I really like the idea of having my very own unique yarn but I'm not willing to go without food to get it.

So if any of you have advice or suggestions to give, I am more than willing to listen. Even if you tell me I am crazy. I do as always reserve the right to ignore any and all advice, and to therefore be very wrong so you can tell me 'I told you so.' That would of course remove you from my knitworthy list. Hey we can not live in a world where 'I told you so' is cast about with no repercussions. My blog my rules.


  1. I have toyed with the idea of processing my own fleece, but I'm not really into the idea of having to wash it myself! I like the idea of getting someone else to do it, though! I would imagine (and this IS pure imagination), that if you looked at a wool sweater that fits you in the style you like and weighed it, that would be the weight of the fleece you would need (I would at least a third more to that, just in case you lose some of it in the processing). I'm sure that there must be a group on Ravelry that could answer all these questions for you as well!

  2. I do know I need more weight of raw fleece because some weight is lost when you wash it, depending on how much lanolin, dirt and VM is in it. Plus I would lose some of the edge of the fleece since the legs and belly are not the best wool either. I just don't know how much, say a third of the raw fleece weight?
    I need to rethink the way I do searches on Ravelry too. I could not find a group. I must word things funny.
    Thanks for the advice!

  3. Did you see this discussion on the topic? http://www.alpacanation.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=9941

    I'm game to go any time with you, just name the day. I'm not buying any though. Really. I'm not. No buying. Nope. Not at all. Seriously.

  4. Ah Kisknit you're brilliant! That link is really helpful. And it backs up my 1/3ish assumption. I must have read that and not remembered.

  5. Something else to think about...would you like to actually know the sheep the fleece came from? I am currently knitting a sweater from one of my favorite sheep, B. Willard. The sweater has all of his personality and characteristics. Really!

    Just to complicate things a little more ;-).

  6. @thecrazysheeplady
    So much to think about, while I would love to know the sheep, I think it may be a bit much to consider the first time. Mostly now I would like to choose something that works for me and get better at it. :)
    Now I need to go look at your blog to see B. Willard's personality again. Do you worry you will electrocute yourself when you wear a sweater made of Graham Lamb?
    I'll post if I find anything.