Monday, March 12, 2012

Drowning in fleece

I am drowning in my personal ocean of raw fleece.  All in all, I can think of worse ways to go, but it's still overwhelming.  I was like a little kid whose eyes were much bigger than her stomach and now that I've gorged myself silly, it's my own fault that I have this queasy sensation. 

Although, I have to admit there is an edge of excitement in my queasiness.  This is going to be a lot of of work, but I expect to have a lot of fun working with all of this fiber, too, even as I recognize it's more than likely that I really do have too much of a good thing right now. 

The challenge over the next two weeks is to get through all of my raw fleeces.  All freaking seven of them.  Over 50 pounds of raw wool.  I would have had ten raw fleeces to face, but I have completed vacuum packing my three raw Shetland fleeces, so they are no longer in the oh-lordy-what-have-I-done-to-myself pile.

So what does it mean to "get through" a fleece?  It means that I've taken the fleece out of its plastic bag, sorted it, made a decision about whether or not to wash it right now, and then stored it properly:

1.  If it's raw (unwashed), then it needs to be vacuum packed into a storage bag to both protect and compress the fiber in order to maximize my storage space.


2.  If it's washed, then it will be stored in a sealed bin where I can easily access the fiber. 

It's practically guaranteed that my really big fleeces, like the border leicester mixes that weigh several pounds each, will have both fates, with half or more of the fiber in raw storage.  However, I really want to wash a portion of each fleece so that I can work with the fiber and think about what I want to do with the rest of it.  Of course, this occured to me after I had already vacuum packed my remaining raw Shetland fleeces.  I do have one washed Shetland fleece, though, so I already have Shetland fiber available right now. 

There is a third possibility that I'm considering, which is to sort out a portion of my fleece to sell online to other fiber-loving folks.  I haven't made up my mind about this yet.  Do I sell it raw?  washed?  by the ounce?  by the pound?  do I keep my sale informal or open an online store?  I know that I want to start dyeing my own fiber soon, so I might really like having plenty of fiber to have on hand for testing dye gradients.  In that case, should I just keep all of these fleeces? 

I'm not quite sure what to do.  I figure the correct path will present itself once I really start working with these fleeces.  Once I've dealt with 10 or 20 pounds of fleece, and am still facing several more of them, it might be an easy decision to sell some of it.

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