I went to Susan’s Fiber Shop, looked at the different wheels and bought a double treadle Lendrum. Susan gave me a five minute lesson and I was hooked. That wheel went with me wherever I was going. Within six months I found someone I had worked with for a number of years was a spinner. She introduced me to Sarasponda Spinners, the Southwest Wisconsin Guild. I was off to having a great time with others interested in fibers and spinning.
I learned to spin using top merino roving that my sister and I had purchased to do felted hats with. After watching my guild friends spin with wool they had washed and carded I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do. A fleece was filled with things I never wanted to touch, it hurt my fingers to card, and I loved the feel of the merino I was using. I could even order more when needed.
I had gone to an “Old Time Thrashing” day at a friend’s farm and when she found out that I was spinning and belonged to a guild she presented me with two black fleeces to see if I could sell them. They stayed in the back of my old pick up truck for two years before I thought about spinning with them myself.
A guild member invited me to her home to learn about skirting and washing. We had so much fun! The fleece didn’t get washed that day but she said she would finish the washing and send it away to be put into roving. I was still not sold on the idea of carding because of my arthritic fingers. In the meantime the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival came and I went! I found a wonderful long soft lofty fleece that I just had to have. I now knew how to wash one and even where to send it to be carded.
Soon after, our guild was having a dye day while my sister was visiting me. She suggested that I wash the fleece in preparation to dyeing it the next day. She told of how even the color becomes when it is dyed before being carded. Sounded good to me. First fill the washer with hot water, put in soap and ammonia, add fleece, wait half an hour and drain. No agitations. During the second fill, the doorbell rang and I forgot all about the washer and fleece until my friends were leaving. I pulled out the beautiful fleece and it was a boa and a mess ready for file 13.
As my sister and I talked of this long fiber and if it could be salvaged at all, I remembered the grape vine wreath in the garage. It was purchased to make a gift with, but it became a newfound lesson on what to do with a fleece gone wrong. She hung it on her house to announce the season of 2005.