Friday, May 18, 2018

Sampling Tamarind

I decided it would be smart to process some of Tamarind’s fleece before washing any more of it, in case I need to adjust my technique. I am very glad I did, because the technique isn’t quite right yet!20180513_134800

When last we left, I had a screen full of damp fleece drying under a fan. Once it dried, I weighed it all again. This batch weighed 910 grams raw and 697 grams clean (23% loss).

Then I chose a handful and combed it on my English 5-pitch combs (which are so wicked looking): 20180516_080328

It felt just a little bit tacky while combing, but nothing these beastly tools can’t handle. The challenge began when it was time to diz off the fiber. I really had to pull hard to get it off. That was my first clue something wasn’t awesome. But the resulting nest is pretty:20180516_081756

Yesterday I spun that nest worsted style, and drafting was quite uneven because of the stickiness. It was not relaxing and pleasant – it was frustrating! Dave suggested taking a handful of the washed fleece and washing it again in the sink to see if that helped. I did that, but it isn’t dry yet so I can’t compare.

In the interest of experimentation, I decided to try a woolen prep, too. I flick carded locks using the Beth Smith method. This was kind of fun, and the locks really opened up. Here are “before” and “during” shots:20180518_101450


I kept my locks organized so they were all facing the same way, and I spun from the cut end. This shot shows how much waste is produced from one lock (the waste is still on the card):20180518_102154

Then I sat down at the wheel to spin up my collection of locks, and it was just as difficult (maybe a little more) than spinning the combed top was. Ack! I finished my sample skein and wet finished it anyway. Here are both of them – worsted on the left and woolen on the right (woolen is still damp, but you can’t see that):L Worsted R Woolen

So my next step is to wait for the bit I re-washed in the sink last night to dry, and then to repeat these preparations to see if the spinning is more pleasant.

I’m assuming that I didn’t clean the fleece enough, and that there is still too much lanolin in it. Can I wash it again to solve this problem? If you have an opinion, please let me know!


  1. I wish I had an educated opinion to share but, alas, I know nothing about fleece prep. Washing it again sure sounds logical (and do-able), so I hope that is the issue.

  2. I have never washed a fleece in the washer so I don't know about that. I have never had any issues using the steps that Beth Smith lays out here Good luck!

    1. Oh, how I would love to have a utility sink! Is that where you dump your water?

  3. The amount of lanolin in a fleece varies from sheep to sheep. Some need more washing than others. I've had to rewash fleeces a couple times and it hasn't been a problem. Just delays your being able to comb/card and get to spinning.