Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The two lonely little skeins (at least they have each other), the rolag to the right, and a spool and a half not pictured here is all I've carded so far. Each skein is about 2oz, give or take. The pile of sheep fuzz in the background is, according to my bathroom scale, still 4 1/2 lbs.
I am seriously considering sending it off to a mill to be carded. The only problem with this is that they have to wash it to put it through their machines or else it will gum up the works. Normally, I wouldn't object to this in the least except that I want to keep the lanoline in the wool because it makes it water resistant. So, I'm carding it by hand.
A drum carder! A drum carder! My kingdom for a drum carder!
None of this process was mechanized before 1700. As I cry into my wool, wishing I had a drum carder, I think about those that went before me that didn't even have the possibility, however remote, of obtaining such a thing. For me, it's in the realm of possibility. For them, it was not. I thank the Gods for modern technology, but it's good to remember where we came from. This is hard labor. Sometimes I think I'd rather be digging ditches than hand carding wool. It takes about ten hours of work, by my estimation, to make about 2 1/2oz of two-ply spun wool on the spinning wheel. I'm getting faster, but if I charged you per hour for just the skein of yarn you would think I'm nuts for charging that much, even at minimum wage.
The trireme, a ship introduced to the Greeks in the 8th century BCE, 150 of which defeated Xerxes 2nd invasion fleet in the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE, has sails. Here's a picture of a reconstruction. You can get something of an idea about how big the sails are by looking at the people rowing in the picture. In ancient times, those sails was made from fiber that was entirely processed by hand.
I'm getting a drum carder. As soon as humanly possible.
One hour of solid work- and I mean solid not doing anything else and really working hard - produces about 2oz of carded wool.
I have blisters.