Sunday, February 13, 2011

Picking.... and grinning!

Waaaaaahoooooo!  Started picking more wool to spin, and it is going so well! 

I use a bench picker that I found on ebay a while back.  The bench type keeps all those sharp, pointy objects much farther away from my tender hide - and that is a very, very good thing!  Here's a shot of it open and empty so you can see what I'm talking about.

The washed wool goes in at the bottom of the picture, under the shroud and there is a small ramp up to the picking surface - where all the pointy things live.

The shuttle (which is upside down at the top of the picture) slides back and forth on the rails to open the clean locks of the fiber.  The process is called "picking" and I really don't know why it has that name, unless maybe it is a more mechanized version of picking most of the remaining icky stuff out of the fleece by hand.  I started with a batch of the Dorset for the Stashdown goal...

It has about a three inch staple and feeds through the picker like a dream.  I usually put a catch basket at the outfeed end and gather up the picked wool when it gets full.  I think I did enough for about five drumcarder batts.  I'm busy spinning those up for more skeins to apply to my Stashdown goal for February.

You wouldn't believe the amount of veg and dirt that comes out of an apparently clean fleece!  All the sun bleached tips open up and start to fall off too, the rest of those will come off when I put the wool through the drum carder.  I usually run the wool through the picker twice to get all the locks opened up nicely.

The picked wool is so soft and fluffy - and much easier on the drum carder.

Next time, I'll show you the drum carding....

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