This field trip had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, other than I wanted to go, and Bob came with me. He’s a real trooper and a keeper. ❤ Are you ready for a treat? We went to Ohio Valley Natural Fibers!
I have a Coopworth fleece I bought at Great Lakes Fiber Show many years ago. It is still dirty, stewing in its lanolin in a box.
I think it’s pretty, though.
I did hand wash, card, spin, dye, and knit a small amount of it (just to say I did it). I kind of lost interest after that. It’s a big job! A job for professionals. So we took a little day trip about two hours south to Sardinia, Ohio.
The rooms were filled with gorgeous old equipment. It was like a step back in time.
The picker is from the 1880s, and the carding machines are from around 1916. The belts are made from buffalo hide! When they need parts, they ask the local Amish to make them, because everything on these machines is irreplaceable. I know they look like antiques, and they are, but Richard, the gentleman who gave us the tour, fired one up for us!
Here is the web, which is divided into what looks like yarn, but is actually tiny rovings, which are then plied.
This yarn is 3ply, as you can see if you look carefully. The machine is from post WWII, and was also used for plying parachute cord for the Vietnam War.
After plying, it can be wound onto cones. This machine is from the 1960s.
The yarn can also be put up into hanks. They don’t have a date on this machine, but Richard thinks it may be from the 18th century!
Here he is telling us how it works.
So we left my fleece and in 8-12 weeks I will have some nice clean batts ready to spin! I don’t have enough fiber for a yarn order. And, unfortunately, I sold my spinning wheel during the great studio purge. I am thinking about getting a new drop spindle. I was never very good at it, and it might be time to pick it up again. (Honestly, I was never very good at the spinning wheel, either, but I did make some beautiful thick and thin yarn.)
Here is Diane, the owner and a local sheep farmer, with two hanks of yarn from her own Icelandic sheep. I bought these two, and they might be perfect to make the new West Highland Way design! Talk about synchronicity! I will swatch it and see how it knits up. Now I wish I had bought another hank, but I could order it and ask them to pop it in the mail to me.
We had such a wonderful time, and want to thank Richard, Diane, Sean, and Renicia for showing us around and starting up machines for us. I particularly enjoyed Sean showing us all the different kinds of fiber people asked them to process, like husky, cat, and elk!
After the tour, Bob and I had a nice lunch at La Cascada and a little hike at Rocky Fork State Park, which was beautiful.
I hope you have a nice Valentine’s Day, if you celebrate! If not, Happy Wednesday!