Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Do You Do With All Of That Wool? Making Roving

What do you do with all of that wool? 

We get asked that question a lot!

We have bags of wool all over the shop.  We have skirted, and  washed many of the fleeces.
They have been piling up, waiting for further processing.

The mill has been one step forward, two steps back.. isn't that just how life is?

Well I am happy to report that we FINALLY picked, carded and made some roving tonight.
I was beginning to doubt that was ever going to happen! There are no manuals to read,  workshops, or college courses to attend that walk you through the process.

Thankfully, Mike is mechanically inclined, but even with machining in his background, there is a definite learning curve when it comes to running wool processing equipment, especially when that equipment is from the early 1900's.




There is still some tweaking left to do but I feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!






Wool Picker

After the wool is washed/dried, we run it through the picker. The purpose of picking, is to open up the wool fiber, to prepare it for carding. As you can see, it is an oldie, but it still runs great.

The first time we ran wool through the picker, we were quite surprised at what a mess it made, blowing wool all over the place!
That led to Mike building a picker box, to collect the wool, and to keep down the dust.




After we run the fleece through the picker it is ready for the carding machine.

Running the carder, has been the biggest challenge. Mike has spent numerous hours making adjustments, running the machine, making more adjustments, running it some more-that has went on for many months! It has been a long drawn out process. I am not much any help in the machinery department, so he has been on his own.

The carder does several things, it disentangles and straightens the wool and creates a wool batt.
The carding machine we have, has a roving attachment, which take the process one step further and lets us create wool roving.


Wool Carding Machine

Tonight we successfully ran some wool through the carding machine!
YEAH!!!

There are still a few things to do to make things run more smoothly, but I can't tell you how excited I am to finally see an end product.

Compliments of our Romney Ewes....Beautiful Romney Roving!


Romney Roving

I was beginning to think we would have to build another barn for all of those bags of wool that have been piling up, but it looks like that may not be necessary after all.



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20 comments:

  1. I am impressed with all you've accomplished. If I were younger I would pursue such an endeavor , for now I have my small box picker and small drum carder. It becomes a daunting and physically painful process for me so I end up taking a lot of my wool to a local wool processor. Still, there are the projects where the wool from my own sheep is completely processed by me and then dyed , spun up and woven into cloth. If only I had started this journey with wool when I was 2 decades younger.

    Your husband is amazing and it appears you two have the beginnings of a very successful wool business , especially if success is working with someone you love towards the same goal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy,
      Thank you!
      Sometimes, I feel too old to get started, and wonder whatever were we thinking?
      But, I look forward to the experience.

      Delete
  2. Looks like your hubby did a great job on the roving ... would love to see how it spins up, let me know when you have some to sell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!
      I am looking forward to spinning it :)

      Delete
  3. I look at your product and all I could think was - - Sweaters!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The yarn is absolutely beautiful! I think the machines are interesting. Where did you find and buy them? The "box" to blow the wood into is genius. I used to knit Icelandic sweaters with naturally-colored wool from Icelandic sheep. I think your yarn would be lovely to work with to make them.
    Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy,
      Thank you!
      Mike has been looked for machinery for several years. The carder came out of Washington and the Picker he picked up out East.

      Delete
    2. oops,meant looking. Where is the edit button when you need it??

      Delete
  5. Wonderful! I hope you keep it up. Always like to know if there is roving to buy ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kellie,
      Thank you!
      I hope we eventually have roving to sell, that would be nice.

      Delete
  6. That's fantastic! It's so neat that you guys were able to get that old machinery working for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly,
      Thanks!
      If it wasn't for Mike,it wouldn't have been possible.

      Delete
  7. How cool is that! Do you have an end product in mind? Do you sell wool yarn? The wool is beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa,
      Thanks :)
      We are planning on selling the roving :)
      We are also sending some fleeces out to be made into comforter batts. We don't have the equipment to do that, "yet".

      Delete
  8. This is really cool Sandra!! I've never seen this done before. The yarn is beautiful, I love the gray!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is so much wool! It turned out beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. How interesting and the wool is just beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  11. You're living my dream! Really neat to see the commercial version of my little table top drum carder. I look back & forth between my bags of clean wool in the wool room & that little carder and it is quite overwhelming. Good luck with your venture.

    ReplyDelete

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