Friday, March 7, 2014

The Fluff of Fluffysgarden

I love to garden. It is spring and I am working in the garden to plant out my young seedlings. I am turning beds and spreading compost. I have pruned and now enjoy the flowers of my labor. I weed whack, mow, fertilize and herd snails. I have planted some new trees and are nurturing some young ones from the last planting. I have dug up the unsuccessful or dead items. The yard is looking pretty good. There is hope for a good fruit year and lovely greens from the garden beds.

I have started spring cleaning to eliminate dust and clutter inside the house. Cleaned floors, repaired bathrooms, washed windows and even washed out the refrigerator. This was a major job, by the way. Part of spring cleaning is to also get old stuff out of the cabinets so that expiration dates don't expire.

There are many things to do in the spring. And with all the cleaning, there is often a desire to start new projects, finish up old ones and re-evaluate habits. I am looking at my pile of sheep and alpaca fleeces, bags of bunny fluff, boxes of silk and exotic fibers. It is a big pile. It takes up the whole room and then some. I call it the Woolyroom. It is where Fluffysgarden spends most of her time.

I cannot begin to measure in weight the amount of washed fleece and fluff in the room. I can estimate that it is less than one ton. We are probably looking at something in the hundreds not thousands of pounds. I know that the garage has 10 pounds of unwashed fleece. Still, just the bags, not weighing them, are at least 25. Everywhere I look, there is another bag of fleece. 4 pounds here, 8 pounds there, 3 pounds under the chair.

What am I to do with all this fleece. Some is colored, some is white. Some is  long, some is strong, some is soft and fluffy. I am spinning it as fast as I can and still can't seem to empty a bag or even make a dent. And when the bags do get smaller, the pile of yarn gets bigger. I am weaving it and trying to knit it, but really I can't get ahead of the mass. It seems to grow larger and larger.

I have a terrible fleece addiction. I didn't imagine that it would come to this. One large fleece can offer two or three or many years of spinning pleasure. After making that lovely sweater, 4 pair of socks and three hats, there is probably half of the fleece left. Gloves, scarves, and some Christmas ornaments, still one third left. Some of my fleeces are four or five years old. I have a couple that are even older.

Part of the problem is that I spin very fine yarn and it takes a long time to make. It also takes a long time to knit it up or weave it up after it is yarn. Making fat yarn is faster, but I am not sure what I would make with it. I like thin items and they need skinny yarns. So part of the spring cleaning is to find ways to use up a bunch of this fleece.

So this is the project for the spring- felt squares, which will be sewn together to make a new canopy cover for my Pop up tent thing. I am estimating that it will use up 16 pounds of fleece. A significant dent in the pile, and possibly empty bags, will give me some room to move in the Woolyroom. And, of course, I will have an excuse to buy another fleece.