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The carding bit

Pre washed fleece was finishing being dried in the sun bearing a resemblance to one shaggy dog. Glancing quickly it had farmer J thinking he was on the table.

After my fleeces have dried and before mice make a cosy nest for winter I am going to try and prepare the wool for spinning. This means carding the wool to untangle and open up the fibre - but not the cat who seems to enjoy it as much as the dogs who go bonkers over a fleece, the dirtier the better.

An Ashford drum carder does the job well, a little extravagant treat to myself making the process a lot quicker or you can use hand carders. Small pieces of fleece are feed into the feed tray catching the fibres through the small roller by turning the handle on the side then wrapping around the larger drum, both have metal teeth to tease the fibre into a long batt.

Bits of unwanted debris like hay and plant seeds as well as rubbishy bits of fleece are suppose to be removed from the wool  first but I must be a bit of a lazy fleece cleaner as I always seem to have debris left which falls through leaving a fluffy mess underneath.

I feed mine through at least three times, each time teasing it of with a long pointy needle look alike (technically called a awl or doffer). It comes off in one piece called a batt (not to be confused with flying bat which may leave a mess in your expensive carder)

Then you can make as many as you need at a time and store them ready for use (dogs really like getting their teeth in these) This is the Jacobs fleece which I am knitting into a cardigan at the moment, a very large cardigan that hopefully is going to fit!

The brown Shetland ?(I think) is a bit shorter in staple (the length of the fleece) and a bit coarser.

Batts waiting to be pulled into slithers, tomorrow.


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Laguepie chestnut fair

Yesturday was he annual chestnut fair at Laguepie, a small village in the Tarn et Garonne. The sun shone which made for an enjoyable time amberling round the market stalls, drinking coffee and eating hot chestnuts. Traditional dances and muscicians put on a display. In previous years there has been a mushroom display showing edible, toxic and fatal fungi in appropriate coloured boxes of green , red and black (leathel ones). I imagine no mushrooms could be found as it has been dry here for a while.

The many varieties of apples grown locally along with walnuts and chestnuts were laid out on tressel tables, so many different types of apples were displayed. As well as chestnuts for sale there was apple juice being made, which at this time of year many villages and organisations invite you to take your non treated apples along to have them pressed into juice for a small fee. We didn't stay for the set menu lunch, each course is chestnut based so you really have to love your chestnuts.