Frozen Fingers and Frosty Fiber

Have you ever had an activity that you did not really like to do, and then, when you found you could not do it, you missed it? Our extreme winter weather lately has posed one of those dilemmas for me right now. I have been trying to get my stash of llama fiber either processed at the mill or ready for hand-processing. Step one is washing the fiber. Since I am now set up with two wash tubs, hot water, and a recycled washing machine to spin the fiber dry, my washing efficiency has improved considerably. Still, it is hard work. On a work day or weekend I can generally wash two to four fleeces per day. Fortunately I run out of drying racks about that time, so I usually have a couple day break between batches. Late in the fall and even on Christmas break from work I have been able to push through a few loads while the weather was warm. If it is at least in the 50’s, things go pretty well, but the 40’s are tolerable. Once I got caught when a cold front moved in and the fiber was freezing to the tubs! That was miserable, and even wearing liner gloves under my rubber gloves failed to keep my hands warm. I was glad to be done with washing fiber for awhile…maybe even until spring!

We had a brief respite from the weather in early January, which of course was touted as a global warming event. A couple days even broke records and reached the mid 60’s. You are darn tootin’ that I took advantage of that. But since then, we have been flirting with zero degrees at night and winds that have begged me to close the westward doors on the llama barns. Marlene from Timbre Ridge Farm, who supplies the kid mohair and angora bunny for the Lla-Moh-Bun yarn, is ready with another lot to ship to the mill. But I still need to wash the llama fiber before sending it. I look longingly at my wash tubs, laced in icicles, and wish we’d have a break in the temperatures so I could get busy. Just a little touch of that global warming would be welcome right now. I might even dare to try some fleece if we get into the 30’s this weekend; that shows how desperate I am! And to think just a couple of weeks ago I was secretly happy it had gotten cold enough that I had to stop washing fleece. Like a cat on the wrong side of every door, it seems we always want what we can’t have.

—Laura

posted by fred in News