Washing Day Again

The Sprained Arm Saga continues; I am still unable to do any wool combing, spinning, crocheting, knitting or anything else requiring the ability to grip with the right hand. This presents somewhat of a problem, since I am absolutely unable to do sit without something to occupy my hands, and there are very few crafts that don’t require at least some level of strength in the wrists and arms.

My main project has been washing Neo’s fleece. Washing wool isn’t exactly entertaining, but it doesn’t cause pain and it does need to be done. I was going to do the rooed wool and the sheared wool at the same time in separate mesh bags, but when I fluffed out his fleece it was bigger than I thought, so I’m just doing the rooed portion for now. Soay fleeces usually have little to no lanolin, so I usually just soak them in cold water overnight to get the worst of the dirt out instead of bothering with hot water and detergent, but Neo’s felt gunky so I went ahead and scoured it.

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Eeeewww, yuck.

Since my arm’s been messed up I’ve also done surgery on some commercial cotton yarn I had laying around. I bought it a while back out of curiousity when the craft store where I work had it marked down to $0.94 a skein, but it took me less than 5 minutes of experimentation to discover I hate knitting with cotton. No elasticity whatsoever, and the fabric comes out heavy and stiff. I thought about making Zoom Loom squares from it, but it was worsted weight yarn; too thick for the loom. The other day I rediscovered the yarn in a bag, and since I was never going to use it as it was I decided to experiment with it. I can’t spin because drafting hurts like crazy, but plying doesn’t require any strength of grip, so I ran a skein of the 4-ply worsted weight yarn through my wheel clockwise to remove the plying twist, split the yarn in half, then re-plied it as two balls of 2-ply fingering weight yarn.

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It made a nice project since I had the yarn on hand and didn’t have much else I could do, but I’m not going to make a habit of altering commercial yarn this way; it’s very tedious and slow. I still don’t like the thinner yarn knitted, but I’ve been playing with it on my Zoom Loom and I like it pretty well for that. My arm isn’t wildly excited about weaving, but I can usually manage 2 or 3 squares a day before it starts screaming in protest. I finally sat down and figured out how to make bias woven squares and triangles, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages. And by “figured out” I mean “looked up online tutorials.”

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Weaving diagonally produces a slightly tighter weave than the regular up-and-down weave, which worked out well since the 2-ply yarn came out slightly too thin for regular squares. The diagonal squares also have a more even edge, so I’d probably use them for a project I knew wasn’t going to have an edging.

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A bias woven square and a regular square made from the same skein of sport weight acrylic.

Not much news on the sheep front, except that the vet is coming to pay a social call on Liam and Bran next week. It’s been mostly rainy all day today, but yesterday I zoomed in as far as possible and got a picture of Mira napping with Duchess. It’s uncanny how much they look alike.

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“Ah, nothing like a nap on a pile of sun-warmed waste hay.”

Now I feel like taking a nap myself. Watching sheep nap always makes me sleepy.

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9 thoughts on “Washing Day Again

  1. ARGH, hate it when we are slowed down…been on crutches for quite a while now and I can work with my hands but I get SO restless! so, I get your problem. Nice squares and good job figuring that splitting and replying again, not sure I would have gone there 🙂 If I remember correctly, ha,
    it is your right arm that is sprained so do you draft with your right hand? I draft with my left, it was how I was taught even thought I am right handed. Maybe you could try drafting with the left? YES, I know how stupid our non dominant hand is but nothing to lose except a bit of wool!
    Take care……

    • I hold the fiber in my right hand and draft with my left, but I mostly spin long draw, which means I do end up moving all the joints in my right arm a lot. To ply I just use my left hand fingers to guide the singles without applying any real pressure, so that’s not much strain.

  2. Your poor arm! You have my sympathies. I remember being frustrated while healing from carpal tunnel surgery. Now I’m stalled on my knitting/spinning because trying to sell a house and keep it spotless is (in addition to being a pain in the bleep) a huge depressing time sink. (and I can’t find most of my knitting needles – they are stored I don’t know where!)

  3. Sorry to hear about your wrist. Did you sprain it catching sheep?
    I have bouts with a sore right wrist & shoulder from too much fiber work so must try to ease off a little(!) Today I washed a California Red/Como fleece. It didn’t get dry so I’ll haul it back to the outside porch tomorrow.
    Mira and Duchess really do look alike!!

  4. I hurt my back a little over a week ago (trying to do something ‘as a well as a man’ that turned out to need two men to do it!) Amazing how much you find you use a certain part of your body when it suddenly hurts to do so! I hope your arm feels better soon. At least crochet and writing don’t hurt my back, thank goodness, but my floor is starting to look nasty with me not game to wrestle my vacuum cleaner!

    • Sorry about your back; I had a problem with my lower back several years ago, and I discovered very quickly that there’s practically no part of your body that you can move without using muscles that tie in to your lower spine. 😦
      And yes, I too am getting very behind on a lot of things while waiting for my arm to heal!

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