After shearing time at Kaukiki Farm in Longbranch last spring, local artist, knitter and weaver Britta Brones described the steps it takes to turn fleece into fashion.
“First, the sheep is shorn,” she said. “The fleece is then flattened onto the floor and ‘skirted’; the matted and dirtiest parts are discarded. Lanolin, the moisturizer in wool, acts as a mild detergent and so if the fleece is just placed in a container and covered with water it will foam. It is lightly agitated by hand and squeezed until the water is the color of mud (the water makes good plant fertilizer). Once it is dry, the fibers are teased apart and then carded if needed, and finally spun into a skein of yarn. The skein of yarn is washed again, this time with mild liquid detergent or shampoo. Once dry it is ready to use for knitting or weaving.”
Learn more about wool and weaving at the 10th Annual Fiber Arts Festival, part of the Key Peninsula Farm Tour at the Longbranch Improvement Club Oct. 7. The festival features more than two-dozen artists who demonstrate, exhibit and sell their work.