Monday, September 15, 2014

Making WoolyWire

I often get asked what goes into the creation of WoolyWire. What may on the surface seem like a simple product actually entails many steps, from processing the raw fiber to the final application on wire. Here's a little sneak peak into the process...

Obtaining and Preparing Fiber


The first steps involve cleaning and preparing fiber. Most of the fiber comes from wool, from sheep like the one in the photo below.  I obtain fleeces from fiber shows, and I also reserve fleeces every year from sheep that I know produce good wool. The ones I like to reserve are at Nistock Farms in Northern NY. My two reserved sheep are Pearl, a full-breed Cottswold, and Ash, cross-breed Cottswold / Border Leicester (I don't have pictures of Pearl and Ash, but below is a picture of Duke from the same farm). When sheering time comes, I am guaranteed fleeces from my reserved sheep. I also use other fibers, like angelina, bamboo, and silk.



Fleeces ready to be processed.


Once I have cleaned the fiber, I sort it and prepare it for dyeing. In addition to wool, I dye other fibers as well, such as bamboo and silk.




Next, I sort all my dyed work start assembling color and texture palettes. This is preparation for making an Art Batt...


Making a Art Batt


Here's a picture of my drum carder; the fiber is placed either in the tray in which the smaller drum will pull the fiber onto the larger drum or the fiber can be placed directly onto the larger drum. Typically finer fibers such as angelina, bamboo, or silk will be placed directly on the larger drum:




This is the fiber gathered in preparation for making the batt; it is helpful to plan a color scheme ahead and have all of your fiber ready next to the carder:



Here is what the fiber looks like once I have it all on the drum carder; it is a lot like painting!




Here is what the batt looks like having just been taken off the carder:




Here is the batt being prepared to be rolled for neatness:




Finally, here is the batt in its final stage, ready for spinning:







Spinning WoolyWire


I don't have a picture of the above batt made up into WoolyWire... but here is a different one I made and the Woolywire I spun from it:




My trusty spinning wheel... and my mom's pup Casey. =)


Next I felt the WoolyWire so that the fiber stays put on the wire. Then finally, comes cutting and packaging.  Lots of steps from sheep to final product, but so much fun to see the end result.  I especially love working with color. I hope you enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes glimpse of WoolyWire!

5 comments:

  1. Wow you are so talented. It looks like a very soothing process. What a dream to be able to create a product from sheep to customers. Awesome

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  2. Amazing!

    Thanks for sharing ~ FlowerLady

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  3. This is a beautiful and fascinating process. I could tell a lot of work went into making this product but I had no idea how much!

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    1. Thanks again Jessica, I'm glad you appreciate the time I put into creating Woolywire! =)

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  4. I just received my first package of WoolyWire. As I was examining the packaging I told my Mom I love every single thing about it; the packaging, the graphics, the logo, the little scrollies in the background and especially the coloured/shaded loopy ones above and/or below the WoolyWire name. I especially love your Caribbean colour blend. Now I just gotta figure out how to get more. Please make a ton of it really soon [if you can]. Did I mention how much I love WoolyWire?

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