I hate to waste good wool. I used to hate to waste wool, period, and that is how I learned the difference between good wool and not-so-good-well-let’s-admit-it-actually-bad wool.
Case in point – remember that I bought two Columbia fleeces several years back? Big Columbia fleeces – something like 11-12 pounds each. I stored them in the garage, and mice nested in one. Maybe both, actually, I just can’t quite remember. I do recall sorting the wool into 2 piles – a keeper pile and a toss pile. I processed the keeper by hand, and a lovely blue sweater was the long term result. The toss pile I bagged for later use as mulch.
Then I got an idea. I was sending another fleece in to be processed, why not sort the toss bag into “hopeless” and “gee, maybe this can be salvaged” fiber. Can’t processors do magic? When it came back, there was still a lot of veg matter in the fiber, in very tiny bits, but my naive heart kept insisting it would spin out.
Fast forward a couple of years and much more experience in spinning. I’ve realized there is lots of really nice fiber out there. Fiber that doesn’t need excessive effort to turn out decent yarn. And this fiber, now that I returned to it to spin, well, it was giving me decidedly dirty yarn no matter how much effort I put into it.
First I spun it fine. Yuck.
Then I spun it finer, hoping that would release more of the VM. It did, but it still looked yucky to me.
Besides, I had a heck of a lot of fleece to spin at such a fine gauge. I would rather spend my spinning hours enjoying the process. Especially when, for just a few dollars investment rather than a few dozen hours investment, I can have all the clean fiber to spin that I could want.
Rather than beat myself up for foolishly paying to process such a dirty pile of fleece, I’m congratulating my good judgment on not continuing forward with this misguided thriftiness.
Good judgment, you know, comes from experience.
Experience, you know, comes from bad judgment.
May you learn from my experience!