An Official Venture

I have for some time been trying to get an Etsy shop off the ground. It has stalled several times because my product, the local wool, takes such a long time to prepare. For example, it's almost shearing time and I still have the bulk of last year's fleece to process.

I have been guilty of seeing the end result without taking into account the obstacles right under my nose and hence things just havent got very far at all.

Things moved on in one sense with the creation of a Facebook group called 'Hilanderos de España' - Spinners from Spain. So far, most of the members are Germans living in Spain, or Spanish breeders of rare sheep who are looking for a market for their wool. As far as I can see there is only one Spanish spinner. It's a start.

And the requests started very quickly on the group for clean Spanish wool ready to spin. Cleaning the wool is the most time consuming bit and I haven't managed to save for the equipment that would speed the process up. Then I had an idea. Why not ask for help?

The whole idea originated in wanting to pay the shepherd a fair price for his wool. If I can't get the wool to market I can't pay the shepherd. No one wants dirty wool and many countries have strict rules about foreign vegetable matter arriving in the post.  So before my project can even begin I need to purchase 3 pieces of kit.

A desktop spin dryer. I'm using a salad spinner at the moment, it's ridiculously slow and inefficient.

A picker - this is going to make the most difference of all, this amazing machine opens out the locks of wool allowing the seeds, grass and hay to fall out.

A drum carder - this will cut down the time carding the wool and save the wear and tear on my wrists (I'm already suffering from an RSI injury related to the fibre arts!)

The way things stand at the moment it would be impossible to get enough wool into the shop to be able to meet even a small demand as well as work on developing end products that will showcase the quality of the wool. I had such plans.. still have.. but alas they cannot come to pass until I get over this hurdle.

From the Facebook page it became apparent that there are quite a number of rare breeds (some on the endangered list) here in Spain that would benefit from  a marketplace for their wool. Long term it would be nice to be able to help.  But before I get ahead of myself once again...

If you didn't look, it's a link to my Crowdfunding campaign and for those feeling generous enough to donate there will be gifts of fleece prepared for spinning or felting. Woolly accessories or whimsical momentos winging their way to you in due course. And for the really generous a series of discounts when the shop is launched online.

Garden Goddess in cotton stuffed with wool.

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