Completed Quest: Fluffy Buffalo
June 15, 2015: A couple weeks ago, the buffalo lady brought me photos of the buffalo named Spur, which I am posting below the final yarn photo. Spur was still young and growing at the time they were taken.
April 28, 2015: I can officially designate this as a completed quest. The yarn and money transaction was made at the end of last week. I'm waiting for the lady to get back to me with some photos of her buffalo, the buffalo, named Spur.
April 14, 2015: This quest is nearly complete. Yesterday was spent editing the footage of the spinning process. A long video, about an hour, and full of information on each of the steps: set up, wheel introduction, spinning, plying, removing the yarn from the bobbin, and a brief explanation of the final steps. To the left are photos (see "Batts", "Gross!", and "It's yarn!") of the steps not shown in the two videos.
I've split up the large skeins into the agreed upon size to determine pricing and have contacted the lady, letting her know it's all done. We'll meet in a couple weeks and make the exchange and then this quest will be complete.
March 13, 2015: I've carded all the buffalo and made a video of this step of the process.
January 4, 2015: I always bring my spinning wheel along to craft shows because it’s a good way to get people to stop and look. I’m not that great at putting myself out there so this is a good, painless way to do it and be productive at the same time. And it keeps me from getting too bored. Sometimes it makes me sleepy. Very sleepy and I zone out.
Anyway, this other vendor came to me in my booth and asked if I could spin a little bit of fiber she had pulled off her buffalo. It was its first shedding and since she pulled the fluff off herself it didn’t have too many guard hairs. Not many people know a buffalo is covered in a layer of soft, heavenly down of gooshiness underneath a layer of thick, coarse guard hairs. Buffalo is one of those luxury fibers spinners drool over. It’s also expensive. So I said yes.
Spinners know it’s generally not a good thing to say yes to a bag of wool that someone has kept in their barn for who knows how long. It’s usually nasty, rotten, full of bugs, chewed on, and all the gross things you could think could happen to a bag of something left in a barn for years. Going into this she said there were bugs in it but they were dead. I’ve cleaned a fleece with dead ticks in it. I never want to do that again. So there was a red flag. She was so eager and excited to have this stuff spun into yarn because it was her buffalo and she had dreamed of having a blanket made out of it. There was only a little bit and said she could probably make a scarf out of it. She was content with that.
And then she brought the bag the next day, a standard, thirteen gallon bag full of moth-y buffalo fluff. Upon seeing the bag I said, “THAT’S A LOT!” And then upon opening the bag I said, “Oh …uh … I can probably get enough for a scarf. Maybe?” And then she was sad and pointed out there was good stuff down on this side and I said, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I can make at least a skein or two, enough to make a scarf.”
So I brought the smelly bag home, left it on the front porch until the holidays were over. The weather was nice a couple days ago so I opened the bag, equipped with my camera and an eight gallon bag, and tackled the bag of dead moths, hay, sand, and moth-eaten fluffy buffalo fluff, picking out anything that looked okay. "Garbage buffalo" image shows the pile of what I had to throw away.
"Usable buffalo" image is the smaller pile of what I’ll blend with alpaca, spin, and clean:
I don’t know how long it will take me to spin this, but it still seems like a lot. She’ll definitely get a scarf out of it. I’m not sure what my next step will be. Maybe carding it with chocolate brown alpaca like she requested and then spinning, save the cleaning until after it’s spun. I have an unfortunate habit of impatiently felting fiber instead of allowing it to gently clean. I’ll try to take photos and share the process with you peoples. Stay tuned!
Also, I want to remember to seal the yarn in a ziploc bag and stick it in the freezer for a while. Apparently this kills any buggies and eggs that might remain in the fiber. Ew.