Most people know that wool doesn't grow on a plant and that to harvest wool it must be sheared from the sheep. However, after the sheep has been sheared and the wool washed, it helps to "pick" the wool --essentially tease the locks of fibers open--to make it easier to card or comb.
This is wool from a Cotswold lamb sheared in 2006 and washed this last week.
The first half or so of the fibers were easy. I spent about an hour on my back porch picking open these locks.
The unpicked locks are on the right.
My piles are getting bigger. Unpicked locks on the right; a small pile of very short wool and trash right next to it near the top of the newspaper. The picked locks pile is growing. Off to the left are piles of locks that need more washing.
Oh do my shoulders ache. The original pile was just under 4 ounces. Will it ever be done?
And, finally, from one unpicked pile to three piles--trash on the right, picked locks in the middle, and locks that need more washing on the left.
Start to finish required approximately 3 hours of work.