VM: the last frontier
i spun this pretty mohair yarn for a sweet friend who is a doll artist. she has bought a few skeins from me to use for the crowning glory (hair) for her amazing creations.
since i knew this wouldn't be used for knitting or a next-to-skin project, i indulged myself a bit and didn't bother so much with what spinners call "VM" or "vegetable matter." this is the little bits of grass and hay that you find in most raw fleeces, even after they have been thoroughly scoured. this is because these little bits cling to the wool, and have to be picked out if you are preparing a fleece by hand - which takes for*ever*. (at the mills, they use chemicals to dissolve the vm). i much prefer to process my own just the way i want, and avoid icky chemicals, and so i usually do my best to pick out all the bits before and after washing, and then the remaining bits fall out while i'm spinning. but this is one reason i've been reluctant to offer batts in my etsy shop - i can't get the wool as vm-free as a fiber mill.
but sometimes i think, what exactly is the Big Deal with VM? especially when i'm also drying flowers, dyeing with leaves and making beads out of rose petals? why does the addition a different sort of natural material mean that wool is considered a lesser-grade?
while i don't want bits of bark poking me from inside a sweater, i really don't mind a little bit of grass left over from where the bunny was eating, or a tiny bit of twig from where the sheep was cavorting. especially in art yarn. if yarn isn't going to be next to a baby's head or your love's neck, is VM really a problem? knitters, what am i missing?