Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Acquisition of a fleece and what happened next
Recently I was told by an acquaintance about their sheep giving birth and ever the opportunist I wondered if they had a use for the fleece. The end result is I am now the very pleased owner of a beautiful fleece (with a nice long staple) and they did not have to throw away a perfectly good fleece.
Having got my fleece I had to get it clean enough to use - it was a little messy with some wood shavings and straw caught up in it as well as a few dried sheep droppings, but it was free so no real complaints. As I want to use it for felting I thought it should be alright to wash it. When I got my first fleece I was told that for DROP SPINNING the fleece should be unwashed but for spinning on a WHEEL it should be washed.
I washed my fleece in the bath with cold water and soap flakes being very careful not to over agitate it. I gave it about three washes and then thoroughly rinsed it and placed it flat on a clothes dryer across the bath to drip dry. It took about three days to dry completely.
While my fleece was drying I had time to look for my carders. This ended up taking two evenings. The first evening was spent searching through many boxes and cupboards and led to discovery of all sorts of treasures some of which I had forgotten I had. The second evening took me up into the loft and I found them in a bag with parts of my inkle loom. Thinking about it they were in a very sensible place for something I haven't used for a good many years.
I then spent a happy hour in the garden carding my fleece, hard work but fun and rewarding as I filled my garden trug with carded wool There is a long way to go before the whole fleece is ready to use but that just means there is time to think about and plan projects to make.