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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A bad fleece.

If you are a doer whether it be a craft or something you make or build , the best advice I ever had was to use the best materials you can get. It applies to almost everything.

In spinning , it can sometimes be hard to get good fleece. Friends can be very helpful & often I am given fibre that they have either excess to their needs , that has been donated at my Guild , or that someone wants to get rid of because they don't know what to do with it. The latter is not always a good one. I have had alpaca fibre given to me that was not nice. It was full of skin bits stuck to the fibre shaft. Totally unusable unless you either picked it all off or cut it out. Not very nice anyway & I later found out that it had most likely been sheered off a dead animal. Another one was a collection of fleeces that had come from someone starting up in sheep. It was their first clip & not brilliantly done. The Southdown was very short & open but with lots of short cuts. The Jacob was felted. In hindsight I should have thrown this fleece away , but I wanted to see if it could be processed & how hard it would be. Also the owner wanted a little something back in exchange for the fleece.

I decided to tackle the very felted Jacob fleece. A friend of mine who is a very experienced shepherdess & spinner thought the fleece had been left on the animal too long & the new fleece had grown into the old one felting as it did. Anyway it was pretty clean so I didn't wash it & just teased the locks out & combed it out using a slicker dog brush. A great little tool for sorting out difficult fibres & although you can only do a small amount at a time, its very effective at getting out matts. Working from the end of the tip of each lock , I soon had enough to spin. I did make my hands ache but I was determined to get it done.I spun the single with quite a firm twist as I knew I wanted the yarn to be hard wearing. In the end , after sampling , I ended up with an aran knit which I had Navaho plied. This kept good colour sequence with the fleece & I ended up with a pair of very nice , durable , working gloves for this new shepherd.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I've never tried anything like that. What a beautiful thing you were able to make. I'm a super impressed.