Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Local sheep to local fleece to local yarn

My handspun wool, dark pink

A neighbor gave me some fleece he had stored in his barn from the days when he raised Suffolk/Dorset sheep. Some of it was very nice, some of it wasn't. I washed it all this past spring, and I've been experimenting with the less nice portions of the fleece to see what could be done with it.

Dying it in the crock pot a half pound at a time took out a lot of the "vegetable material." (That's a euphemism spinners use. That stuff is vegetable material, all right, but a lot of it was inside the sheep before it was on the outside, if you take my meaning.) Carding it cleaned it up further, and lots more non-wool stuff fell out in the spinning.

My handspun wool, dark teal

By the time I plied the yarn and washed it again, it proved to be nice and soft and perfectly functional. Spinning mavens tell you to stay away from this sort of wool, and I suppose many people would find it discouragingly slow spinning, but I like to see what can be done with the materials at hand. These are a couple of half-pound batches I've spun this summer.

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