Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fleece Fun

I've been playing... even though I've been off work to recover from gall bladder surgery on Monday, I've been making use of my time.  What can I say?  I get bored just sitting watching tv.

Soooooo.... I have been playing (working) with the fleece I've acquired.

On June 21st I attended the Lambs Down Festival in Carleton Place and was fortunate enough to bump into Carlene, a woman I met at the Knit Knackers Spin night and who is also a member of the Ottawa Valley Weavers' and Spinners' Guild.

Since this was held at the Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers location, I knew she had snagged a good load of fleece recently.  Thankfully, she was ever so helpful and directed me to the location for picking out fleece.  We found a gentleman there, who provided garbage bags and said "go to it".

I filled 2 garbage bags!!  14 lbs of fleece, of a medium-coarse grade, for $3.00 per lb.  Unfortunately, you really have to dig through them and have at least some knowledge of what you're looking for, in order to process and spin it into yarn.  

That was where Carlene was most helpful.  Even though the fleeces are just dumped in a bin, sorting through it and finding what looks to be decent quality is the trick.  And just so you know, in the farming vernacular, a "tag" is a big-ass lump of crap from the sheep's rear end.  LOL  Carlene just about jumped when she warned me I almost put my hand on a big lump of it.

Anyways, she was a good sport and spent the time helping me and I can't thank her enough.

Enough of that... now for pictures:

Raw fleece, ready to be washed

Drying in the sun

Close up

Length of locks (tails) Batch 1
These are about 6" long when stretched out

Batch 2 - I didn't take pics before washing, this is what it looks like dried.

I sat last night for about 4 hrs and pulled out locks for dyeing.
These locks are 8 - 10 inches long.

Tails that weren't clean enough for dyeing, I sat and "flicked", basically, used a small dog slicker brush to brush them out and remove any vm (vegetable matter)

The whole batch I did last night while watching a couple movies.  Processing fleece is not for the faint of heart, there's a ton of work involved.

First batch this morning, dyeing the locks.  My inspiration for this? Natalie Redding from Namaste Farms in California.  This woman is amazing and has awesome youtube videos showing how she makes her fabulous yarns.

Locks drying in the sun!  Aren't they pretty??

I have a couple more batches being dyed right now.  I'm adding to the orange/yellow.... I want a lot of these to make a really cool scarf.

This morning has been so nice outside, I grabbed the rest of the batch and sat and flicked and carded more of the same batch.  It's not something you really want to do in the house if you can avoid it.  The pile of dirt that ends up on the floor is significant.

Now with all the fluffy stuff that's left, I'm going to do some spinning with it tonight.  I really have no idea what breed this is, but the fleece is so soft, silky and has an amazing sheen to it, that I think it's going to spin up beautifully.

Will post pictures when some of that is completed.


  1. I guess we can jump to the conclusion that your surgery went well if we take in consideration the amount of work you have already done. ;) Happy to hear you are up and about. Very beautiful orange/yellow. In the second and third pictures, the fleece has golden highlights. If you spin it as is will it keep that golden glow or does it loose it?

    1. :) Yes, surgery and subsequent recovery have been well. Mon, Tue and Wed I took it easy, and finished my first knitted sock!! Now I have to make the mate. The golden highlights are actually the tips of the locks, that were so dirty they could only get that clean (golden colour). Definitely like a stain. But, more of it will wash out, and if I spin it like that, combed, flicked, etc, it will add a gold/yellow hue to the finished yarn.


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