Thursday, April 05, 2007

Fleece Activities

I decided that it had been too long since I had processed any fleece, though I had been putting this off because it means disconnecting my washer and hooking up the old washer. My new one is one of those high efficiency "Oasis"-type washers, and they just don't have the ability to soak a dirty, greasy fleece, then spin it out. Really, though, having the old washer is perfect, because then I don't have to mess up my pretty new one with dirt, barnyard deposits, and wool clogging it up.

I had 2 small Shetland lamb fleeces that were a gift from a friend who decided towards the end of last year that if she hadn't done anything with them in 2 years, it was time to pass them on. They are from a highly admired flock, and are dual coated. I generally don't keep dirty fleeces for more than a few days, but since they were already aged, I put off washing them until nicer weather. Both are small, the lighter one under a pound unwashed, and the heavier one starting off at 1.5 pounds.

Washing and drying done, I realized that though skirted, the lighter one had a lot of VM. It must have been a happy lamb, into everything. I decided to pick it immediately, just to see how much I had. It is a pretty oatmeal color, I don't know the official Shetland color name but very nice.

So here it is washed , and then I started pickingand separating the 2 coats (I know in Icelandic sheep it is tog and thel, but what are the Shetland names for the 2 fibers?). There was a good amount of trash, and I didn't keep anything that had a staple length of less than about 1.5", but oh, my, the undercoat is like a cloud, so soft and pretty. The longer fiber is also soft, probably because it is a lamb fleece, so I think it will make great yarn as well.
The undercoat

and the longer fiber

I ended up with 4 oz. of the undercoat, and 1.5 oz. of the rest.

The second fleece will remain unpicked for now, as I have a couple of projects that need attention, but here it is, washed
I didn't weigh it, but I'd say it is just over a ound unpicked. The color was marked as Musket, which is a very nice dark grayish-brown. The tips are bleached golden, so I will separate this one as well, to keep the color dark. Sometime....

I had a couple of requests for more animal pictures, so here's our Wooly Guy. He's a little steer that is a nice red color, and has a head shaped like a buffalo, kind of. I am told that he is part Scottish Highland, and part Angus. He is very friendly, coming up and licking me whenever I'm out in the field.
(he is also shedding his winter coat)

Okay, enough for now. It's supposed to get up to 70 today! It's hard to imagine a snowstorm in the Northeast today, but that's spring for you.