Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Year of the Fleece

My fleeces from Treenway arrived this week! First up is a sweet little Perendale that I'm calling Snow because it washes up into the whitest of whites! It has incredible crimp, too. Really, is very different from last year's Perendale; softer and with much more luster and bulk. It's definitely my favorite fleece to date and I can't wait to do a little test spinning with it.

The second fleece is a Gotland lamb. I haven't done anything with it, except open the bag to take this photo. It was supposed to be silver and white but it looks to have more white than I anticipated. But, it is very silky and soft!
I loved both of these fleeces so much, that I immediately called Treenway to order another; a dark chocolate Polwarth. :) I can't wait til it arrives. Together these three fleeces will be about the same size as the Perendale from last year so it makes sense to get three. Right!?

But, I fully intend to stock up on US grown fleeces this year, too. Kerry told me about a great place in Door County with Corriedale and has been plying me with tales of the fleeces at Shepherd's Harvest last year. If possible, I'm going to try to make it over to the festival in May. Plus, I have my eye on a little cria alpaca named Sweet Cheeks.

Since I've been spending part of every day washing Snow, I figured I'd take a few photos to show how I do it. It might be way too time intensive for some but it works for me. On a piece of tulle, all the locks are laid out separately. Going through the fleece this way, I can get rid of any second cuts right away and keep the locks nice and neat in case I just want to flick them before spinning. Then, I roll the tulle up and quickly baste the openings closed. The sewing doesn't take long at all. Really. Then, it's two soaks in the sink (a fleece with more grease might need more) with lots of Dawn (the first for 15 min, the second for 10 min), and three rinses, the second one with a big glug of vinegar added. Spin them in the washer to remove as much water as possible and then hang the bundles up to dry. In this dry winter weather it only takes overnight. Then the dry bundles are stored in a pillowcase. I like this method because I can do a little each day and keeps it fun instead of feeling like a chore. And from beginning to end each session of two bundles will only take about an hour.

This second shot is of two rolled up bundles. The unwashed one at the top of the picture and the clean and dry bundle at the bottom. See why I call this fleece Snow!

In knitting news, I finished my Faroese shawl on Friday and almost met my self imposed deadline of the end of Jan. Pretty good.

And in spinning, added another skein from the Blue Moon roving--this one a thick softly spun singles. It reminds me of Manos but feels much much softer since it's Merino.

That's it for this week.


At 10:59 PM, Blogger Melanie said...

Gorgeous Perendale! Lovely Gotland! Colour me green with envy. Thanks for sharing your fleece washing method. The Blue Moon singles look very cushy.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger CarolineF said...

Mmm that white fleece is gorgeous. I admire you folks who are so patient as to make tulle bundles...

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Spinny Bunt said...

I am completely envious of that Gotland! It's very, very nice. And that yarn you spun looks wonderful.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Denise said...

I like using the tulle bundle method too since it keeps the locks so well organized. My method is a bit different - I may give yours a try.

I'm really enjoying all your spinning exercises with the Blue Moon roving. Now I can't decide if I like the singles or the cabled yarn the best!


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