Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fleeces I have stored and forgotten until recently

This past month I've had several reasons to revisit the pile of fleeces in my studio. A friend in a far-off land was asking to exchange bits of local fleeces so we could expand our knowledge, the Tour de Fleece is approaching, and the cat got into several bags of fleece that were awaiting a nice day for washing. All of which I took as an omen to get myself started on these.

I had already washed and carded a bit of the California Variegated Mutant fleece I had from ....ummmm....2006? maybe 2007? This is a kissin' cousin of the Romeldale breed and considered a fine wool. My fleece is a nice consistent moorit color and it's a color I can wear because the fleece has no sunburned tips to 'yellow' the yarn (I'm a winter and look awful in most natural wool colors). I bought half the fleece as I doubted I'd use the entire 15 pounds of wool; it was purchased at the Michigan Fiber Festival and scored 93 in the judging.

This is a difficult fleece to photograph as there's not much lock definition to it, it's so spongy and springy. I took one shot from the top so you could see the blunt tips of the locks and another from the side to show the compact nature of the fleece.

Side View
Top View

I threw the remainder of the fleece in a hot bath with a bit of ammonia to cut the lanolin and let is soak for a bit. Then into a bath with Orvus Paste, several rinses, and spin in the washer to remove excess water, then on to the drying rack. I now need to sit down and sort out any remaining second cuts (there was NO vegetable matter in this fleece, very nice!), fluff it up and get it on the drum carder.

It's a little short for what I like to spin but since it's a nice sprongy fleece, I'll be carding it and spinning it semi-woolen to preserve that characteristic. I'll let you know how it goes, and what size yarn the fleeces tells me it wants to be.

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