Monday, April 27, 2009

My Very First Fleece!

When I started spinning, everyone told me that I would soon buy a fleece so I could start 'at the very beginning' (well not quite, since that would mean raising the sheep! and I definitely will NOT be doing that! Right!) and I said 'Oh, no, not me'! Ha! That didn't last long. I started slowly...just 14-oz of the most beautifully clean fleece you can imagine...that is certainly the best way to start (Stay around for the next fleece story-and yes, there already is one!) The photo on the right is the unwashed fleece - gorgeous, isn't it. The sheep breed is a Gotland and if you spinners out there don't know about this breed and its fleece and wool, I would definitely suggest you check it out. Today I spent a good deal of the afternoon washing the first 2-oz...not because it really takes that long but because I had never done it before. This fleece was so clean that I only had to do one washing in detergent and then 3 rinses.

Here it is in the wash pot (which is a very large kettle with strainer I bought for only this purpose...since I now know I will be doing a lot of this washing of fleece!). It took me most of the morning to remember where I had put the detergent a friend of mine gave me for this purpose...surprise, it was found with the other washing detergents...who would have guessed. My compost/soil screen was cleaned up to serve as the drying rack; placed on top of 4 cans of beets - to let the air flow underneath - and placed on my screened-in front porch to dry out of the sun and out of the way of critters. With the very hot weather we are having in the Garden State, I am sure this will be dry by tonight and that means tomorrow I will be able to wash more of this glorious fiber. Once all of the fleece is washed and dried, I will card it into batts (since I am planning to spin it woolen) on my brand new :-) Strauch Petite drum carder. Then the fun continues as I spin it and knit it...with any luck my DH may have his new sweater by the winter of....2010!

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