Monday, May 11, 2009

Fleece Factory

When we do something, we do not step lightly...instead we dive in with both feet, a couple of legs and both arms. Thus continues our fleece adventures. A knitting friend has a neighbor who raises Border Collies and, of course, needs to also own sheep to train them with. Friend talks to neighbor; neighbor says sheep are being sheared and I will just dispose of the fleece; friend says, "Oh, no!"; neighbor says do you want the fleece?; friend says "Of course!" and I will share it...and that is how we became part owners of six (yes, 6) 32-gallon garbage bags full of fleece in the grease! Granted, it is VERY nice fleece...Border Leicester and Dorset. The Leicester is especially beautiful with nice locks, nice crimp, very long staple length and exceptional colors...silver, shades of grey and golden tips...see photo. When it comes off the carder it looks like a 'fall of luscious hair'.

It spins beautifully although, as expected, since it is Leicester, the yarn is not lofty but feels quite 'sturdy'. The colors show up beautifully in the singles and I am looking forward to seeing the plied yarn.

The dorset is white with more crimp and shorter staple but cards up to a fluffy white cloud. This also spins up nicely and, since the staple length is shorter than the Leicester, I find it easier to spin. My friend is still washing...I think she has 2 more bags to go and we are still carding and I don't want to think about how much more fleece we have before us to card...I am thankful that we bought a drum carder but I wish it was electric! We never expected to turn into a Fleece Factory here at Davenport Pines.

The saga continues with said friend visiting the exhibit on fashioning felt at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in NYC ( ) and deciding that next we now have to learn to felt fleece and, of course, learning to dye the white (some is Dorset and some is Border Leicester) with natural dyes is also on the agenda. It is a never-ending story of 'Truth, Justice and the American Way'...or something.

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