Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Fleece

There is a long standing joke in my family that if you give me a sheep I can make you a sweater. Never has that been more true then recently.

Sadly a member of the Phat Fiber community is having financial difficulties (here is her shop if you'd like to support her) and she therefore started selling off some of her fleeces and I bought a lovely Leicester Longwool fleece that after skirting was about 3.3 lds.

Clean locks

Since Ben is currently on a motorcycle adventure to Death Valley (with a sworn oath he'll come back alive) I decided that this was the perfect time to wash the fleece and start to process it.

I have already washed it by giving it a really hot bath in my washing machine with some dish detergent (no agitation, just a hot water soak for 30 minutes) and then a rinse of another hot bath for 30 minutes. Normally I rinse a fleece about 3-4 times but as this was fairly clean this only needed a bath and a rinse.

half the fleece drying on an elevated screen door with a fan
blowing over it in my kitchen

I then searched up and down the house for my flick carder. I rearranged my entire office, cleaned the closet, cleaned out drawers, dumped out boxes and to this moment I cannot find it. So I went and got a dog brush as they can do in a pinch.

I have now begun the painstaking process of opening up each lock of wool.

Clean, open locks ready to spin.

Something few of you may know is that Leicester Longwool sheep are actually an endangered breed of sheep (less then 500 breeding females registered) and is a cross breed of Leicester, Lincoln, and Ryeland sheep. It has a wonderful crimp to its wool, the color is very creamy and lustrous. However, because the staple of the wool is up to 7" in places I cannot put it through my drum carder and my hand carders are not fine enough for it I need to use a flick carder to open up each end of the lock before spinning it.

It may take me all week to get this fleece processed and I have plan to spin it into a 3-ply DK weight yarn for the Calligraphy Cardigan my heart so wants.


  1. stunning! Jealous :) Happy spinning!

  2. I use to work at Colonial Willamsburg, and got to see those wonderful Leicester Longwool sheep everyday. I actually have six or so skeins of yarn from them too.

    I will be interested in how this turns out for you.

    1. Well I'll keep everyone posted. Right now I have about 1/8th of the fleece carded. I try to get everthing carded before spinning so I can just do the spinning in one shot. I find that if I do all the spinning at once it will be a lot more even and the weight will not vary too much