Since I started spinning my own yarn I have gone through a ton of fibre, the stuff is pretty expensive when you buy it perfectly carded and in beautiful rovings. I realized early on that I need to go directly to the source and get me some fleece. To The Man's utter dismay, I mentioned I may want a couple of sheep and maybe an alpaca. Jeez, what is taking out a few rows of cherries in the orchard and fencing in some sheep? Seems pretty easy until I did a bit of research and found out you have to cut their toenails. Yeah...no. I am not really interested in having to chase some sheep around, flip them over and then cut their nails. Brought to mind mutton busting at rodeos...I think I will just buy me a sheared fleece!!!
My first fleece purchase was "Latte" from Wyncrest Farm in the US. 6 pounds came in a nice little box and after The Man went back to work I prepared to take it on and clean it up. I had read about the smell of ram fleece being pretty rank and since this was a small ewe, shouldn't be that bad. I wasn't really prepared for the smell when I cracked open the bag....'barny' is a bit mild of a description. I am not sure what I was expecting...images of sunshine and roses did not appear, more like 10 sheep standing in my living room. Oh well, I can do it!
Once I got going, I had fleece in the bathtub, in both kitchen sinks and my house stunk to high heaven. Air fresheners could not keep up. The encyclopedia of Youtube mentioned you need such hot water to scour a fleece, I had water boiling in huge pots on the stove and my house was so steamy I thought the paint would peel off. As one of my friends said, "I haven't jumped in with both feet, I have cannonballed right in"!! I was so grateful The Man wasn't home or I never would have heard the end of it. I mean really! Why get so upset over my using the salad spinner to get the water out of the beautiful curls?!! I didn't think he even knew we owned a salad spinner, he has never used it.
But oh!! When it was all finished, Latte is a real star!! It is beautiful, silvery grey, white and black, soft and lustrous!!
For my first fleece it was pretty easy to clean with very little vegetable matter and it turned out lovely. I have been dyeing it fabulous colours and spinning it into lovely, shiny yarn.
I have since purchased another fleece with 8 inch locks (an 8 pounder!!) from Wyncrest Farms and Mindy emailed me to warn me that the one coming isn't quite as clean as Latte, as it was her show fleece....uh oh! I think I will be doing this one outside!!!
Fleece number 2!