One thing leads to another. First, I learned to knit, then I learned to spin. When DS1 found me spinning, making my own yarn, he teased me that he expected to come home and find sheep grazing in the back yard, as the next logical step was to raise my own fiber. hmmmmmmm. No, that’s not the next step, but I did take a half step and bought some fleeces. A farmer/sheepherder in Kentucky was willing to sell her fleece by the pound instead of by the complete fleece. So, I bought a pound each of Lincoln and Icelandic wool and a pound of Alpaca! Now this stuff is straight off the animal, vegetable matter and all. The dog loves all those good sheepy smells and tried to get into the box that the fleece came in.
These are the fleeces, just out of the box, center bottom is the Lincoln, top right is Icelandic, top left is the Alpaca. Since the fleece is right off the animal, it has to be ‘scoured’ (fiber speak for washed) to remove the debris and the lanolin. First, you make a hot solution of water and detergent, put the fleece in, careful not to agitate. It looks like this before the bath – tan, long and curly. It looks like the middle picture while it soaks and the dirt and ‘grease’ are lifted to the surface. Look at the color of that water!
Once it has been washed and rinsed several times, it gets laid out to dry. Even after washing, little Mac was trying to get at it! (double click on photo to enlarge)
It took much longer to dry than I expected. Then it was time to comb the locks. Please, don’t ever try to use a wool comb to comb your hair! Wool combs are much more suited to Freddy Kruger or Edward Scissorhands. These are wool combs:
These are wool combs in action :
The result of the combing is this delightful cream-colored puff of fiber that spins into this yarn:
Can you believe that this poofy white cloud came from this dirty mess of curls? Talk about a transformation!!