Hair O\’the Lamb

…In which we learn how to wash a sheep (fleece)
6 May, 2008, 9:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ok, I’m back.   Still subdued and missing my cat but I am on the other side of it now and getting on with things.  During the break I learned to crochet (thanks Sheri!), read some good books (Including “A fine fleece”) and not incidentally acquired two large feed bags full of wool.  You heard me right…wool.  Fresh from the lamb.   The sheep in question belongs to the son of a co-worker who is raising it for a school project (I love Northern California…wish we’d had school projects like that back east.  Come to think of it, I did have a reading teacher who sometimes brought lambs-rejected during lambing for whatever reason-to school and kept them beside her desk for a day or two but that is another story).  It is the first shearing from his Suffolk lamb and boy is it ever soft.  He dotes on this lamb and the wool was in very clean condition when it got to me.  But as you might well guess, even a clean lamb is still kinda dirty, being a lamb and all.

I laid out an old sheet and dumped one of the bags out on it, then as best as I could, skirted it.  Its not exactly in a whole piece (being in halves I’m guessing) and it was a little hard to tell what was what but I got the worst  of the vm and sheep dirt picked out.  Then I placed the wool in 2 large mesh laundry bags and threw it into the washer which had been prefilled with hot water and Dawn (lavendar-I figured it couldn’t hurt). I pushed the bags under the hot soapy water and let them have a good soak, then spun them out.  I did this a total of 4 times until the fleece was clean.  The last time I washed a fleece, I did it all by hand and…I do  like this method better.  Then I fluffed the wool on the sheet in the sun and let it dry.  Since it was a beautiful sunny day it didnt take long at all.  I then packed it back in one of the mesh bags to await carding.  I have to kind of steel myself up for that one, since I am prone to tendonitis in my wrists even with normal use.  On the other hand, makes a perfectly rational arguement for a drum carder.  I have been checking them out online and I think I could justify having one around. Next weekend I will tackle the second half of the fleece, and will take some pictures of the process.  I originally thought it would be a good project for the knitting group but really washing fleece isn’t that interesting of an activity. 

The portions of the fleece that I have washed by hand are snow white and very soft (I think I may have mentioned that previously but they are incredibly soft…like lambswool lol) and I can’t wait for the spinning to commence!  I promised the donor that I would make him something-I’m thinking a hat or fingerless gloves would be good for a teen guy who likes sheep enough to raise one.  (and yes, I know its going to be sold for meat eventually…but give me a break on that part for now-k?)

More later!


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Eeee… my little one is all grown up!! it’s like i’m the parent teaching my child the basics of life & watching her grow up and apply it to real life… so rewarding! seriously though, you have ALREADY out-crocheted me. (i’m kind of a late-bloomer anyways. i go in spurts.) if you need ANY help with ANY of that fleece, you know where to find me 😛

Comment by §heri

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