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Advice wanted: raw fleece to something useful.  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 120
Location: Saskatchewan
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I have a friend who has sheep. We have plans that next weekend I will go to her farm and learn how to sheer sheep. Last year she burnt her fleeces, this year if I come over she said I could have a bunch for free.

The sheep are a commercial cross breed that produces lots of triplets. I expect the fleeces to be a medium finess and to be heavily contaminated with vegetable matter and tag.

I would like suggestions/instructions on how to;
1) clean the fleeces.
2) make into yarn or felt.
3) all the other steps that are in between those two.

I do know how to knit and sew so once I have yarn or felt I think I can handle it.
 
Posts: 77
Location: Winters, California
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I am a novice spinner, so if you google or look on youtube you'll find more detailed info, but for what it's worth:
You can use a vacuum or a blower on the sheep to get a large percentage of chunks and sand/dirt out before you shear. (At least, that's often done for alpacas.) Then after the wool is shorn, you'll be picking stuff out with your hands, I believe.

You can wash the fleece by soaking in hot water and detergent in a bathtub or old washer. Repeat as many times as needed, with hot water soaks to rinse in between.

Then you have to lay it out to dry - not in direct sunlight. Some spinners get old washers and remove the center agitator, and that allows you to easily rinse and spin dry.

You'll want a carder to line up all the fibers for spinning.

You'll need a spinning wheel. There are DIY versions you can build, but if you are lucky enough to find a store that sells wheels, definitely try them out before you build or buy one. Or post on a local forum/Craig's List and see if anyone nearby will let you test theirs out. They all have different feels to them and you want something that is comfortable when you're spinning for hours at a time. Having the right wheel will also help you spin much more efficiently. I knew a couple of people who just couldn't get the hang of spinning until they tried a different wheel.

Spinning is a big time investment. You may find that you're up for shearing and cleaning up the fiber, but you prefer to send it out to someone else for spinning into yarn.

Edit to add a few links from my blog, as I was learning to spin and work with wool:
http://growmakelearnthrive.blogspot.com/2016/04/spinning.html
http://growmakelearnthrive.blogspot.com/2016/05/end-of-spinning-class-trying-different.html
http://growmakelearnthrive.blogspot.com/2016/05/new-wheel-plying-2-singles.html
http://growmakelearnthrive.blogspot.com/2016/07/louet-victoria-spinning-wheel.html
http://growmakelearnthrive.blogspot.com/2016/11/setting-yarn-singles.html
http://growmakelearnthrive.blogspot.com/2017/07/washing-raw-wool.html
http://growmakelearnthrive.blogspot.com/2017/07/washing-raw-wool-2.html
 
Leora Laforge
pollinator
Posts: 120
Location: Saskatchewan
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Thanks for the links, I looked at the washing one, looks helpful. I will look through more when I have time.
 
gardener
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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At the bottom of this thread is a collection of other topics related to this.  We have some pretty talented people talking about this subject.
 
gardener
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Location: Morongo Valley
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You might want to do the washing outside, like in a big tote.  A lot of lanolin can come off fleeces, depending on the sheep/breed, and it can clog your drain...

If you want to see a felting method, and a rather unusual finished product on a timelapse, here's an interesting one.  She uses that method to make a felted backed, natural hair "rug" of sorts that looks like a sheepskin, but without the skin:



And then she turns it into THIS:



There are lots of examples online of how to do this and similar methods, but I like the time-lapse on this one.  Her name is Caroline Eklund.  Her artwork is amazing; she also shows how she makes the goat mask (incredibly realistic, from paper maiche) and also the costume.

That may not be what you are thinking of with felting, but thought you might enjoy it!
 
pollinator
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Location: 6a
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Leora Laforge wrote:I have a friend who has sheep. We have plans that next weekend I will go to her farm and learn how to sheer sheep. Last year she burnt her fleeces, this year if I come over she said I could have a bunch for free.

The sheep are a commercial cross breed that produces lots of triplets. I expect the fleeces to be a medium finess and to be heavily contaminated with vegetable matter and tag.

I would like suggestions/instructions on how to;
1) clean the fleeces.
2) make into yarn or felt.
3) all the other steps that are in between those two.

I do know how to knit and sew so once I have yarn or felt I think I can handle it.



I follow a very talented Crochet Artist on Instagram her tag is Mynoushart.   She dies her own yarn and I believe much of what she does is cleaning fleece and spinning it.   Her website is  Crochet ArtShe is out of Kinnears, Quebec.  Super nice person.  Drop her a message and tell her AdzeWoodcraft sent you.  
 
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Location: Southeast Arizona, Latitude 31, Zone 8A, Cold Semi-Arid, USGS Ecoregion 79a
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I just bought a few pounds of raw suri alpaca blanket-fleece locally and I'm wondering if there are any additional or different pointers for cleaning alpaca fiber than for sheep. I've done some drop spindle spinning, nothing too ambitious, but I'd like to clean, learn to dye some (the white -- I'll leave the gray natural), card, and spin this into yarn I can knit (I know suri has no crimp) and learn to weave. I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks in case!
 
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