Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tunis Fleece Sorting

Today is a great day to sort and wash the Tunis fleece. The deep freeze continues this weekend, and a heat wave with temps in the 30's and 40's is expected in a couple of days! What a perfect time to stay home, and hunker down in the keeping room with a dirty, chaffy, mildly smelly old fleece! Can't wait to get it soaking in the sink......;) I began by unrolling this fleece on the floor--you could work outdoors, or on an old sheet, but I chose to just work on the wood floor. The fleece really is not that dirty, at least not with loose sandy grit. I started by examining the wool, and determined which end was the neck end and which was the rump end. Then a look at the locks helped me determine which areas had the prime fleece. The shoulders and along the upper back typically have the best wool. The wool along the spine or top of the sheep is generally not as good. The prime wool has a longer staple length and is fine and relatively clean. The staple length on this prime wool is about 4-5 inches long. The average wool, which runs along the spine and down the sides of the sheep is about 3-4 inches long and a bit courser, but still quite springy. The wool at the edges and down the back end of the animal is courser and dirtier, but I will still process it, and perhaps use it for felting, or some other use,other than for "next to the skin" articles.

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