Thursday, June 26, 2014
Here is the lambs fleece, after scouring. An unwashed lock is on the far left for comparison. The washed locks are in the middle, and the flicked (combed) locks are on the right. I will be spinning these worsted style, to get good stitch definition, probably something in a sport weight size...I will spin up some samples, and see what ideas they suggest. As spinners we are so lucky because we can design the yarns we want for the intended end use. Sometimes you see a fleece, and immediately know what you would like to create with it, based on its characteristics. Other times, you buy a fleec just because, and you start experimenting with its possibilities, before coming up with an idea. At this point in the creative process, now that I have a sense of what the washed fiber feels like, looks like, and how it behaves, I am thinking about scarves and hats....it has great springiness, bounce and elasticity, due to the crimp in the locks, and it is next to the skin soft, perfect for scarf wearing. A worsted prep will give me great stitch definition, perfect for color work, or knit and purl patterning, which is probably what I would like to do with my knitting. The characteristics of the fleece suggest certain paths to follow in the planning of the end product. I love all the possibilities at my fingertips!
This fleece was purchased a year and a half ago, at the New England Fiber Festival in Springfield, Mass. And I have finally worked my way through a long list of fleeces awaiting scouring, to finish up with this lovely Romney Lamb fleece. It has beautiful, consistent crimping, the locks are very well maintained, and the fleece is a fairly consistent length throughout. I decided to sort it by whiteness/brightness and fineness. Even though it is fairly consistent throughout, I came up with 3 grades as you can see in the photo. The finest, cleanest wool is on the far right, the courser and dirtier (more yellow) is on the far left. The bag in the middle is the fullest, and although a bit more yellow than the prime wool, it is still very soft and fine. My guess is that it will wash up fine, but it may be a bit more on the creamy side, whereas the prime wool will be a bit more on the white side. This fleece is a very clean one to start with, no VM, and no dirt. My guess is that is was a covered fleece, although it did not say so on the label. The weight is 3.5 pounds, and I paid $30 for it. A steal, if you ask me! The white tulle in the photo is for scouring. I will wash this fleece and maintain the lock structure by layering the fleece pieces in between layers of tulle netting, and tying the bundle with string to keep the butt ends all lined up. I will be spinning worsted style, so this is the prep routing I will follow. You can see the washed fleece in the next post.