Sunday, March 27, 2016

Seven Bags Full

The sheep got sheared a couple of weeks ago and, for the first time, we have decided to try to do something (anything) useful with all that wool.  Don't get too excited imaging spinning wheels, sweaters or caps.  We are thinking of something much simpler and more likely to be useful and successful in this millennium.  Like - dog beds.

Warning, any of you real fiber freaks out there may find yourselves cringing and shuddering at the rest of this post.  If you find yourself unconsciously pressing the heal of your hand to your brow and shaking your head, kind of like this...

...just take a deep breath and carry on because we do want your advice.  If you have any comments or suggestions, we would be very happy to hear them.  Trust me, we could use the help.

After a quick search through Sara and Robin's respective blogs for any expert advice, we pretty much ignored all of it because we didn't have any of the proper things on hand and did what we usually do: make do and wing it.

First, we set up a "skirting table"....

...pulled out one fleece at a time....

...and then squabbled about what was and was not good wool.

Like either of us knows the difference.

Each fleece was quite unique though.  I have no idea which came from which sheep, but no two are alike.

There was short, thick crimpy stuff...

and longer, fuzzier crimpy stuff.

The occasional spot of color....

Dense, fluffy stuff with no crimp and long dreadlocks, (bet you didn't know something could be both dense and fluffy at the same time).

 Longer, more organized crimpy stuff (these are technical terms you know?)

We even have a whole fleece of Donald Trump hair.  Scary!!!

And some shiny, crimpy stuff.

Heck, even the clouds were crimpy today.

We had big plans to wash some of the wool but were stymied by the hot water heater, which would not let me adjust the temperature.  It is set at a measly 100 degrees and can't be changed.

So, to all of you fiber folks out there:

How do we wash this wool?

We would like to make some soft, down-like pillows, which fleece would work the best?

Do you have any other suggestions on how or what to do with wool besides spin it into yarn?  Because lets be real here, that is not likely to happen in this lifetime.

If nothing else, we figure it should make some nice dog beds.


  1. I honestly have no idea. My other thought was for saddle stuffing. :) If you figure out how to wash it send some my way.....

  2. Oh no, I have no idea, but sell the Donald Trump hair fleece...LOL!

  3. This is so interesting! I had no idea that the wool was "crimpy" in the first place. Even the clouds were celebrating your discovery. I predict that next year you will examine each fleece as it comes off, so you can identify the "donor." Looking forward to what comes next.

  4. Funniest post!! Sweet Bess REALLY needs a bigger bed - she is huge now.
    So, why do you need to wash the wool if it's not going to be spun?

    1. Don't worry Shelley, Bess absolutely fits perfectly in her Orvis bed, but because she truly is the sweetest and most unselfish Maremma that you will ever come across, she graciously shares it with her very best buddy Connor. I am telling you, sweetest dog ever, that is our Bess!

  5. The fermented suint method might work for you. You can find all sorts of information about it--here is an introduction. (I've never tried it. Pretty sure my neighbors would complain of the smell.)

  6. In case you blog readers are thinking that the absolutely beautiful and cute cat in the photo is Kipper, well you are all wrong. That is my super cat Skip Ta Ma Lou, and she IS my darling. I also take great offense at any of my sheep being said to have wool that looks like Donald Trump! How insulting can a person be? However, we DID manage to do a spectacular job at wool skirting, and the Dancing Donkey lady can quit worrying about her job, as we will obviously be in great demand across the finer-fiber community for our uncanny and natural wool abilities. Need I say more.

  7. We recycled used Horse blankets into great outdoor dog beds. The wool we used was from my mothers suffolk sheep and they lives in a pasture with spruce trees...horrible stuff in the fleece so she just cut of the manure bits from the butt area of the fleeces to make sheep manure tea for the plans [soak manury wool in water] then stuffed big bags made from the horse blankets that were beyond repair. The dogs loved them and we had two in the loft for the barn cats.

  8. Some info about skirting and separating:

  9. How about felting? I think it may be too time-consuming for you and FB, but it's worth a consideration. I paid big bucks for my six virgin wool felted dryer balls, but I haven't used chemical dryer sheets or fabric softener in three years. Just the dryer balls with a few drops of lavender eo, and a quarter cup of white vinegar in the fabric softener or bleach dispenser in the washer. I have a felted bar of goat-milk soap in the shower that gently exfoliates.
    For the dog beds, I wouldn't even wash it. But I would put a pouch of aromatic cedar chips in with the wool to help keep the buggers at bay.

    I'm kinda envious- your options are varied and plentiful!

  10. I hope you find a way to use it, and share what you find out! :)