Saturday, April 2, 2016

By the Light of Day

The fleece I washed last weekend is finally dry and it does look better by the light of day.  I'm not sure what to do with it from this point, but it is fairly clean.  There is still plenty of hay and debris in it, but I assume that would come out later when it is combed/carded/whatever???  It seems like it could use some sort of fluffing procedure, but I am not sure how to manage that short of taking the dog brush to it.  I know there are mills we could send all this to, but that seems like an expensive proposition.

I am finding the wool to be quite interesting.  This fleece is from Mable, who is half Tunis, half Katahdin.  Tunis are supposed to have very nice fleece, while Katahdin have hair rather than fleece.  This is not a combination that anyone would ever choose for wool production, but it is what we have.

The genetics show up in very interesting ways and it seems to run the gamut from hair to wool and some of combination of the two.  I can see why you wouldn't want to try to spin this as the fibers vary a great deal.  It should make decent stuffing though, especially for cat beds.  Cats will sleep on anything after all, just to be perverse.  If I put it out in the barn and tell Kipper NOT to sleep on it, she will take especial delight in curling up in it.

These pictures all come from the same fleece....dandelion fluff..




and hairy....

There was a pile of very dirty wool that I pulled off to discard before I washed the fleece.  We were expecting rain the next day and I wanted to see what that would do to the wool.  Sara mentioned putting the fleece on a screen and letting the rain do the washing and I have to say, there is some merit in that suggestion.

The discarded wool was remarkably clean after its rain-wash and I left it out on the stones all week to see what would happen to it.  The wool looks to be quite clean, but does still have a lot of lanolin on it as well as a faint pong of sheep.

From this one small experiment, I do think you could let Mother Nature pre-wash the fleece and it would cut down greatly on the washing that it needs.  One soak with soap would probably be enough after the rain.  The only problem I had was that as soon as the sun came out and the wool dried, I had to corral the stuff to keep the wind from blowing it everywhere.  Up here on Hellwind Hill, I would need some kind of screen clam-shell contraption to keep the wool under control.

Does anyone have any suggestions for what to do with the wool next?  I am a bit confused about the whole combing/carding/batting/roving thing.


  1. I have no suggestions, but eagerly await the next chapter in this saga.

  2. I let my cats felt their own beds. I fill the bottom of cardboard boxes that they'd sleep in anyway with waste wool. Cat jumps in, sleeps, rolls around, gets really warm, jumps out, repeat. Works a charm. Zero effort for me. Same principal could work for dog beds.

    I find there are an infinite number of uses for wool, especially if you start from scratch, straight off the sheep. There's even a company in the UK now (I think it's the UK) who are making furniture from it. Take wool, add resin, mold it, voila.

    Pinterest is good place to cruise for ideas.

    (On the other hand, I thought a couple of those fleeces you posted the other day were very spinnable.)

  3. Looks good, I bet the dogs would love it as a bed!

  4. As far as fluffing for dog/cat beds, just pull and pull and pull and pull with your hands until it's all fluffed up. Might help to do inside a big rubbermaid tub, but if you were able to do it with a bit of a breeze, it would probably help get some of the crud out of it. Good job so far!

  5. You can actually use a dog comb or two to card the fleece. Youtube has a bazillion vids.

  6. I am enjoying your wool adventure! :)

  7. Random lurking reader here. :) I came across this post on my FB today, and thought it might be helpful to you.