A lovely new book arrived from Amazon today (that sounds like Amazon generously sends me presents from time to time, oh that it were true). I ordered The Knitting Experience by Sally Melville for just one pattern. I am intending to make this (The Einstein Coat) as my first big fleece-to-wardrobe piece
OK we do have a long way to go... The fleece comes from a friend's pet sheep, Betty. I don't know what breed Betty is but she is a BIG girl and I think she likes to sleep under hedges amongst lots of dry leaves and bracken
|quite a small part of Betty coat|
This is what Betty coat looks like after several rinses in warm water (Eucalan in the last rinse). The dead leaves etc are broken up into fine specs that look like tea leaves and each spec will have to be shaken or picked out.
The weather last weekend was perfect for fleece washing and drying. It is impossible to avoid sloshing water everywhere, and its not clean water either. Arms up to the elbows in the sloshy detritus and wet feet are a constant, so being able to do the whole process out doors, even using the spin drier on the lawn, was a blessing. I hope the grass and the plants benefit from all that water because that's where it all went.
Betty was not my only fleece donation this year, I was also given the coats from four small black welsh mountain lawn mowers. The sheep's job is to mow the large expanse of lawn belonging to a lady I just happened to meet at a craft fair a few weeks ago. Once rinsed and spun the fleece lay out on my lawn for 48 hours (taken in over night in case we had a heavy dew)
|rinsing buckets in the background|
Although before rinsing all the nasty dirt is removed and the fleece attached to it thrown away or sent to the allotment compost heap, once dry the picking begins. Betty has an extraordinarily long 7 -8 inch staple.
The staple is the length of each individual fibre of fleece. It is also the ancient name for a wool market which is more than a market, where the wool is also graded and taxed.
The lovely weather continues and I am sitting in my garden picking over a small amount of the fleece at a time and I have spun just a little using my drop spindle (also something I can do outside). Plyed and knitted up it looks like this
I am hoping that I shall get the yarn a little smoother when I spin on my wheel, I need 1300 yards of bulky weight so will be plying three strands, something I have not done before - there are many challenges ahead. And I think I shall wait for some long winter evenings. It would be a shame to miss the sunshine we have right now.
So back to Flo for now