Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The great fleece to sweater adventure!

One of the ladies at my Wednesday weavers and spinners group has sheep, and recently gave me two fleeces.

fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 bags

She said they were washed, and the do look it for the most part. But they are also old.

One of the fleeces has a long staple, good crimp, but is a tad coarse, and in fact, a bit crunchy and dry feeling.

fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 girl

The other fleece is rather short and fine, but also still quite greasy and tacky. The sheep was a male, and the fleece is a bit… um, strong, if you know what I mean.

fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 boy

All her sheep are a mish-mash of different breeds, and there was no note as to the lineage of either of these fleeces.

The crunchy fleece, I hoped, just needed a little hydration, I carded up a couple of ounces and spun them up, and after a nice bath with some kookaburra it seems much better, but still a little rougher than would want for a sweater.
fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 samples female

The other I took a handful and gave it a nice hot bath with some Dawn before carding it up and spinning. And not only did it smell better but it came out amazingly soft. When I was picking it to get ready for carding, I had this intense urge to cuddle up into the soft cloud of fibers and take a nap! The spun sample was nice and soft, but not very strong feeling. And if I want this sweater to stand up to a lot of wear, I need a strong yarn.
fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 samples male

Also, I noticed a bit of felting at the cut edges of the fleece, and ended up with a ton of nepps because of it. Thankfully, when I went back and looked at the original fleece, I didn't see any of that felting, so I'm assuming I was a little too rough when washing my sample, and I just have to remember to be extra gentile.

After my original samples, I blended up a 50/50 batt of the two fibers, and spun that up.
fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 samples blend

It came out way softer than the skeins of just the long fleece, but also much stronger feeling than the skeins of the soft fleece. So I think I have found my winning combination.

The next step of this adventure is to dye the fleeces up and get them prepped and ready to spin.

Wish me luck!


sheep#100 said...

Great job! And good detective work, figuring out the best solution.

Walden said...

That's great that they worked out well together. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

wow! what a great job! lots of work put into that!

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