Tour de Fleece

Sorry for the lack of post last week.  I had the pics ready but just forgot.  I got all caught up in prepping for TdF.

I overdid it on the fiber prep last week and combined with yard work over the weekend, managed to strain my wrist.  I’ve been in a brace most of this week in the hope that I’ll be better enough by tomorrow to spin a little. So I’ve been forced to find alternate things to do as I can’t knit or spin or prep so I’ve gotten sort of lost in a computer game.

So Tour de Fleece or TdF.  It’s three weeks of spinning in conjunction with the bike race Tour de France.  I’m with team RWLU or the Raw Wool Lovers Unite group on Ravelry. We’re a very laid back group.  We set our own goals (big or small) and cheer each other on.  The only requirement is that the fiber is from raw fleece.

My theme this year is variety.  In the past I’ve worked on one fleece for most of the tour and let me tell you, that gets tedious fast.  So this year I’ve prepped bits of every fleece I have.  8 different breeds, mostly combed but two have the waste from combing carded into rollags.

So here is the lineup:

 

The Hampshire is spindles only and everything else is for my wheel.  If I somehow run out, there is more Cormo and Hampshire to prep.

I think I’ll start with the Shetland/Corriedale lamb.  It’ll probably be the easiest to spin.  I have no firm plans for most of this.  It will get spun at whatever thickness feels right. Probably pretty thin as that’s what I tend to spin.

Sometime today I need to change the drive band on my wheel and oil it and than I’m ready to go.  I hope to post a couple of times a week to update my progress (and get in that Polwarth prep post I forgot about last week.)

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Cormo Raw Fleece

 

Next up is a gorgeous Cormo fleece.  This one almost 6lbs.

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Some scoured locks.  Those dirty ends flick right out leaving me with lovely white fiber.

Combing in progress.  Same method as the last fleece.

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The nests I have done so far.  This should be enough for 2 singles to be plied into one skein.

The rest of the fleece needs a re-scour.  There’s just a bit too much lanolin left in it.  I can comb and probably spin it now in the summer heat without too many problems but come winter, it’s going to be a hassle.  It looks like I’ll have a decent day or two next week to scour so I’ll get this bagged up over the weekend and ready to scour.

Note to self:  Cormo has more lanolin than it appears and needs 2 soapy scours before rinsing.

Corriedale/Shetland Lamb Raw Fleece

I have fleeces!!!

I’m going to introduce them one at a time as I get to work on them this month.  I finished scouring the last bit today so the rest of the month is dedicated to fiber prep for these new fleeces plus one or two older ones.  TdF is coming up fast and I’ll need a lot of fiber prepped and ready to spin.

First up is a Corriedale/Shetland cross lamb.  Just shy of 2 lbs before scouring. These pics are of the fleece and locks before scouring.

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Here is an assortment of scoured locks.  Staple length is 5-6 inches.  There are a few locks with black/dark grey but most of the fleece is white to cream.

Combing in progress.  This fleece is so easy to prep.  I pull open the butt ends with my fingers.  Just sort of fluffing it a bit and getting any second cuts I may have missed.  Then I flick/brush the tips.  Next is loading the hackle and combing.  Look how fluffy it gets.  This is the longest fleece I’ve ever dealt with.  I really have to exaggerate my movements to get the comb free of the fibers before the next pass.  Last shot is pulling the fiber off of the hackle into roving.  I don’t bother with a diz.  I just draft the fiber until it’s even as I wind it onto my hand.

This fleece is a dream to prep.  Almost no VM.  The tips flick out with 2 or 3 swipes of the brush and it pulls off of the hackle easily.  I can work on this for hours at a time without aches and pains.

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These are all the nests I made today.  Aren’t they pretty?  I can’t wait to see how this spins up.

I highly recommend Bleating Heart Haven in New Holstein, WI.  I’m not sure if Cindy sells online but she got a lovely little shop on her farm and it’s well worth the trip if you can do it.

She flat out gave me some roving. She also has goats (mohair) and when I mentioned I’d never spun that she pulled down some mohair/coopsworth roving. Then later after she showed me the fleeces and I’d turned down some very short shetland lamb she pulled out a bump of roving made from a similar fleece and gave that to me.  Plus she gave me an amazing deal on the 2 fleeces I bought from her.

I asked to see the sheep and she let me (insisted, actually) feed her bottle lamb. Adorable but noisy little thing and not all that hungry (it was early for supper time).

WIP and Polwarth fleece

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Sing a Song of Sixpence shawl – I have just started the 6th stripe.  The last increase row was just before the aqua stripe started.  I have 10 stripes to go.  I’m very pleased with it even if it feels like there are a million stitches.  It’s folded in half for the picture.  It’s actually a full circle. Hand spun and hand dyed CVM wool.

 

Polwarth fleece – This is 1 pound and I paid $22.90 including shipping from Raw Fiber Arts Co on Etsy.  It’s got little bits of vm throughout but that’s not a big deal to me.  It’s actually quite clean compared to some fleeces I’ve dealt with. I expect it’ll wash up to a bright white.  I was quite impressed that it was a full chunk of fleece and not a jumbled up mess.  It was easy to pull the locks and the staple length is mostly quite long.  It is so so soft and doesn’t have a lot of lanolin.

It arrived in today’s mail and I swear, all I was planning to do was take it out back, spread it out and take pics and then bag it back up.  I’m busy and/or it will be raining for the next few days and I can’t wash until Monday. Once I got my hands in it, I was doomed.  I spent the next couple of hours pulling the locks and bagging them up for scouring.  And I loved every second of it.  Well, at least it’s all ready for Monday.

In other fleece news, I’ve made an appointment at a new sheep farm for this Saturday.  This one has Cormo, BFL, Shetland and Corriedale.  I’m not sure what I’ll be getting.  I’d love to try all of them but her prices run much higher than the other farm (actually the new place has more normal prices.  The other place was super cheap.)  She’s willing to sell partial fleeces so maybe I’ll get a few pounds of several.  I won’t know until I see what she has and get my hands into them.