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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm finally picking up my fleece tonight! I got this off Freecycle....in all it's raw glory. I even have to pick debris out of it!
So seeing as I posted for roving so I could learn spinning I'm shocked to be getting more than that.
What else do I need? I can't do too much to it until we move (the 31st) but once we get settled in I will be renting a wheel. So that's taken care of. What else do I need? I know it's going to need carded and cleaned...right? Tell me what to do oh wise ones!


Fleece!

The white stuff on top is what I washed in my sink last night. SOoooo much whiter! That's just the top of the box. I tried getting a shot of the actual box so you could see how big it is (cause I got a ton!) but my camera died.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Come on! I know there are some fiber junkies here...Joyce? Are you out there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh man, I just got home.....whew! I think I have the entire sheep in this box. It's a big box too! I'll take a picture after DD goes to bed. She wants to play in it hard core.
So there is quite a bit of debris in it....do I just pick an amount to wash, stick it in a zippered pillow case, and throw it in the washer (on cool of course
)? Will that get it all out or just get it more stuck?
 

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The only piece of advice I would give is to not scour it in your washing machine (I think the Joy of Handspinning site reccomends that). It took several rinses and spins to get my fleece clean (I was scouring about a pound) and then my washer broke - turns out that some fiber got caught in the pump. After they repaired it, it happened again but thankfully I was able to do it myself this time.

I picked up a pair of cards on e-bay for just under $30, a lot nicer than the $60-$70 I've seen for them new at my LYS that carries spinning supplies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lovely! Thanks for the links Frogger! I can't wait to start. This stuff is VERY lanoliny (sp? Is that even a word?
). When I wash it will that stay present? I know some is bound to be washed out but can I count on quite a bit of it staying? Also, can I just use my wool wash I use for my covers?

DH just asked me to kindly wait til we move to wash it.
 

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It depends on how hot the water is when you wash: hot hot water will remove more lanolin than lukewarm and so the fleece will be less greasy

The advice I see most often is to just pick out as much as possible, then cut off any really nasty bits you don't want to put your hands in, then put the whole lot in the bathtub with soap and water. That said, I'm a wuss and I like my preprepared roving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I washed a small chunk in my sink last night...just to do it basically.
Oh my, that stuff is pretty! Mainly white/creamish but then there are random tufts of dark black/brown in there. I can't wait to do it all!!!
 

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Any specifics? What kind of sheep?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have no idea! The lady who gave it to me got it cause she wanted to learn how to spin as well. She got it froma lady straight off the farm and didn't ask any questions. I have a picture of it I'll post after DD is mellow for the night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Added a pic in post 1!!! And in case you miss it's in this one too.


Fleece!

The white on top is the tiny amount I cleaned last night in my sink. HUGE difference!
 

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First- I would take a bedsheet and dump out the whole box and check for moths... if someone else had it sitting around for a long time there is always that chance and you really don't want to risk getting an infestation.

Second- I would skirt the fleece if that has not been done already. If the fleece is still in one piece like it came off the lamb's back- you might find some areas that are really bad- from the sheeps butt and belly where they lay down. Remove those pieces and chuck them. or put them out for birds, or use for mulch.

3rd... pick out all the straw and vegetable stuff that you can...

4th... pack it back up in the box and ship it to

Wooly Knob Fiber Mill
P.O. Box 171
La Otto, IN 46763

http://www.woolyknobfibermill.com/

The work they do is amazing and compared to your labor and effort- the cost of processing is nothing... meaning you can pay them $6 a pound... or you can spend 10 hours wrestling with smelly wet greasy barnyard stuff in your house, dripping draining matting and gunking up your bathtub or washing machine.

I live on a farm barnyard stuff is my life and a joy to me - but if I didn't have to bring it into my house- if all I wanted was spinnable fiber and not a pasture full of cute little goats- no way- I wouldn't ever bother with that.

Also- I happen to be allergic to wool and I found out that I just can't manage hand combing (by the way- I use viking combs- not cards when I do do it by hand) Anyway MHO is that hand carding is for people doing demos for history farms... as soon as those spinners go home they pull out a beautiful machine processed roving and relax.
 

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I've done some raw fleece as well as sent off some to be processed into roving. I can see why the OP wants to do it herself, and I agree that if you're new to spinning, washing and carding a fleece yourself is a rewarding experience. You'll find out that you either you love to do it, or you don't, and that you'll send it off next time.


I learned myself that I don't like to process the stuff. It smells, is really dirty and since I did Merino and Rambulette (sp?), it was very greasy. I sent it off, and $40 later had 3 lbs of the stuff, all creamy white and ready to spin.

You might search on-line for some fleece washing/processing tips, or see if there's a local spinning/weaving guild near you to ask for advice. There's also yahoo groups for spinning that you could join for more advice. You can pm me if you'd like for the group I'm in (CanSpin, for Canadian spinners).
 

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Sarah -- thank you so much for the link! After my washing machine fiasco, I haven't even really touched the fiber I have to card it nor the several pounds waiting to be scoured. This definitely seems like a great idea.
 
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