Fleece to Yarn

In August, Angela came to visit for almost a week of fibre based fun! :o)  Stopping at a farm on the way to buy some fibre for us to play with she turned up with an entire fleece!  A Dorset Poll Shearling fleece which spread out over my entire dining room floor :o)


We separated it into 3 piles – the best bits, the good bits, and the bits too short for spinning (but good for needle felting or stuffing).  Plus a small amount went in the bin, but there wasn’t much of that :o)  We decided to go for the best bits first and set about washing it :o)

One of those moments when I’m very glad for the epic sinks we added to the garage!  Fairy washing up liquid and warm water for 3 rinses so that the water was clear and not a murky brown anymore ;o)  Then a soak in a bucket with some vinegar in preparation for dying.

To save having to buy any new equipment specially for dying we opted to use food colourings and my largest saucepans.  It was a little scary putting fibre into gently bubbling water/vineger/food colouring!

The colours didn’t come out quite as bright as we’d hoped, but perhaps we didn’t use enough colouring for the amount of fibre, or many other variations.  But, we did definitely dye the fibre and we didn’t felt it! Woo! :o)

Much dying later and then the sun went away so it all ended up in my bathroom with a dehumidifier trying to dry it all!  There’s more in the bath you can’t see too!

It took longer to dry than we’d hoped, but we managed to find enough dry bits to start playing around with the colours and fibre and trying to turn it into something to spin.

We made rolags with the hand cards and with the blending board, and also made some roving with my hackle too.  Trying out all the different colours and preparations to see what we liked best.  Then we each spun up half and plyed it together :o)


The fibre wasn’t as easy to spin as we had hoped and wasn’t coming out as evenly as we’d liked.  To prove all was not lost I quickly made up a pin loom square and then needle-punched with our pretty yarn into it, which worked really well :o)  The back is yarn spun from a matching batt of commercially prepared fibre Angela bought at the farm – it is not anywhere near as soft as our preparation even at this stage!  Weird!

So the next day we tried a little harder with our fibre preparation.  We opened up the locks more carefully on the carder before using them on the blending board or hackle, making sure all the VM was removed and there were no tangles at all.


This yarn looks much better! Yay!  Clearly the extra time and effort in preparing was worth it, and so the rest will be prepared that way.  I am now slowly turning all the yarn we spun of the week into squares, and spinning more too :o)  Angela has offered to sew all the squares together for me, yay! :o)

It was a really fun week spent playing with fibre and spinning together :o)  Next time we’re together it will be time to visit Yarndale and try not to come home with everything ;o)

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