09 April 2007

A day for experiments

We tried a bunch of things today.

Union Guy helped me shear a sheep (okay, he helped me make the table for the sheep to stand on, and held her while I trimmed fleece off with my new hand shears). The sheep, Cookie, looks ... well ... much smaller than she did before, but nobody is going to suspect that a professional shearer made a visit to my house. Still, it was good to get all that matted fleece off of her, she looks completely different now! The rams were checking out the 'new girl on the pasture'. :)

After that, I tried doing something with her fleece: total failure. Her wool is useless to me. Regardless, that was good to learn.

I tried spinning the wool of a different sheep (Banana Split): wow, what lovely wool! It spins beautifully. Of course, all the wool I have from her is contaminated with hay and burrs and other yukky bits of vegetation, but I carded and spun what I had, and got very nice wool out of the effort. I am now seriously contemplating sheep coats for my wool sheep!

For my next adventure, I tried knitting with spun singles. Allow me to translate for the non-spinning crowd: usually wool is spun (into one strand, a 'single'), and then two or three singles are plied together to make the final yarn that you knit with. I had heard, though, that you can knit with loosely spun singles and wanted to see if it worked. I have a couple of balls of singles spun from Split's wool, unwashed, unprocessed, un-anythinged, so I took one of those and started knitting. It looks really neat! I spun a few balls of wool from her fleece today, and washed a couple of skeins of it, so we'll see how that works out.

Today was a day for experiments and learning and messes: I have fleece and hay bits all over the floor! Still, it was entertaining, a good thing to do on a holiday Monday.

Oh, and you should see the lambs running around the pasture chasing each other. I had no idea they were this cute!


  1. Anonymous7:10 am

    While visiting a knitting mill recently, they told me they dyed the fleece with KoolAid crystals before professional dyes became availabe. You could make your experiments in technicolour!

  2. Anonymous8:54 am

    Post pictures of the spun wool and what you knitted. That would be fun for us to see!! Not something we see very often in Texas!

    Love you, AC

  3. Last year I tried some of the 'natural dying' techniques, with some fleece that my sister got me for a gift. I have some interesting shades of yellow, brown and green from onion skins and various combinations of additives.

    I have seen some incredibly beautiful hand dyed wool ... I think I'll have to play with colour again soon!


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