Part of my criteria (for choosing a farm to purchase sheared animal fiber) is to find people that treat their animals kindly and genuinely care about their overall well-being.
At this rate, it’s highly doubtful that I’ll have shaken out the dirt, picked off the large bits of vegetable matter, washed, cleaned, combed or carded all my animal fiber before autumn is finished. During my “down time” in between spinning yarn for the cape (that I’m creating for a knit designer) I’m starting to break down my cleaned fiber into bags.
The first picture shows a few of them. I’ve marked the breed and have included the farm on some of the bags. I’ll eventually add that information to all. The bags listed does not even represent 1% of the raw fiber I have. I am thrilled to say that all the animal fiber I have received came from small farms that HUMANELY shear their animals. They seem to treat them more as pets, which I think is nice.
The second picture shows Polypay sheep. Regarding spinning, it’s another “new to me” breed. Polyplay sheep were created by crossing Targhees to Dorsets and Rambouillets to Finnsheep. The crossbreed offspring were recrossed. Which results in the animal having 25% of each parent breed.
The last two pictures features the actual raw fleece. Their fiber is soft, durable and very fine. When spinning, it’s important to have a light hand because the fibers tend to clump and thin out easily.
It does well with dyeing. That’s good to know! This fiber is perfect for “next to skin” garments. I’m receiving a whole fleece, almost seven pounds, of this fiber. The staple length is about 3″.
A few notes I’m learning about dealing with raw wool…
Careful attention must be given to the entire process, from removing the excess vegetable matter before you even wash the fleece. If you wash the fleece incorrectly, depending on the fleece it can felt. Also when you card (think slicker brush) or comb the fleece, proper care is needed or you could damage the fiber. Cleaning fleeces is a long and tedious process, but I enjoy it immensely.