Monday, February 16, 2009

Re-Thinking the Wool Processing

I had a look at my fleece stash. I've been thinking of it in terms of the number of fleeces, not the weight of fleeces, which is how the processing (and shipping) charges are calculated. I've got four dark Coopworth fleeces. Their total weight is at least 28 pounds. At $6.60 a pound, that's $184, plus shipping. Yikes!! Even with the March discount and the prepay discount, it's still beyond my budget at this time. On the other hand, this means that I'll have lots of hands-on time with some glorious fleeces, which is fine. Now I just need to keep on makinng incremental progress, one fleece at a time.

Fortunately, to help motivate me, I have the book A Fine Fleece. By sheer coincidence, the fleeces I have (Coopworth, Border Leicester Cross, Shetland, Romney and Merino Cross) are actually breeds featured in the book. Who knew!

At the moment, I'm finishing up the teasing/flicking of a Coopworth fleece. There is already about 1/3 of it washed and a small portion of it combed, plus two batts from the drum carder before I decided it really needs to just be combed.

I'm not sure which fleece I might work on next. I washed a couple of locks from the white Shetland fleece and was amazed by how bright and white it came out. I could see this fleece becoming a lovely 2-ply lace weight yarn for a delicious Shetland shawl. At the same time, there's a fairly coarse silver and steel gray fleece that I'm dying to work with. It was one of the first fleeces I purchased and it's just beautiful. I don't know what it would turn into though. Maybe a sweater or a jacket. It'll all depend upon how soft it is once it's spun.

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