Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Project in several parts - Part 1 - Washing the fleece

The Fleece

As some of you may be aware, Ernie our lamb met his maker in December - and very tasty Christmas dinner he was too.

At the time, mostly due to the deep snow and freezing conditions, I neglected to do anything with his fleece, and then as the snow melted away and the ice thawed it was gradually revealed lying around in the garden.

Now everything has had a go at it, the dog has dragged it around a bit, the chickens have pecked at it, a buzzard pulled it about a bit and the magpies tried to fly away with it.

Which means there is no flesh left on it all.

So having neglected it, I decided that now was the time to do something with it. I began by collecting up the main body of the fleece and spreading it out over the branch of the apple tree that came down after a lightning strike to continue drying out. Very Jason and the Argonauts.

The remainder of the fleece that had been spread out in bunches across the veggie patch and in the grass verges, I gathered together and started washing yesterday (Monday 25th January), it was washed with lukewarm water and soda crystals, rinsed then washed again for a total of five times. From the pictures you can already see it going from dull brown to much whiter. It is now laid out on top of the Rayburn plate rack to dry, thankfully smelling much better than it did when I first bought it in.

I am not really sure where I am going with this project, I have a couple of ideas in mind to make some felt and to stuff a couple of cushions with it, but the next step will be to make a fleece comb of some desciption and then a spinner perhaps, to have a go at making some wool with it.
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