Fleece to Finish Starting Line

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Raymond’s 2014 Fleece

Magpie Lane is having a Fleece to Finish. She is overseas and I am here, but, what the heck? I have a LOT of fleece to finish! HA!

The challenge is to take fiber from its raw state through the processing to make yarn for a particular product. I am going to make socks from 2 and 3 ply yarns spun from this fleece and possibly dyed. I chose Raymond’s old fleece for several reasons:

  • It has yellowed – and will be dyed
  • It is big – and will make a lot of yarn
  • It is not the finest of the fleeces – and feet, mine anyway, don’t mind if socks don’t feel like cashmere

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Raymond’s 2014 Fleece, Skirted

The fleece was skirted before being rolled up. Still, a lot of cotted fiber needed to be removed. The cotted fiber will be processed using FSM (fermented suint method) for several days.

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Janet, Helping

Sorry, I could not resist.

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Cotted VM-laden Fiber from near Belly and Neck

Yes, lovely, isn’t it? This has to be picked. And picked. Believe it or not, this fiber is fine. Just a bunch of hay, sandspurs, and cedar tree needles make it miserable right now. This is the fiber that will go into FSM bath #1. You’ll be surprised at how much of the barnyard will come out. There will be plenty of lanolin and VM left to mess with, though.

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Closeup of Top

This is from the top of the animal – neck/shoulder area. This is soft and lurvley and will wash up to be beautifully spinnable.

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FSM Bath #1 – for Cotted Fiber

Pretty, yes? This is a suint bath. It is reused again and again. Once upon a time, it was fresh, clear water. Then, a raw fleece sat in it for a week. Then, another fleece sat in it for several days. And another. And now, it’s cold outside, but I’m going to give it another go.

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L – R: FSM Bath #1, Cotted Fiber and FSM Bath #2, Raymond’s Neck to Hind Leg Fleece

Raymond is a big boy. The cotted fiber is probably 12% of the fleece. The rest is “primo” from the top of the critter. To give that fleece room to move, I can fit only half of the top fiber in the bin.

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Adding Cold Water to FSM Bath #2

That’s all there is to it. Just need to cover that fleece with water. It’ll float and open up as it self-cleans. It doesn’t need to sit in the layer of silt on the bottom of the tub. The bins are now covered and left to just plain ol’ sit.

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Hind Leg to Tail Fleece

This hunk of fleece I am washing by hand. Since this is not going into a dye bath, I am using plain old Dawn dishwashing soap. There’s a good bit of lanolin that can be removed with just a few minutes in a Dawn bath.

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An Ounce or so of Raymond’s Fleece

That’s it. Into a lingerie bag in the sink. After the soak and rinse, it’s spun dry in the washer, then set out on screens to finish drying.

So. More progress to show you lateron!

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Last Batch

There you go! This is the entire chunk of fleece from hind leg to tail, washed, spun dry, almost bone dry in the sun. It’s a nice warm day today…and that, my dears, is the reason I worked on Raymond’s fleece. I can start carding TONIGHT! WHOO HOO!

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