I was off from work on Tues, and with the low humidity weather we have been having, I decided it was time to do some fleece washing. My goal was to get the stash beside the washer/dryer out of that location. It was in one big rubbermaid tub, and several shipping boxes, but I did not really remember what I had out there, except for one mammoth BL fleece (that was what was taking up all of the rubbermaid tub).
So I shuffled everything to my front porch and had a wonderful couple of hours of perfect fall weather sitting on the porch and sorting. I can not call it skirting, that was suppose to have been done on all of these fleeces. In truth they were all reasonably skirted. I was going more for breaking the fleeces down into washing to maintain the lock structure or not.
BTW the mammoth BL is still in the tub. I did not mess with that yet. I know I will not try to do any lock spinning from this fleece. It is courser than most fleeces I have had from this breeder's flock, but a lovely gray color. It is rug yarn eventually, whether I will spin it or locker hook it, I have not decided.
I had a smaller softer BL fleece that I had packaged up to take to a processor at the Allegan show. We never met up, so I brought the fleece home with me. I tried drafting a lock (still with lanolin on it) It was sticky and thicker than I'd like, but it did draft. I have not decided if I will wash this on for locks or pick it apart and card it. It joined the other one, in it's own box. I did set some dreadlocks aside from both of the BL, that would be perfect 'hair' for a doll.
It some became a mote point whether I would be washing any fleece anyway. I searched high and low several times for my three mesh laundry bags that I use to spin the fleece in the washer. I can not locate them anywhere. I know I stuck them away somewhere in my frenzy of cleaning six weeks ago. Alas, they are still missing.
So now knowing I would not be washing fleece, I consoled myself to at least get my hands lanolin covered anyway. Onward to the other boxes of fleeces.
I had a small fleece in a big box, labelled April. I found the sales slip (I really do try and keep that type of information in with the fleeces) and realized that this was a shetland fleece given to me free for buying two other fleeces. It was a small, very soft, very clean white fleece. I pulled the best looking locks and set them in a small box. I did the drafting of one of the locks, oh my, it just pulled and pulled to the finest roving, even in the grease. I think this will be a very nice cobweight yarn. When I could not keep the lock structure intact, I pulled the fleece into puffs, and will wash those that way.
The next bigger box also had a shetland fleece. I remember buying this one :) It came from a rabbit breeder friend that also raises shetlands. She was the one that got me to try shetland fleece again. My first experience spinning shetland was very bad. I purchased a processed roving because I loved the deep brown color. But the yarn was harsh and unwearable. I now know that I can not spin lace weight from roving, and that the processing probably made the roving harsh.
This shetland fleece is a moorit and I am just in love with the color. Sort of a cinnamon brown, with tan tips. It drafted just as thin as the white, and I have two pounds of this fleece. I put as many intact locks as I could into a box, and the rest was pulled into puffs to wash.
The last box was a large cormo fleece I purchased just this spring. Soft and white, it unfortunately has very dirty tips. The crimp is unbelieveable. ~~~~~~~~ only half the size of that. I pulled the whole fleece apart. It is one of the few fleeces I have actually been able to pick up and gently shake like is recommended. Usually everything just falls apart, but there is a very delicate web like structure to the whole fleece and it stayed together during it's easy shake. But not much fell out, the dirt is attached to the tips unfortunately.
Also the lock structure on this fleece is very small. It just didn't seem like a good idea to just break everything apart into tiny locks. I pulled long sections of locks, and laid them in the box. I think I am going to try a soak of a section first and see how it responses. I think it may just all fall apart, once the dirt is removed, but I am hoping that if I treat each section, like a lock, I can then take each section and draft.
Cormo is very hard to work with. I am in for a challenge to home process this fleece, but that is the part of all of this that I like. The challenge of taking each fleece and looking at it and deciding just how to handle it best.
I really did not have to put off the washing, since the biggest part of the fleeces were set aside to wash as locks. That does not need those yet to be found mesh bags. I decided I best do some mowing first, but lock washing is definately planned...real soon now.