I ordered my first raw fleece of ebay about 1-2 weeks ago and as soon as it came off the mail truck I opened it.
But… Actually it was a very rewarding and learning experience for me.I started by opening the bag up and taking it out in smaller sections to work with. I shook it out on a wire table I have to let the bigger bits and pieces fall through the table. This section of the fleece was some of the cleaner parts. I have already discarded some heavily soiled parts to the garden compost by this shot. A Lesson learned here would have been to sort the longer locks from the little second cuts.
I soaked and “washed” one time in the above photo. I still have bits of hay and straw mixed in. I learned here that a skirted and coated raw fleece is the primo to purchase as it has the yucky under sides removed and the top fleece is covered to keep it cleaner.
I dyed several different colors to see how that would work. I only used what I had in the kitchen already. I tried a koolaid mix, a rit dye mix (1 liguid, 1 powdered) and an easter egg tablet. I am pleased with all, the kelly green or rather what was supposed to be the liguid rit dye kelly green turned out sort of pale teal green.
Here are my piles of colors sort of combed out… Oh I learned about that too.. I do not have carders, but I have a dog slicker type brush, and I had a scrap wood board and clean nails which I made a “sort-of” hackle.This is where I learned about the different lengths and I sorted them at this time.I made 3 piles. One long roving top, then combed long lengths and then the short stuff.
I took it for a test spin last night with just a white and pale pink single ply, then this morning I plyed them together to have a look. The little slubs of second cuts got in the way while spinning and I didn’t sort as well with the white wool so next time I will be more careful. Here’s a closer look. Not too shabby for my first raw fleece spin into yarn. I have to knit something with so it completes the cycle but it has to be small because I only spun about 1/2 a cone, I was just trying to get a feel, I was so excited. Now I have a bunch of wool to practice with to getting the spinning process down smoother…. More on that next!