Monday, 9 March 2009


The weather here has been absolutely miserable. Friday there was a snowstorm. Saturday there was another, but by the end of Saturday the sky was blue and the sun was shining. It was beautifully warm. Overnight the temperature dropped and once again, the wind rose and blew all that fresh snow around. Visibility on the roads was almost none, and with the windchill, the temperatures were brutal. You could not be outside for long before even the warmest parka left you with a chill.

So that is why we were out on Sunday afternoon, picking up this. The owner met us midway, which was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The wind was something more than crisp (freaking crisp), and without Mr. Needles being there, it would have been a tough slug. It was packed in a nice box, but Mr. Needles was afraid that the box would blow out of the truck box, and he left the tie downs at home, so we dumped the fleece into the truck box, and pulled the box cover over and away we went.

That left me with the unappetizing task of having to bag it up midst all the wind. What you see in the photo is about half the truck box still filled. It did not take long, but it by the time I was done, my hands were deeply cold and my fingers were wasted for any serious knitting. I wound balls instead and debated what the heck I am going to do with all this fleece.

There are some people who are going to take some, but I'm hoping to keep a couple fleece's worth to try spinning this coarser sheep fibre, and to see if it will make a reasonable quilt batt. Inside a good sturdy cover, It ought to do just fine. There is a long way to go to get it to anything resembling that stage though.

It needs to be completely picked over. It is very very raw. Then it is going to have to be cleaned deeply. I'm going to stock up on some Dawn to help me get through this. And it is going to have to be a day when its nice enough to open the windows. It is very sheepy smelling . Really really farmy sheepy smelling. Then, I'll need some hand carders to turn this pile of fibre into nice little rolags. I've a feeling there is an awful lot of work involved in preparing a fleece before it is ready to be used.

This is a fairly coarse fibre and it was free, so I won't be too disturbed if I make a mess out of it. I'm fully prepared to fail, but I also know that people have been doing this for centuries. It isn't a sophisticated process, just a hard work one. I'm ready for that.

Oh the bliss of ignorance.


Sandra said...

I'm glad you're ready for it - Can't say for sure that I would be...

Christine said...

I have hand carders! Let me know if you'd like to borrow. Or need some help carding? I could use the practice.