Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Before DH went away I promised him that all trace of sheepies would be gone from the house and he would have a lovely new woollen rug.
However (ahem) two sheepies weren't enough for the rug, beside more sheepies would be good for when I finally get my spinning wheel.
I heard a whisper last week from a work colleague that I could get more fleeces from a Mr K about one hour drive from here.
So last friday on a whim I drove over not knowing what to expect. I parked and went in search of sheepies. I saw a guy training a sheepdog to move some Jacob sheep around. Couldn't see much else ...
Then a lovely lady came to help me and pointed me in the direction of where Mr K was shearing. He asked how many fleeces I was wanting. I said 3 but thought that was a bit greedy, of different breeds if possible. He then let me choose the sheep that he would shear for me!!!! How exciting was that?
I chose a Scottish Blackface (sheep that I often see in the mountains, they have a coarse hairy fleece suitable for carpets), a texel (has a soft crinkly fleece often used for aran jumpers) and a Scotch mule (a cross between a Scottish Blackface and Blue faced Leicester), they were shorn in front of me and I got to roll up the fleeces. I then paid for them £10 and before I left Mr K said he had something else for me, he then gave me two other fleeces one Cheviot (used for making scottish tweed, supposedly easy to spin) and a Jacob.
So as the nursery rhyme says here, Baa Baa Black sheep have you any wool? I can reply yes sir yes sir three bags full!
I drove home, and quickly skirted the fleece, outside in the pouring rain (no pictures of this part).
I then weighed the skirted fleece.
Scottish Blackface 2kg
Texel 3.5kg
Scotch Mule 4.5kg
Cheviot 2.5kg
Jacob 2 kg
And started washing. ... then collected dh from the airport. ... Had to take him for a beer on the way home to prepare him for the sight that awaited. He was not impressed!
Saturday went swimming and lots more sheepie washes. On Sunday dh declared enough fleecy goings on so we cycled to Edinburgh (55 miles). Then yesterday more washing, a quick swim and a visit to GOMA (modern art gallery).
This was not quite what I had in mind for the weekend, but its so exciting.
I've used some of the Texel and Jacob fleeces for the rug and the rest will be carded. I then plan to experiment with more dying (natural and synthetic) before weaving and spinning the wool.

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