Further to my post a few months ago about buying a number of Jacobs fleece from a local farm, I have selected one of the fleece at random to start preparing. This is Fleece No.5.
This was sheared on 26th May 2013, lovely in places but very dirty and was fairly heavy in surface VM. After I skirted it it weighs 1.1kg, photos were taken after skirting had taken place.
I separated the colours as best as I could into pile of black/brown, a pile of white and the last pile was a mixture of the colours that were too mingled to separate. I washed and dried the colours separately and was left with 729g of clean fleece, a loss of 371g of dirt and grease, broken down as follows: 86g white, 393g black/brown and 250g mixed colour.
The White Fleece
I combed the 86g of white fleece, which gave me approx 55g of hand combed top to spin. I decided to have a go at dyeing it with some ColourCraft All-In-One dyes that I had recently bought. I followed the instructions using 5g of Ultra Marine dye crystals in 1.5 litres of water to dye my hand combed top. Towards the end of the dyeing process I sprinkled 5ml of white vinegar over the top in the dye pot and left it for 15 minutes, as this is supposed to help the dye to be absorbed and I think this is what caused some areas to be darker than others. Learning by experimenting. Such fun!
I didn't blend the top, just spun it as it came. The finished skein was a 2ply double-knit weight yarn, 55g/85m which was used with other yarns in a scarf.
The Mixed Colours Fleece
I then took the 250g of mixed colour fleece and combed it, blending the colours as equally as I could as I went.
This gave me 128g of hand combed top, which I spun 2ply into a lovely double-knit weight grey yarn which I have called Storm Cloud and it is 128g/258m.
The Black Fleece
I combed this and 393g of fleece was soon reduced to 225g of hand-combed top. I then got an idea to make it colourful. Years ago, I bought a yarn sample and colour sample set from Colinette Yarns. These weren't any use to me any more as some of the yarns they no longer made and some of the colours had gone the same way and they had developed new yarns and colours. Plus the fact that I rarely buy yarn in these day, not now that I can make my own. The yarn sample wasn't really any use to me as there were only a few that were pure wool, and those were white or some other pale colour. The colour sample, however, was a completely different kettle of fish. Bright and colourful and most of the yarn samples on there were the pure wool ones.
I pulled off the lengths of yarn that I thought would be ideal for me to use, mostly samples of Colinette Graffiti, which is a thickish single with a finer 2ply yarn plied around it. I took these apart, laying the 2ply aside for a later use. I discovered that the thickish single had a thread running through the centre of it which was easy to pull on and remove and then I pre-drafted these lengths slightly.
I spun one plain black Jacobs single and a second which was black Jacobs with lengths of the de-constructed Colinette Graffiti inserted randomly. These two singles were then plied together to give me a double-knit weight yarn. One skein is 156g/280m and the other is 135g/238m and I have called this yarn "Remember, Remember the 5th of November".
So that is all of the fleece used up to make these fabulous skeins of yarn.