Sunday, 17 March 2013

Natural Black Shetland Fleece

I bought a natural black Shetland shearling fleece on 24th June last year from a farm in Morval, Cornwall, having being sheared on 2nd June 2012.  It weighs just over 2kg and the staple length is 5-6 inches.  The tips of the locks are a little sun bleached but that happens a lot, especially with dark fleeces and any damage will break off during the preparation process.  Natural black fleeces are rarely jet black.

A shearling is a term used for a female sheep that has been sheared once and is old enough to have two-broad teeth, whereas a Ewe is a term for a female sheep after it has been sheared for a second time.

Top left: the fleece as seen on the sheep.  Bottom right: the fleece showing the part that was closest to the sheep.
All other photos show a close up of the locks.
I washed the fleece and tried my hand at carding again.  I'm not very good at carding and could do with some hands-on lessons.  I persevered and managed to card 123g of fleece, which I spun woollen style and then navajo plied to make an aran weight yarn which was 117g/88m after its final wash.  I made an adjustable headscarf with this yarn.

After my not-so-successful attempt at hand carding I decided to go back to my wool combs and so the rest of the fleece was prepared this way.  There was quite a bit of scurf and grit in the fleece but all that fell out during the combing to leave lovely soft, squishy hand-combed nests.

I spun as fine as I could to produce some wonderful singles and I decided to leave the rest of my yarns as singles.

I used some of Skein 1 to make a lace edged beret.  After making the beret I still have 177g/730m of lovely yarn left to use.

With some of Skein 2 I made this fabulous 7 panelled beaded lace shawl.  I didn't use all of the skein, I am left with 46g/363m, which is enough to make a small shawl.

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