Monday, 16 April 2018

Working on a Romney fleece

I need to be quicker at processing fleece and spinning it up because I actually bought this fleece back in August 2012 and I am only now working on it 5 1/2 years later.  That's a crazy amount of time to have a fleece and not do anything with it.

Romney, which used to be called Romney Marsh Sheep is a long-wool breed of sheep originating in Kent and is often referred to locally as a "Kent". 

When this arrived all those years ago it was rolled up and took me some time to figure out how to open it out.  It had lots of sheep marker on it in different colours.  I'm not sure if this was spray marker used for marking sheep that are pregnant/how many lambs they're having or whether some of this was from the raddle that is strapped to a Rams chest and marks the Ewe during mating.

Its a Ewe fleece and weighed 3.4kg before skirting and washing.  After washing it weighed 2.175kg.  I'm not sure if its because it's been stored for so long or whether its just me being so much more experienced and picky about the fleece that I am prepared to put the effort in make into yarn but this is far more coarser than I recall.  This is another fleece where I ended up binning most of it and only keeping the best fibres from the fleece so from the 2.175kg that was waiting to be combed, I only actually have 362g of hand-combed top for spinning.

By the end of sorting out all that fleece and only coming away with such a small amount of swag I was quite disappointed and fed up with the whole thing so I spun it up very quickly and quite thick to get it out of my sight as quick as possible.  Three skeins of Aran weight yarn that I forgot to take photos of as this point.

I tried dyeing the yarn with the natural liquid dye kept from the boiled up carrot tops from last year and using the appropriate mordant it should have dyed the yarn green but it didn't work, it smelt rancid and stunk the house out.  I had to open doors and windows to try to vent the house and I also used one of the wax melts that I had for Christmas to make the house smell nice again.  I can't find anything anywhere about how long natural dyes from plant material will store for other than the statement "store until ready to use", but clearly 10 months is too long and I would imagine it needs to be used within about a month of making it.

I had to rinse the yarn really well and over-dye it using my Greener Shades Dye and I chose Ruby Red.

I love the colour these have turned out.  These are all aran weight and this one 128g/137m

This one is 117g/148m

and this one is 106g/105m

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