The First of the Fleece

On a bright and windy day not too long ago I washed the first bits of my Jacob fleece:

As I was getting everything ready to soak, Benny realized that wool smells pretty sheepy and awesome. I had a hard time keeping his big Roman nose out of my wool.

I was surprised at how totally filthy that first batch of rinsewater was.

I’d read that sheep sweat ‘a lot’ (I would too if I was wearing a 3-inch thick wool sweater into spring), but I was still amazed. Two washes and a rinse later, I felt like it was clean enough.  The whites were so much whiter, and the browns definitely looked better.

I put it between two puppy-proof layers to keep it all from blowing away or being eaten.

When it was completely dry, I drum-carded those locks that had mixed colors:

This is one of the batts from those mixed locks.

There were tons of noils, so I decided to just intentionally include them in the spinning for a very neppy tweed effect:

Next I carded and spun the locks that were (almost) all white.

There was another thing I’d read about Jacob sheep: the white fibers tend to be finer than the darker ones, regardless of where they are at on the body. I’m not sure what part of the fleece I pulled these particular locks from, but they definitely had a softer feel and finer crimp than the darker locks. You can see that the white spun up with almost no noils/nepps.

Then I plied them together.

As I was spinning, this yarn reminded me of something so specific that I had to plan a special project just for this yarn. When it’s done, I’ll write it up.

Do you think of anything in particular when you look at this yarn – either the finished yarn or the singles? What would you knit or make with it?


One thought on “The First of the Fleece

  1. kamcfad says:

    How fun to see the process, friend! I love how “natural” it all looks.

    I’m curious–how does the wool smell now that it is all washed and dried? Does it still have a sheepy smell or is it like any other wool you’d buy?

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