Have a question
I have an offer to buy a Suffolk-cross sheep fleece.
It won't be til May 2010, but I was wondering if anyone
has ever worked with one and can tell me what it is like.
I don't know what it is crossed with, only that at one time
they had a purebred Suffolk ram.
I am a beginner and this probably would be my first fleece.
Can anyone answer my question?
Suffolk is a down sheep. A fleece will weigh between 5-8 lbs. It is a medium wool (micron count of 25-33 / spinning count of 48-58). Staple length of 2"-3".
I have a few suffolk and suffolk cross fleeces in my stash. I like them for heavy duty outerwear like mittens, hats & socks since they don't felt so easily.
I have a few links on my spinning page about scouring a raw fleece you might want to check out.
Have you spun from prepared fiber before?
I see you're in IL ... me too! South of Sterling/Rock Falls but north of Tampico (kind of the lower NW part of the state.)
I'm interested in the fleece because it is practically free and I want to do the whole process from fleece to yarn also it is my best friends
sheep and will probably be my birthday present, at least thats what I asked for.
Thank you for the link. I've been researching it out and feel a little overwhelmed at the prospect of a whole fleece.
When you wash your fleece about how many lbs. do you get and is it very hard to spin for a beginner?
Oh and I live about 55 miles south of Springfield.
With my first fleece, I wanted to save as much as possible, but now I skirt the heck out of it. Skirting is when you remove the nasty wool around the edges, especially the neck, belly & britchen area.
Then I go through every single lock of the fleece. Gently pull the locks apart, remove any 2nd (short) cuts. Shake the locks. This helps remove a lot of the VM and helps the wool get cleaner faster during the scouring.
This is also a great time to sort the fleece for texture or lock length.
When I actually wash the fleece, I use the washing machine. Fill it up with hot water. I'll put a large stock pot of near boiling water in there also. I use about 3 times the amount of detergent as when I do regular wash.
When the washer has filled, TURN IT OFF!!! Press the fleece into the washer (some folks will put the fleece loosely in a few mesh bags). I figure I wash about 2 lb at a time. MAKE SURE THE WASHER IS OFF!
let it soak for 30 minutes or so. Turn the washer to SPIN (not spin & rinse!) You don't want any water spraying on to the fleece.
When the spin cycle is finished, remove the fleece and examine. You may have to open up the locks some more, especially the tips, if you didn't do this when skirting.
Repeat until you are satisfied that the fleece is clean, fill the washer with hot water and white vinegar to remove any detergent.
Lay it out to dry. flip often
Just remember, the more VM you get out before you scour the fleece, the less you'll have to pick out later.
You can spin it from the lock, or carded.
Have a great day.
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