Brand new here - really basic questions

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Reynard Ridge, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. Reynard Ridge

    Reynard Ridge Active Member

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    I have been given five shorn fleeces. I have handwashed two and they ended up not quite clean enough.

    I followed internet directions to wash in washer (in net bag, warm water, no agitation, etc). Now I am not sure what I have done! What exactly does a felted fleece look like? What I have is 'bunchy' looking, but it picks apart into soft clean fibers. But should I leave it as is or pick apart?

    I am planning to take spinning lessons this fall, so don't know nothing about what to do next. I would LOVE some direction on 'carding' (the next step?). I have googled for 1/2 hour and not come up with anything that has good instruction and/or photos!!!! Any good "how to spin" websites out there????

    Many thanks for those who respond to my very simplistic questions.

    Ellen
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Ellen I'll try to get my wife to write a reply, she's the wool worker here. I know after washing the wool needs to be "picked" which is simply opened up into bits of managable wool. It is then carded into the various carded products, batts, roving or (OK I forget what the hand carded bits/lumps are called) You can rewash after picking to remove even more grease etc. and as a point we don't use net bags so the water and cleaner can work more easily through to remove the lanolin and vegitation. The wool should not feel greasy at all normally. There are different spinning methods than can call for wool virtually unwashed!

    PS I noticed this is your first post to HT as "Reynard Ridge" and I'm pleased to see it was on the Sheep board. Many thanks and welcome!
     

  3. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

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  4. Reynard Ridge

    Reynard Ridge Active Member

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    This was my first post, but it will not be my last. My husband and I bought a farm in NJ about 2 years ago. I know horses and he knows timber. We don't know much about anything else, but that is not stopping us!

    We have 100 chickens (I sell eggs) and are thinking about feeder cattle, sheep for fleece and meat as well as meat goats. Not to mention Christmas trees, maple syrup and assorted mini projects.

    Thanks for the info - I'll be back!

    Ellen
     
  5. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to spinning!

    You're doing fine. There is a wonderful book by Alden Amos called "Big Book of Handspinning" that will take you from carding and combing to spinning on a spindle and on a wheel.
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Hi there this is Ross' wife; it sounds like your wool just needs another wash in hot soapy water. Dish soap seems to work best as it is a grease cutter. As Ross said we don't use net bags. I use an old dairy sink but any large sink will work. You want the wool to have lots of room to move around. I then put it in the washer full of hot water to rinse and spin. You are right about no agitation or you will felt it. If it is felted it wouldn't come apart easily. If the wool is discolored you can always dye it. There are instructions on the net for using kool-aid for dyeing. Nothing toxic so you can use a food pot and not worry about it. There are also lots of natural dye pages.
    Carding with hand cards gives you rolags. Lots of funny little words with wool. :confused: The hand card you stick a small amount of wool on one card and gently brush it off with the other. Not a very good explanation. Just don't jam the brushes together you just make it harder to do. A drum carder is a lot easier and with a thing called a diz you can turn the batt it makes it into roving. That’s the long continuous rope of wool you think of when you think of spinning.
    You said you where going to take some spinning lessons. Is there a guild near you? If there is, a lot of guilds have equipment you can borrow or rent. Perhaps someone there would give you a quick lesson in using hand cards. 5 min and you would have it. It is so much easier to show someone than tell them.
    If you want dual purpose sheep decide what you want the wool for and then which sheep have that kind of wool. You can eat any sheep, some are smaller some are slower growing but you can’t always use there wool for sweaters unless you like scratching. Or to make a rug, soft wool will just wear out fast. Everyone has an opinion on the best sheep but a good site is http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/sheep/Sheep-w.htm it has lots of info on all the breeds. Check the old bread of the month threads. As for goats they are very good at going where they want, but are usually quite friendly if handled. That’s every thing I know about goats. If you want to make them dual purpose you can get angora goats and then you will have your own supply of mohair. Mohair is expensive.
    I hope some of this helped and didn't just confuse you more.
    Any other questions are always welcome here everyone likes to help.
    Ann
     
  7. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    "If you want to make them dual purpose you can get angora goats and then you will have your own supply of mohair."

    Add cashmere goats to the list. :) I have both cashmere goats and sheep. The sheep are by far the easier creature to keep where you want them to be. They just seem to be content with whatever pasture I want them to be in. The goats are constantly actively looking for ways to escape - they are smart enough to figure out latches and agile enough to get under fences (or over them). Mine are very sweet, but they get handled alot (I comb the cashmere out instead of shearing them).
     
  8. Reynard Ridge

    Reynard Ridge Active Member

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    There are three people locally who raise sheep and give spinning lessons. I am trying to get one of them to help me quickly - did I mention that I am 8 1/2 months pregnant? No, probably not :) . But I am.

    I am planning to take spinning lessons in the fall, post baby, but wanted to have fleeces washed and ready to go pre-baby (can you say obsessive complusive???). So when one turned up looking like it might have been 'felted,' I went searching for help.

    The GREAT news is that I found THIS FORUM! This site is PERFECT for us - and I have been a member less than 24 hours!!!

    Your insights (and book recommendations!) have all been very helpful.

    We are working on fencing right now that would be suitable for a variety of livestock - so keep the sheep and goat recommendations coming!

    We are focusing on six or eight wire high tension, electrified, thinking that that would keep all variety of beasts IN. We're not sure if it is sufficient for predators, but since we are not planning to do any breeding for a few years at least (we'd do feeder lambs/goats/cattle for the first year at least to be sure we could handle it before buying breeding stock), we think we can work predator issues out by then (with guard dog, probably).

    Thanks again! Ellen
     
  9. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Ross' wife here again. With the veriety of animals you want to aim to keep the goats in. If you have them penned you have everything penned. :haha: In our experiance electric only works with sheep if they are trained to it young. An older sheep with its wool on will walk right through it with out noticing. At least all ours will.
    Ann