What to do with fleece?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by CurrentWave, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. CurrentWave

    CurrentWave ~ Country Dreaming ~

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    Hello everyone,

    A friend (sheep rancher) said I could have all her black fleece I want, she sells the white. So I have been searching the Net for ways to use fleece, besides the usual spin and use the yarn options. I don't have time or money to convert this stuff into something detailed, but I thought there just might be something my daughter and I could do as a craft project with the 'free' fleece and her 4-H group.

    So I'm starting this thread -
    come one and all with your imaginative uses for fleece - requiring little to no skill :rolleyes: I think It's a same to compose it.
     
  2. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,981
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan's thumb
    What type of fleece? Fine, coarse? You can make black angels. You can hook rugs, you can braid rugs.
     

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,832
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Location:
    Washington
    Does it felt well? You can felt it and make mittens and slippers. Roving makes wonderful feeling, soft rugs. If time is the issue, you can have a mill spin the yarn.
     
  4. CurrentWave

    CurrentWave ~ Country Dreaming ~

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    Wow - I can tell, you all are very experienced with fleece, while I myself have no experience with sheep (except a distant love and longing :)

    I do know that the quality of the fleece is important, but have no way to determine what that is in this case except to tell you these are meat sheep, ones with black faces (see the how little I know!) and this fleece is free because she can't sell it, but can sell the white - that has got to indicate something - right? So I'm guessing utility fleece.

    As for 'felt' I know that is some process done to fleece, but have no idea what it is. I have seen spinning, and isn't carding done on cotton?

    Oh well.... I'm a blooming idiot who wants to play with fleece!

    I love the idea of braiding rugs - I have instructions for making braided rugs using material. Would I have to have it spun first for this?

    Thanks for the info.
     
  5. CurrentWave

    CurrentWave ~ Country Dreaming ~

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ah... felting - a process of soaking, shrinking and sticking the wool to its self?
    How would one use this to make slippers?

    Do you have any favorite how-to websites for more info on this subject?
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    There's also needle felting where you "sculpt" with (very sharp) felting needles. maybe not for kids but more mature teens should be able to handle it. Here's a little needle felted scottie
     
  7. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Ross,

    What a peice of art, did you make the Scottie ?
     
  8. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    A few other uses for fleece, if longer in staple length, doll/angel hair and manes/tails for horses and can always use some to stuff those objects (with only some of it, as I would hate to hide that beautiful natural colored fleece :)
     
  9. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,832
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Location:
    Washington
    Making traditional felt is very wet work, just a head's up. It's also fun, and the way I do it gets your feet clean and really well scrubbed. :)

    In a bathtub, put down a layer of bubble wrap, bubble side up. Now start layering your fleece in very thing layers. Each layer going perpendicular to the one below it. You want about a 1" layer of fiber - it compacts quite a bit. Wet down the fiber with hot soapy water, as hot as you can stand it. Another layer of bubble wrap goes over the wool, bubble side down. Add more water, roll up your pants, climb in, and start stomping. I walk up and down, making sure all of the wool is getting agitated. The bubble wrap will pop, but that's ok, it's just there to provide even more friction than you can with your feet (you can do this without the bubble wrap, but I find the wrap is more efficient). When the felt is done, the fibers will be locked together in a solid mat that you can't pull apart.

    Watch your footing while you do this, it can get slippery. I know one lady who uses a plunger instead of climbing in. Another friend does essentially the same process in a baking pan and uses her hands. Some people use washboards to provide the friction. Hot water, soap, and agitation will get you felt.

    Now you just have to rinse the soap out of the felt and let it air dry. For making slippers, I've cut them out and sewn them sort of like mocassins. Just stand on a piece of cardboard and have someone trace your feet, give yourself an extra inch or so around the edges. Cut a half circle to go over the top of your feet, and lace them together along the edge so you have slip ons. You can make mittens basically the same way, trace your hand and then cut out a front and back and sew them together around the edges. Felt is easy to work with and really stable.

    - Carding is done with any fiber. It just opens up the locks and gets the fibers into a more orderly state for spinning (or felting). You can do this with a dog brush in a pinch.

    - We all start out as blooming idiots! :) I know I did.
     
  10. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    I must second needle felting for older children. What young gal wouldn't want to make her own cute stuffed animals?
    The felting needles are extemely sharp, but if a thick sponge is used as a working surface, and the girls take their time, getting poked should be at a minimum.
     
  11. CurrentWave

    CurrentWave ~ Country Dreaming ~

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    Wow, thanks for the details... great photo! With the help I had here, using the proper terms, I have been able to find patters and pictures all about felting. Which is the way I want to start playing with fleece so I don't have to invest a lot of time and money with the spinning.

    One question left - do I have to wash and card before making the felt?
    I read where I have to pre-wash (to remove grease) the raw fleece and card (to straighten it out)- is this true?

    I saw cut small purses made out of felt on a website, and the animals - any other things people out there making with felt?

    Thanks everyone!
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    My wife made the scottie, she made a dozen or so to be used as prizes for a Scottie specialty show, not sure this one was one of them or not. My wife sells felting needles (shameless plug) on Ebay or you can email Ann directly. sheepfarmer@sympatico.ca
     
  13. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,832
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Location:
    Washington
    You don't have to wash the wool, but it will make carding more pleasant if you do. Yes, the fleece should be carded before felting if you want the final product to be uniform.
     
  14. animalfarmer

    animalfarmer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    241
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    If they are a meat breed and she has no market for the fleece then why not simply slaughter them when the fleece is at a good length and have them made into rugs?We do this all the time with good results.She could then replace the slaughtered animal with one or more of the right color.Here the meat from the slaughtered and dressed animal along with the finished pelt more than pay for the replacement animal.Just an idea,good luck,John.
     
  15. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

    Messages:
    3,230
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Some sheep are born dark, and lighten with age-- that is why the fleece would be dark rather than white. I neighbor near here has a market flock-- all the lambs are born black- they lighten to a brown the next year-- and by three years of age are white- if you can call it that-- she does nothing with these guys other than let them reproduce on poor pasture-- and Animal Control and humane society wont help-- :mad:
     
  16. CurrentWave

    CurrentWave ~ Country Dreaming ~

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    I am just getting free fleece, and want to know what are some things I can do with it....

    This tread is not about whether to kill or not to kill. Can someone say 'highjacked', because my 'craftily thread' has taken a dark and strange turn.