Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
688 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't have any spinning equipment (whatever it is called) but I did buy some pretty good shears. Has anyone gotten fabric and made a blanket by stuffing the wool into it as a filler? Are there any tips you could share? I was going to get the llamas wool (hair?) too.

How do you clean it? I was going to put it in a tub and wash it by stepping on it and changing out the water several times? Would this work?

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,727 Posts
I don't know anything about using it for batting, but I've heard that it has to be processed into an even thickness to make good batting.

I've washed a lot of fleece over the years. To wash it you want to put it in hot soapy water (I buy a special soap for washing fleeces). Don't move it around or it may felt. Let it soak for a while, but while the water is still very warm, you want to drain it and put it in rinse water that is the same temp as the water you drain. A rapid change in temp can also felt the wool. You can wash it in a pillow case in your clothes washer as long as you stop the washer before it starts agitating, just let it soak in there. I've drained fleece by spinning it in the washer with no problems. IF you plan to spin it dry, put equal amounts in 2 pillow cases so they will balance each other in the machine.

After it's rinsed well, I lay mine out on the trampoline to dry in the shade. Drying it in the sun will yellow it.

Some of this will depend on what type of fleece it is. Some fleeces can be handled a bit rougher than others. I usually work with merino and it felts very easy so I'm extra careful.

If you do a search on "washing fleece" you'll probably find some links that explains it much better than I did. There used to be a page with pictures that was very easy to follow.

One option might be to look for someone who processes it into roving on the halves. That would give you half the roving to sell or learn to spin.

I've heard of people using fleece for mulch in the garden. I've never done it, but they claim it works well.
 

·
winding down
Joined
·
3,471 Posts
I wash my fleece in the washer, as Spinner said...soak with hot water and soap, and NO agitation! Spin out, remove from washer, refill washer, replace wool and soak again to rinse. Don't let the new water pour down on the fleece unless you want a felt donut!

For quilts, a carded batt is best. For comforters, you can stuff it with picked wool. You can hand pick it, but you'll hate it. A wool picker is much faster.

As for spinning, you can find directions to make a drop spindle and how to use it online, or pop over to the fiber forum and ask for help. You can 'test-drive' spinning with a spindle to see if it's something you might like, before we enable you into buying a wheel! :D

I use waste wool for mulch. It will end up felting itself over time, and make a natural barrier, but it won't look pretty. I put it in the plum grove to keep the saplings down, and let the natural leaf fall cover it. When the plums are finished, I'm going to do the paths in the garden. But not the beds, as I want a mulch that breaks down faster there. The wool will last years.

Meg
 

·
FourCountryGals.com
Joined
·
149 Posts
Spinner and Meg,

Thanks so much for all this info. I've got several (at least 3) bags of Merino wool that has a lot of VM in it. I'm going to see how much I can get out of it, and would like to sell some of the fleece as it's nearly all from yearling's.

The idea of the permanent mulch gives me some great ideas for a pathway. We live in a very arid climate (less than 10 inches of rain a year) but most of our moisture is in the form of snow.
 

·
Nohoa Homestead
Joined
·
5,398 Posts
therealshari said:
Spinner and Meg,

Thanks so much for all this info. I've got several (at least 3) bags of Merino wool that has a lot of VM in it. I'm going to see how much I can get out of it, and would like to sell some of the fleece as it's nearly all from yearling's.

The idea of the permanent mulch gives me some great ideas for a pathway. We live in a very arid climate (less than 10 inches of rain a year) but most of our moisture is in the form of snow.
NOOOOOOO sell it. Sell it! There are people who would buy it (me for instance) and pay a fair price. Merino is the best wool in the whole wide universe and I'm sure that lots of people (me included) would love to have some.....

donsgal
hopless fiber addict
 

·
winding down
Joined
·
3,471 Posts
donsgal said:
NOOOOOOO sell it. Sell it! There are people who would buy it (me for instance) and pay a fair price. Merino is the best wool in the whole wide universe and I'm sure that lots of people (me included) would love to have some.....

donsgal
hopless fiber addict
Hey donsgal! I PMed BEFORE you posted, so I get first dibs! YOU CAN'T HAVE ALL THE MERINO!!!!! :nono: :bash: :frypan: :nana: :buds:

She really IS a hopeless fiber addict, therealshari, but in her case it's bad with the merino. I reaaaaaalllly think she just needs to go cold-turkey on the merino, I really do. I can help...........

Here's a :grouphug: from the fiber fold, donsgal...now slloooowwwly step awwwaaaaayyy from the merino.....

Besides, Cyndi's sending you some, and I've never spun it! AND...Shari raises black merino, and I KNOW you prefer white fleece for dying! I prefer natural colored fleece, donchaknow. :baby04:
:DMeg
 

·
FourCountryGals.com
Joined
·
149 Posts
Ok you two...

Let me get some pictures of the fleece. I'll get them up on my server and then post the links here.

In fairness, Meg did PM me and request more info.

Now, here's where I'm gonna need your help. I'm going to need some solid advice on the worth of the fleece. I am willing to provide samples if necessary so we can all agree on the value of the fleece.

Here's where there's really good news... We're expecting lambs from at least two of our ewes next month. We're actively seeking ways to keep the future fleece crops in better condition.

This includes changing our feeding system so the sheep can't throw the hay back over their heads. If the demand is there, (that means the price is right) we may also invest in sheep coats.

We're in this for the long haul as long as we can establish a reasonable market for our wool... I'll be depending upon your feedback and guidance.
 

·
Nohoa Homestead
Joined
·
5,398 Posts
Meg Z said:
Hey donsgal! I PMed BEFORE you posted, so I get first dibs! YOU CAN'T HAVE ALL THE MERINO!!!!! :nono: :bash: :frypan: :nana: :buds:

She really IS a hopeless fiber addict, therealshari, but in her case it's bad with the merino. I reaaaaaalllly think she just needs to go cold-turkey on the merino, I really do. I can help...........

Here's a :grouphug: from the fiber fold, donsgal...now slloooowwwly step awwwaaaaayyy from the merino.....

Besides, Cyndi's sending you some, and I've never spun it! AND...Shari raises black merino, and I KNOW you prefer white fleece for dying! I prefer natural colored fleece, donchaknow. :baby04:
:DMeg
*sniffle* *sniffle* waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :Bawling: :Bawling:

Well, ok, I guess. *sniffle* *sniffle* Maybe an ounce? Just a teensy, tiny, itty bitty ounce??????? PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?

*sniffle* (not pretty is it?)


donsgal
 

·
winding down
Joined
·
3,471 Posts
therealshari said:
In fairness, Meg did PM me and request more info.
:dance: :dance: :dance:
therealshari said:
Now, here's where I'm gonna need your help. I'm going to need some solid advice on the worth of the fleece. I am willing to provide samples if necessary so we can all agree on the value of the fleece..
Oh dear. I have trouble pricing my own wool. I always just want to give it away...share...enable...spread the love. :help:

But I'll do my <limited> best! I will reluctantly admit, however, that donsgal will be of more value to you here, since she is a merino addict.(dang it!)

Meg
 

·
winding down
Joined
·
3,471 Posts
donsgal said:
*sniffle* *sniffle* waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :Bawling: :Bawling:

Well, ok, I guess. *sniffle* *sniffle* Maybe an ounce? Just a teensy, tiny, itty bitty ounce??????? PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?

*sniffle* (not pretty is it?)


donsgal
:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

Fight you for it! :duel:

Actually, I think Shari has plenty to go around. And, as I already admitted, you'll be of more help to her. :flame:

But I'll get some to try. I will!

Meg
 

·
Nohoa Homestead
Joined
·
5,398 Posts
therealshari said:
Now, here's where I'm gonna need your help. I'm going to need some solid advice on the worth of the fleece. I am willing to provide samples if necessary so we can all agree on the value of the fleece.
It is a stange thing - pricing wool. There is really no rhyme or reason to it. Some people will charge more for white; some will charge more for naturally colored. Being a dedicated, insane fiberholic and spending a LOT of time looking at fleeces for sale (ahem). I am no expert but this is my opinion on only on pricing.

Vis a vis Merino - Freshly shorn, covered wool that has a good long staple (at least three full inches unstretched) great crimp and virtually no VM with a micron count LESS than 23 microns - in other words, wool that spinners would kill for - $12 - $15 dollars a pound. Usually the $12 per pound figure if they buy the entire fleece (which are usually around 10 pounds for a full year's worth of wool).

Freshly shorn, covered wool that has pretty good staple length but is dirtier and has more VM and falls around the 23 micron mark - about $8-10 a pound.

Fleece that is A) Not freshly shorn (at least six months old or older) B) is uncovered and contains a LOT of VM and/or dirt or is heavily matted. C) Wool that has breaks due to illness or lambing, weather or some other cause *or* that has less than a 2.5 inch staple length. $5 - $6 a pound.

Salvage fleece that most people would just throw away - less than $5 a pound.

Now mind you, quite a lot of this is subjective. I have purchased salvage fleece (Border Leicester, not Merino) that the lady was convinced was utter garbage and I opened the box to a perfectly LOVELY fleece that had just a little matting here and there that worked up beautifully ($3 dollars a pound for that one). And I have purchased fleece (again Border Leicester), which was priced at $10.00 a pound which really had more VM in it than I would have expected and I didn't really feel that it was worth the price. Although the color was a lovely true silver, which worked up beautifully.

Personally, I won't pay more than $10 a pound for fleece. I have links all over the internet where I can get good deals so unless it is the mother of all magnificent fleeces (including Merino, which as you know - I LOVE), I won't even consider it. I try to keep in the $5 a pound or less category and opt to deal with less-than-stellar wool. But then a lot of spinners won't look at wool that is not next to perfect and will gladly pay lots more for the privilege.

So now are you totally confused? LOL Remember this is just one person's opinion!

Anyway, if after Meg Z has purchased to her heart's content, you still have a bit left over, *do* let me know won't you?

Donsgal
 

·
Nohoa Homestead
Joined
·
5,398 Posts
MWG said:
Guess I bought the wrong sheep... :(

:)
Not necessarily. With the exception of those danged hair sheep, all wools have their own particular use and charm. Even suffolks' and dorsets' fleece are good for some things although not prized by spinners per se. All sheep cannot be Merino! (unfortunately LOL).

What kind of sheep do you have anyway?
 

·
Nohoa Homestead
Joined
·
5,398 Posts
Meg Z said:
Here's a :grouphug: from the fiber fold, donsgal...now slloooowwwly step awwwaaaaayyy from the merino.....
I know. I really MUST STOP. Today I went around the house showing my mother my stash. The wide-eyed look on her face was a little scary. The only thing she said was. "You really don't need any more wool, you know".

It's just that I love the darn stuff.....arggghhhhhhhhhh!

donsgal
 

·
winding down
Joined
·
3,471 Posts
MWG said:
Guess I bought the wrong sheep... :(

:)
Our heat/humidity combo here in NC doesn't make a good merino environment. If it did, I'd have them! :baby04:

What sheep do you have? I like everything, but have never tried merino...because donsgal beats me to it every time! Until now! HA!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
688 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
donsgal said:
Not necessarily. With the exception of those danged hair sheep, all wools have their own particular use and charm. Even suffolks' and dorsets' fleece are good for some things although not prized by spinners per se. All sheep cannot be Merino! (unfortunately LOL).

What kind of sheep do you have anyway?
Don't know. See the thread titled "What kind". I have no clue what kind I have. Does the fleece on them look OK or did I get the useless hair sheep?
 

·
winding down
Joined
·
3,471 Posts
MWG said:
Don't know. See the thread titled "What kind". I have no clue what kind I have. Does the fleece on them look OK or did I get the useless hair sheep?
Hair sheep aren't useless! <ignore donsgal now> They taste great!

If you want to keep sheep, and you want a larger flock than you have now, then think about what you want from them. Then look at the breeds that fit those end results, and choose ones that will do well where you live. I wanted wool and meat, and just a little milk. I started to go with registered Icelandics, but then re-thought things. I realized that I didn't have enough land to develop my own bloodlines and command the top prices that I needed to pay out to get started. So, I switched to a handspinner's flock. A mixed group of purebreds and crosses, with a goal of getting as many colors and textures as I could in a small flock. I have Icelandic, Romney, Leicester Longwool as purebreds, and Black Cotswold/Lincoln Longwool/Tunis cross, as well. Lots of textures there. In the flock I have white, moorit, black and several shades of grey. My ram is Icelandic, so the textures I get on lambs is interesting. Ram lambs go to the freezer. Ewe lambs get a shot at being fiber animals for someone or freezer lamb.

All that doesn't mean that the sheep you already have aren't any good. They may produce tip-top meat lambs, which is no small thing! But they may not be wool sheep, so if you want wool, then you can add to the flock. If you want a spinner or two to take a look at the fleeces on your sheep, clip some wool, come to the fiber forum, and ask for volunteers. We'll tell you if it's something we'd like to spin and pay money for the privilege.

If they're meat sheep, then have a chat with Bearfootfarm, who's running meat breeds in NC, so can understand what you'll be facing as far as raising and marketing. He'll help where he can, and tell you when he can't.

Meg
 

·
Nohoa Homestead
Joined
·
5,398 Posts
MWG said:
Don't know. See the thread titled "What kind". I have no clue what kind I have. Does the fleece on them look OK or did I get the useless hair sheep?
Oh that was the one that I guessed the two naturally colored sheep were part Romanov. If they are ewes and you have large multiple births, then you know that is what they are (Romanovs can have up to SIX at a time). Anyway, I think Romanov is pretty good medium fleece. It would be good for outerwear, blankets, rugs, etc. As for the white sheep? It could be darn near anything! If it is a Cheviot cross like someone suggested, that is good wool.

Best thing is just to shear it and see what happens. I'm thinking if they were hair sheep that they would have these big bald, moulting patches right now, which it doesn't look like they do (from the photos).

When were you planning on shearing? They look like they have a couple of inches on them now. You might want to wait until spring if you live in a real cold climate. I'll buy a sample from you when you shear them to see how it works up. I'm always game to try something new.

donsgal
 

·
Nohoa Homestead
Joined
·
5,398 Posts
Meg Z said:
Hair sheep aren't useless! <ignore donsgal now> They taste great!
Yes! they do taste great. I will second that. And let's not forget the goat's milk!

I have nothing against them, really except you can't spin their wool. LOL

donsgal
 

·
Nohoa Homestead
Joined
·
5,398 Posts
Meg Z said:
What sheep do you have? I like everything, but have never tried merino...because donsgal beats me to it every time! Until now! HA!!
Well, if I had a life you know, I wouldn't be on here ALL THE TIME. But I'll beat you next time, my pretty....bwhahahahahaha :hobbyhors

donsgal
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top