As a part of my general exploration of the wonderful world of spinning, I have been playing with fibres from various species of sheep. I’m doing this gradually and taking time to really get to know the fibres, how they clean, how they take dyes and what their handle is like. My latest shipment included three fleeces, two of which were purebred Shetland and the other, half Shetland/half Border Leicester.
Meet Tabitha, Lydia and Bernice, three girls from Sarah’s Sheep Farm in Arkansas. Each of these fleeces is quite unique and I’m really going to enjoy working with them.
Tabitha’s fleece is white, once clean. The yellow you see is lanolin and dirt. Two washes in really hot water seem to do the trick on my test-swatch. It’s beautiful wool and is much softer than I expected.
Lydia’s fleece is almost as greasy as Tabitha’s, but also cleaned nicely with two washes. Her fleece is more variable in colouring, having grey patches here and there. It’s quite lovely and will be really interesting to work with.
Bernice is a Border Leicester-Shetland cross and her fleece has some of the intriguing aspects of both breeds. It’s curlier than the Shetland and quite a bit softer. It’s also less greasy and took only one wash and a couple of rinses to come quite clean.
I have a special project in mind for much of Bernice!
Now I just have to clean it all.