Category: CustomKnits

Washing and Drying Fleece

Freshly washed sheep fleece drying outside
Freshly washed sheep fleece drying outside

Raw fleece can be pretty dirty. Some of what is in the fleece comes from the sheep themselves, like lanolin and suint (sheep sweat). There can be a fair amount of dirt and sometimes some hay/straw that gets tossed around at mealtime. I wash fleece in small batches (about one pound) with a mild detergent and dry them in the sun (when it’s available).

Carding

Drum Carder
Drum Carder

Before spinning, it is generally necessary to separate and align the fibers to ensure a smooth and consistent result. A drum carder (pictured) is immensely helpful to getting this done fairly quickly and efficiently. Fibers come off the large drum in a sheet called a “batt”, and I usually wrap them up in little balls to keep them neat and tidy until they¬†are spun.

Hand carding results in smaller batches of fibers, which are generally rolled off the carders into “rolags”.

Naturally dyed handcarded rolags
Naturally dyed handcarded rolags

 

Spinning

Denise Spinning yarn on antique wheel
Denise Spinning yarn on antique wheel

Spinning is the process of drawing out and imparting twist to the wool fibers to create yarn. The wheel is driven by a foot pedal (called a treadle) and the wheel turns the flyer assembly via a drive band. The orifice of the flyer is where twist enters the wool fibers and the flyer holds a bobbin, where the newly spun yarn is collected (wound on).

close-up of spinning on antique wheel
close-up of spinning on antique wheel

Swatching

Cobblestone swatches
Cobblestone swatches

Knitting up a swatch in selected yarn and stitch pattern(s) to check fabric for handle, drape, stitch gauge.It is sometimes necessary to knit up several samples before starting a project. Knitting up a swatch in selected yarn and stitch pattern(s) to check fabric for handle, drape, stitch gauge.It is sometimes necessary to knit up several samples before starting a project.Knitting up a swatch in selected yarn and stitch pattern(s) to check fabric for handle, drape, stitch gauge.It is sometimes necessary to knit up several samples before starting a project.Knitting up a swatch in selected yarn and stitch pattern(s) to check fabric for handle, drape, stitch gauge.It is sometimes necessary to knit up several samples before starting a project.Knitting up a swatch in selected yarn and stitch pattern(s) to check fabric for handle, drape, stitch gauge.It is sometimes necessary to knit up several samples before starting a project.Knitting up a swatch in selected yarn and stitch pattern(s) to check fabric for handle, drape, stitch gauge.It is sometimes necessary to knit up several samples before starting a project.