4. Spin thin wool yarn for hair net.

This yarn was spun from a fleece I purchased from a lady during one of Fiber Art’s Network’s retreats at Hawks Nest State Park.  The fleece was Coopworth (I think) and had some very lovely locks still in the structure.  She said that she had washed the fleece once, indeed it was very clean, and so I just needed to wash it once more to remove the excess lanolin.

Before washing I picked through the fleece, carefully separating out the locks to keep them orderly and placed them, cut ends down, into  a box lined with a plastic bag.  As I did this I picked out any stray bits of vegetable matter or burrs.  Once done picking over the fleece I took hand-fulls of the locks and layered them into a small lingerie bags for washing.

Though in the Middle Ages fleece would have been boiled in a pot, possibly outside over a fire, I was lacking a pot large enough for the entire fleece and I was hesitant to use one of my husband’s good cooking pots to do the deed.  I went with what I had available, my washing machine…  I filled the tub with hot water, turned off the machine, added a little soap (Dawn), then gently submerged some of the fleece in lingerie bags into the water.

After letting the water cool a little, though not enough to let the lanolin settle back on to the fleece, I started the washer through it’s spin cycle, making sure that the water was turned off for this part, any agitation would have felted the fleece at this point.  Once the water was spun out I removed the bags and placed them onto a sweater drying rack to dry.

Once dry the locks held their shape very nicely.  My first attempt to spin from the lock did not produce the look I wanted for my yarn.  I had only slightly teased open the locks with my fingers and the yarn didn’t draft as much as I wanted.  Since I hadn’t yet purchased wool carders or combs I used a small dog/cat curry brush to ‘flick’ open the locks.  This allowed the drafting and look I wanted in my yarn making it much smoother.