Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Sheep to Shawl

This project has been a long time coming but finally I got this

Welcome to the Wool Process

First we need Fleece - I currently have 3 different breed of sheep fleeces in various stages of development.

 No 1 - Blue faced Leister - White wool good for multi
Blue faced Leister.
purpose work.

No 2 - Black Hebridean (Scottish heritage breed) - Black wool that turns Gray with age.
No 3 - Jacobs - Black, grey, brown and white - Multi coloured and very tonal. Not considered as useful for dyeing. (we shall see)

Second how to wash it.

You can use chemicals, you can use a washing machine(if you don't care about it), you can use your bath. (Have fun cleaning it afterwards)

The problem with most washing methods is that most of them remove the lanolin from the wool leaving it all scratchy and uncomfortable to wear on your skin.

Or they end up a giant felt block still containing all the twigs and clumps you missed when brushing it out.

I tried some of the above so trust me with the downfalls. Lemon juice was ok, it wasn't strong enough to strip the oils and did clean up quite well but still I was looking for something better/lazier/cheaper.

Then I found it "The Fermented Suint Method" I'm not going to go into details now and I cannot find the link to where I originally read about it. If you google it you can find details. Will post full process in a separate bit.
Two Jacobs washed and being rinsed

Skirting and Carding

Skirting is when you have just got a fleece and you lay it out and remove all the sticks, poo and unidentifiable and unwanted pieces.

Technically skirting comes before washing but if you forget it wont be the end of the world (Or your fleece). Coming from personal experience here.

Carding is brushing. Kind of. You start with a clump of wool and you work it with two "brush" paddles. This will help break up clumps and straighten out your fibres to help with spinning in the future. It can be a good way to blend different colours and fibres.
Hand carders and Colin on the Drum Carder

Spinning - the process of making yarn

Weaving - In, Out, In, Out and shake it all about.

Felting - As well as accidental felting there are two ways I know to felt wool. Wet felting and needle felting.

There is also a process called waulking (Scot/gaeilic term) which is when you take a bolt of woven cloth and apply water and rhythmic friction to it until it is dry
The cloth shrinks down and become denser. It can also improve water resistance.

I have classes available for anyone who wants to try any of the above.
Contact me for more details

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