NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Old fleeces  (Read 4712 times)

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Old fleeces
« on: November 11, 2012, 01:06:03 pm »
I have several fleeces that I got a few years back, when I was still living in a more rural setting with lots more space and the ambition to take up spinning... They are now occupying room that I really need for other stuff, and I'm wondering whether they'll still be any good for spinning, or whether I should chuck them in the compost straight away...  :-\
Somebody once told me it would be better to process them "fresh". I'd be reluctant to compost them, especially as I have constant access to daggings, which really are much better for soil fertility, as they come complete with muck! ;D

All you wool specialists out there - what should I do? I have half a merino fleece - top quality, won a price at Edinburgh... And I think one Shetland and one Jacobs; plus a few small bags of cashmere... I just can't bring myself to chuck all that!  :( I've not had them out of their bags for years, but I think I would have noticed if they had some obvious problem like maggots.
Voss Electric Fence

quiltycats

  • Joined Nov 2012
  • Ooop North
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2012, 01:22:05 pm »
I'd give it a go anyway but Im a novice and was told the same thing as you....best spun fresh.

One thing I keep thinking about doing at some stage in the future is making my own wool batting. We quilter types pay a ruddy fortune for batting, so maybe if old fleeces are not spinnable this might be an option?

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2012, 01:27:42 pm »
Good idea - I'm sure it could also be used as stuffing for soft toys or so.

Or could it possibly be useful for felting?
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 01:46:10 pm by Ina »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2012, 03:50:47 pm »
I love QC's idea with the quilty batting - we can all save her all our waste fibre and she can make something useful of it!

Going back to your question, Ina - those sound like wonderful fleeces, definitely need to see if they're okay before assuming they are not.  I hear stories all the time of people getting out 7, 10, 18 and 19 year old fleeces and finding some of them still perfectly usable.  Maybe greasy ones could be harder to get into a good state to spin, but a merino has to be worth a little bit of trouble... ditto cashmere!  And Shetland isn't a particularly greasy fleece, so could be fine.  I haven't personally handled a Jacob yet (although I've been given some to try) but am told that it too isn't especially greasy.

Hopefully Fleecewife will be along soon, she's our bestest fleecey expert, I think  :)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2012, 03:55:10 pm »
Thanks for that - I will wait for the expert verdict - they've been sitting here for 4 or 5 years, they can wait a few more days!  :D

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2012, 05:06:29 pm »
I know who produced the merino fleece, and how much they can sell for  :tired: , so it is definitely worth having a good look before chucking them out. 
 
Were they mine, I would take them outside in their bags on a dry day (just in case of moths they shouldn't be opened indoors [Sally will remember why I say that  ;D ]).  Open them up on a tarpaulin or similar so you can have a good look.  They will probably look quite hard and horrid, nothing like fresh fleece.   Take a handful of each and wash it through in hot water to see if the hard grease comes out.  If it does wash out and the fleece is otherwise sound, then wash it and use, or wash it and store it again in a clean sack until you are ready to use it.  Washed fleece stores so much better than dirty, so if the fleeces were washed before you stored them they could well be fine.       If it stays horrible then chuck it.
 
I once had a Dolly fleece (shhhhh  :o ) which, precious though it was, had been 'stored' on the floor in a damp shed at Roslin.  I did my best to rescue it but unfortunately it was beyond.  Shame that, as I could have been the only person wearing a cloned jumper  8)
 
I have a whole lot of sacks of fleece hanging up in the barn waiting for my wool shed to be finished.  Some I know will have to be chucked out, but there are loads I am hoping will be ok for at least rug weaving.  So you are not alone Ina  :D
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2012, 05:46:25 pm »
I know who produced the merino fleece

Well - did you meet them at the Royal Highland, or where do you know them from?  :)

Thanks for all that info. The problem is really that I don't have the space to do anything with them, and would rather get rid of them asap... So if there's anybody out there who would like to take them on, let me know!  ;D

And as to the Dolly fleece - didn't I read somewhere of a woman in Japan who had a Dolly jumper?  :-\

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2012, 06:17:33 pm »
Were you nearer I would gladly take the fleeces off your hands and have a good look at them.  But it's a looooooong way... and surely there's a spinner or felter nearer to you would love to have a try?

I'll poke one I think may well be if none of the regulars pipes up in the next 24 hours or so...  ;)

The other thing to consider, I suppose, is whether any TASers near you are doing journeys, for instance just into Cumbria  :innocent: :eyelashes: :eyelashes:, anytime soon...

Interestingly, I spent some of the afternoon today assessing some Zwartbles fleece I was given.  It's been stashed in open feed sacks, is absolutely covered in hay, hay seeds, bits of straw, there are some unmentionable bits, the tips are so hard with grease it looks like dung!  :o - but it's not felted, so I ripped a few bits off and took 'em indoors to see what a wash did for them.

The first lot I used masses of washing up liquid and the tips came clean very easily, but my goodness! there was a lot of dirt!  so the next batch I soaked in water first then rinsed till clear, then gave a light wash and rinsed till clear, and I have some beautiful soft grey and deep black with bleached tips drying near the fire...  ;D  and a sinkful drying on the airer...  ;D  and the remainder of the fleeces safely stashed in tied wool sheets.  I think it will nearly all be very useable, just a bit of soaking, rinsing, drying and combing or picking.  Not too bad on the picking front; most of the VM seemed to come out in the washing and rinsing.

I wouldn't have believed how easily the greasy tips washed clean if I hadn't seen it.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2012, 06:39:48 pm »



Thanks for all that info. The problem is really that I don't have the space to do anything with them, and would rather get rid of them asap... So if there's anybody out there who would like to take them on, let me know!  ;D


When do you need them gone by? I may be able to convince the OH to a journey a little further north!

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2012, 11:18:31 pm »
I know who produced the merino fleece

Well - did you meet them at the Royal Highland, or where do you know them from?  :)

Thanks for all that info. The problem is really that I don't have the space to do anything with them, and would rather get rid of them asap... So if there's anybody out there who would like to take them on, let me know!  ;D

And as to the Dolly fleece - didn't I read somewhere of a woman in Japan who had a Dolly jumper?  :-\

They are friends Ina and have taught me SO much about fleece  :sheep: :sheep: :sheep:
 
It's interesting if someone else did manage to get a Dolly fleece.  For some reason her fleeces were all supposed to be destroyed - maybe because of patents ?
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 10:10:30 am »
That woman in Japan may have been taken for a ride, for all I know... You know what some are like - pay a fortune for anything newsworthy!



Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 11:00:32 am »
Now I know from your pm Ina  :wave:  that your merino breeder is not who I was thinking it was - so there are more people breeding merino in Scotland than you would expect.   It seems more of a dry climate fleece to me.   My Polwarth/Dorset/Ryeland ewe used to go pink and green with algae in the winter - which of course spoiled her fleece.  Maybe they keep them indoors when it's wet  :sheep: :sheep: :sheep:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 11:08:25 am »
Definitely a dry climate sheep. But there were attempts at finding sheep that produce a really fine wool (finer than Shetland!) and are more acclimatised... All to make wool production more worthwhile for Scottish farmers. And the cloth produced from that wool - a dream. (I'm dreaming of getting my hands on some for a shirt - although it's mostly used for very expensive men's suits...)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2012, 12:42:46 pm »
I wonder if they've tried the Falkland in Scotland, then? 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Ina

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Aberdeenshire
Re: Old fleeces
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2012, 01:16:14 pm »
I wonder if they've tried the Falkland in Scotland, then?

I'm not sure what you mean by that? I've never heard of a Falkland breed; I've only found this quote:

 The term, Falkland wool, refers to wool grown only on the Falkland Islands and not in any other location. The wool clip from these islands is a very good white and is grown from Merino and Polwarth breeds. The majority of the wool produced emanates from the Polwarth.
 
So is it the Polwarth you mean? That's mostly Merino, too... Just like the Bowmont.

 

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