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Author Topic: Processing our own wool  (Read 2003 times)

JHunter2013

  • Joined Apr 2014
Processing our own wool
« on: April 29, 2016, 11:08:46 am »
Hello! We are getting interested in processing our own wool, from shearing to spinning. Any suggestions on books and things needed? We have hand shears, as well as electrical shears. Any advice is very much appreciated! I can be reached on e-mail at huntersofhalleaths@gmail.com as well.

We have Clun Forest, Texel x, and Shetlands :)
Voss Electric Fence

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Processing our own wool
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2016, 11:27:06 am »
It's an excellent idea, but heavens, where to start.  With growing a good fleece - clean pasture, healthy sheep, careful hand shearing.  Careful selection of individual animals with good quality fleece, skirting and storage of fleeces.  All that before you can think about the spinning aspect.
The Ashford Book of Spinning is a good starting point, but it's very difficult to learn to spin from a book.  There are many many youtube clips to help, but a great idea is to join a local guild or spinning group to get hands on experience and to see how to do the apparently complex bits (which are easy once you see the trick  :spin:)

I like new spinners to start slowly - don't leap in and buy the wheel of your dreams before you've spun anything - there are many different wheels and until you've tried a few it can be a waste of money just to launch yourself in at the deep end.
As well as expensive wheels, you can start to spin with a spindle, which costs a fraction of the cost of a wheel, but teaches you the basics and principles of turning fluff into yarn.

Another good idea is simply to play around with bits of fleece to learn about the qualities of wool, how it handles, how and why it holds together when you twist it and draw it out. ie 'finger spinning'.

Enough to start with....... :sheep:  :hugsheep: :spin:
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 11:31:17 am by Fleecewife »
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Processing our own wool
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2016, 12:22:53 pm »
Being able to wear something that you have grown, spun and knitted/crochet/woven is a lovely feeling but as Fleecewife says... where to start

Most of us probably have someone else come in to shear for us. If you have already done that previously you will have an idea of whats involved. If this is your first year it may be better to get someone in and watch them carefully first.

Once you have your fleece then it will need to have all the dagging bits (dirty bum ends etc) taken off and then the vm (vegetable matter) removed as much as possible. Then decide if you want to spin it 'in the grease' i.e without washing, or if its very greasy or contaminated with pour on's then it should be washed anyway. That's a whole book on its own :-)

When you do get to the spinning stage its definitely a good idea if you can join a local group. Usually they will have a wheel that you can try before you go ahead and spend your hard earned cash.

Where abouts are you?
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Processing our own wool
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2016, 02:03:54 pm »
Do you mind if I hold on to this thread? I myself am very intrigued to do with spinning my Lleyn's wool, is it a very good woll to spin with? Hope you don't mind  :innocent:
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Processing our own wool
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2016, 03:00:45 pm »
WBF, I know nothing about Lleyn fleece but having just looked it up it seems its a medium/fine fibre. There are several places selling the fleece for spinning so I am assuming it will spin ok.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Processing our own wool
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2016, 03:46:23 pm »
WBF - I also don't know about Lleyn fleece, but if it's clean and not felted then have a play around with some and see how easily you can draw it out with your fingers, and twist it as you pull.  This is the essential bit about spinning, and although many spinners card or comb the fleece before spinning, it improves things hugely if you start with a good spinners fleece.

Specific to you though is buffalo  ;D  Do they have a double coat with a softer woolly layer which keeps them warm, shed each year, with a longer, coarser outer, more weatherproof layer?  If they do have the woolly undercoat then that would be brilliant to spin.  I believe wild buffalo in America have that kind of coat, which produces quiviut, which is amazingly soft and light.  If your buffs do have the double coat, then that could be the start of a sideline which might bring in a few extra pennies  :idea:  :spin:
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Processing our own wool
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2016, 04:14:34 pm »
No they don't sadly @Fleecewife. Their coats are just hair, but they do have very thick skin. The hair is quite coarse, a bit like cotton string, when they're young heifers or bulls their hair is quite think, but as they get older it becomes fine like longish tough hair. you have to be careful handling the hair sometimes it can give you papercuts if you mess around with it, but only if its cut first.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 04:16:46 pm by waterbuffalofarmer »
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Processing our own wool
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2016, 05:19:03 pm »
No they don't sadly @Fleecewife. Their coats are just hair, but they do have very thick skin. The hair is quite coarse, a bit like cotton string, when they're young heifers or bulls their hair is quite think, but as they get older it becomes fine like longish tough hair. you have to be careful handling the hair sometimes it can give you papercuts if you mess around with it, but only if its cut first.

Oh that's a shame.  I know yours are different to the N American kind - I suppose they need all that fluff to survive the bad winters, whereas your kind doesn't.
Lleyn wool it is then  :spin:
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

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Processing our own wool
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2016, 01:07:42 am »
Lleyn fleece is good for spinning. I have one although I've not done a lot with it but it is beautiful.

 

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