Last week I finally got around to sorting some more of my fleeces. I had been waiting for a sunny dry day so I could get them out and really work out what was worth washing and what was best to compost, I had a real mix.
Most of my fleeces originated from a croft in Dundonnell. They came from a mixed flock, including; Shetland, Boreray, Soay and Cheviot. Some of the fleeces were pure breed and others were a bit of a mix. It was quite tricky working out which breeds had mixed, as I had been given the whole lot unlabelled, but think I have got there now!
I spent the afternoon taking out anything that was really dirty or matted. Some of the fleeces were very clean and easy to sort. Others especially the Boreray, which have a longer fleece tend to be dirtier as they had picked up quite a bit of mud. Some of this can
just be washed off but if it’s really dirty it’s sometimes easier just to pick out the clean parts. The conditions of the fleeces also depends what the weather has been like before the sheep have been sheared, as well how healthy the sheep are. June and Jeff took great care of their sheep, so the sheep could take good care of their fleeces! I have kept even the dirtier bits of Boreray, as Boreray fleece is less common and not used so often in felt making and natural dyeing, it has a long staple and I like using it as it adds a different texture.
Now all I have to do is take care of all this wool. The next stage is washing the sorted fleece, which is a great job on a sunny day. However, this week we just had a dump of snow, meaning that job has been put off for another week!