Thursday, 26 May 2011

Something Smells Sheepy...

So I have been putting this post off, not because of lack of excitement, its because of the amount of pictures I take in response to said excitement!  Just over a week ago my friend Christine from The Bored Knitter found a wonderful thing on freecycle.  SEVEN recently shorn sheep fleeces! 
So being the lovely lady she is she offered both me and Danielle from A Stash Addicts Ramblings TWO EACH! As in TWO WHOLE SHEEP! *Trying to maintain my level of calm and not let the Sheepy Excitement take over*.
So went went on a Sheepy Adventure to collect the fleece from a farm (cue lots of photographs of said sheep) and then stuffed Christine's car full of sheep!
After ALOT of reading up about how to prepare a sheep fleece on the internet, mainly on this blog and this article, I gave my sheep a bath!  Two soapy baths and then two rinses to be exact, and I have to tell you it is AMAZING how dirty the sheep you see in fields are!  They are mucky creatures!  
I was documenting the change in water as the washing progressed, as the general idea is you want no soap or lanolin, a natural 'hair product' that sheep have, left on the fleece and the water to be clear.
So you can see the progression from left to right of lanolin filled water, lanolin/soap water, soap water and then clear. One soapy wash and already the fleece was coming back out white rather than the creamy colour that it started out as.  
Apparently there is something in blue washing up liquid that helps with the cleaning so I bought some supplies, including Marigolds as there was a lot of questionable brown substances stuck in the fleece.
I also found, after cleaning, that my sheep was at one point a graffiti artist! It had some neon pink paint trapped in it's fleece!
Washing and drying was a challenge in our tiny flat, not to mention very smelly! It is amazing how quickly the smell takes over the house of sheep!  Thankfully I have a very understanding OH!  I have currently only washed one sheep as there just isn't enough room (or enough towels) to use to let the sheep dry fully.  
The paper bags are still filled with 'dirty' fleece and everything else is what you get when you shear a sheep and wash it in your bath!
I have yet to weigh the fleece, as I thought it was meaningless to weigh it with the addition of all the mud and dirt in it.  I have ordered carders from eBay to brush and prepare the fibre for spinning and I am just awaiting them to arrive and when I start preparing them, at that point I am planning to weigh and document how much fibre I have.

In the meantime I have been up to no good and I'll document more about this tomorrow, here is a sneak peak:


  1. Your OH is very good, looking forward to seeing the fleece evolve.

  2. I applaud your efforts ... that's a whole lot of sheep!!