From Farm to Yarn: Part II
So, the sheep had been sheared and now I needed to go and look at the fleeces. I had been talking about all of this at Purl, the knitting group I run in Lancaster, and Angela was always very interested and spurred me on when I was feeling doubtful. Angela goes nuts for fleeces. I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you that, it’s the truth. A highly skilled spinner, knitter, felter and all round wool enthusiast is Angela. Angela makes the most beautiful lampshades from felted wool among other things and I asked whether she would come along with me to look at the fleeces and be my yarny advisor. Thank fully she agreed. When we walked into the barn and Lyn uncovered the fleeces, I couldn’t stop grinning. Little mounds of fleeces were lined up next to each other looking just like cauliflower clouds!
It was easy to pick enough for processing, the quality was just fantastic. There was a ‘special recipe’ fleece that Angela and I were both interested in, Poll Dorset and Bluefaced Leicester cross, so a ready made version of the breeds I was mixing! It was the softest fleece with an amazing crimp, so fine, but Angela showed me that there was a break in the fibre. Upon giving the wool a firm tug, the fibres snapped. When you looked you could actually see a ridge across the fibres where there was a weakness. Lyn said that when sheep are ill or under any stress it shows in their fleece, this particular sheep had given birth several months ago and it had been quite traumatic. We all looked at each other and laughed sympathetically; the poor sheep, I lost so much hair after giving birth and then I remembered getting a ridge in my big toe nail after I had Minnie. It was a very traumatic birth and we were both lucky to survive and I watched this ridge slowly move up and up as I got better and as time went on. So we aren’t so unlike sheep after all, well I’m not ha ha.
My fleeces were ready. I have Poll Dorest and Bluefaced Leicester and a huge bag of Poll Dorset lamb's wool ready for processing – next stop – the mill! I’m really excited about the next step. Yikes!
And I will leave you all with this brilliant recent customer request:
Customer ‘hi, do you have any skin coloured wool?’
Me ‘well it depends on the skin tone really, I have this?’
Customer ‘no, I’m after Jeremy Corbyn skin coloured wool really, thanks anyway’
And with that he walked off leaving me laughing my head off, I almost chased after him to ask more about the project but he was gone – into the busy streets of Lancaster, never to be seen again.
Brilliant. Once again I was reminded what a great job this is!
Love Kate. xxx