For those who are wondering… the nettle stems are back in the retting wheelbarrow for now. So I return to our regularly scheduled fibre–wool.
All I want to say about this last Polwarth fleece, with the prickly seedheads and the tips that were spiny and pulled off… is that I have reached the end of it. Here it is–the last of it–! It will be keeping toes warm for years to come once these slippers are felted. I do not need to spin more of it, ever. The fleece from this sheep’s sibling, and fleece from this sheep in other years, are lovely, and I will return to those in time.
Next stop on the fibre processing journey is a Corriedale fleece one of my co-workers gave me (in 2011!! I wrote the date down). I dyed some greasy a year or so ago and it came out badly. I can be put off by experiences like that, which so often indicate the current limitations of my skills or patience, or both. I put the Corriedale down and haven’t come back to it for at least a year. It does have vegetable matter in it, but it is otherwise a lovely fleece. I weighed the remainder and there was 2.3 kg still to wash. It’s in a yellow plastic bag designed for a double bed feather quilt.
I sat a kilogramme of it to soak cold for a few days, because I’ve seen this suggested on Ravelry and it makes good sense as a first stage in getting mud, as well as grease, out of the fleece. having tried it now, I would definitely use this process again.
This kilogramme is now clean and drying, and that leaves only 1.3kg of this fleece yet to be washed. After that, only one more Polwarth fleece left to wash. I admit, a Polwarth is a mighty big sheep. However, this is the closest I have been in years to having the fleece stash clean and ready to spin!