Preparing Suffolk Fibre for Tuff Sock Spinning

Dear readers, here is a trick question.  What colour is this sheep fleece?  IMAG5891

The correct answer is ‘white’! And here is one big part of the explanation for its colour in the image above: the dirt that fell out of the fleece in the time it was on this sheet being skirted.


The really long locks in this fleece are about 9 cm long.


Or–not a lot more than 3 inches long.  The short locks are 3 cm long.


You can see this sheep had been living in the bush and in the world, and not in a shed or on a grassy patch of green loveliness!


I believe this picture shows some of the fleece after washing.  I know, right?


Next step, flicking the locks.  There was no sign of felting, but there is nothing all that romantic about vegetable matter, seeds and remaining soil.


Flicking open the locks does help immensely with all those things, though as you can see below, all that followed by drum carding does not actually remove all the vegetable matter. This is the first pass on the drum carder, with a bit more detritus falling out on the second pass.


Needless to say–even more falls out onto my apron as I spin this springy, bouncy fleece.



Filed under Fibre preparation, Spinning

7 responses to “Preparing Suffolk Fibre for Tuff Sock Spinning

  1. It always amazes me how beautiful yarn can emerge from such a filthy, dirty, messy fleece! And I’ve had quite a lot of those, so I know!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebecca

    Good on you, being so dedicated to the tuff sock cause, to do battle with such VM. There is something quite triumphant about drawing forth a useful sock yarn in these conditions. I think we need a medal system as part of the project…yours would read ‘strength in adversity’!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, this made me laugh. I went to Guild on Saturday and there was a new person there selling plaits of single breed wool, undoubtedly imported. And I lost my mind and bought two. Clearly there is some part of me that is dreaming of the trouble free spinning experience. Which unfortunately means I am dreaming of something prepared by a machine and probably far away. I have just spun an entire (local, hand washed by me) fleece that was slightly sticky. I only have myself to blame, but that doesn’t actually make the experience any more pleasant. Thanks for the medal, I am not sure I deserve one but in any case, I’ll take the laughs!


      • Rebecca

        How relieving to hear you fall off the wagon sometimes…ive been using some chemical solar dyes recently and revelling in the difference in labour, reliabilty and water usage. But i feel so naughty.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes I think I spend more time off the wagon than on it. And the organisation of the contemporary economy is such as to make decisions about sustainability complex and difficult. This is an area where there is so much thinking and work still to be done. Instead we are often given the impression there are just two choices–thoughtless consumption and zero waste. I know for sure I fall between these two poles, and I think feeling bad stops us getting closer to our goals pretty often. Maybe this would be rich ground for a future collaboration?


  3. Pingback: Tuffsock Knitting: Indigo dyed Suffolk | Local & Bespoke

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