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