Raw Old Fleece

BaBaaHMonica

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I am pretty new to this wool processing stuff. My Mom has been cleaning out the attic and found a pillowcase Full of fleece that had been shorn about 30 years ago. It is a lovely shade of frosty chocolate. It smells pretty awful, but i think I watched a couple of youtube videos on how to skirt it and do a few preliminary gentle soaks to remove some of the lanolin and yuck that is stuck to the fibers. Is there any special handling since it is so old vs fleece that has just been sheared. I don't think there is moths, although i did not fully open it up--the smell was pretty awful.
I have some plant-based dishsoap that is supposed to be gentle that i bought specially to wash this fleece. I think we will send it to Zeilinger's to be carded and spun into yarn so i can knit some hats.

If I do decide to dye enough for a skein will it accept color and different since is older???

I am hoping that if this fleece is successful and I can make something truly beautiful with it, DH will surely allow for a bigger flock.
Thanks for your replies :D
 

misfitmorgan

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If the fleece was stored dirty for a long time it may be a complete loss. The moisture in the fleece may have caused it to rot, and the smell might never come out. You can try to wash it, if it does not hold up to washing it is not going to hold up to being carded and spun. Go ahead and treat it like a normal newly shorn fleece and see what happens. Definitely get it out of that pillowcase right away and give it a good look over. Keep in mind if it is to damaged, dirty, or smelly the mill may reject it. Most mills are particular because they dont want their expensive machines damaged.

Is the smell just old lanolin smell, or feces or mold? If it is mold smell it wont be worth your work because the smell will be in the finished product.
 

Baymule

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I have hair sheep, zero experience with wool. You just got good advice.
JMO, wouldn’t it be better to put your time and work into a new fleece?
What kind of sheep do you have?
 

BaBaaHMonica

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gosh it has been so long since we had those sheep...like 30 years ago LOL. Suffolk or suffolk cross--the ram was black face and white wool, the ewes were mostly white. I think a few of them lambs were chocolate brown, which is what this fleece is from. The mill that they took the other fleece to charged more for processing other than white wool
I think Misfitmorgan is right about the reputation of the mills. I think i will process this fleece as if i would be sending it to the mill. I am all about learning as i go and this will be a perfect chance to practice and hopefully end up with a good fleece. I would rather figure out what i am doing on this one rather than a new fleece that intend on selling or using for, i might need a clothespin for my nose.

I don't have any sheep yet, still in the process of trying to get DH to let me get some. He is ok so far with 2 goats, broilers, and I keep bringing up the rising cost of pork in the grocery store. There is so much stuff to get for fencing and getting the pasture ready. It is all very much in the planning stages yet. I much like the idea of rotational grazing to optimize the use of the land.
 

misfitmorgan

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Message me next year around this time and I will send you some colored fleeces if you want to mess with. Just pay the shipping. We have suffolk and some mutt sheep, the mutts are polypay crosses but have some really nice fleece that no one here wants. We have white, black, light mottled grey with brown and dark grey. The middle white one in the pic is off one of our suffolk.


20210525_100356.jpg
 

Kusanar

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Message me next year around this time and I will send you some colored fleeces if you want to mess with. Just pay the shipping. We have suffolk and some mutt sheep, the mutts are polypay crosses but have some really nice fleece that no one here wants. We have white, black, light mottled grey with brown and dark grey. The middle white one in the pic is off one of our suffolk.


View attachment 85316
Is that offer good for anyone? Because that would be a great deal and I wouldn't mind having a free or cheap fleece just pay shipping.
 

misfitmorgan

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Is that offer good for anyone? Because that would be a great deal and I wouldn't mind having a free or cheap fleece just pay shipping.

Sure so long as I have enough fleeces to go around. I will say we do not sheet our sheep so there is going to be VM and a good deal of cleaning to be done. I will discard the skirt portion and just send the blanket.
 

Kusanar

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gosh it has been so long since we had those sheep...like 30 years ago LOL. Suffolk or suffolk cross--the ram was black face and white wool, the ewes were mostly white. I think a few of them lambs were chocolate brown, which is what this fleece is from. The mill that they took the other fleece to charged more for processing other than white wool
I think Misfitmorgan is right about the reputation of the mills. I think i will process this fleece as if i would be sending it to the mill. I am all about learning as i go and this will be a perfect chance to practice and hopefully end up with a good fleece. I would rather figure out what i am doing on this one rather than a new fleece that intend on selling or using for, i might need a clothespin for my nose.

I don't have any sheep yet, still in the process of trying to get DH to let me get some. He is ok so far with 2 goats, broilers, and I keep bringing up the rising cost of pork in the grocery store. There is so much stuff to get for fencing and getting the pasture ready. It is all very much in the planning stages yet. I much like the idea of rotational grazing to optimize the use of the land.
I would put it outside and spread it out some, if you have something you could use as a skirting table then put it on that. Let it air out for a while. Then go in a start skirting, you want to pull any sticks, hay, poop, etc out and maybe even any overly dirty fleece (dirty fleece can be used as mulch so don't trash it). Once it is as clean as you can get it with it dry, fill a large container with cold or cool water (extra water trough will work if you have one) and put the fleece in. You may need to put something in there to keep the fleece submerged but just let it soak overnight in the cold water, pour off the dirty water and get most of the dirty water out of the fleece. Then you will need HOT water (160 degrees or hotter) and your soap, you need to put enough soap in that the water feels slick (hard to gauge without being able to put your hand in the water, but you get the general amount) and put smallish amounts of fleece in the water, do not stir, poke, etc the wool, only enough to get it to go under the water and then leave it alone. You do not want the water to cool with the wool in there as the oils will just go right back into the wool as the water cools. Fish the wool out and dump the mud puddle that was your nice clean water. I put my wool in a mesh laundry bag to wash so it is easy to move around, just grab the bag with tongs and fish it out. If the wool is still dirty, you can do 1 more hot water and soap soak before rinsing. You should rinse in hot water as well as it is the going from hot and wet to cold and wet that will make wool felt the worst.

Once it is rinsed out as well as you can get it, lay it out flat in single layers to dry, don't try to mess with it until it is dry because again... it will felt.
 

Kusanar

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Sure so long as I have enough fleeces to go around. I will say we do not sheet our sheep so there is going to be VM and a good deal of cleaning to be done. I will discard the skirt portion and just send the blanket.
Sounds good, I will make a note to contact you next spring. If you have anything no one else wants I will be glad to take it off of your hands.

I'm seriously thinking about getting sheep in a year or 2 and the more raw (and full of vm) fleeces I deal with before that the better.
 

misfitmorgan

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Sounds good, I will make a note to contact you next spring. If you have anything no one else wants I will be glad to take it off of your hands.

I'm seriously thinking about getting sheep in a year or 2 and the more raw (and full of vm) fleeces I deal with before that the better.
Good deal!
 

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