Trying to clear the decks a bit before I go away for the weekend, (not to mention find space to pile stuff I'm taking) I washed the last two fleeces from Woolfest last night: a Teeswater and a rather large WensleydaleXMerino. The latter could probably have done with being done in four parts rather than two, but really I just wanted it clean enough to put away. They are now up on the drying rack (aka the thing for bashing Mark on the head, aka a Discovery dog rack!) smelling of wet and clean sheep. There's also a chunk of kid mohair fleece up there, nearly dry - in fact, I've done what I normally try to avoid, which is having fleeces of the same colour drying at the same time. I'm being careful not to confuse the fine Teeswater with the mohair.
I still have a Romney shearling, a Romney Ram, and a Polled Dorset ram to wash, but I think they'll have to wait til next week. The latter ram will be fun to spin - the staple is only about 2 to 3" long, but beautifully structured and crimply, and very soft. I shall handcard this (there's a lot of it!) and it will make the most incredibly stretchy, bouncy yarn. Boing. The Romney ram is much longer, about 8" I think, and will comb into a long, silky top.
I'd dyed up a bit more of the coloured BFL in Safflower, a couple of commissions (Murex in camel/silk, a couple of other colours in this), and they've all been packaged, along with about a kilo of Clun fleeced I've dyed up and bagged. I don't know how well that will sell this weekend, but I always take my 'shop' up to Alston Hall for our weekend away, and even though it's always just after Woolfest I do well.
While I was washing fleeces I thought I'd do a bit of fibre prep too. This is a handful of three fleeces I garnered while at Denise's on Saturday, helping to shear her sheep. I managed to restrain myself from actually bringing a whole fleece home, but I grabbed bit of the brown because it was pretty and nice quality, the darker grey was from a fleece that was largely discarded because of quality (and the tiny beginnings of fly strike - ick!), and the little bit of very dark brown at the bottom was from the fleece that Mark actually sheared himself. (See my other blog).
I quickly ran the wool through my hand combs, which got rid of well over half the fibre. I'm intending to make Mark a hat, so I won't need that much, and there were lots of short bits and rubbish in there. The tiny bit of black fleece was 2" long or less, but combing it (carefully) was worth it to remove the realy rubbish. There was a lot of colour variation in the grey wool.
This is Lunil's undercoat, a bit from last year and a bit from this. I never manage to save that much as I have to remember to brush it out in a very narrow window - while just the undercoat is shedding so it's not contaminated by her much longer and coarser guard hairs, and before it starts to matt. It's very soft and fine, and it's had a quick wash too.
And this is what I ended up with after I'd blended it on the drumcarder. I wanted two distinct colours, so I added Lunil's fluff to the brown to make it paler, and put all the darker colours together - this one feels particularly silky. 96g in total.
This is some fleece that I dyed last week, vaguely thinking about a bit of yarn based on Red Riding Hood! Both colours were left over from previous dyeing batches, the green from a recipe gone wrong with the main dyeing before Woolfest, and the red left over when I dyed the finishing yarn for the Mystery Thing which I must finish tonight!
I didn't bother combing the fleece before it went through the carder, so it's not quite as 'silky' as it could be.
I added about 10% of a very soft sparkley stuff I have, pink to the red/purpley wool and green to the green, as well as about the same amount of Lunil fluff.
I mean, if Lunil's eyes were yellow and her ears a little smaller, she'd be indistinguisable from a wolf anyway.