Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Woolly days

Remember this picture?

Well, the farmer had another bag which we couldn't get in the car so we are going back this weekend to pick it up. More wool you say? Do we need more wool? The alternative? ... farmers burn it if they can't find someone to take it and the wool board aren't interested depending on the amount of sheep they keep. Sad, isn't it.

Such a wonderful resource, and there is such history in British wool - British woven cloth was a favourite of the Romans when they came to these shores. It is seeing a revival now though, with the Campaign for Wool launched in 2010, spinning wheels and spinning as a craft seeing a resurgence, and knitting and crochet becoming more fashionable again.

So yes, more wool. So I better get washing and carding the wool I still have. Also I shall be washing the lesser quality wool for Alex to do some peg loom rugs. So it's all good, none will be wasted - the dirty bits will go to the allotment for mulch or deep trenches for moisture retention.

Portland white wool washed

So today the washing basket is full of this. Just look at the difference when washed, it's amazing how dirty the wool gets.

Zwartble - pre-wash

Zwartble soaking

Zwartble washed and dried
waiting to be carded

This week will be a week of washing, drying and carding of wool. Some of the Zwartble will be on its way soon Jacqui - I promise, just need some time with the carding machine.


  1. Wonderful that you can rescue so much wool, I can imagine what you are going to be doing for the foreseeable future! If any wool needs rehoming, I can offer a loving home! ;)

  2. Yes, see that's where it can end when you start spinning!
    PM me your address on GP Claire and I'll get some of the Zwartble in the post to you soon too - it's a lovely long length to spin, great for beginners.

  3. I would be really interested in learning more about your wool making processes. Is it easy to learn and is it expensive? I imagine it is a very satisfying and relaxing thing to do.

  4. It looks like you're going to be busy. It's such a shame that it goes to waste if there's no one who wants it. Good for you for putting it to good use.

  5. Hi Garden Mum - it is a wonderfully relaxing thing to do, almost meditative as you lose yourself, well I do anyway. I keep meaning to write a blog post about that, so maybe I should soon.
    It doesn't need to be expensive. A wheel is the biggest investment but they can be picked up 2nd hand. Commercially prepared fleece can be a little pricier but I find raw fleece nicer to work with and you can always get into dyeing it yourself too to get more colour.

    Easy to learn? Hmmm, some find it easy, others a little harder. I found it quite easy to pick up and improve quickly - good teachers! With practice it is easy to learn, and remembering that it won't be perfectly spun wool to start with, but there is great pleasure in knowing you have created yarn to use. Oops long reply, maybe I should do a blogpost soon to express more thoughts.
    Dawn x

  6. Hi Dawn,
    Fascinating post! I'm just starting to learn a bit more about wool as I discover more about felting - it's so interesting. Ideally, I would like to be buying wool from local farmers and doing the cleaning, carding & dyeing myself. But I don't know much about the different types! Do you know if the Zwartble is any good for felting?

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  8. Hi Kate, I'm not sure - I haven't tried felting with it yet but it does feel like it would felt well. I think this is a cross-breed Zwartble as it's lighter in colour than some Z sheep (might check that out with the farmer this weekend).

    I think the beginners guide to feltmaking lists some sheep breeds doesn't it? (is that the book you mentioned on your blog?) I'll look through my resources to see if I can find anything helpful.

  9. I'm still ploughing through the bags my MIL left me, but they are a mole hill compared to your mountain. I didn't know that they burnt the wool. We are surrounded by farmers with sheep, so I really ought to talk to them about what they do with their wool. I'm really enjoying spinning.

  10. I've left you an award on my blog. Don't feel under any pressure to accept it if you don't wish to do so, I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your blog.

  11. Great that you can get this wool rather than it being burnt
    I just wish I wasn't allergic to it!


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