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Tuesday, 8 February 2011

My first Spin with fleece - Hebridean fleece

     The Hebridean sheep as its name implies originates from the west coast islands of Scotland.  They Have thick weather proof fleeces that are usually black,they can be brown and can go grey with old age.
I did not have any idea about fleece or breeds of sheep when I became obsessed with the idea of learning to spin.  In usual 'Lucy' fashion I couldn't wait and needed fleece like I blindly ordered off Ebay.  I was expecting a nice bag of soft woolly fleece, what I got was a hairy mass of stinky stuff! 

     The above photograph is of raw Hebridean fleece, not the one I had, which seemed much hairier, if you can imagine a Yeti pelt you wouldn't be far off.  The dog thought it was wonderful but it actually made me quite squeamish and it kind of spooked me as it looked like it was going to breath and crawl off.  Can you tell I am a thoroughbred Townie? 
      Determined I set about scouring the fleece it had several washes in Eco Soap and took a good couple of hours, soaking, rinsing and repeating.  I dried it in pillow cases hung on the line and then in the house on radiators.  I have never washed fleece on a warm Summers day, which would be the obvious option.   
      My next job was to card the fleece, I have Ashford Hand Carders.  Who needs the Gym when you have these bicep builders?  Lets just say it made my shoulders ache a little!  Determined in my spinning mission I bravely battled on. 
I still don't think I have mastered the art of spinning, but I seem to be delighted with what ever I create.  Learning to spin with Hebridean produced a thick and fairly coarse yarn.  I have seen beatifully spun, fine Hebridean yarn so I did not do it Justice at all.  I did mange to knit myself a pair of socks, my first ever pair of socks with my first ever handspun.  The resulting fabric certainly was unique.  They literally gave me blisters to knit.  The socks stand up on their own like a sculpture.  I have called them bulletproof.  I think they would be good in the construction industry in place of steel toe capped boots.
These Beauties were completed Dec 09

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