Wednesday, January 11, 2006


First, I want to say thank you to all of you who commented on the vest - I think that marks a record for me for comments. I tried to respond to each of you individually, but Blogger doesn't give me email addresses, and I was unable to track down many of your emails. Many thanks are coming your way from me, even if you didn't get an email reply.

Now I need some advice from you spinning types. It has come to my attention that we are approaching early spring, a time when many farms do shearings. If you knew of a newbie spinner who was interested in purchasing her first fleece, to wash and (hand) card on her own, what kind of advice would you give her. Do you have any farms you could recommend (especially New England farms)? I might know somebody who would appreciate the advice ;-)

In the lull since Butterfly has been done, I've been doing some spinning. I finished spinning the gray alpaca, and it made a soft and lovely 2-ply. I have another 1oz sample in a fawn color that I got to wash and will get to break in my hand cards with - yipee. I've also been enjoying spinning some hand-dyed by me Bluefaced Leicester. Sadly I have no photos, as the whole "dark before I leave the house and dark when I get home" thing is still happening. Damn winter. There is a glimmer of hope though, as I noticed for the first time this week that there is still some lingering sunlight as I walk out the doors of work around 4:30 each day - we are certainly headed in the right direction!

Photos of spinning and Rogue progress to come closer to the weekend.


Blogger Rosa said...

I bought fleece from Ebay from a fellow in PA. But, you may want to try calling The Fiber Loft in Harvard, MA. Their instructor, Ann Corbey has a farm with sheep. I am not sure if she sells her fleeces, but she uses them for instructions--she just might. Something to think about

4:21 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I don't know anything about spinning - yet. So, I'm no help on the fleece. I noticed the same thing - still a bit light at 4:30 - it's a good thing.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

No fleece advice from me but I'd be interested in what you find out! I drove home Tuesday without turning my headlights on and that made me so happy.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Mary Pratt at Elihu Farm in NY (somewhere near Albany so close to NE) produces some lovely fleeces. So does Alice Field (MA? I can find out), though the name of her farm escapes me at the moment (sorry, I'm post 50). She does often vend at Nutmeg Spinners Guild though. Mary has romney and rambouillet and crosses. Alice has cormo. Romney makes a good first fleece, especially a hogget (a lamb fleece). Merino can be difficult to scour adequately, and rambouillet has a tendency to nep. Different sheep breeds offer different qualities in a fleece so I strongly suggest anyone thinking about following this yellow brick road consider what kind of things will be knit out of the fleece. If jacob or shetland is the answer, I know some folks with those breeds to, though some are not in NE. Another possibility: buy a pound of washed fleece to see if carding is really the way to go. Some people love it, some hate it. It's very time consuming.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

If you'd like to try out a bunch of different kinds of fleece, get thee over to my house. I have TONS and I am so willing to share. Actually, I can just pack you up a box and mail it, if you like. I have so many different kinds.

I second the nomination of Romney as a starter fleece. It's slick enough to be easy to spin, and it is harder to felt in washing that lots of others. I have found that Merino/Romney cross sheep can produce amazing fleece.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Aimee said...

i think corriedale fiber is a good beginner. Look for a medium length staple (maybe 4 inches or so). I think more than any particular breed, it is also really important to look at the particular fleece. What I mean is, one Jacob fleece might be rough, full of kemp fibers, etc, and another may be almost buttery soft. Some cross breed fleeces are great, having the good qualities of both parent breeds. Make sure the fleece is pretty free of veg matter, and has been sheared and skirted with a handspinner in mind. Am I going on and on? Well, anyway, if you have anymore questions, feel free to leave a comment on my blog if I can help. Good luck.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

I love Mary Pratt's fleece, but a lot of it is fine wool/rambouillet crosses - which are tough to do right on the first go out of the gate, IMHO. Romney is a wonderful choice. If you have the chance, you might give Watson Farm in RI a call - Heather...can't remember her last name, but I can look it up. They usually have a spin-in/shearing party in May. VERY nice Romney fleeces.

6:51 PM  

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