to learn about, browse, and
fleece, scoured fleece, washed fleece, batts, roving and yarn. I
make unique, handmade apparel and household items using 100%
Babydoll Southdown wool.
The Shoppe also has note cards & postcards with pictures of the flock on the fronts.
If you're a follower of our facebook page and fall in love with any photo I post, contact me to order a print.
2014 and 2016, I sent in
samples of each of my sheep's fleece to be evaluated. If
interested in seeing the results, visit each sheep's page which is
a clickable link from the Foundation
page of the website. Then click on the image of the results, located in
the bottom left corner, to
see a larger, readable image of the results. Glossary
of Abbreviations used in the
The red ribbon award yarn one of my fleece buyers so graciously offered to process from Faith's raw fleece into yarn is now a pair of hand knitted by me. They will keep Farmboy's feet warm in winter. Thank you so much, Bethany!
One of my fleece purchasers sent me these gorgeous wrist warmers made from Haven's fleece. She used the Navajo Plying technique on the skein of yarn. I can't get over how thin Kathy spun this yarnm, it is 3-ply. Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you, Kathy!
Terms to understand:
- Staple length: The length of a 12 months growth of wool fiber not stretched.
- Crimp: Waves in the individual fiber, small waves close together are softer fleece. Waves further apart are coarser.
- The term 'Blood': Used to interpret fineness displayed in fractions.
- Spin count: Measurement on a wool skein.
- Microns: Measurement.
Southdowns are evaluated as 1/2 to 3/8 blood. 1/2 blood
translates to a 60 to 62 skein spin count and a fiber of 22.5
to 25 microns in diameter with medium fine crimp and 2.5 to 3" staple
length. 3/8 blood translates to a 58 spin count and a fiber of 24.5 to
26.5 microns in diameter with medium crimp and 2.5 to 3.5"
staple length. Many of the black Babydolls are 1/4 blood
(which is coarser than white fleeces). 1/4 blood translates to a 50 to
54 skein spin count and a fiber of 27 to 31 microns in
diameter with medium coarse crimp and 2.5 to 4" staple
length. I, personally, have found the staple lengths normally stated
Babydolls to be shorter, somewhere in the 1.5 to 2.5 inch range.
In 2014, the average of twelve of my off-whites was
longest being 2.56" and the shortest being 0.91". The average of five
my black Babydolls was 1.55", the longest being 1.97" and the shortest
being 1.18". Most of the sheep tested had fourteen months growth on
them. In 2016, the average staple length of nineteen of my
Babydolls was 2.34" for one year's growth.
The six steps involved in creating fabric from wool are shearing, skirting, scouring, carding, spinning, and knitting, crocheting, weaving or many other hand-crafts .
Shearing is the process of removing the wool from the body of the sheep. If one plans on selling the fleece, finding a good shearer is of vital importance. A good shearer will remove the belly, leg, face, and head wool away during the shearing process and avoid second cuts.
Skirting is done after the shearer leaves. During the skirting process, the neck wool and all of the edges of the fleece are removed as well as any vegetable matter (VM). It is also important to remove the greasy wool from around and under the tail referred to as "wool tags" or "sweat locks". Then the wool is folded and rolled. This Raw Wool can be purchased from me.
David and friend, Rachel - picture courtesy of David Olsen
SCOURING is the process of removing the dirt plus all the lanolin/oils for a squeaky clean fleece for dyeing or further processing. As opposed to WASHING which is the process of just removing the dirt, as some lanolin and oils will remain. Either can be accomplished in tubs of water or a washing machine. Many tutorials can be found by doing a search on the Internet on how to do this if one wants to do it at home. There are also wool processing mills where the fleeces can be sent. I have SCOURED fleeces available. Contact me early if you are wanting only a washed fleece as I try to get all of my non-reserved raw fleeces scoured as soon as possible.
Carding prepares the cleaned wool for spinning and can be done either by hand or by machine. The carding process "teases" apart the fibers, removes short fibers, and sets the fibers to lie in the same direction.
Spinning is turning the wool into yarn. Coarse wool is usually spun into woolen yarns and is usually used in carpets or thick sweaters. Fine wool is usually spun into worsted yarn and is used to make lightweight fabrics for suits and dresses. One can then use it for your crafts and work with it either by hand or machine and turn it into fabric.
Besides turning raw wool into yarn for knitting and weaving, other uses possible uses for it are:
- using the unspun fleece for locker hooking.
- cleaning up oil spills around your garage...did you know wool can absorb 30 times it's weight?
- mulching a garden.
- stuffing for animal beds.
- insulation where fire code restrictions are not an issue.
- wool in architecture.
- bait in traps for hunting.
- hair by
Drop me a note if
you would like me to add your unusual use for wool to
Thank you, David Olsen, for allowing me to use your pictures.