As you know, I purchased a Corriedale fleece from Hubbard Handspun. It arrived in a Home Depot box with some adorable postage stickers. Somehow this made me nervous: this, this was going to be a beautiful fleece. Was I ready?
I peeked in the box on arrival day, just because I couldn’t help myself and the sheepy goodness wafted out of the cardboard and plastic. I pulled out a lock, snapped it by my ear (heard a lovely ‘ping’), looked it over and my, oh my, this fleece! Well, you’ll see what I mean in a moment. Like you, I had to wait another day before I could unfurl this beauty and see about the 7lbs of happiness–yes, I weighed it on the bathroom scale in the meantime.
Today, I laid out the fleece sheet on the kitchen floor and we slid the whole thing out of its plastic wrapper. It was a huge ball of sheep, and so very clean and white already.
I had hoped to go all expert on the thing and roll it out into a “sheep shape,” but I managed to unroll it the wrong way–tip side down (doh!). But, it was still wonderful and SO BIG! so much fleece: a bit of an overwhelming moment, to be honest. Luckily, S was here and he suggested we get right to it. That, and a little voice from my guild-mate B, convinced me to dive in. There was no wrong way to do this. And, as sad as I was to break up the fleece party, there was so much satisfaction in the disassembly, which took us about 1.5 hours.
I was waiting to find something unsavory, or even just some second cuts, or some fluff, but no; this fleece was just about as perfect as could be. At every turn another excellent hunk of locks just rolled right out and into the box.
We decided on the following method: keep the locks as intact as possible and sort by length, matting/dirt level, and fluff. There was very little fluff (or fiber that was already in picked/cloud form); there were tons of perfect locks. These went marching into the box and the fluff went into the tub. I found exactly 2 handfuls of locks that were even remotely “dirty”; the rest was pristine.
Because the fleece is SO CLEAN, I debated whether to just spin in the grease–and, indeed, took a couple of locks for a test spin. It would be lovely to spin it just as it is, but I think in the interest of keeping moths away while I spin this slowly over the next month, I will wash it up tomorrow or over the weekend. Plus, that will keep my wheel and carders cleaner, and my bucket method will keep the locks intact so that I can just flick and spin from the fold as I go. Here are some parting shots of the fleece all ready for processing. Time to roll that out that DIY drying rack again!
If I had to buy just one fleece a year, I think it would be worth it to purchase one just like this–so fine, beautiful, easy to spin, and lovely to work with.