I spent most of Wednesday washing a Shetland fleece I procured from fluffysgarden about a month ago. She and her DH were present for the shearing of this sheep, and you can watch a video of the shearing (other sheep, too) here. "My" fleece is from the first shearing shown in the video. I also washed some mystery fiber, click here to see the animals it came from.
I really don't understand why I buy raw fleece. I know it must, must, must be washed. It stinks, its full of greasy lanolin and who knows what . In fact, I consider it a minor miracle if a soaking in hot soapy water and a few rinses is enough to get fleece ready to spin. Maybe not such a big deal for a few ounces of fleece, but an all day project for an entire sheep's worth. And guess what? Beautiful, soft, clean ready to spin fiber can be purchased! That's right, its available in a ready to spin form, as much as you want, no washing required, no pulling off (skirting) the truly ickky bits, no stuffing the closet full of bags of washed fleece. You can buy it from your LYS, or online or at fiber festivals.
Working from memory, because I'm a little bit afraid to actually find out right now, I must have at least 5 or 6 washed sheep fleeces, plus 2 more (small) from last spring that still need washing, and 4 or 5 bags (pillow cases) of alpaca. At least alpaca doesn't need as much washing. You want to know how much of it I've spun? Hardly any, perhaps 4 or 5 small hanks done while I was experimenting with stuff. And the truly sick part of all of this, is I. want. more. Yah. Sad.
One thing I've learned about myself is that I love considering possibilities. (Myers-Briggs testing, anyone?) What a world of potential! All this fleece is me, giving in to my delight at the promise of what this fiber can become. Afterall, we shouldn't always have to deny our inner nature. I was going to finish washing the last of the fleece from last year, but the weather is not cooperating, its all misty and wet outside. Instead, I'm going to hank the yarn I finished plying last night (purchased as lovely clean, soft dyed roving), work on my summer waistcoat knitting project, and just maybe rearrange all the fiber in my closet so I can reach some of my clothes.