Her name is Nutmeg, but usually we refer to her as The Queen.
She is regal in every way, and so wary of people I've honestly only touched her a handful of times.
We chose her for her wool, impossibly soft, dense and fluffy. It starts out black but fades in the sun to a deep chocolate brown as the year progresses.
I was excited to get started on my first sheep-to-sweater project when we adopted our first ewes, but stalled out after trying to wash a dirty fleece in our bathtub and hopelessly clogging the drain before I was even half done.
So the fleeces went back to the basement until Match. Finally when the spring warmed up I was able to scour them outside in buckets and dry them in the sun. And honestly it was a messy, wet, dirty, and fragrant job – yet inexplicably satisfying. I was cleaning my own wool!
Soon with the help of my trusty friend YouTube (this new farming family's school of choice) I learned how to card and roll rolags.
We were off and running.
I spend much of last weekend carding and spinning Nutmeg's wool into yarn. Some day this yarn will become a sweater of vest or mittens or something exceptionally special for one of us. I'm leaning toward a hoodie for Sage. The color is perfect.
But before that happens there is more to be done. More carding. More spinning. And finally plying the yarn and setting the twist. I don't expect to cast on before fall.
Since shearing last month I somehow have twelve fleeces to work with. Twelve giant bags overflowing with wool.
I think it's time to get busy.
I can hardly wait.
Nutmeg, however, is just wondering where her warm and wooly coat has gone.
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15 thoughts on “Spinning Nutmeg’s wool”
Hello? Can you hear me now? Nice sheep!! 🙂
What beautiful rolags! I love the smell of fresh roving too. Your spinning is very nice. I still have lumpy yarn that my friend calls “textured”. What method are you using to set the twist?
So fun!! How exactly do you wash wool?
Nothing was more satisfying for me than cleaning, carding, spinning and knitting a sweater. Enjoy every moment! Please keep posting lots of pics.
Yay for you, that’s so cool. Can’t wait to see the yarn, and the handknit(s) that it becomes. How exciting! I want some sheep! First, I guess, the space to keep them! 🙂
I’ll set the twist in by soaking in warm water, squeezing out in a towel and hanging to dry. Then we wind!
Washing a dirty fleece is different than washing wool that is much less grubby (say a sweater). You submerge the fleece in hot water with soap (blue Dawn is actually recommended but we’ve been experimenting with less icky soaps as well!). Then the water is changed again and again and again until it runs clear.
I agree.. please keep posting pics! I can’t wait to see what you make with it, too. What an exciting journey. =)
We use to card and spin fleece in primary school art classes, 35 years ago. I was lucky enough to grow up in a rural arts and crafts haven, so our school “art” classes were more like “master classes” run by extremely talented and creative local artists. I still remember the texture and smell of the fleece – so comforting. Am loving following your journey; thanks so much for including us.
Oh, the loveliness! I makes me want to bury my hands in it. I am a long-time spinner and knitter and am going to look at some Shetland sheep for sale this week. So excited.
That is so great! But Nutmeg does look confused! I am getting ready to learn how to drop spindle and I could not be more excited! Thanks for sharing.
rachel, have you considered using your hot setting on the washing machine? and then just letting it spin and refill until it runs clear? Or does that clog the drain? Maybe with 12 fleeces it would. Also, is Nutmeg a shetland? It is so hard not to get into double digits when acquiring sheep! They are terribly lovable, and loyal I think.