He also indulged me more and bought me a sheep. Yes, I have my own sheep to sheer in the summer. Her name is Zinger Binger.
My friend Catherine came up a few months ago and showed us how to process our own fleece. She brought me 5 raw sheep fleeces and one alpaca/llama fleece.
This is a raw fleece shorn off a sheep. It's pretty nasty. Ticks, leaves, feces, twigs, mud. I put it in my washing machine in 160 degree water, with some Dawn dish washing liquid, after I shook out as much crud as I could, picking out the stuff I could see.
This is after 3 washings, and picking it clean after each wash, then two complete rinses.
Here I have carded the fleece I washed and picked clean yesterday. Carding is essentially like combing the wool, getting it lined up to draft and then spin.
After you card it, you roll it into a rolag, ready to draft.
Here I have drafted it-it's basically teasing the fibers apart, ready to spin. It makes it easier to spin smoothly this way.
And here is yesterday's nasty fleece spun on the bobbin, a nice smooth single ply. I am still learning, so my yarn goes from fairly consistent to really thin and back again. I'll get it right! :)