country-enterprise.co.uk - click here for home page

The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Wool
...Spinning
...Weaving
...Selling products

Pure wool is warm.

Straight from the sheep, it contains naturally waterproof lanolin and probably twigs, dirt and bugs. Having obtained a whole fleece, it has to be spread out, preferably on to a clean sheet, to have all the bigger alien bits removed. When the fleece is laid out before you it is easy to recognise the different bits. The tops of the legs and the thick neck wool clearly show the shape of the animal. In a short-fleeced animal there may not be much difference in the length of the wool; in a long-wooled sheep it will be short where the legs are and longer in the body. Some fleeces feel soft to handle and are lustrous to look at. In others the kemp the rough hairy bits are all through the fleece.

The suitability of the fleece for processing is governed by several factors. If you are intending to spin the fleece, the governing factor is your own ability. Some people take to spinning like ducks to the water. Others never quite get the co-ordination of foot and hand going. To be able to produce spun yarn is very satisfying. Taking a fleece and transforming it into clothing is one of the most basic fulfilments.

There are other ways to use wool. You can simply pluck out tufts of wool from a long-haired fleece and knit them as you go. The result can be spectacular using a coloured fleece. You can pull out long fibres and use them to embroider plain cloth. Or you could put the whole fleece between two pieces of cloth. Sew squares on the cloth to anchor the wool and you have an original padded coat. Stuffed toys using wool are soft and washable as are cushions. If you are allergic to feathers or rather to the mites that live in old feathers, you may find that stuffing cushions with wool is more acceptable.

...next