In October 2009, a good family friend invited us to her parents hobby farm so that we could watch the sheep getting sheared and all the cute new lambs. It was very entertaining to see how all the sheep had such distinct personalities and baa's. Sage was a very good imitator :) He kept us laughing the whole time!
So, I have had a garbage bag of fleece sitting in my basement, then the garage, then the basement for a whole year. I was too nervous to wash it and ruin it, let alone do anything else with it! However, due to the amazing properties of wool, when I opened the bag, there was NO smell! No mold, no poop, no nothing. the sheep smell was hardly there. I am thinking that that familiar "sheep" smell is really poop-on-sheep-smell. Anyways, it was such a relief to know that the fleece was not ruined by neglect.
I picked through the fleece and picked out bits of grass, vegetation, poop (yuck!) and burrs. Then I washed it! I filled a 5 gallon bucket with the hottest water, added dish detergent and vinegar, and then set a batch of fleece in there the soak. Soaked it for about an hour or so, then dumped it into the washer to be spun out. You would not believe the black color of the water. It was gross. I did rinse it and it came out so clean. Such a beautiful natural shade of cream (how can I possibly dye such a lovely color?)...I then laid it on a towel in my living room and flipped it over every hour until dry. It is so beautiful. SO beautiful!
Rudy made a wooden spindle for me and I have started to spin a little. It is such a slow process for me though. I have some large pet brushes that I use for carding and then my homemade spindle. I haven't had time to work on it the past month. but maybe in a week or two, I will be able to finish it up.....Stay tuned :)