When you raise sheep, inevitably, you have wool. It used to be that all the wool from my sheep were sent in with the wool from the Juniper Moon Farm sheep for the fiber CSA.
Now that the CSA has been discontinued, that left the problem of what to do with my fleeces moving forward.
I’ve been learning to spin, but I haven’t gotten around to learning how to clean and card raw fleeces yet (and, um…I still need to actually BUY some carders). Eventually I will get around to doing just that. Even so, I’ve got a few bags of fleeces sitting her that I’ve been dying to play with.
Then I came across the idea to make a felted fleece throw. Essentially, a sheepskin rug without having to skin a sheep.
I placed a raw, unwashed fleece from Piper shorn-side-up on the deck. Next, I drizzled some Dawn dish soap while waiting for a stockpot of water to boil.
Just look at that lovely fleece, waiting to be worked on!
Working in smaller portions, I poured a mason jar full of hot water over the fleece and gently worked up a lather (while wearing thick rubber gloves, of course!), attempting to felt the side I was working on without felting the locks on the underside.
Once I felted the entire thing, I set it out to dry.
This is the point where I was supposed to sew up any thin spots or holes that hadn’t fully felted the rug into one piece. This is also when I learned that in an attempt to not overfelt, I had in fact underfelted.
I had a lot of sewing up to do. I used a large darning needle and some scrap cormo/mohair yarn I had left from previous projects (always save your leftover yarn scraps!)
Once the gaping spots were fixed, it was time to wash the whole thing. Once again, I was afraid to felt it, so I may have given it less of a washing than I could have. I simply made sure all the grossness was gone and the rinse water wasn’t running brown anymore.
I’m pleased to say that most of the luscious locks are still just that. There’s certainly still some lanolin left, and plenty of vegetable matter. I pulled an awful lot of hay and twigs out during the washing process but there’s plenty of smaller matter stuck in there still that I couldn’t remove without doing damage. If I were to do this process regularly, I’d consider jacketing the sheep to avoid this.
Either way, the cats are all insane for it.