Thursday, 21 April 2011

Fleece preparation- lock picking

It seems that April has decided it is a summer month now, we are having blazing sunshine and everyone is walking around dressed for summer.

I decided to declare yesterday an early start to the long weekend so I could finally tackle the fleece that has been sitting in my dining room since last year (the benefits of working at home, will have to catch up later though!).

I took it out into the garden and tipped it out, had a quick panic on finding a giant dead moth but decided it was not a problem as it was not a clothes moth type.

My first plan had been to wash the whole lot, but I decided to be brutal and only keep the best bits.

Guide to lock picking:

  • Choose a sunny day

  • Apply lots of sun screen

  • Find a chair (suitably patriotic in this case)

  • Unroll fleece on to lawn

  • Take a large handful

  • Pull each lock out of the clump and store in a bucket

  • Be prepared for a very long day!

I was really mean with this, anything dirty, weak, overly messy at the tips or short was scrapped. I think I kept less than half. The orange bucket is full to the top with well compacted locks so I have plenty to work with and it is all the good stuff.

The "waste" parts will either be composted or used to line hanging baskets and possibly as a mulch (need to research this first to check I will not end up killing my plants.

Hopefully the sun will be back later today so I can get those locks washed and out the dry.


  1. Ah yes, the tedious task of skirting a fleece and determining the best parts to use. I had an awful sheep fleece picking story that I haven't published yet because I can't step away from the disappointment and money loss, especially because a mill was involved. Argh! An expensive mistake...

    Have fun.

  2. I've heard of people composting wool, but I haven't tried it. It seems like it would take a very long time.

  3. All the hard work of skirting will make for a better end product! I find it fun actually.

  4. To follow Kathryn Ray's comment, human hair doesn't break down, so I'd wonder about the animal hair as well. Will want to hear the results of your research. :)

  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a fleece that's been hanging around more than a year. Now, if we could just get some of the weather you've been having (jealous!) I actually could get outside and process it!

  6. Looks like that was a big job-but those locks are gorgeous!

  7. I love to spin, but I have not yet dared go farther back in the sheep-to-shawl process than working with combed top. I hope you will be very pleased with the results of your day with the fleece.

  8. I envy the warm sunny weather you're having. We had 3 nice days then snow again, geez. Looks like a great day for such a daunting task though. But if you're like me an opportunity to have your hands on wool for that length of time was truly not a task at all. Happy Fiber Arts Friday!