Saturday, June 12, 2010
Started prepping and spinning a Mergelland fleece
Today I finished my first skein of yarn from the first of my six Mergelland fleeces. I couldn't find any info on the internet about how people prep this wool for spinning, and this fleece (like the Drents fleece I started with 2 years ago), seems to be regarded by the Dutch as "rough" and fit only for felting amd carpet and weaving. Many of the Mergelland fan sites however, claim that the wool is "easy to spin". That's true, but the actual prepping takes a bit of extra time (as with the wool from most of these heath sheep breeds).
To prep the wool I used combs because this fleece has a long staple length. The basic problem with this wool is that the locks are composed of both hair and a fine underdown. Unlike the locks on a Drents fleece though, it's rather difficult to pull out the course hairs. I started cutting off the course hairs at first, but that was a bit too time consuming. In the end I just combed the locks, planked them, and then spun the resulting top. This stuff wants to be spun really fine too because it's quite longwool-like.
For the next skein, when I plank a sliver I am going to leave off the last bit of the planked sliver before I lash it back on for another combing. I am hoping that this will get rid of much of the hairs.