Hooters Hall

Peg loom weaving

Over the past few weeks we’ve been considering whether we want to expand our livestock at Hooters Hall and breed as well as raise sheep. The opportunity to buy a starter flock of jacob sheep to add to our three ewe lambs arose and so we made the decision to expand the flock with five more sheep and a ram which means we’ll have our first lambing next year. Having decided to stick with the Jacobs we ‘re also going to have to sort out shearing our little flock and decide what to do with the fleeces.

Ideally we’d like to make use of the fleeces and add some value so we’d rather not just sell them to the Wool Marketing Board. The most obvious way of making a product from fleece is to spin it into wool and then knit things. Now I know I’m no knitter and although I might try spinning wool at some point I’d rather be able to make something that needed less processing to become something usable. Then I discovered peg loom weaving.

You can use fleece that hasn’t been spun on a peg loom and can even use unwashed fleece ( although you will need to cut off any particularly mucky bits.) A bit of research online and I found this useful article on the downsizer website  http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/A_sustainable_home/Peg_Looming/

I bought a peg loom from here http://www.corkwood-knittingandcraftsupplies.com/peg-looms-and-accessories-8-c.asp although if you’re handy with wood it wouldn’t be too difficult to make your own.

I managed to find some raw fleece on ebay for between £5 and £8. I’ve bought 4 fleeces; a portland, zwartbles, jacob and hebridean so there’s a nice mixture of light and dark. My plan is to make a fireside rug blending the 4 fleeces together.

Here are some pictures of my fleeces

And a picture of my peg loom (it’s 90cm dual gauge)

I’ve finally managed to thread all the warp thread on. I had a bit of a hiccup when Salem the cat decided to try and help and managed to knot all the warp thread together. However, after a bit of patient untangling I finally got it all sorted and now I’m ready to start weaving. The loom is 90cm wide and I’ve made the warp threads 2 m long. Ideally I’d like my rug to be about 1.5m but I’m not sure how big a rug I’ll get from the four fleeces.

I’ve decided to use my fleece unwashed and once the rug is woven I’ll wash it in the bath with some ecover washing liquid. You can’t wash raw fleece in a front loader washing machine because the combination of water, soap and agitation will turn it into a big ball of felt. Our front loader washing machine has a hand wash cycle and I did experiment with washing a small sample of wool in a pillow case but it did start to felt. Apparently it is possible to wash fleeces in a top loader machine but you are basically just using it as a big container for the water rather than using a wash cycle.

Hopefully I’ll get chance to start weaving my rug this week and post some pictures.

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