Hooters Hall

The Wool Project

 We’re still waiting for lambing to start here at Hooters Hall which means I’ve had some time to think about what we’re going to be doing with all the fleeces from our flock of Jacob sheep. I’ve written about my peg loom rug previously and I’ll definitely be making some more rugs but I’d also like to try spinning some wool.

So this week I tried out spinning some Jacob wool with a drop spindle. It took me a while to get the knack but by the time I’d finished I was getting a much more consistent yarn and I’d definitely been bitten by the spinning bug.

Here’s a picture of my first drop spindle spun yarn it’s a bit chunky and under/over spun in places but it was my first attempt.

Much as I enjoyed using the drop spindle I think I need to get a bit more technical if I’m going to spin several fleeces. After a quick bit of research I had a look on ebay and managed to pick up a second hand spinning wheel and an electric spinning wheel for a good price. My spinning wheel has been delayed by the snow but as soon as it gets here I’m going to start learning , I’ve bought some Jacob wool batts(which is fleece prepared for spinning) to practice with before we shear our own sheep in June.

When it comes to our own wool I’ll be washing and carding it myself. I’ve discovered an excellent wool scouring product for cleaning fleeces http://www.aussieknowhow.com/fleece-scour—wool-scouring.html It works so much better than the detergent I’d used previously and leaves the wool with a mild lemony scent. When I’ve washed fleece previously using a handwashing detergent I’ve had to wash and rinse several times to get all the lanolin and dirt out. With the aussie know how wool scour I only had to wash and rinse the fleece once which makes the whole process much more time and water efficient.

For carding the fleece I’ve bought a drum carder, another ebay find, because I don’t think I’ve got the biceps to be hand carding all of our fleeces. I’ve also got two niddy noddy to wind the yarn onto one it’s spun.

Here’s a picture of my two niddy noddy and the drop spindle

And the yarn on the drop spindle and wound onto the niddy noddy

Of course yarn doesn’t have to be the end of the process. I’m not a big knitter but the process of weaving cloth is something I’m interested in. I did a bit of research into looms with the idea that I might weave some of our yarn into cloth that I can use to make woolen quilts or to make scarves. New looms are quite expensive but once again I got lucky on ebay and managed to get a four shaft leclerc table loom for £100.

When I’d looked into spinning and weaving in the past I’d been put off by the cost of all the equipment but I’ve managed to get the spinning wheel, electric spinning wheel, drum carder and table loom for £500 second hand. The whole lot new would have been £1000 or more.

One of the good things about having Jacob sheep is the variety of colours that you can create from the fleeces which are white with darker spots. You can divide the wool into light and dark, spin yarns of each then ply two differently coloured yarns together or simply spin the wool with all colours mixed in together.

Here’s some batts of Jacob wool to show the colour variety.

Weaving the yarn should also be quite interesting with lots of different possibilities.

Once my spinning wheel has arrived I’ll post some more about my spinning experiences and the Hooters Hall wool project will start in June when we shear our sheep for the first time. We do have some contact details for shearers but we’re going on a hand shearing course at the begginging of June so hop to be able to do our own shearing. Fingers crossed we’ll be sucessful and have some Hooters Hall home grown, hand sheared, homespun, hand woven cloth.

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