>

How to Select a Fleece for Handspinning

Here are a few things that I look for when choosing a fleece for handspinning.

Clean

The fleece should be fairly clean and free of vegetable matter and other dirt and debris. It is possible to clean and card the debris, but it is a lot of work, so take this into consideration in your purchase and in the price that you pay.

Crimp

Different breeds of sheep have varying amounts of crimp or waviness in the fibre. The amount of crimp affects how the fibre will spin and what type of yarn is spun from it. There are 2 general categories of crimp. Some are noticeably wavy such as the Romney, and other breeds have a more distinctive and closer together crimp, such as the Merino or Cheviot breeds. These are more suitable for spinning for light, fluffy sweater weights.


Photo comparing a Cheviot fleece(Left)

and a Romney(Right)

Washed (Bottom)and Unwashed (Top)samples

Lustre

Different breeds of sheep have varying amounts of lustre or sheen in the wool. The lustre affects how the light is reflected and what the finished product will look like. Some wools are more suitable for blankets, and others are better used for finely spun, and woven fabrics.

Staple Length

If you are a beginner spinner, look for a staple length between 2 – 3 inches. It is more difficult to spin longer staple lengths of 4-5 inches.

Strength

When checking a fleece, check for breaks in the staple. Give a few of the locks a gentle tug. It should not break easily. If you find that the tip breaks, this fleece is probably not suitable for handspinning. The breaks will work their way loose in the finished product and cause pilling.

Washed Sample

Ask to see a washed sample of the fleece. You can easily wash a small sample of the locks, in the kitchen sink. Just add a few drops of dishwashing liquid and wash the sample in warm water. This will remove most of the lanolin and you will be able to get an idea of what the clean fleece will look like. The yellow colour (the lanolin) should wash out. If the washed sample is still very yellow, then it would be best to look for another fleece instead.

More about Handspinning

Handspinning Info
Handspun Yarns

Handspinning Books

The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn
Everything you need to know from set-up to finished product in order to create distinctive yarns for use in knitting, weaving, crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, and macrame.
UK: Whole Craft of Spinning

In Sheep’s Clothing
A comprehensive look at the characteristics of wool of 100 breeds of sheep, this guide gives special attention to fleece characteristics, methods of preparation and spinning, and best end use.
UK: In Sheep’s Clothing

The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber
The vast world of sheep and their wool into the language and context of knitting.
UK: Knitters Book of Wool

Roving

 

Ebay Finds

Hand painted wool roving for spinning or felting Pink Yellow Olive - Current price: $18.00

50 Colors Felting Wool Fibre Wool Yarn Roving for Needle Felting Hand Spinning D - Current price: $19.51

Hand painted wool roving for spinning or felting Oranges Browns - Current price: $18.00

Hand painted wool roving for spinning or felting Purple pink Olive - Current price: $18.00

Noro Rainbow Roll Unspun Pencil Roving Yarn Color 1021 Lot A Brights - Current price: $19.95

36 Colors Merino Wool Fibre Roving For Needle Felting Hand Spinning BIN - Current price: $7.73

Comments are closed.

This page last edited on November 24, 2015

by


All Fiber Arts by Paivi Suomi is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Advertisements

This website contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links. This helps to cover the costs of keeping this website alive. Thank you for your support.
  • Women’s Woven Voices (Antigua & Atitlan, Guatemala)
    Artist and author of “The Spiral of Creativity,” Brecia is a passionate champion of creativity and fiber artist extraordinaire. Brecia has spent years indulging her free spirit and unquenchable appetite...
  • Coiled Basketry Weaving with Linda Conroy (Prairie du Sac, WI)
    Coiled Basketry: Pine Needles, Sweet Grass and Broom Corn. In this class, students will learn to make a coiled basket using various materials. Explore the creative possibilities of this ancient art form...
  • Scarf with Pine Needles (Coupeville, WA)
    Pine-Needle technique is the unique technique of wet felt making. I was inspired by the pine needles spread on the snow one winter morning. Pine Needles is lacy fine felt, it is very soft and delicate...
  • Joomchi (Coupeville, WA)
    Learn the ancient Korean technique of joomchi or felted paper. In this context the word ‘felted’ means that this method of fusing papers uses some of the same hand tools and styles of manipulation that...