Two fleeces arrived this morning! I have Polwarth, from a ewe called Cassy, from Donna at The Whorl's End, and some Poll Dorset x Charollais. I also dug out the Bowmont I got from Lesley at Devon Fine Fibres earlier in the year.
I also have Manx Loaghtan and Zwartbles batts from the Natural Fibre Company.
Wow. This is a truly lovely fleece. It's very clean with excellent "lace curtain" effect. I've popped most of it in a cold soak just to loosen up the small amount of yuk that's in it. It has good lock structure, with a staple of about 2.5 - 3". The crimp isn't especially obvious. It's very fine and doesn't seem to be too weathered either. It's not as greasy as I expected, and my bastardised Margaret Stove washing technique (dunk in very hot soapy water, swoosh, squeeze, rinse and leave on a towel) cleaned it up beautifully. I washed it in small bundles of locks.
I think this deserves combing or maybe even spinning straight from the lock after a light flick.
The finest fleece I've ever had my paws on. It even smells nice. Bowmonts have a lot of Merino (75%) in their breeding and it shows. It is very greasy, though it's not sticky or goopy. I used the same wash as above and ended up with delightfully fluffy locks. I did find the tips were weakened through weathering, so I've been pulling those off after washing. The staple is fairly short, around 2". Very good lock structure with a tight crimp. It spreads out amazingly on contact with water - it's vital to wash carefully. I did a lock at a time and smooshed the tips which are quite compacted. It washed up very well, if rather slowly.
Again, combing or lock flicking is the way to go here. I might try carding the weathered tips just for the hell of it.
Poll Dorset x Charollais
This is an interesting fleece - in fact, I wonder if I have fleece from three different sheep! There are three distinct types:
A blocky, dense 2-3" lock with a very strong crimp. This is very Dorset-y.
A coarser, almost longwool type of lock. 3", wavy and a bit hairy.
A disorganised, shorter type with much less distinct locks. 2" ish.
Overall this was a greasy fleece, but quite clean - it seemed to have a reddish cast but I think that was mainly dust. It's in a cold soak at the moment, I washed up some representative parts to get a feel for what I have.
Reading the FFSB, the Poll Dorset genetics seem to have come out a lot in this crossing. I think I will probably card the disorganised parts, and the more distinct locks I will comb or flick. Alternatively I could blend the lot together on cards or combs.
I'm still waiting on a Romney to arrive, and some North Ron batts. The source for the others I think is going to be a letdown - it's frustrating when you're trying to get people to take money off you and they don't seem bothered!!!
I'm still spinning the Shropshire - it really is a big beast of a fleece. I'm also spinning up the Oxford Down I had off eBay yonks ago. The Cotswold I'm thinking about dyeing.
Yup, taking part again! I'm trying to finish a couple of WIPs first - my Hap Shawl needs an edging for starters.
I'll take some fleece pix soon!