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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Kelly's Woolly Wednesday - wool-gathering

 I had hoped to write about how I got on with spinning on the charka, but apart from a quick try, I haven't had the opportunity to really spend time using it so more on that next month.

Instead my focus has been wool-gathering.

It has been shearing time on the farms here in the Cotswolds, England.  Really, one of my highlights of the year.  I have been dragging my children about collecting fleeces and watching shearing!
A Romney ram being sheared.
The rare breeds farm has a new flock of white faced Dartmoor's this season so I got a huge fleece to try out.  They are a long wool and the fleece looks really good.
 I am mostly focusing on using Cotswold and Shetland fleeces this year.  Here is a picture of a really lovely shearling Cotswold fleece I am really looking forward to spinning.  See how long and soft and curly it is. The Cotswold wool is also known as the Golden Fleece, and it is truly a joy to spin, so luxurious.
A Cotswold Lion!
 The wool is very strong and produces a knit similar to mohair.  In fact, this area was named after the Cotswold sheep, Cotswold literally meaning sheep hills.  The breed was brought to the area by the Romans so long ago and has a vibrant history in these parts.  The sheep are known as the Cotswold Lions.
Raw Cotswold fleece
Recently, I discovered a craft shop tucked away in a village in our area that sells handspun and a few batts of wool, mostly European sheep breeds.  Each time I pass by, I pop in to see what they have in. 
These are 250g each of Portuguese merino - dark brown; Russian karakul - light brown and Mongol kargul - black.  That little shop has a new regular customer!  Wishing you all another happy spinning, woolgathering month!