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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Kelly's October Woolly Wednesday - Storing fleece

This past month I finished spinning up some fawn alpaca that I had had on the wheel on and off for a few months.  I found it was one of those projects I kept putting aside and moving on to something else so I was determined to get it all finished up.  I now have a couple of balls of alpaca all ready for knitting up.  Done!

I have now moved on to spinning up some Swiss Waliser Schwarznase wool.  It is a little coarse with quite a long staple and spins up really easily.  Follow the link - aren't they such gorgeous sheep with their black noses and bells around their necks!  This is one of the European wools I bought from that lovely little craft shop I often mention.

Yesterday, I had a big sort out of my fleece collection.  Since moving house, I had stuffed it all here and there and it was time to pay it some attention.

My procedure for storing fleece is this.  Once I have washed a fleece and it is completely dry, I store it in a cotton pillow case.  Yesterday, I went through all of those pillowcases and added a couple of horse-chestnuts (conkers) and a sachet of lavender to each bag.  These are to deter moths and other insects that might want to invade my wool.

Horse chestnuts (conkers)
Little sachets of dried lavender I make up.
I then make a label noting down the type of fleece and any other details I might want to remember about that fleece such as colour, whether it is a shearling, colour, month sheared, washed.  I even laminate the label!  I then tie the bag up with cotton tape and make sure the label is attached securely.
A cotton pillowcase containing a washed Cotswold fleece, a sachet of lavender and horse chestnut.
 After that, I store the bags.  I keep the fleeces I plan to work on soon in our playroom/work room/craft room which is where I tend to do my spinning, my next bunch of fleeces in my clothes cupboard(yes, my fleeces have preference over clothes with me!), and the rest in the garage which is clean, dry and well ventilated.  The car isn't parked in there so no car fumes.
Stored fleeces in well ventilated, dry area.

I also keep a list of what fleeces I have.  This may sound rather particular but I need to because I have a lot of fleeces.  I won't tell you how many I have - it is a bit embarrassing just how many fleeces I have, not to mention bags of prepared fibres!
So that is what I do to store fleece.  Please do share any other tips that you may have on storing fleece.

Also, this month, I finally managed to get a used ball winder off Ebay.  My children and I have had great fun winding wool.  What a fun gadget!

Here is some of my handspun stash that we have wound into lovely, neat balls.  Now I need to add labels to this lot so I don't forget what is what!

Hope you have all enjoyed a great month and looking forward to sitting around this virtual circle with you all over autumn enjoying wool-related crafting.