|Salvaged one fleece worth of fiber out of six bags.|
Every so often I do this sort of thing--try to rescue some fleece or another. Sometimes it works out okay, other times it ends out in the trash. This is probably my worst "fleece rescue" operation. So what could be wrong with six Hampshire fleeces? Oh lots.
I suspect these fellows were not field raised. I suspect they spent a good part of their lives in a smallish, muddy paddock eating grain and hay. Why do I suspect this? There's lots of dirt in the fleece, likely from standing out in mud during downpours. The fleece was just pure yuck. I was able to save some of it, but not much, and this required a pair of heavy duty scissors to pretty much shear the yucky tips off. I was left with maybe 4 inch staples from something that was eight. Not really bad. I think I have a few pounds--a small fleece's worth.
I might have been able to salvage more, but I have a limit to how much trouble I will go to for wool. And as a salvadge operation, considering what I was starting with, this really wasn't too bad. I should have taken a picture of what they looked like, but they were just too ugly.
Argh, I can still taste sheep, and I had to wash my hands 5 times in dawn to get the sheep smell out, even though I was wearing gloves. Now that's fairly serious sheep. Okay, so I got to play farmer with stinky fleeces, I'm ready for craftsteading again.
Oh, and that Dr. Bronner's soap did not clean the lovely Icelandic Fleece I purchased--even though it was a fairly ungreasy fleece. I'll be sending it through again with something stronger.