Sheep fleece is a type of wool fabric that has been used for thousands of years. It’s a natural fiber that’s collected through shearing. Sheep fleece can be made into many different products including clothing, carpets and blankets.
Shearing is a process that does not harm the sheep. Sheep are sheared around once per year, and the hair is cut off with blade shears (like scissors) or mechanical clippers (like electric hair clippers).
The wool is then sorted and graded to ensure that each piece of fleece is the same quality. After a sheep has been sheared, it can be sent to a mill for processing into wool products.
Before the wool is spun, it must be cleaned and scoured. The scouring process is done with soap and soda ash or another alkali solution to remove sand, dirt, dried sweat and grease from the click here. The scoured wool is then carded to straighten and blend the fibers into slivers. The slivers are then put on a spinning wheel to spin into yarn.
Depending on the sheep breed, the fleeces that are produced will vary in their lanolin content. Fleece from fine wool breeds, such as Cormo, Debouillet, Merino, Polworth and Rambouillet, generally have higher lanolin content.
In comparison, long wool breeds, such as Blueface Leicester, Coopworth, Cotswold, Lincoln, Perendale, Romney and Teeswater typically have lower lanolin content. The lanolin in the wool helps to keep the sheep’s coat from shedding water.
The lanolin in the wool also acts as a lubricant that makes the wool feel soft against the skin. It can be removed with a commercial lanolin treatment, but most spinners prefer to leave it in the wool so that they can have better control over the spinning process.
Sheep produce a lot of lanolin. The amount of lanolin in the wool can vary from 5-25%.
It’s important to note that even if the lanolin in the fleece is not removed, it can still cause problems with the spinner’s tools and equipment. It can also ruin the dyed or finished product, so it is usually better to leave lanolin in the fleece when you spin.
Some spinners like to spin raw fleeces that have not been washed, as long as they aren’t overly greasy or dirty. They call this “spinning in the grease.”
Handspinners who use raw fleece to spin often skip fiber preparation processes, such as carding and combing. Spinning in the grease can be a rewarding and challenging experience, but it’s also frustrating at times.
If you’re a handspinner who wants to spin greasy fleece, it’s best to do so in a warm environment and under the care of someone who can help with cleaning and storing your yarn. Oils and waxes react with oxygen, bacteria grow, and light can break down your yarn.
In addition, wool can be quite expensive, especially if it is a high-quality fiber. Thankfully, some people have started using man-made fleece fabrics to create a wool-like product that is cheaper and more widely available.