In my last post, I explained my woes with the Shetland fleece I processed. It was dirty and messy and didn’t always feel nice.
Today is a very different experience. At the same time my friend handed me the Shetland fleece, she also passed along a 6 lb Harlequin fleece. Based on my internet research, Harlequin sheep are a minature breed that looks a lot like Jacob sheep in coloring, yet have no Jacob heritage in their bloodline. They were developed in the United States, Virgina specifically, and fairly recently, about 30 years ago. They are a mix of a variety of sheep breeds, including Tunis, Southdown, Border Leicester, Romney, Finn, and Rambouillet (my favorite breed!). Their fleece can be different colors, lengths, and texture from the same sheering. The one I have feels very much like the Rambouillet I love. I separated the brown from the cream as much as I could before washing, and I got a good quantity of each from my fleece.
I began carding the cream color today, to see how it would work out on the drum carder. I have found I need to flick open the lock tips before carding to make the carding go more smoothly, but other then that is it gorgeous fiber! Minimal veg matter, nothing flying all over my craft space, and so sproingy and crimpy! I will try to get a picture of the texture of the fiber, I didn’t think to take one yet.
Then I wanted to see how the brown parts will card up, and how the bits of cream on the edges I didn’t remove would card together. I also took from the center that was all the lovely deep, rich brown to see if the sun-bleached part would show, as well as some of the darker mixed bits from the cream. I carded small bits to compare the colors.
The far left is the brown without any white bits, the center two are a blend where the hair fibers grew together, and the cream is a bit marled, but there was no way I could pull out all of the gray/brown from the cream fiber. I love the deep brown for its richness, but now am drawn to the blended colors as well. I think I will try to pull out as much of the blended bits, card them into one color, then have the cream and brown on their own. I am envisioning a sweater of the cream with some colorwork on the hem, cuffs, and yoke using the contrasts. Oh, it is glorious in my mind!
And it all smells wonderfully of clean sheep!