The first of my four fleeces from Thirteen Mile Lamb & Wool Company is finished! Here is the washed wool, now all nice & dry and ready to be bagged up and added to my stash:
This fleece has staples of different lengths, ranging from about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches when washed. It is not uniform in color, but is mostly a soft grey. I have been thinking about this fleece, since its qualities offer a range of possibilities. I've decided to dye this fiber, and the natural grey wool will lead to tones of color, rather than bright hues of color. I really love tonal colors, so I'm looking forward to playing with dyes on this wool.
The handle (or feel) of the wool is soft, but not quite next-to-the-skin soft. I test this characteristic by holding a handful of wool against my neck, lightly brushing it against my skin. I'm fairly sensitive to irritation, so any crispness or scratchiness in the wool means I wouldn't make a next-to-the-skin garment from it. This wool is almost soft enough, but not quite. I think it will be excellent for outerwear garments, like sweaters and hats, maybe a blanket. The staple length is on the border between ideal for carding or combing, and given the loft of the washed fiber, it's likely that I'll opt to card most of this fleece to blend the staple lengths. Looking ahead, that would give me a great fiber preparation for a more woolen drafting style to create very lightweight, lofty, elastic, warm yarns that will be lovely to use for sweaters or similar items.