All for free

We live next to a field of sheep.

Yesterday morning the farmer arrived with two very tanned shearers and they spent all day taking off the fleeces of the adult sheep.

It was like watching a live Blue Peter special!

These guys were so gentle with the sheep, but so fast and thorough.
In one day they sheared more than 300 of the little bleaters.

As we chatted to the farmer, I cheekily asked if I could have the spoils, which I usually do, and he was more than happy; knowing me as a bit of a knitter!

The whole fleeces go to the Wool Marketing Board, but once the adult sheep have finished their short back and sides, there are lots of hand-sized pieces of fluff to collect, and it was this I had my eye on!

Once Man Wonderful and I had finished collecting, we had two bags full ( none for the little boy who lived down the lane.... ).

The best thing to use for the next stage - washing - is a cotton pillowcase.
After a quick sort through, to remove any 'little buttons' and obvious twigs, etc, the raw wool was put into two cotton pillowcases, and then I spent a happy morning dunking these into just-warm, mild soapy water until the water ran clear.
A final couple of dunks into clear water to rinse away the mild soap, and onto the next stage!

As I type, the wool is now spread out across an old net curtain and air drying outside, away from direct sunshine.

Once dry, I hand-tease the wool. This replaces the carding process, but I do this all without any bought or additional items: just as it would have been years and years ago.
The wool is teased by pulling it out to fibres, then laying these across and pulling them out again. Anything 'not wool' is taken out for the last time of sorting at this stage.

When I have a big bag of beautifully fluffy wool that has been teased, this is when I hand spin and twist it into the yarn that I can knit.
This particular wool is not being dyed, and is destined for sock knitting, so will be twisted into a fine yarn.

If anyone reading wants more info, or pictures as I process this bundle: just message below!

The best thing about all of this is that it is completely and utterly free!
From spoils to socks - no equipment aside from a couple of cotton pillowcases, and my time.



  1. I would love to see pictures of this. It sounds fascinating. You must have a lot of patience. X

  2. I collected bits of fleece from the wire fences last year and once cleaned it became stuffing for pure wool toys for a child with allergy issues. No artificial fibres allowed. I would love to see pictures and find out more about the process.

  3. Of course we all want to see photos. You are a clever one!!X

  4. Sounds fascinating Tracey. Would love to see some pictures of the different stages. xx

  5. Hi Tracey
    I have just discovered that you are blogging again and I am very happy that you are back!
    Looking forward to reading your future posts.

  6. Hi so glad you are blogging again, hoped you were well xx

  7. You could do so
    Much with that wool -we had a go at felting at school with raw wool washed n carded. Great fun. New craft technique x


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