Hi, everyone! I finally made a visit to the farm where the owner has Romney sheep and lots of fleeces for sale. The fleeces weigh a minimum of 12 lbs each. They are lightly skirted, but not washed, and have a lovely crimp. However, there are no second cuts for al practical purposes. I think I found 2 in all the bags I looked at. He has black (I got a really gorgeous midnight black fleece), white and gray, and mixtures of all. He also gave me a bunch of older fleeces that I can 'play' with. I plan on starting with those to get some practice in before cleaning up the newest ones. If anyone is interested in acquiring some, send me a PM and we can discuss it.
Dominick is British from Sussex, originally. He has a beautiful farm, and a huge, gorgeous Tudor style house on the property. There were 2 ewes in the 'maternity ward', one of whom had had twins (boy and girl) the night before, and one who gave birth to a little girl 30 minutes before we got there. As we drove up the drive, there were 4 lambs on one side that came gamboling up to see us. They also came over to the fence where we were loading the fleeces into the van. They are so cute and so curious!
Here are some photos that I took. They aren't great as it was starting to get dark, but you can see some of the fleece that I was looking at.
Here is Taylor, a HUGE 2-yo female Great Pyrenese. He also has another dog named Van, who looks like some kind of setter (black and white). I wasn't able to get a photo of Van.
This is one part of the pasturage on the farm. There are 2 black lambs and 2 white ones in the picture. He's also got some chickens that lay green eggs.
Here is one of the current crop of white fleece.
This is that gorgeous black fleece that I got. It looks gray here, but you've seen black garbage bags. The bag it is in is black, and the fleece is just as black. Gorgeous!
Here you can see the crimp.
Here's the 1/2 hour old lamb looking for breakfast. (You can see the umbilical cord still attached.)
And these are the not-quite-day-old twins. Looks like their first day was a busy one. They are tuckered!
Here is the welcoming committee gathered to wish us farewell!
Here is the haul. I counted over a dozen bags. The feed sacks and older garbage bags are prior year's clippings. This year's fleece is in the newer bags and is gorgeous!
How wonderful Jo! Thanks for the photos - and those babies are just too adorable. Looks like you've got some spinning to do! I LOVE the black fleece you got and the fawn colored as well (last photo, bottom left). Swoooon!! Are you going to make some batts too? Still drooling over your Ashford carder . . .
Yes, I will make batts, and have washed fleece, etc. I'm not going to spin it all myself. I got most to sell, one way or the other. I've got a black fleece, and a charcoal fleece that's almost as black.
Yep, that carder is nice! I'm currently using it to make the alpaca batts.
What a terrific hall!
Looks like you had a great day!! Thanks for sharing the pics.
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! The babes are adorable and the fleece looks very nice.
Has anyone made wool comforters from batts? Were they batts you prepared yourself or commercially done? What was your method? What stops the wool from shifting inside the comforter? I'd love to use some of our lesser quality fleeces to make up comforters but don't know how to go about it. I'd love to hear some suggestions.
Julie, I have not, but one of my guild friends did make a quilt with her first alpaca fleece... she used commercially prepared batts in her quilt, and I think the stitching in the quilt held the batt in place... I will see her later this month, and can ask her more about it.
Hi Susan, thanks for responding. I was thinking of more of a duvet or heavy comforter that wouldn't be as closely stitched and possibly would have a cover over it like a conventional duvet..
Julie- my Mom told me about seeing an older woman doing this when I was in high school. My Mom was enthralled by it. :) The woman had a frame like a quilt frame, but it wasn't exactly. The bottom piece was on the frame, but the top piece was on a separate roller bar. She would tack the opposite edges together like in a regular quilt frame, but then roll the other two away from each other. She would card a certain amount of wool and make what Mom called a 'puff' or a 'tuft'. Then stuff it into the space between the two fabrics and put a stitch down and back up through that carded wool and then tie her thread at the top (I think). She would leave an inch or 1 1/2 inches of space for the wool, then go on and do the next bit of carding for the next 'puff'. I think those carded bits were only 2 inches across at the most. But the quilting was kind of like what you're talking about- boxed quilting (?is that what they call it?). She may have carded a whole row of 'puff's before she quilted them in, I don't know. I'm going by old memory and just what Mom told me about it!! Lol. Doing it on the modified frame like that made it so she could stuff and quilt as she went, rolling the fabric out as she needed more for both the top and bottom. She may have put more stitches into the quilting than one in the center of every 'puff'. I would think it would need more to keep it from shifting, but maybe not. I would certainly do a small practice piece first.
Edited to add: I don't know why you couldn't use a drum carded batt instead of the carded bits like this woman did. YOu might not get quite as much loft, though. I don't know. Not sure if I explained that right about the box quilting. She did not pull the thread tight, but left an inch or more space between the two fabrics for the loft of the wool. The thread would be like a shank between the fabrics- and hold the wool where it was placed (hopefully :D).
Peg, those are the old fashioned 'tied' quilts. They don't have the fancy stitching that the newer quilts have. They would be tied with a colored thread or yarn to complement the quilt and the thread would be left hanging as an accent. They didn't use too many ties, so what that woman was doing was probably all the tieing it got.
Julie, you could also felt the batts, and use that as the quilt lining. The commercial quilt batts are felted. I have an alpaca felted batt in my shop that the local alpaca farm created. It can be used as is, or cut up to use as lining in slippers, or what have you. The felted batts wouldn't shift once the quilt is quilted or tied.
Jo- I have tied quilts. It wasn't that. A tied quilt still has the top and bottom fabrics pulled as close together as possible. Hers left space between the top and bottom with a length of thread going through the wool. Plus she didn't use a 'quilt top' and backing. Her fabrics were just sheets- like what Julie would use inside a duvet cover. It was so impressive to Mom because she'd never seen anyone do it before, and she comes from a family of quilters. :)
Now that IS interesting. I don't think I've ever heard of that before. I'll have to ask the ladies in the quilt shop next door if they know anything about it.