Originally uploaded by Frith.
I have scoured fleece for the first time. I did it in the washing machine. First, I turned the water heater all the way up, left for a couple of hours, and then filled the machine with hot water. I stuck a bunch of Dawn detergent in, placed the fleeces (nearly 3 pounds, unscoured) in, and let them soak for close to an hour. Then I switched the machine to the spin cycle and spun the water out. I refilled the machine with hot water, and put the fleeces in with some hair conditioner and oil of pennyroyal (that stuff really should come with a dropper -- I spilled it all over my hand and the entire upstairs stinks). I let them soak a little while, then spun them dry again. I probably should have gone for two rinses, but I needed to get the baby down for a nap.
They're certainly much cleaner, softer, and nicer smelling. And now I know that any bugs I come across will definitely be dead. That's worth a lot in my book.
This top fleece is a Jacob cross. I was there for the shearing and helped skirt it myself. I think it's the nicest fleece in that little flock, and I was lucky to talk Judy even out of a pound of it (she's a spinner, and if I were her, I would have hoarded the whole thing). It's so silky and pretty fine, too.
The bottom is a Jacob from a different flock. I bought it out of a van on a dark street in the rain last night. $10 for nearly 2 pounds. If I sound like a desperate addict, so be it. It was after the spinning guild meeting, and the whole thing was very "psssst... want to buy some fleece?"
I plan to preserve the color variations when I spin these. I imagine I'll spin the Jacob X fairly fine, and do a thicker woolen yarn out of the Jacob. But first, there will be much picking and carding (all by hand).
Now pardon me while I study my fleece preparation books.
Yes, I am knitting Stella's Blouse out of the Rowan Cotton Glace (found some on eBay). But Paton's Grace is about the same weight, as I discovered recently while searching the local craft stores for some inexpensive worsted-weight cotton to make another Frith-agamo for my sister-in-law (haven't found a thing, unfortunately).
The Cotton Glace is lovely -- hard on the hands, though, as cotton tends to be.
I am adoring the pattern. The smocking is so clever it kills me. I'm wishing I had a baby girl in my life because I think I need to make a little smocked cardigan.