Monday, 16 May 2011

B is for Black Welsh Mountain (or not)


Week two of the ABC meme and my B is for the Black Welsh Mountain sheep. Or at least kind of. You see, I was gifted a fleece by a friend's Mum and I was informed that it was from a Black Welsh Mountain sheep so it should have looked like the feisty beastie above. Now, what would a dyer want with a black fleece I hear you ask? Well, I do like a black fleece as they are very useful for blending and for contrasts in yarn, black being a difficult colour to achieve when dyeing fleece. So as I wasn't expecting to dye my new acquisition, I put it in the cupboard ready for when it was needed.

So I was not a little surprised when I was having a fleecy stock-take and found that my black fleece was in fact, white!

 (It was in a thick sack hence why I hadn't noticed beforehand). Mmm, well not so much white as a rather mucky brown.

Added to that the fact that is had been at the back of my cupboard for...let's just say a while shall we?... and I wasn't wildly optimistic.

Here's what I had when I opened the sack.....


And in the bucket (think yourselves lucky the internet hasn't got smell-o-vision).


But, after several washes, I ended up with this.....


Sure there are some daggy bits but it is actually beautifully soft with a nice crimpy staple (about 4" give or take). There's no kemp and the best areas are bright white. Of course now I a) can't wait to dye it and spin it and b) am intrigued to know what it is! Any suggestions anyone? (Oh, and it is a large fleece - we are talking Wensleydale size here - The pic above is barely a quarter of it!).

Here's the staple for you fleece sleuths out there....
(For more info about the real Black Welsh Mountain sheep, check the breed website, here

7 comments:

Charlotte said...

Oooo... it's telling me it wants to be turquoise. But that might just be me.

Julie said...

What a beautiful animal. But I wouldn't know what to do with a fleece. So much to learn, so little time. I'd love to see what happens to it next.

Debbie said...

Two batches dyed so far! The first was in fact a mix of turquoise and blue/greens (so not just you, Charlotte!) and the second mossy greens. Will post some pics once they're dry.

Christine said...

That looks just like the fibre I got recently, the woman said it was a cross breed, but I missed what it was a cross of :S

Debbie said...

I'm thinking x breed myself but not sure what of either! In looking around I did find this site http://www.nationalsheep.org.uk which has some interesting breeds I hadn't even heard of, so I'll be trying to track some of those down for future spinning exploits!

GirlAnachronismE said...

Hmm... Is it possible the sheep in the picture was just very dirty? =P Other than that i would love to learn to spin, I've done it once when I was very little and it was amazing. Not sure i could afford it yet though...

The Knitting Way said...

I'm so inspired. I love to look at fleece and imagine myself turning it into yarn. Must be just as wonderful as turning yarn into a project! Can't wait to see how it turns out for you.

Dyers Web Ring
Powered By Ringsurf