Tuesday, 15 April 2008



It's like dandruff, only sheep-scented.

Unfortunately one of the dark coloured fleeces I bought recently seems to have it. It shows up as little white specks near the base of each lock, apparently - this is according to a description in one of the online spinning groups I belong to. It's caused by mites on the sheep, I think. It doesn't wash out very easily, and the general consensus on the spinning group was that you can never get all of it out, and combing will get the most out of all preparation methods.

However, all is not lost. I've contacted the farmer and she was very apologetic, and offered to send me a new fleece! She says she will check this one over double-thoroughly to make sure there are no problems and that she will also have a word with their shearer. I'm going to send samples of the afflicted fleece (in lock, batt, and yarn forms) to show her what I found. I think it's entirely a case of something being accidentally overlooked and I am very pleased with the response of the seller. Which is why I am not identifying the breed or the farmer!

So the moral of the story is, if you think you have a flaky sheep fleece, contact the seller and enquire about it. Chances are they will welcome the opportunity to put things right. Farmers want to keep spinners happy, after all!

As for the scurfy fleece, I'm going to put it aside until I get some wool combs, then try combing each lock to see if I can get the bits to fall out. If that fails I can always use the wool as stuffing!


~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Hi! I remember this conversation on the list, but I dont know if I put in my 2 cents... :)
Before you put lots of money into combs just for this, try flick carding it to get the scurf out. I use hand carders, combs and flicking methods, whichever is appropriate, and I have to say I can't see combs being more effective at removing it than flicking. I have a small cutting board and a dog brush to flick with and it gets just aboout everything out of the locks. Good luck with it!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks, I'll give that a try!

Anonymous said...

The farmer doesn't need to have a word with the shearer, she needs to treat her louse-infested sheep. The shearer has nothing to do with a scurfy fleece.