Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to safely store fresh fleeces

In and around snowstorms we have been shearing here on Havencroft Farm. The sheep and goats have warm shelters in their hoop houses and the mamas have to be shorn before they kid or lamb. It's a busy time of year, so I have to have a good way to store all those fleeces until I can spin them into yarn or weave them into rugs.
Fleeces waiting on the desk to be tied and stored.

Our system is simple, yet has worked well for years. I buy lots of pillow cases at the local second hand store. They sell them for $2.00 for a bag full. I can reuse them for many years.
As we shear a sheep or goat, we put their fleece in an individual pillow case. Some of them we have to pack into a king sized case, others barely fill a regular pillow case. Then, with a sharpie marker, I write the name of the critter, the date and my intended use for the fleece - rug or spin. Sometimes I will put other notes like "good lanolin", "lots of vm" or "Mine!" for any fleece I really want to spin.

Fleeces stored on the shelf with chunks of cedar.
We bring them into the house and toss them on my sewing desk. Then, when I have a few minutes, I check their labels, make sure they are dry, tie the end of the pillow case with a string and tuck them into the fleece shelf. The cubbies on this shelf are 2-foot by 2-foot, a great size to store about 6 of our fleeces in. I put chunks of cedar in with the fleeces to keep moths away. We always have lots of cedar around.

I can easily store 30 to 40 fleeces in my shop. When I have more, they get stacked in the corner. This storage system works great, as I use up almost all the fleeces we shear each year spinning yarns, weaving shawls and making rugs.

I store finished goods in tubs on top of the shelf, with bags of cedar shavings in the tubs. Yarns and finer goods I store in ziplock bags in the freezer.


Elle said...

This is really interesting. I never thought about how fleece might be stored.

I did consider trying to learn how to spin at one time. As far as I know there isn't anywhere close to me to go to learn.

You ever think about teaching classes?

Jenonthefarm said...

Hi Elle,
I do teach classes at the Ozark Folk Center State Park here in Mountain View, Arkansas. I'm currently in the process of scheduling a Sheep to Shawl class, which is a three day over view of animal fiber, spinning, dyeing and weaving. I also teach group class when three or more people get together and want to schedule a class. Let me know what you're interested in. Thanks for getting in touch, Jen