Friday, June 24, 2011

Retzlaff Winery Event

The Retzlaff Winery Event came and went...without me. :-( I had gone last year, and had every intention of going this year, except that it was slated to have 80% chance of rain (unseasonably) on the planned weekend, so it was moved to a weekend when I already had conflicting plans. :-(

However, I had already arranged with Janet Heppler of Nebo Rock Ranch to buy two of her fleeces. She put aside two grey fleeces and 2 hogget fleeces (the first fleece removed from a sheep and generally the softest fleece a sheep will ever produce) for me to look at at Retzalff.

Fortunately, a friend, Lisa, was willing to pick up the fleeces and drop them off to Morro Fleeceworks for me (who was also going to be there). So, when it was definite I couldn't go, I had her do that for me.

I also had her get some fleece samples for my fleece & fiber study book so I could have some before/after of the fiber along the way.

Six pound grey fleece, Gretta

Gretta was coated, so she wasn't particularly dirty, and there was some grease. But, she had that wonderful musical sound when you pinged her locks.


Odie, a hogget ram @ 4.5 pounds.

According to Janet, the hoggets aren't coated and there is some VM in their coats. But since I really wanted to experiment with a hogget, this is of little concern to me as Janet's fleeces are quite nice. The hogget was slightly greasy, but not overly so.


I did take some of the samples (not enough to spin, really), and washed some of it so I could see the before and after. I've read enough about washing fleeces to have a working knowledge, but no practical experience. So I tried my best.

I had some tulle so I wrapped some of the samples in that, and let it soaked/rinsed 2x using Dawn.Then let it dry in the very hot sun.

Gretta Washing

The Results?

Gretta had very little change; just dirt & debris and some of the lanolin was removed. You can feel the difference mostly in touch versus sight. The *after* is very soft and most of the lanolin has been removed.

Gretta Before / After
Before / After

Odie (Before & After)

Odie had the biggest visual change, as the yellow-y lanolin & dirt was removed leaving a very clean white fleece.

And, ZOMG, is it sooo soft!

Ode Before/After

Now that I have these clean locks, I wish I had a little bit more to try a sample spin, but this was mostly just to have reference examples of the fleeces I buy. that I really can't wait to have these arrive from Morro!