Susie Benitez; ACRE Student: From Fleece to Yarn

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Professor Trimpey and I did some research on sheep types and how to begin cleaning a fleece before we ventured over to Beryl, UT to Linda’s (Owner of R Ewe Spinning) sheep farm. I hit the books at the Cedar City Library and found some interesting facts about raising sheep and the type of fiber they produce like the fact that sheep can  be categorized by coat type (wool or hair) or fiber type (fine, short, medium, long, or carpet). Professor Trimpey found some rather interesting and entertaining articles and videos, one video being of a woman cleaning a fleece in her bathtub using soda bottles. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz_4Yu49Iso

            We had a fun ride on the way down to Beryl. All along the road there were these adorable baby prairie dogs that decided to tempt fate and run back and forth across the street. We even stopped to get some pictures of them. The prairie dogs are a nuisance to people who live in the area because of the harm they can do to people’s property, but we loved them.

            Linda had about thirty Hampshire and Suffolk sheep on her farm, including some adorable lambs. All of Linda’s sheep had white coats and dark faces. The Hampshire is a breed of sheep that is typically a meat sheep because it is broad and bulky. The Suffolk breed of sheep is thinner and longer. My favorite of Linda’s sheep was the smallest one of the bunch. He had a bit of a Napoleon complex and stood on top of an overturned tub in the middle of the farm so he could see out over everybody.

It is obvious that Linda loves being a shepherdess and she was so willing to give us information about her sheep and the cleaning/spinning process. She even surprised us and had us help her in cleaning a fleece so that we could really understand the process. We got to practice on Doc’s, one of the Hampshire rams, fleece. We found out that you have to pick all of the vegetation or organic matter out of the fleece and do several rinses of the fleece (with and without soap) in hot water to break down the lanolin (grease on the wool) She cautioned us to never change the temperature of the water from hot to cold or agitate the fleece otherwise we’d end up with a pile of felt. After our visit with Linda, we felt ready to try what we had learned on our own.

This is a prairie dog poking its head out of the ground.

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These are photos of Professor Trimpey and Linda’s sheep.

 

 

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This is a picture of some fleece that hadn’t been washed and the part of the fleece that we washed. Can you see the difference?

 

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Comments

  • Sue Edelman  On June 7, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Susie, what a wonderful experience!! I think I would like to learn how to make yarn from sheering to spinning. Then I would like to learn how to weave! I look forward to reading more! Sue Edelman

  • Ms. Sandra Streeter  On June 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    What a lifetime experience for you Susie. I would like to see the process of making yarn out of the sheeps hair since I crochet. Please continue to do good work in the Fashion World…I’m so very proud of you Susie….Ms. Streeter

  • Susie Benitez  On June 11, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Thanks! I will definitely keep you guys posted. I hope to put up another entry by Wednesday. We are trying to get as many views as possible so feel free to pass this on to anyone you think would be interested. I hope you both have a great summer! Maybe I’ll bring some of the things I make by St. Martin’s when I get back and show it to you.
    -Susie

    • Ms. Sandra Streeter  On June 11, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Thank You Susie for the info…Please keep me posted..I would love to learn more about the process od spinning wool. Thank You for being such a sweet heart. Continue to do good work and hope to see you soon…..

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