Monday, May 17, 2010


This is the pound of hogget Shetland fleece I got from Mim after I washed it. I had wanted to flick the locks and spin them to preserve the range of colors. Notice the white.

You can really see the white on the cut edge here. When David was shearing for us, he said that we had three good fleeces. He noted that Mim had heave already on some of hers. This fleece is from Wilson: he is one of her locker lambs and he has heaved. Heave is what Shetlands do when they're done with their coats and want them off. If an animal has heaved above the shear line, it produces a change in the wool structure and creates a web. I have been unable to break through it with my flick carder.

Mim and I teased locks as we visited last Wednes-
day. We opened and flicked, and I then put those locks on the drum carder. If you click for big, you can see the chunks of white neps in the gray roving - so disappointing. The heave forms a web that I just cannot open, not with optimism, not with carding. It's not a problem for the animal, only for the hand spinner.
I washed another pound of Mim's Shetland today, a hogget fleece. It has no sign of heave. I hope it will keep a tone of red when spun as yarn. I have to say that the heave disappointment has been a satisfactory learning experience - don't want to repeat it anytime soon.


LA said...

How interesting! So, I'm guessing that the trick is to shear the sheep BEFORE it wants to be sheared, right?

Theresa said...

I think goats do the same thing, although it's more like a shed or break. The red fleece looks beautiful but I'm wondering if the heaved fleece might not yeild an interesting art yarn with it's neps?

Valerie said...

Hmm....I have a similar problem to heaving with hogget fleeces of other breeds in the past. Enough to make me avoid hogget unless I can thoroughly inspect it first.

The reddish fleece looks like fun! Like Theresa, I wonder what kind of playful yarn the heaved fleece might make? Would the neps take up color readily? That could be a cool dye experiment.

Laura said...

You could always dye it and needle felt it or dye it and look at it, or blend it with dyed silk and make novelty yarn! (emphasis on the dyeing part...).

My remedy would be to cut it off. I've had fleeces that are tippy, and spent several hours cutting the damaged tips off. They make beautiful roving after that!

Leigh said...

I've been thinking about this. Heave must be related to rooing then(?).

Robin said...

That is disappointing. Such pretty shades.