I finally made yarn from wool from my own sheep, after over 20 years of owning sheep. Took me long enough, don't you think? Mostly, I haven't done it because I primarily breed and raise meat breed sheep, and their fleeces aren't ideal for spinning, knitting, and wearing.
I started working on Barley's fleece in August, and I finally finished some yarn recently. I washed the fleece in the summer, when it could dry outside. Then I sort of got busy with other projects.
Here's the fleece, right after shearing.
Then it got washed. My friend Nancy let me use her set up to skirt (remove undesirable and dirty pieces), wash, and dry the fleece.
Here's the fleece on the skirting table.
It took a few washes to get it clean.
When it was dry, I started picking it (opening up the fibers) and carding it. Nancy showed me how to use her picker.
And then the fiber was carded. Carding it aligns the fibers (mostly) to get a smooth batt of wool. Then you can spin it. You can also use something called a diz to take the fiber off the carder as roving (a "rope" of wool) and spin right from the roving.
A pile of batts.
Then I spun and spun and spun.
When I had 2 full bobbins, I plyed the 2 singles together. One strand (above) is called a single, and when you twist two or more together, that's plying. I made a 2 ply yarn. After I plied the yarn, I put it on the niddy-noddy (below) to make the hank of yarn.
The yarn got washed again, to set the twist.
Now that I have yarn, I need to figure out what I'm going to make with it!
I think Barley would approve. :-)