Sheep to Shawl: Preparing Wool to Make Your Own Garment

Contributed by Becky Oviatt of AK Frayed Knot

Shearing Season is nearly upon us. After shearing, you will have several fleeces, but maybe not enough to send out to a mill in the lower 48. Shipping has become prohibitive and Alaska does not currently have a fiber mill that handles sheep or fiber goat fleece. (There IS a qiviut mill in North Pole)

Here at AK Frayed Knot we are able to skirt, wash, pick, card or comb and even spin your fiber for you.

Wait! What do all of those words mean? For those of you who are interested in seeing what this is all about, there is a short video on my Facebook page:

Meanwhile, skirting is pulling off all of the nasty bits that drag on the ground and get covered with feces, an inevitable (and unenviable) part of farming.

Washing, is just that, washing the fleece. You do this by soaking the fiber in hot water and special soap.

Many people just use Dawn dish-washing liquid.
Then you rinse it in the same temperature water and wash it again. NEVER agitate it, as that will felt the fiber.

After washing, you press the water out of the fiber with your hands, and roll it in a towel to get as much moisture out as possible, or spin the water out with a spin dryer or salad spinner.

Then let it finish drying on a wire or other rack where air can get around it.

Once it is dry, you have the choice of what you want to do with the fiber.
At AK Frayed Knot, we have classes on how to do processing (skirting and washing); picking, carding and combing; spinning (spindle and wheel); dying your wool; knitting; crochet; beginning weaving; nuno felting; making stitch markers and qiviut earrings plus lots more. Or just stop by and take a short tour!

See our offerings on our website:

Don't forget to check out all the fun activities Palmer Merchants have planned for Who Let The Girls Out! on April 22nd and 23rd.