Frekkie 09 fleece is made of longer (6") fibers, with shorter fibers (3" or less) round the base. It's composed of medium sized fibers (maybe 25 microns average I guess) and pretty white. It's crimp varies but approximate 8 waves per inch (roughly). The individual fibers are rather silky but if spun haphazardly would be prickly.
So - I set about making a system to prepare it so I would end up with two different types of yarn - a worsted spun single that is: thin (fingering or less), doesn't split, strong, has a firm, strong core with a soft outer part, not too scratchy, even - for use on my rigid loom or for lace knitting and a second, softer thicker 2-ply for knitting or as weft on the loom.
SO, I figured both mechanical and chemical manipulation might needed - to make a silk purse out of this sows ear, so to speak.
First step (with the previously washed fleece) was to comb locks to separate the long fibers from the shorter. Combed long fibers were drawn into long strips and coiled for worsted spinning, the short left-over fibers were ut on the drum carder and made into light, open batts.
The worsted spinning was done on the wheel - spinning ratio 12:1 over 1", S direction - this gave a very over-twisted yarn at about 16 wpi. This curly-wurly single was hanked, tied figure-of-eight in 4 places, washed in washing up liquid, conditioned with a little Panten hair conditioner then snapped while wet, then dried on the swift. When dry (next day) it was spun off the swift to the wheel, Z direction, making sure the fiber ran over the edge of the orifice and to add extra untwist to the sections that were over twisted. THEN, it was hanked back again to the swift, tied off as before and soaked in a little warm water and conditioner again. This last effort left to dry and it gave me a nice 18 wpi single without much bias apparently. I'll check for this with swatches later. I now have over 1,700 yards of the stuff.
The short carded stuff was spun soft on the Turkish spindle then plied from the center-pull ball making a chunky white - marshmallow type yarn.
Sacrificed evenness for squishyness!
Sin é go fóil.
I still have more fleece (Frekkie is a generous gal) and I'll probably 2-ply this in a more usual way.
Before embarking on these manipulation, I thought "are you a lunatic?". But then I read several accounts of how people had managed to create yarn from all sorts of unlikely sources such as - well hemp for example and several other plants/weeds and thought "it they can go to all that trouble to get yarn from these difficult sources, why not make the effort with your abundant much-maligned, inferior sheep fleece?
Well so far I'm quite pleased with the result.
BUT - I forgot about the water GRRR. The water here is hard and full of iron. I'm coming to the conclusion this is not so great for wool - I should have used the rainwater from the barrel - ya big twit!
Next time (that's assuming the rain barrel has enough - it's been very low lately.