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Working with a special fleece

Years ago I was on a small wool market in Germany. As always I was looking for fiber to spin. I found a shepherd, who had unprocessed fleeces from his sheep for sale. However, none of them really called to me. I was about to turn away, when an unmarked fleece caught my eye. It was perfect for me! So I talked to the shepherd and asked about the price. He hesitated.

"It is not for sale. It is from my favorite ram, who passed recently. He was a special boy.", he told me.
That was of course sad for me, but I understood. Some things are just too special to sell. So we talked a little bit. About the ram, sheep and pets in general.
I don't know what made him change his mind, but in the end he sold me the fleece (and for a very fair price, too).
He had one condition though:
I had to send him pictures of the finished product.

Naturally I agreed and went home with this very special fleece.

A special fleece

 Preparing the fiber and spinning the yarn

One thing I didn't mention so far: I had never actually worked with a raw fleece before. maybe I should have read more about the whole process before I started, but I was too eager to start and so I just jumped in.

First step: washing.
I should have sorted the fleece first and washed it in small portions, but I didn't. Instead I threw the whole thing in the bathtub and gently washed it there.
My roommate got a pretty unusual text from me:
"Don't freak out when you go into the bathroom. I brought home a sheep. Don't worry, I'll clean up afterwards."
Only a moment later her door swung open and she rushed to join me in the bathroom. She was relieved to see I only brought a fleece and not a living sheep and was fascinated by the whole thing rather than upset about me blocking the tub. Best roommate ever.

Drying proved to be more difficult than expected. Because I had washed the whole thing, I also had to dry the whole thing. And our apartment was not all that big.
I decided to drape the wet fleece over a drying rack for clothes, but of course it was way too small. In the end I managed to dry the fleece like this, but I also tangled and/or felted a good portion of it.

Next I took the fleece and carded it. What a workout!

The spinning seemed to take forever,  mostly because I got bored by the color easily and needed more colorful projects in between.
Eventually though I got some nice yarn: 

I got 11 skeins of a 3ply yarn for a total of roughly 1500m on almost 1500g.

Weaving the ram
It took me a while,  but finally I decided I wanted to weave with the yarn. My first real project on my new weaving loom. 

Putting the yarn on the loom took time,  but wasn't all that difficult. 
Setting up the loom properly,  however,  was a nightmare. Or maybe it was my fault for trying to improve the shed while I was already weaving.  Either way, it was a struggle. On top of that one warp thread kept breaking. Eventually I just decided to remove that thread instead of constantly struggling with it.

But I kept going. And in the end I got a wonderful fabric. Feeling brave for no particular reason I washed it in the washing machine and dried it in the dryer. And it survived! 

The result is a nice piece of fabric that will serve as a separator for my warp threads on the warp beam of my loom. That way this special fleece will always be a part of my work.