Sheep with black and white twin lambs

From the beginng: we are making yarn

A friend of mine has a small flock of sheep, a colourful mixture of merino, mountain and fox sheep. And every year, when the sheep are shorn, we discuss again what to do with the wool. There are no buyers for small quantities, and processing it by hand is far too time-consuming. Anyone who has ever tried washing wool by hand, carding (combing) it and spinning it by hand knows what I mean …

black-and-white twin lambs
The black-and-white twins are only a few days old

But then a visit to a trade fair in Cologne gave me an idea. Over there I met the very nice owners of a spinning mill in Cornwall, whose minimum quantity is actually only 20 kg of wool. We thought we would just be able to get that much together! Back home we opened many sacks of wool and chose the most beautifu and soft wool we could find. In the end we had about 20 kg. Yay, we are making yarn! Or not? Cornwall is very beautiful, but far away … We weren’t really sure if it was worth the effort. But now the wool sacks were already in the garage (luckily I have a tolerant neighbour …) and I began to investigate whether there is a spinning mill in Germany that accepts small quantities. Actually there is one – the Schafwollspinnerei Dickel in Hallenberg in the Hochsauerland, which also isn’t near Munich, but nevertheless much closer than Cornwall. But I wanted to make sure that our wool mixture would become a really nice knitting yarn and sent some samples to Mr. Dickel for testing. And I was very happy about the feedback: yes, this could becom a good knitting yarn! By then time was running out, the deadline for wool deliveries from 2017 was December 15th. A thousand thanks to Luis, who – although he has nothing to do with sheep and wool – drove to the Sauerland with me and five bags of sheep’s wool in December. Sorry for the snowstorm on the way back…

Machine processing of sheep's wool: the fleece is created

In Hallenberg we were allowed to see the spinning mill and machinery.

Machine processing of sheep's wool at the spinning mill

Of course, that doesn’t make you an expert, but you get an idea of how much effort you have to put into turning raw wool into yarn!

Mechanical processing of sheep's wool: the threads are created

Here you can already see the individual threads that will be twisted in the next step. The yarn is then washed again to remove the grease that is added for the machine spinning process. Here it is hung up for drying:

Processing of sheep's wool: the skeins have to dry

More about our yarn here, soon!

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