AHA! Moments for the Greenland Gown Project

Greenland Gown Project

Aha! Moments

I am going to try to list the “Aha!” moments that have occurred during my adventures with the Greenland Gown Project so far…


8 thoughts on “AHA! Moments for the Greenland Gown Project

  1. David

    Group Email Addresses
    Related Link: http://www.isbona.com (THIS SEEMS TO BE DEAD DEAD DEAD link)
    Post message:
    List owner:

    BlackWater Treasures
    Quality Breeding Stock in mid-Missouri. Breeding for good parenting skills, fine fiber and overall unadided health.

    Maple View Icelandics
    Breeder of polled Icelandic sheep. We focus on good genetics, easy mothering, temperment, and fleece qualities. Northern Vermont.

    Promised Land Family Farm
    Registered Icelandic sheep, polled and horned in a variety of colors and patterns. Geared to the needs of the novice hobby farmer, we offer information, support and mentoring as well as quality foundation breeding stock.

    Queso Cabeza Farm
    Breeder of Polled Icelandic Sheep and Heavy Wool Llamas

    Stark Hollow Farm, Vermont
    Icelandic Sheep Breeder in Vermont

    Sunrise Sheep & Wool
    Registered Icelandic breeding stock. Specializing in leadersheep. East Central Minnesota.

    1. Greenland Gown ProjectGreenland Gown Project Post author

      Thank you so much for these leads…I will be following up on them soon. My focus is to complete the yarn requirements for the Navajo Churro that I am doing at this time.

      Please keep commenting and adding to knowledge base for the project. It can only help the project and myself grow.

      Be well,

  2. David

    In your writings I see no reference to the Icelandic sheep, which have been bred successfully for over a thousand years in Iceland. There are numbers of them now in North America. Look for ISBONA – Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America. Their wool is as you described the Greenland : two distinct types of strand. Before leaving CA ten years ago, I met several folks who owned such sheep, and saw that they washed the wool by hand with mild detergent, carefully avoiding mechanical tumbling that would “felt” the fibers – make them bind together.

    After picking out bits of twigs and grass, they used a carding drum, which was a hand-made rotating cylinder with tiny wire teeth to grab the delicate wool fibers. The drum separated the finest fibers and made a small “rag” about 8″x14″ of clean strands lying all parallel, and loose enough that you could grab small bunches for felting. You could also lay entire pads across each other at right angles to make larger felted pieces. This involved pouring a combination of warm water with some Dawn dishsoap over the wool, while gently rubbing the stuff with your FINGERTIPS to get the fibers to mesh. Very gentle process, resuting in very TOUGH felt.

    The so-called “primitive” breeds produce a wool close to their skins that is microscopically thin, and because of this, the kinks and loops very readily entangle with their neighbors. You have to handle the stuff VERY GENTLY.

    1. Greenland Gown ProjectGreenland Gown Project Post author

      At this time I am working exclusively with the Navajo Churro sheep. The aim of the project is to prove that the cloth of the Churro is comparable to the cloth made from the Icelandic sheep .

      As we progress into the project further, writing will be done on all of the sheep breeds that are targets for this project.

      For more information on our processes and on the commonality and why I chose the three sheep I have written about, go to the downloads section and you have access to all in PDF form.

      As for why I cannot use a drum carder is that the fibers have to be distinctly used. The fibers of both have to be made unbroken and smooth. The only way that I and the other fiber artists I work with is to do it by hand. Another thing is that as you have alluded to, the method you speak of is for making felt. The fibers I need are for spinning into single ply yarn.

      There are several reasons I am using the technique I am.

      By combing the wool we are using the same technique used by the Norse during the target time as there was no form of card in the northern European areas until well into the 1600’s according to the research I have found.

      The combing process allows for smooth separation of hair from wool and allows blending of colored fibers.

      ALso, it allows for removal of most debris and I can regulate the length of the fibers making the finished product very soft for the wool fibers and exceptionally strong for both yarns.

      There are only two things I cannot do that was done in period so far as my experimental archeology is concerned. One is washing in urine and rooing.

      Please if you have any questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to write a note here or drop me a not at

      Be Well,

  3. Debbie

    Your local spinning guilds (club) can help you with learning quickly and easily the handling of fleece to yarn. As an experienced spinner that works from raw fleece to yarn I am sorry you are having to ‘re-invent the wheel’ so to say. For all time daughters learned from their relatives all the needed steps, they didn’t attempt to discover it in the dark. Hope the rest of the project goes easier.

    1. DoreenDoreen

      Hello! Please accept my apology for taking so long to get your posts out of the approval box. Just now recovered from the trip to Arizona.

      As for your suggestion. If I have been using normal fleeces and techniques, I could have gone to the local spinners to learn. In fact one of the consultants for the project is a local hand spinner and has worked all around the world within the historical aspects of many cultures. She knew nothing of the techniques I needed to have for this project. So, I did need to re-invent the wheel.

      It would seem, even though I am living in an area where the people work with the churro fleece all of the time, they never separate the fibers. In Fact, more often than not, the fleeces are taken to a mill and processed. The hair coat is broken up and then spun together with the wool coat (down coat). This gives them a very strong but harsh yarn. It is then woven into rugs as it appears to be to rough for clothing.

      I have found that the type of cloth I am researching was made up until the time of mechanized fleece processing. At least that is the direction the research is pointing. I may be corrected as time goes on.

      I thank you for your suggestion as I am looking for them and will use any information I can.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *