The Combing of Double Coated Fleeces

Greenland Gown Project

The fleeces used for this project are called double coated because they are made up of two types of fiber. One is a hair fiber with a larger diameter fiber and longer straighter length than the wool fiber which has a softer more crimped texture.

Currently, I am processing the Navajo Churro fleece. I am doing a process that in some circles is considered to be controversial. The traditional treatment, as I have been told, is for this double coated fleece to be spun with the hair and the wool fibers together and then woven into an item. The most common and well known of these is the durable wool rugs of the southwest.

Due to the nature of the fabric I am recreating, I need the two fiber types to be separated as the hair fibers served as the warp and the wool fibers served as the weft in the original fabric.

The next file to be added to the downloads page will outline the actual how to process and will include photos as well as a complete step by step instruction for those of you wishing to do the recreation yourselves.

One of the things I have found as Anna Kinney, the project spinner, has spun the hair fibers, is that the yarn is very strong. I also have developed the hypothesis that this type of yarn should be better woven on the warp weighted loom rather than the horizontal floor loom because of the friction of the metal parts against the hair ends in the yarn.

Another realization is that the amount of warp needed to warp a floor loom is astronomical compared to a warp weighted loom. I know there are ways to minimize the amount of warp yarn needed, however, it still will take more than the traditional loom.

The wool that has been spun into yarn is soft and also strong. When woven with the hair, the completed fabric should be warm yet durable.

The process of working a double coated fleece will be the same for any of the three sheep breeds we will be using.

I have had to develop a washing process that leaves enough softness in the fleece but still removes an appropriate amount of contaminants. The process is outlined in the file that has already been added to the downloads section of the site.

After washing and drying, the fleece fibers need to be separated and then combed into tops and passed to Anna for manufacture of the Yarn.

Top is often confused with roving. There are some important differences.

Defined here:

Tops vs roving. the long line of fiber in parallel is a roving. Tops refers to grade of roving as in the roving from just the top of the animal is a higher grade. Less yuck and damaged fibers.

A rolag is from the cards in a puffy tubular form. Rolags are used with the shorter fibers and create “woolen” spun yarns.

The rovings are prepped to help create the “worsted

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