Fleece is Being Composted or Incinerated

That is what we hear and it is such a shame. This country grew rich from sheep fleece (I shall leave that subject for another time). Fleece is versatile and sustainable but we do not use it all. We should not waste fleece. Even spinners, myself included, will spread out a fleece and separate the best fibre from the parts which are not good enough for spinning. The rejected fibre is usually found around the edge of the fleece. It may have been dyed by the raddle or matted and covered with sheep muck and vegetable matter. The separation of the unwanted fleece is known as skirting. Also there are guard hairs found on some fleece which can be removed and discarded if particularly course.

Possible Uses

So what can spinners do with the unwanted parts of a fleece? If the fibre is too coarse for a garment, but is otherwise spinable, then spin it and use the string in the garden for tying runner beans, roses etcetera. Fleece string is sustainable, compostable and looks better than commercial green ties, which may splinter into tiny brittle plastic bits and which will never leave the soil.

What if the unwanted fibre is not spinable? I use it to stop soil falling through the bottom of flower pots. It also acts as a reservoir to hold water through the long hot summer (that we are looking forward to). Some say that putting fleece on top of the soil, around vulnerable plants, keeps slugs at bay. How about hanging baskets too? Mine, I am sure were fuller and more floriferous last year due to completely lining the inside of the baskets with approximately 8cm of raw fleece.

Last but not least

A Chimney Plug. A what! To stop draughts, due to an open fireplace and chimney, use a Chimney Plug.

To make: Measure chimney width and depth. You will need enough fabric to make an envelope i.e. 2 thicknesses and 10cm/4″ larger all around than the size of the chimney flue. Fill the envelope with washed or unwashed, unwanted, unusable fleece. Too much is better than too little fleece. Sew the 4th side of the envelope. Sew through all layers to hold fleece in place. Mine looks like buttoned upholstery. You could plug the chimney now but I like to wash the plug in the washing machine to slightly felt the fleece. Dry. Attach, in the centre a medallion (I used a fir cone) on a piece of yarn to hang. Now place plug in chimney with the medallion hanging and visible in the grate. This medallion serves as a reminder not to light a fire whilst the chimney is blocked. Bob’s your uncle!

Fabric Envelope
Raw unwanted fleece

Envelope Full of Fleece

A Stitch or two through all layers.

When the plug needs to be removed, place a bucket in the fireplace, pull the medallion and out will come the plug and any debris into the bucket. Shake plug outside and it is ready for when the chimney is no longer in use.

Contact me with your ideas for unwanted fleece.

Til next time.

Update 25.1.21

Jane at Broadstone Rare Breeds uses waste fleece – She places it around the base of young trees to stop weeds growing and taking precious nutrients.http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BroadstoneRareBreeds

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