Wool Prep Step 2: Getting the VM Out

April 26, 2010 at 10:59 am 4 comments

Getting the vegetable matter—or “VM”—out of raw wool can be approached as an exercise in frustration and creative vocabulary, or as a meditative experience bringing us closer to nirvana.

I’ve done both.

Sheep cover

Voila! A sheep cover.

The best fleeces for home processing of wool come from shepherds who use sheep covers. Check out this beauty, ready for the red carpet.

Not only do the covers keep out VM, but advocates say the covers are better for the quality of the wool and health of the sheep overall.

However, my 7 Shetland fleeces were NOT covered. So I pick. And pick. And pick. Having already washed out most of the sticky-icky, some of the VM simply falls out. The rest is removed by teasing the fibers apart with a comb or fingers. This is a great job to do while indulging in your favorite T.V. guilty pleasure show. Mine are not that guilty. I’ve got a love of medical shows, so currently that means House and Bones. But I digress…

Picking VM Out of Wool

The Picked Wool - Before and After

Here is a before-and-after shot of Miss No-name. The washed, unpicked wool is on the left. (Like you couldn’t tell that!) At least No-name was not turned out into a pasture with rose bushes, like another fleece I could mention. Ouch.

I’m just about down to the bottom of the unpicked No-name. When I get done with her, I’m contemplating putting my dandelions to use and trying a natural dye. This will be new and uncharted territory. I’ll document the success or failure here. :-)

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Entry filed under: Sheep to Yarn Process. Tags: , , , .

Yet Another Way to Wash Wool I’m Dying to Try Natural Dye

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ann  |  April 27, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Well, you’re giving me courage to handle the extremely dirty and VM-y fleeces from my four sheep after the shearer arrives…Nice job on your blog. I’ll keep reading!

    • 2. homespunlife  |  April 27, 2010 at 8:39 am

      *blushes* Thanks for the compliment, Ann! Good luck with your fleeces. Take no prisoners. (And let us know how it turns out!!)

  • 3. Kraftii1....aka.....Stella  |  April 27, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks for the information….I’m gonna pass this onto my girlfiriend who is a biginnner at spinning……..Oh by the way have you used onion skins for dying? I’m saving some skins to try out soon.

    • 4. homespunlife  |  April 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      Hi Kraftii1, I have heard about onion skins, but it would take me quite a while (or LOTS of onion soup) to save up enough to try. :-)

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