Buying the fleece of coloured sheep

Plan your project so you can decide what type of fleece to buy.

The fleece diagram will help. The vendor of a fleece should note the sheep’s breed on the label. The label should also include the sheep’s age. This is because lamb’s fleece is usually softer than that from older sheep. The label will give you some idea of what to expect, but nothing can beat a good feel of the fleece.

Ask the vendor to take the fleece out of its bag so you can inspect it before buying. Check the fleece opens freely, and is clean, sound and not contaminated. The use of moth balls to repel moths is acceptable.

To test that the fleece is in good condition, hold a lock and give it a quick jerk (sharp pull). You should hear a ‘ting’ or ‘ping’ noise. If the lock remains obstinately silent, examine the fleece for weakness.

On returning home, take the fleece out of any polythene bag and store it in a cotton bag. If you don’t have a cotton bag, use a paper bag or a net.