Thursday, October 27, 2011

A problem gift

[PhotoSuffolk lock being identified]
Someone gave me a fleece sample, a lock of fleece washed and another still dirty, with a promise that if I liked it, I could have the whole fleece. A gift. A friend of theirs had had it in storage for a few years, was downsizing and they apparently knew a good fleece.  
I certainly liked that lock and used another gift - the recently published book Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius ...(I highly recommend it!) to identify the type of fleece. The blunt tip, the boxy lock, the fuzzy down-style crimp and knowing the local farmers penchant for certain meat sheep was a giveaway, and the book seemed to confirm that it was indeed from a Suffolk sheep. 
Suffolk is not a glamorous fleece, not rare, not special, yet it has a nice loft, is satisfying to spin and makes for a good versatile fibre to have hanging around the wool stash. It would make a good addition by itself for yarn or being useful for blends to add loft to a yarn. It's great for everyday things like mittens, sweaters, socks. So I eagerly said, "yes please. I like it." Visions of lofty yarns danced before me.
And so a big garbage bag was delivered to me in town. The bag had been ripped open a bit at the top so I looked in...and then took a closer look...and then put my glasses on and took an even closer look. Moths! Lots of them. Apparently dead but did I dare take this fleece over to the island, into my house into my wool stash? Did they lay eggs before they died? Does dead ones on the top indicate live ones down below?
I have heard horror stories about moth invasions where someone's whole wool stash was ruined (readers may remember moths were the reason Trudy's sweater was in her freezer -see that blog post).  A vision of this fleece in a Mom's, since mine is way too small. I shook my head.
Another vision appeared, of a cloud of small moths flitting in and out of my cupboards, dancing around me, chomping up my stash. I couldn't take the risk. I knew I would regret throwing it out, but I also knew if I did bring in a moth invasion I might have a bigger regret. So I tossed it. Sigh.


  1. And so the saying: "Never look a gift fleece in the moth."...

    Or wait..maybe it has something to do with horses and mouths? did the right thing. Painful as it was.

  2. Hi Valerie,
    It was a very hard thing to do. A beautiful fleece. Have you ever tries to find a garbage that you could throw a 10lb fleece into?!
    Anyway, I am enjoying your weaving and it has inspired me to try painted warp. Looking forward to seeing your finished piece.