Jessie is an older Shetland ewe owned by a friend. She got preggers by mistake and was darned near greeted by the reaper when giving birth. She survived but unfortunately her lamb did not. Shortly after giving birth, she blew half her fleece. My friend hand gathered it and when she was sheared a few weeks later, bundled it all together. She couldn't sell it so she donated it to our Regia group to use for dyeing in a demo we're doing this month.
I've washed it, twice as the lanolin and icky bits didn't totally wash out the first time. It's soft enough, but because of the stress, there is a definite break in some of it. It's also tippy and most of them are breaking off either by hand before I process or later when it's being carded. It's a shorter fleece to begin with, so far the longest fleece I've found is about 4 inches long but most of it is much less than that. Flicking only worked with the longer bits and still, it was hard enough with the breaks and tips. I've had to resort to hand carding, slowly and carefully, to get it to be useable. There are still some neps, a bit of staw and chaff that I just haven't been able to remove and a growing pile of bits I can't use. I'm thinking it's almost 50% loss so far :(
If I'd purchased this fleece, I'd be unhappy. However, as a donated fleece for a specific purpose, it's not bad. At least it's a soft fibre and a nice shade of white. It will dye up nicely and the two skeins I've gotten done so far, although having taken way longer than I'd like, will work up into something nice, at a later date. I thought I'd left plenty of time to get a number of skeins spun up, but nope, so far only two and it will be all I can do to get a 3rd spun up this week. I'd expected to have several more skeins to take with me to the demo, as I much prefer dyeing yarn to loose fibre.