I bought this fleece at Rhinebeck last year and its been sitting patiently in my basement all winter, waiting for me to do something with it. The fleece originally belonged to Sarah, a Romney/Merino sheep from Ensign Brook Farm.
I tried washing the fleece in the washing machine for the first time and it worked awsomely! So much easier than trying to keep the water temperature about the same from one wash to the next in the sink. Also, a lot less messy, since I'm not dripping water all over the kitchen when I try to change he water. It's also faster, since I can do nearly twice as much in the washer as I can do in the kitchen sink.
So, I've got about 1/3 of the fleece washed so far, which is helpful, because I've got about seven pounds of it. (Sarah is apparently a very fluffy girl.) I've managed to card about half of what's washed so I have a whole grocery bag full of rolags all ready to go and I just finished spinning my first bobbin-full, which I guess puts me well on the way to this year's Rhinebeck sweater.
All I need now is a pattern.