Thursday, May 15, 2014

Shearing and Spinning

So there's this man who has sheep not far from my hobby farm, and he's neighbors with the owner of the petting zoo where some of my goats and sheep are. He raises his sheep for meat and doesn't know what breed they are. Last year when he had his sheep sheared, he tossed the wool, having no use for it. So it was suggested that I go on over there this year and shear his sheep in exchange for the wool.

He has seven sheep and a baby lamb--likely more on the way. I managed to get three sheared in a few hours. That time included the lassoing (done by the owner) and herding (done by both of us and a reluctant dog) as well. It was a pleasant morning, with a nice breeze coming in from the west. I got to be in pasture under nice shady trees.

I'm not a fast shearer. The only experience I have is with my dearly departed Muffy and her daughter, Ginger. (Ginger lives at the petting zoo now.) I shear by hand with no electricity. Prior to having sheep, I swore I'd never have wool sheep because it seemed like such a pain in the behind. Now I find shearing very fun. There's a certain challenge to it, and the best part is, these are not my sheep so I get to take the wool and go.

Here are the fleeces set to dry after being soaked in Kookabura scour:

Here are a couple of close-ups of the fleeces:

Here is a basket of fleece pulled by hand into roving:

I don't know what kind of sheep his sheep are either, but their fleece is pretty nice for spinning. I have a lot of learning to do when it comes to this hobby, so it's nice to have some fleece to practice with.

For now, when people ask me what I make with all this, my answer is still yarn: