April 5, 2010

And Sometimes its Good to be Bad

OK, not really bad. Blame it on Spring Fever, or maybe the cat, or wool fumes. I went to an event where a sheep shearing was going on, and I came home with fleece. Two of 'em. (remember, I wasn't going to buy any fleece until BSG). There's a place not too far from me where they train herding dogs, so they have sheep. And last Saturday they had a wool festival day, of sorts. Herding demos, sheep shearing and such. I only went to just sort of check things out, I knew the sheep weren't kept for wool so much as for the dogs to work, so I didn't expect to see much worth having, fleece-wise. (I didn't take any pictures, but Lori did) Included in the flock were Dorset, Rambouillet, and Dorper (ugh,hair sheep).  There was at least one Cheviot, too. Some may have been crosses as well. In fact probably were.

I ended up spending way too much time there, watching the shearing, and came home with a sunburn and these 2 fleeces. I'd spotted some dark brown/black sheep and I wanted to see how those fleece looked off the sheep. Several of the sheep turned out to be hair type or hair type cross sheep. They get woolly in the winter, but it usually falls out in spring, leaving a sheep that looks more like a goat, but sometimes that wool just doesn't drop off so shearing is needed. Anyway, that stuff is not for spinning, its full of coarse hair.

I watched the shearing for a while, but didn't see anything I wanted (I wasn't there for fleece anyway) I'd just about given up, but it turned out the last dark sheep was a true woolly, so I bagged that one up. Not sure what type of sheep, but the cut end of the fleece is true black, bleached out brown toward the tips. The fibers don't look crimpy, but are springy and stretchy and seem reasonably soft.

And then there was a final Rambouillet ewe, her fleece seemed very nice too, ah, what the heck, why not make it a pair of fleeces?. Nice crimp, nice staple length, very fine fiber. It really makes sense for me to practice fiber cleaning before BSG, don't you agree? 

Both these fleeces are dirty, but not gross, and have lots of vm, mostly hay. This time around, rather than deal with washing the entire fleece at once, I've pulled out what I think are the best/cleanest/least matted bits and I'll wash those first, one test batch at a time. If the test batches are too much work to clean, everything goes into the 'other' pile.  The 'other' category might be felting, mulch or trash bin.

As you can see, Hootie Kitty sees no fault with my lapse of resolve. In fact, before I left the house on Saturday, I'm sure she whispered a wish for fleece in my ear.

BTW, did you feel the earthquake yesterday? I sure did, was outside sorting the fleece and thought I was having a dizzy spell. Then I heard the water sloshing in the pool. Crazy stuff.


  1. You are a weak woman. :-)

    Heard about the quake, and saw video on the news of sloshing pools. Rather dramatic!

  2. I made everyone get out of the house. I've never done that before. Last night, I woke up twice to earthquakes, and both times my younger son came running in for reassurance. (He's the one I blogged about who told me when he was a year and a half old about the big earthquake in Greece in 1953.)

  3. Hootie kitty wanted them. heh. :) thats my theory.