May 23, 2009

All Done!

I'm so pleased! All finished with shearing this year. The last to be done was Margaret : I didn't want to shear her before she lambed ... so it was a bit of a wait.

But what a difference a year can make! Last year her fleece was totally matted/felted. It is currently at the bottom of the compost heap! But this year, not a mat in sight. just a big beautiful fleece (almost looks like bear skin rug!!)

Here it is, all laid out on netting, ready to be put in a cold water soak :

Rather hard to see in this picture, but her fleece is black with lots of redish brown tipping. Additionally, as a 4 year old ewe, she has a lot of greying in the fleece too. So it is a wonderfully colorful fleece.
She was coated in December, so only had a coat on for the past 5 months, thus quite a bit of tipping. Weight of the skirted fleece : 850 grams (30 oz.).

I also wanted to show you Margot's fleece. This is a picture of her fleece after being washed in cold water for 1 week and then dried :

You can see how this method of washing and drying allows you to retain the lock structure of the fleece. And, as you will see, this is important and will help in later processing of the wool. This is a very pretty lamb's fleece. And will be lovely to spin.

Margot's skirted fleece weighed 720 grams going into the cold water soak. After soaking and drying the same fleece weighed 566 grams. A loss of 154 grams (over 5 oz.!) of "sheep grime". So 21.38% of the original weight was lost in a cold water wash.
I'm keeping records on the other fleeces to see what the yield ends of being after washing.

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