Skirting Wool

Suzy's fleece
Suzy’s fleece, waiting to be skirted

The sun was shining and the was a gentle breeze  this morning as I skirted the wool from my sheep. (skirting is the process of  picking out the large pieces of grass, hay and other plant matter and feces from the fleece to get it ready for the mill)    Minnie did figure eights around my ankles and Red sat with me until he realized Jon gave up helping me to scrape and paint the pealing front steps of the house.   I thought about last fall when I cleaned my sheep’s fleeces for the first time.  It was cold enough to make my fingers numb.

Except for Zelda’s fleece (which was filthy) the rest of the wool was very clean because I had coats on the sheep for most of the winter and spring.  Tess’ fleece was especially clean and lush.  It made me think about using the coats again.  But I did find them difficult to use.  Zelda refused to keep her’s on and Suzy got her leg stuck in her’s a couple of times.  I also love to see the sheep in their natural wool and I think it’s easier for them to run when Red is herding them.

So this spring, even though I had Ma’s big fleece it was a quick job.  I’ll bring the wool to the mill in the next couple of weeks and will have a better idea of when the yarn and roving will be ready.   Last year, I got 19 skeins of wool and 4 bumps to hand spin.  This year it will be more because of Ma’s wool.  Jim McRae, the shearer said he thought Ma was a mix of Merino and BorderLeichester because of the pattern her wool made when she was sheared.  I’m curious to see what her yarn is like.

I already have a list of people who want wool, but since I don’t know how much I’ll have, if you think you might be interested in some, just let me know.  You can email me here or at [email protected]

6 thoughts on “Skirting Wool

  1. Hi Maria,

    I’ve been skirting alpaca fleeces for a few months and find it tp be soothing, satisfying work. In exchange, the farmer will be giving me two fiber boys when my farm is ready. He has many years worth of fleeces waiting for processing into yarn and roving because his focus has been on breeding. Eleven crias were born this spring and it’s been a joy watching them grow. Who knows, one of them may find its way to my farm! I have been spinning and am learning to knit and do I ever love it! Well, just thought I’d share my love of fiber with you.


    1. Sounds like you’ve found something you really love Donna. I imagine it takes a lot longer to skirt an alpaca fleece than a sheep. the babies, must be adorable. I hope one does find it’s way to your farm.

  2. I thought of last fall when you did this too! I’ll get back to my mittens this week hopefully once I get settled in at home. I was going to say caught up, but that will never happen!! I will be in Vermont later today – I’m looking forward to cuddles with my sweet Tess!!

  3. Yesterday we saw all the sheared Alpacas at the farm down the street. Donna is so lucky to be following her Alpaca Farm dream. There were several babies (Crias) and one was playing with a baby hen. The Cria was so little and she’d bounce high into the air and do this kind of spin at the hen. It was the cutest thing! You’d love Alpaca too Maria. they are so curious and gentle. Poodley as can be. They also give lovely warm wool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Full Moon Fiber Art