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.