Shearing Time 2020 – Autumn & Fiona

Autumn and Fiona were the first two ewes to be shorn this year.

Autumn

Autumn is one of our new dairy sheep and this was our first time shearing her.  She is an East Friesan/Lacaune mix and is 2 years old.  We are having a hard time telling if her fleece is dark brown or truly black, and will know better once it is washed.

Since dairy sheep are not generally bred for good wool, we weren’t sure exactly what to expect.  Her fleece weighed in at 1.5 lbs raw skirted.  That is a very light fleece compared to what we are used to with our wool sheep!

The tips were very sun bleached because she spent half the year on pasture without a jacket before we bought her.  The fleece has more curl than crimp, but a lot of memory.  It is surprisingly softer than we expected.  It is very light on grease (lanolin).  It is reminiscent of a BFL, though much much shorter.

The average staple length was about 3.5, but she only had 8 months growth.

We are really interested to see what it will be like next year after she has a full year of growth, jacketed.  We are not sure if it will be long enough, or soft enough, to spin to yarn.  But if it is not, we will make it into roving and try braiding a rug with it.

Fiona

This is our 7th fleece from our flock matriarch Fiona.  She is 7 years old this year, and she was the first sheep we ever owned.  She is a white, fine-wool CVM/Merino cross.

Her fleece this year weighed in at 4 lbs raw skirted, with an average staple length of 5 inches (her longest ever!).

The fleece is heavy in the grease (a lot of lanolin, normal for merino).  It has a lot less crimp and elasticity than her usual, which likely has to do with her age.  But it has great sheen for a fine-wool, and is super soft.

I am really looking forward to the yarn this year.  I need to decide if I want to blend it with anything or not.  It is so fine that it tends to run a bit uneven when it is run pure.  We will see.

Mtn Man has both the fleece in the mill and I am looking forward to what he makes with them.  I will update you once they are processed.

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