Last weekend I went to Shearing Day at Rising Meadow Farm. I was lured there by two knitter/spinners mumbling the word “fleece” under their breath. It was a chilly day – we went prepared with chocolate and coffee, but the farm had lunch on offer for a modest donation, and I ate that lamb chili right up – oh yes, in addition to fleeces, there was quite a bit of lamb, but I didn’t take photos of the meat. We weren’t there for long, just enough time to assess the goods, allow the short crowd (two under-3 year olds) watch the ‘haircutting’ event, consider our purchases, and get out of the grey and wind.
These photos represent shearing, carrying a fleece out of the barn, skirting the fleece, and a shot of the trailer full of bagged and weighed fleeces from about 50 different sheep.
I learned quite a bit – the sheep were either Corriedale or Navajo Churro, the latter generally producing a coarser fiber. Some fleeces were labeled “moorit,” indicating that they are brown in color, not another breed. The labels indicated the name of the sheep, the weight of the fleece, and the price per pound – they were available whole or you could take just a partial. Dorset fleeces were also available, semi-hidden in a room in the barn. An average moorit fleece went for perhaps $60 ($12/lb x 4-6lbs), and a non-moorit Corriedale went for $35-40 ($7.50/lb).
People followed the fleeces around. That is to say, if there is one that you like, when you see the sheep being sheared [an aside: there was one shearer with electric clips and two with regular handheld clips], it was recommended that you stick close to it through the process to skirting, weighing [fleece thrown in transparent garbage bag and weighed at the meat table], pricing, and labeling, and snatch it up at your first chance.
Oh, I debated, dragging the event out and letting the short crowd get cranky, but in the end, I left with no fleece. Don’t worry, I bought two truffles (2oz. rounds of roving) in light browns, and two lumps of black Navajo Churro roving. I guess those don’t qualify to be truffles? Does anyone have a non-gourmet chocolate, non-subterranean fungi related definition of truffle?
In the WIP category, I have three updates, one in the Realm of Sock, which would be the second incarnation of the Argyle Lace sock, that I hope will become a pattern one day.
The next is in the Realm of Projects Put Down For A Long Time But Not Forgotten. I made my brother a sweater, but below you will see the sweater that he was supposed to receive, which was put into storage over 2 years ago when I left the country. Now, it is a comforting, easy piece to work on when I don’t want to think. It’s the Manly Sweater from Stitch ‘n Bitch, in colors that my brother chose. I’ve finished up the back and am on to the front.
And, I’ve finished two bobbins worth of singles that look like this:
which one day I am hoping to figure out how to ply. I plied some of this same roving that I had spindle-spun, and used the Andean plying technique. But there’s a whole lot more going on with the wheel, and although I’ve got Alden Amos’ Big Book of Handspinning on loan, even he says that seeing it is worth much more than trying to read about it…