Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wool Confessions, Samples, & Your Opinion

Today I decided to dress up as a little farm girl and play with my do you like the new look??

Seriously I was inspired by my own post yesterday, and I decided to go investigating in the garden barn where I have lots of bags of wool. I will confess that though I have Shetland and Black Cotswold sheep, I have yet to seriously dive into learning about their wool, texture, what is good wool, what is not good wool, and even understanding the terminology of wool "stuff".
My first 2 sheep were a Black Cotswold ewe and wether. I fell in with the breed because they were a rare breed and I just loved the love of them. The first time I had them sheared I just fell in love with the color and lustrous fleece, though clueless on what to do with it.
The next sheep I got were a Shetland ewe and wether. I liked the size of the Shetland and since I am a staggering 4'10 thought the size would be a better fight. Anyways, I love both breeds and it is my goal to learn more about the wool "stuff" this year. I label each bag after shearing so I remember which fleece went with who.
I thought I would post some pictures of some of what I consider to be the nicest of all the wool bags in the barn. If you are reading and know about wool, I would greatly appreciate some insight on what you think about the wool. My shoulders are big and I am a teacher, so I can handle "constructive criticism".......but I am a wool novice so still go a little soft:)

This fleece above and below is from one of my fawn kat. ewes Abigail.

Above is a close spread of Abby's fleece. Her fleece is seriously beautiful, even this years is looking great. In good fleece, the crimp is important correct?

The picture above and below is from my Black Cotswold wether, Ethan. I would sleep on this wool! It is so soft and beautiful! Ethan and his brother Ira have some serious fleeces going on this year. I really want to learn how to spin this wool because I think it is just awesome! What do you think?

Below is the fleece from Abby's twin sister, also a fawn kat ewe and she is the flakiest sheep I own; however I think she has some really nice fleece. Their mom is Lil'Country Acres Polly and the sire was Windswept Yankee (the ram I lost this year).

I tried to get a close up below but its a little fuzzy. I hope you can get an idea of the texture. What do you think? This ewe was bred last year to Jed., my polled gulmoget ram, and she had Jasper, the polled ram lamb. Between her fleece and Jed.'s, I am thinking and hoping it should produce a nice quality fleece?????

And of course, while I was doing this my cat Moo thought he would assist in analyzing the feel of the wool........he looks very "serious" in his analysis.

So, thanks for reading! I really would appreciate anyone's feedback on the wool.

Today was a good day to do this and I am feeling more inspired to find the time to work with the wool that I have!!!


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

It is hard to evaluate fleece from photos only, but they look very nice. I've spun wonderful Shetland which isn't crimpy at all, but wavy and lustrous. Some breeders insist on crimp; me, I'll take it either way as long as it's soft and spinnable -- and hopefully lustrous! Primarily, I think YOU need to like your fleeces - and learn to use that wool so you'll love it even more! But for "hard data," have your fleeces micron tested; Texas A&M is very reasonable, less than $2.00 per sample.

Claire said...

Wow, these look like lovely fleeces. I wish you could come to my class with me. I'm learning how to spin and it is such fun! I'm not very good at it, but I hope to be one day.

Deb said...

I agree with Michelle about photos but all your fleeces look lovely and clean which in my opinion is very important.
I love fiber, any fiber as long as it's soft, clean and I enjoy spinning it. I love natural colors and even though I dye many, many skeins of yarn, I do not dye fiber.
I love the color of your Ethan's fiber. I've never spun cotswald. We may have to talk :)

Christy said...

I know nothing about wool yet, so I think I would go with the cat's opinion. Which one did the cat like most?

Joanna said...

I don't know anything about fleece but I enjoy reading about it from those of you who do

thecrazysheeplady said...

It's hard to say for sure from pictures because so much of wool is by "feel". However, they LOOK lovely and very clean, which is huge. Something to check would be if there are any weak spots in the fiber, whether at the tips or in the middle. I'm pretty partial to Cotswolds (and am getting ready to drive 11 hours next weekend to pick up another one :-O). You enjoy spinning - just need to get started!

kristi said...

Yes, I do need to learn how to use the wool and that will solve many of my issues! I am going to check out Texas A&M, just for curiousity and a selling point if anyone is interested. Thanks!

Practice makes perfect and at least your starting, I have to start. Right now I am tutoring after school for extra cash so my time is limited but learning how to spin is on the most do list!

thank you for the comments! I always like to have an extra pair of eyes. I am please to hear it looks clean. If you are interested I will have 4 full black cotswold fleeces at shearing time:)

Moo prefers the Shetland but Maddie defintitely prefers the Cotswold!

I too just enjoy reading everyone's blogs just to learn..though I should get more productive!!

So, did you get lucky to find someone who would part with a ewe? Ewes are so hard to find. I would like to get a white ewe, possibly, black factored.Thank you for saying the fleece looks nice...and your right, I just need to get started!!

Tracey said...

Hi Kristi,
I can't help you with the wool, but I love your sheep collection and your little helper Moo!

Amy said...

WOW What beautiful fleece!!! I am hoping soon to learn to process raw fleece and then learn to spin it into wool.

Just recently found your blog and love it!