Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our first shearing attempt

As Spring inches a little closer each day, our farm is ramping up. Icelandic fleeces are starting to break. So, a week ago today with the girls in tow, we  blade (hand) sheared our ram lamb, Ithaqua. It took almost an hour, even with a broken fleece, but it's all off and he seems so much happier. He was patient and after the shearing was all done, he just sat on the plywood like he didn't know what to do with himself. He now resembles a goat but I know that's only temporary as his new fleece is already growing in. Despite Jared's determination, we will have a shearer come out and shear the rest of the sheep as soon as the sun is making a more regular appearance and every sheep has a chance to dry out. I would prefer a shearer who is able to hand/blade shear but if the fleeces aren't in the right shape for that, machine shearing will have to do. Jared heads off to WSU Shearing School on April 3rd, so he'll be in a fine place to shear this Fall. I've also found someone who can teach Jared to blade shear, which I believe he is happy about. I know he's expressed on numerous occasions how he would prefer to blade shear. I'd prefer that too.

Ithaqua, before

Ithaqua, after

Ithaqua and his former coat

Jared holding Ithaqua's fleece

I've registered for a beginning spinning class on March 23rd and 30th at Weaving Works in the University District. My hope is that after shearing time we'll have enough good fleeces for spinning that I can start making a few scarves and hats for winter. The next big question will be... what wheel to choose? Weaving Works allows students to take wheels "for a spin", with a $100 deposit, until they find the one that works best for them. I cannot wait to get in there and start making yarn!


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