Wednesday, June 25, 2008

She ain't seen nothin' yet!

Leza, the processor I chose, was very complimentary about how nice my fleeces are. She said a lot of the Shetland fleeces she gets in are not that soft. Of course, this is music to a breeder's and spinner's ear - but she ain't seen nothin' yet!

The two fleeces I didn't take to her, partly for lack of time to carefully skirt them, are Braveheart's and Brava's lamb fleeces, my two softest and crimpiest fleeces by far. Yesterday I transferred them both to clean bags as the ones they were in had gotten very dusty and snagged sitting in the barn-shed. Here is Brava's:
Now I'm thinking of trying my hand at washing and hand-picking them, then taking them to From Barn to Yarn for Leza to card into roving. I am already contemplating making the trip to Boring to hand-pick my other fleeces when she gets them washed (it would save me $2.00/lb.), so I could take them then. If she thought my other fleeces were nice, she's going to FLIP over these. Do you think she'd be impressed enough to process them for free, just for the privilege of fondling them? No?

Speaking of lamb fleeces, I have decided which of my three boys I want to keep as Braveheart's eunuch friend. Blizz was never in the running since I already have a grey fleece in my ewe flock; I've been waffling between Browning and Bryden, the two rich, dark moorit boys. When I got back from BSG I did a blind touch test, feeling both without looking to see who was who. Browning won on that point. Then I looked inside both fleeces. That quickly settled it. Bryden's is nice, but Browning's fleece made me want to dive in - it looks like melted dark chocolate! This is as good as I can capture on camera:
I think Bryden and his twin, Bevin, may turn out fawn like their dam Valentine. Lois brought a sample of Valentine's lamb fleece to BSG for me; she was moorit as a lamb, but not dark-chocolate. I absolutely love Valentine's silvery taupe fleece, but don't need TWO fawns. There's not room at Boulderneigh for a Shetland in every "flavor;" it's nice to have as much variety as possible!

Last night I stayed in the fold with the sheep for quite a while, something I haven't done in too long. I introduced the youngest three lambs to a halter and lead, then rubbed them each into a trance afterwards. After that my original two Shetlands, Dinah and Rechel, came up for some attention, and we had a love-fest. My soul was fed.

That's it for now at . . .


Sharon said...

I'd vote those fleeces most likely to succeed - lots of wow!

Deborah Niemann said...

Last year, we washed our fleeces ourselves, and it wasn't as hard as we'd expected. The mill that did the carding was very happy with the job we did. I probably wrote about it in my blog (June 2007, maybe July). We'll be washing them again this year, so I might be writing about it again in the next couple weeks.

Nancy K. said...

BEAUTIFUL fleeces, Michelle! You're doing a great job with your little flock.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Those fleeces look fabulous.
I think I might be scared to send them to a processor, but it sounds like you've carefully selected someone who will treat them right-
Should make for wonderful spinning!

Kathy said...

I am always amazed at shearing time when the fleeces are so soft. I forget that fact as during the year when touching the sheep they are filled with dirt and other yucky stuff from around the barn area.
Can't wait to see how they turn out!

Windyridge said...

I am in the process of trying to decide on one more lamb to keep and it's very hard. I am only keeping two this year. Truth be told I am very nervous about the skyrocketing costs of grain and hay so I am keeping my flock small.