Sunday, February 13, 2011

Avalanche (of wool photos) ahead!

This week I took pre-shearing mid-side fleece samples from all my sheep but Inky to send in for micron testing. I just love "peeking under the covers" at the fleece crop my sheep have grown for me, and hope they test out as good as they feel. (Shearing itself is always stressful, as I'm holding my breath and praying for no blood or second cuts.)

Anyway, I took photos of each sheep's parted fleece (in the dark, with flash), and then today took photos of each snipped sample in natural light with a ruler. These are mainly for my own visual record but if you see something you've just got to have, let me know. Sheep names are hot-linked to their pedigrees.

Whistlestop 0338 AI (Annabelle), coated since purchase at the end of September 2010:

Boulderneigh Blackberry, coated since 2010 shearing:

Boulderneigh Blake, coated since late summer 2010:

Boulderneigh Bramble, coated since 2010 shearing:

Boulderneigh Bronwen, coated since 2010 shearing:

Boulderneigh Browning (wether with no pedigree link, maternal half-brother to Bronwen), coated since 2010 shearing:

Whistlestop Bunker, coated since purchase at the end of September 2010:

McTavish Katie, coated since 2010 shearing:

Fleece samples will be mailed to Texas A&M for testing tomorrow. Shearing is this Friday. Nekkid sheep photos after that, followed by the start of a lambing contest!

That's it for now from . . .

16 comments:

Mim said...

Wow!

Michelle said...

I'll take that as a compliment and it means a lot coming from you, Mim!

A :-) said...

Bunker's fleece has some serious crimp! And I love Blackberry's too. Wish I was in the market for a fleece this year, but since I have FIVE to spin up already, I have to pass.

Christine said...

I just want to sink my hands through the computer screen and scrunch a bunch. LOL

Technically, what color is Blake? He's beautiful. Bunker's crimp reminds me of Theresa's flock.

Nancy K. said...

GORGEOUS fleeces Michelle! You should be VERY proud of yourself. I am so happy to see that you are combining fine fleece with a decent staple length. It looks like most of your 'single coated' fleeces are close to 4 inches. I could live with that. I still think that the lower limit for staple length should be 3 inches, instead of 2, but that's a fight for another day.... ;-)

I would be interested in purchasing (or bartering) Blackberry's fleece. I don't have any solid blacks and would love to have a nice, soft, deep black fleece.

I'm actually considering doing some samples myself this year. If I can just stop being SICK. :-(

Michelle said...

Christine, the jury is out on Blake's color and will probably have to await test breeding. He is either an atypical musket, or rose mioget.

Thanks, Nancy. I personally don't want fleeces under 3", either. I thought it was interesting that my totally domestic ewe, Katie, isn't really any longer than the two with lots of UK genetics from Jim Chastain. Jim's sheep do have more uniformity, crimp and density, though. It will be interesting to compare the numbers on all of them.

Let me see how Blackberry's fleece comes off. There are a few "grease flakes" at the butt of his sample; last year he had a lot of that. Also, he is a black gulmoget, so he does have some lighter areas (but not really any side dusting). I'll let you know how it looks sheared.

Cloverleaf Art and Fibre said...

Oh My Goodness! Those are delicious looking fleeces.

Marie said...

Beautiful fleeces!! Very interesting the different lenghts. And they are all so clean! I have GOT to get some coats for mine this spring. Sure makes a big difference!

sheepsclothing said...

Yum Yum. They look wonderful!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

The Whisletops are are both beautiful! I'm not much for Shetland wool (usually) but I love the crimp on those!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Gorgeous! Don't you just wish you could spin them all?

Jenny Holden said...

There's some lush looking fleece there! Bet you can't wait to get your spinning hands on it. Micron results will be interesting.

Sharon said...

Look at all those delicious natural colors. You could knit a fair isle sweater from your sheep!

Michelle said...

Sharon, that is one of my dream projects!

Marianne said...

Hi Michelle. Not sure if you remember, but we met very, very briefly at Black Sheep last year. I'm near Gaston & have a small flock of Cotswold, Romney & Lincoln. I was wondering about your sending your wool to Texas A&M for micron testing. Does that help you determine who to breed to who, if you are headed in the right direction genetically, or to sell your fleeces? I'm still really new to all this and am trying to learn more about the wool aspect, now that I have managed to keep my sheep alive. I could use all the help I can get. Thanks.

Michelle said...

Hi Marianne,

I certainly do remember meeting you! The answer to all your questions is YES! Since Shetlands are supposed to be soft AND fine, testing, along with the handle of the fleece, helps me to know if I'm moving in the right direction, guides breeding decisions, and is a marketing tool for both breeding stock and fleeces. At $2.00/sample, it really is an inexpensive tool that gives a LOT of information.