Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wool



I don't talk much about my sheep, frankly don't know why this is.  They're cute.  Even though I'm totally a goat person and miss my goats every day.

They will get a lot of attention in the coming months...hopefully my little ram got his job done and my ewes are breed.  When I first put him in the first part of September, the females went up to him, sniffed him and were not impressed. 

Pretty funny actually.

Throughout the breeding season the temps were warmer than usual, but October was colder, which always seems to make everybody in the mood...even my old crabby ewe.  It would have been easiest to breed her, she's fat, slow and she's got so much wool covering her face and eyes, that she wouldn't have known what hit her and he would've been done. =) 

Sorry a little sheep breeding humor.



 This is what those cute little sheep look like sheared.  SO ugly and funny looking!  Notice the white/pink one in the background.  It gets me every time I walk into the barn and look at them sheared.  Funny!



I'm sure you're asking what I do with all that pretty wool, right?  That's what this picture is about.  I'm boiling water to hand wash the wool.  It's filled with a yellowish sticky oily substance called lanolin.  The hotter the water, the better to get that stuff out. 


This is from last year off my old crabby ewe.  She's got beautiful white wool. 


My good sheepy buddy, Jody Fuller of Hamps & Downs http://www.hampsanddowns.com/ graciously gave me a large sack of her wool. 

Very large. 

Like so large, when I went up there to pick out my ram, I heard the tractor start so Bill could put it in the back of our pickup.  That's big folks.  But thank you Jody and Bill, I'm having a blast with it. 

This gray above came from them.  This is washed, but its not picked or carded.

Yes, this wool thing is quite the process.  You get the cuties sheared, you laugh at their nakedness, they give you a look back that says "I'm going to ram your knee so hard that you'll have to get a replacement...."

Seriously, what I do is hand wash it in water that someday is going to cook my hands.  For one fleece I do this 4 times, with a grease fighting detergent, rinse, then use some fabric softener.

I then dry it for about 4 days, then I card it.


This is that gray fleece carded and blended.  Now I have to pick through it to clean all the little bits of hay etc that are still in there. 

Yes, hand pick it. 

Yep, it's a long boring job that if I even mention it, it will send kids flying to do homework that they don't have, messy rooms that were just cleaned an hour before, etc. 

It sucks. 

After I get ten pounds clean, I will send it to Mountain Meadow's wool in Buffalo WY to get it spun into yarn.  I'm excited about that part.  Wouldn't this gray be pretty yarn?  I would like them to try to dye it dark colors like navy, black or purple. 

One fleece takes about 2 weeks from start to finish to wash, card and clean. 

Why am I telling you all this? 

Because, this year I'm more determined than ever to get our van.  I looked through our books and right now I don't have any wiggle room to start saving for one.  SO...I'm using MY farm money from my stuff off the farm to save for at least half of the van.  I really don't want to get a loan at all in case some of this land around us would ever come up for sale.  We need our credit for that. 

So with that said, all you knitters out there...come see me in a few months.  I'll keep you in supply!

The ever determined,
Fairchild Farmgirl

2 comments:

  1. Oh Suzanne, This looks like such a labor of love. The ram looks like a little buffalo . Terah

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