Monday, April 30, 2007

Sheep Shearing is Harder than it Looks

First, Thank-you everyone, for the messages of support. It means a lot to me.

Now, on to the fun stuff! We went to a sheep shearing clinic sponsored by the San Juan Wool Growers Association, because wool producers have a hard time finding shearers to come out. Doug, of La Plata Farms and his daugther Cassie showed us 2 methods of shearing.

Then, Nate got to try his hand at it.

The sheep, a Rambouillet/Columbia cross ewe:

Shearing! Doug is helping Nate secure the sheep with his feet. Sheep are funny, if you grab them and pull them, they fight back. Instead, you push them and restrain them by positioning them in such a way so that they actually can't get up unless you move.

Nate is using a pair of Shearmaster clippers, there were a few people at the clinic with us, that had only ever sheared with the traditional hand shears.

The ewe, laying on her fleece, with her new summer 'do! The goal is to shear the belly, legs, and lower neck/face first and put that wool into the skirtings pile. Then, shear off the sides, back and upper neck in one piece, this is the fleece.

I brought home a few locks to test spin, to give me a better idea of fleece to yarn wool characteristics. Washed, they are almost pure white! Man, they looked creamy colored to me before the bath.

The washed and flick carded locks spun up into a nice yarn. All purpose garment quality, soft, but not as soft as merino. Socks, hats, sweaters would all be excellent from this wool.

AND...last, but definitely not least...I bring you, a package from the wonderful Valkryie. She stepped in and did something wonderful for me.

As you can see, that is FOUR skeins of handpainted sock yarn, kinds I've never tried! Bath fizzies, chocolate, a really cool magnet set, and an awesome black sheep ornament (did you knit this?) were all in the package. Thank-you again, I love it all!


At 8:50 AM, Blogger spinndiva said...

*squeeeeeeeeeee* naked sheepees!!!
And what wonderful Yarn!!!!

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Bezzie said...

Yup, I guess it makes sense if you guys are going to invest in some four legged lawnmowers that you know how to give them haircuts. Hm. I bet it wouldn't be so hard if they weren't so wiggly huh? What a cool clinic!
And what a sweet Valkyrie!

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Theresa said...


At 10:52 AM, Blogger String said...

Tell nate that he did a good job on the sheep but he still won't get that dream job as a hairdresser

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Go Nate!

And OMG, I want to pet your new sock yarn....mmmmmm.

At 2:10 PM, Anonymous cathy said...

Nice photos. Good job, Nate.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Magatha said...

Amazing! To a creature of the suburbs like myself, this is all wonderfully enlightening. I don't think I've ever seen a sheep in person except flying by them on the highway! Look at the ivory wool!

At 7:22 AM, Blogger Laura said...

was Nate thinking "I wish Sarah would learn how to do this instead of taking silly photos for her blog" ?


Congratulations taking another step toward sheepdom

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous zuma said...

Wow! That's just so amazing! What a cute sheepie though. =)

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Zonda said...

Cool pics of the shearing!! Great little package there! :)

At 5:54 AM, Blogger Carolyn said...

Ha ha! As I'm typing this our shearer is giving Eddie a day's course in shearing! Lunch time here and he's already knackered. I think it might be harder than it looks......

At 5:33 AM, Blogger Gorilla said...

Farmer Nate, friend of knitters, foe of cold sheep.


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