Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ba Ba Black Sheep

The sheep were sheared. It was a very interesting process to watch. The shearer, Steve, who we found via Craigslist, was good folk. He put himself through college shearing sheep. As we were watching him I was amazed at how much work it is. The sheep do not want to be sheared, so one must dominate the sheep. Not in a mean way, just in a controlling way. So first you have to hold it down, then you have to shave it. He started under the front legs, moved down the belly and the rear legs, then he swept up to the head and back, the whole time these thick clumps of wool were falling to the ground.
I think I could shear a sheep, but I don’t think I could fight to hold it down the whole time, animals are strong.
I picked up the wool, after Steve was done, and put it in a bag. There was a subtle oil quality, a silky fluffiness. So now we have two bags (I was hoping to get three bags) of wool; one white, one black, and we don’t know what to do with them. I was considering trying to make wool socks, but I can neither spin wool nor knit.
Also the sheep are a lot smaller than I thought they were, they don’t look all big and bad now, just scared little sheep.


  1. You have raw wool and a desire for socks, sounds like it's time to start learning skill.

    One thing homestead life was never short of was new skills to be learned.

  2. try has a section on spinning and knitting. it's the best on the web. i've learned a lot there

  3. I'm a knitter and I can tell you from experience it's not a simple process getting from the wool you have in your hands to yarn- I would suggest that you check into different processing websites- there a lot of people who still do it the old way- with washing the wool several times to carding it into roving and then spinning it- there are also industries who can do the same and most use a lot of harsh chemicals to remove the lanolin in the wool- that slickness you felt in the cuttings. Check out the different processes- and then figure out how much effort you want to invest. I personaly by roving to spin and to felt with.