My sheep are sheared once a year, in mid-April. I only have 7 sheep, but yowza, they produce a lot of wool! I have this deal with myself that I need to sell, spin or somehow use the nearly 50 pounds of their fine fleece they produce annually by the time the next shearing rolls around. It's too expensive to use as mulch or insulation so I'm busy dying, drying and spinning it.
See how wooly they are?
This is Mocha's wool, all laid out after shearing last year. I pull off the dirty belly wool, the dingleberries (NOT a type of edible berry! Urban Dictionary definition: a delinquent partial turd which grasps anal shrubery causing brownish crust to accumulate in ones boxers). Well my sheep don't wear boxers, but you get the picture!
I bundle it all up and send it off to be washed and carded at a mill in Michigan and it comes back all spiffy clean and dingleberry free.
I have piles of it.
Yesterday I dyed pounds and pounds of it and hung it on the fence to dry.
It was a typical March day, windy, gusty, blowy. The wool blew all over so I had to run around picking up bits and pieces. The birds will be happy to have insulation for their nests.
Ready to spin.
I'm so over the zen of treadling a spinning wheel. I use an electric wheel to git er done.
On nice days, I spin outdoors.
I fill bobbin after bobbin, then make it into a skein, soak the skein in water (with a bit of hair conditioner), spin it out, hang it up to block it (putting weight on it to pull it down so it takes out some of the twist).
And after a year, it's ready to sell!
It still amazes me that these critters produce something so warm to wear. I really do enjoy the process, but there's many steps from the wool on their backs to the finished sweater on my back. Now back to that spinning!