Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sheep Of Color

The shearers are back in town this week and Bill called the other day to say he had some wool for me.  You see, colored wool is very undesirable in the commercial wool market.  In fact, if you get some black wool mixed into a bale of white wool, it downgrades the entire bale.  


Used to be these pretty black, brown or gray fleeces would hit the garbage or ended up tossed into a junk bale to be made into industrial felt.  Now, if Bill thinks they might be of interest to a crazy sheep lady (who, yes, probably already has more wool than she really needs ;-), he bags it up and sends it my way.


Well, what do we have here?  Some really pretty Jacob fleeces!  Some people rescue dogs or cats.  I rescue wool, especially Jacob wool.  Well, and dogs and cats...and occasionally even a fleece still on a sheep ;-). 


I definitely have some work ahead of me sorting out good from bad, but for the couple that aren't super great, there are a couple that really are.  This one is exceptionally nice.  Great color and very soft.


This is an interesting one.  Jacobs are technically supposed to have very distinct black and white patches, like the previous fleece.  This one isn't so much freckled (a common "fault") as the black looks almost frosted.  Solidly frosted.  I've not seen that patterning before.  The beauty of colored sheep.


Look at the length!


Another very distinctly black and white fleece.  And here's where things get interesting.  It (finally) dawned on me that the black I was seeing was just that, black.  Usually the tips of a black fleece sun bleach to brown...  I went back through, turning them over and sure enough, these are the blackest Jacob fleeces I've even seen.


Since the producer had no interest in the wool, I can't imagine they coated these sheep.  The fleeces are pretty free of VM (vegetable matter) so I can't imagine they've been locked in a barn all winter.  Things that make you go "Hmmmm...."  

I bet there's a washer full in the morning ;-).

21 comments:

The Dancing Donkey said...

It amazes me that there isn't a market for the colored wool. All those beautiful, natural colors...such a waste. Good thing there are crazy sheep ladies around to rescue them:)

Spinners End Farm said...

Nice to have someone ready to rescue fleeces for you!

Andee said...

Oh those are such fun fleeces! I love all the colors.

Thirteen Sheep (Or More) said...

What wonderful fleeces! Maybe the shearer could bring you the sheep too?!

DFW said...

I know absolute nothing about fleeces but those look beautiful.

Pam said...

Alien sheep. That's the answer. You see, alien sheep have no need for coats because there is no VM where they come from. Not sure what they eat...

Alice said...

I agree with Pam. Maybe #20 can explain it.

Susan said...

I love sheep of color. And I really like the end result of those fleeces. How nice that you can give them a home.... :)

schoonoverfarm said...

Keep saving the wool of color!

Shine said...

Lucky!!!!!
You're right, only a crazy sheep person would see the IMMENSE value of those gorgeous fleece. :)
Blessings~Shine

Terry said...

Sheep of color, horses of color. They're fun!
Beautiful fleeces. I can't wait to see what you make with them.

Miha Giustina said...

I know nothing about sheep fleece, but this one looks so healthy and strong even to my untrained eye!

I would choose a natural-color fleece of any color/shade over dyed fleece any time.:-)

Sheepmom said...

Good save on some lovely looking fiber. What about the sheep at the wolf sanctuary? Are you shearing them this year? (Hope somebody is....)

farmlady said...

What fun... but what a lot of work ahead for you.
I only cleaned wool once (by hand) and never again. It was very dirty and took forever... but my hands were smooth for days from all the lanolin.
Can't wait to see the cleaned fleece and the resulting yarn.

Eleanor P said...

We have the greatest and nicest shearers in the world! I'll try to sort my sheep by color next time to give them bags of white and bags of colored wool! What a great idea for him to bring you wool.

Tombstone Livestock said...

I prefer the natural colored wool vs. dyed ... spun some from one of my rams, really like the grey running thru the white.

sheepsclothing said...

Yum! love the frosted black. just gorgeous!

Kathy said...

Lucky duck! Did you have to put anything under your pillow at night for the Fleece Fairy to come?

Stephen Andrew said...

So beautiful! Can't wait to see your creations!

dibear said...

Lovely fleece. I can see some beautiful sweaters out of it. :)

You actually wash the fleece in your washing machine????

thecrazysheeplady said...

Yep. No agitation, just fill with super hot water, add soap, add fleece, let soak, spin out, repeat and rinse :-).

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