May 11, 2011

Sheep Shearing at my Farm

As you may know, I keep a pair of Black Welsh Mountain Sheep and being spring, it was time to shear those beauties.  Shearing sheep and other fleece-bearing animals, such as llamas, alpacas, and fiber goats, requires great skill and considerable strength.  For your animal’s safety and for the best fleece yield, it’s important to have this done by someone with the proper expertise, so we called Erin Pirro of Pirro Farm, LLC.  Sheep shearing is quite an amazing process.  You may think that after trimming, the wool just falls off in clumps.  However, because wool fibers are covered with tiny scales that cling to one another, the fleece actually stays together in one piece after shearing.  This property is what also allows wool to be spun into yarn so easily.  Once the fleece is shorn, it must then be skirted, a process of picking through and removing undesirable bits of wool, hay, and other debris.  Next, the fleece is washed and then goes through another process called carding, turning it into a fluffy, manageable fiber that can then be spun into yarn.