Friday, June 25, 2010
Waiting for Wool
There are two harvest for a shepherdess raising dual-purpose sheep -lamb butchering and wool shearing. I sheared some of my sheep myself last fall, and then this spring had a shearer named Constance Wiseman do the rest. She can be contacted at email@example.com or call 360-320-1755. Being a relatively new shearer, she was readily available and I applaud her eagerness and enthusiasm. She compensated for being a small woman when shearing Paris, the hulking ram beast, by hobbling him.
I took the fleece from the first shearing the Gretchen's Wool Mill to just be washed. I plan to dye, card and blend the fiber and can't wait to get started. Yesterday she e-mailed me they are ready to be picked up and I am meeting her this morning. I am so excited to get started dyeing and blending the resulting colors. After washing my own wool for the first few years, it is such a luxury to have Gretchen do all the hard work. I believe she really does a much better job than me. Her website is http://www.gretchenswoolmill.com/ or call 360-793-0962.
I also have some fleece at Superior Wool Mills. These fleece I am having processed into rovings to offer for sale to handspinners. I was surprised to find that their mill is located only 3 minutes from my daughter's friend's house, tucked back in a very nice residential neighborhood in Edmonds -not on a farm. When I dropped the fleece off, they were busy preparing to attend the Black Sheep Gathering but said they would begin processing mine as soon as they returned. Their website is http://www.superior-fibers.com/ or call 425-778-6519
I recently took this photo while visiting Eileen Hordyk at her farm in Arlington to interview her for the spinning guild's newsletter. She told me she was also planning to attend the Black Sheep Gathering. She has been showing there and traveling down with Lin Schweider, since 1990. They both are honest-to-goodness real shepherdess' and amazing women that I admire enormously. The first time I met Eileen she was teaching a shearing class and I learned she shears 1-2 sheep a day, three times a week. The second time, I learned she also works nights as a labor and delivery nurse, and the third time I met her she was spinning an amazing boucle yarn from a peach-colored wool and mohair blended fiber. I couldn't help thinking, "I am not worthy to touch this woman's sheep shears!" Having the opportunity to invite myself for a visit and get to know producers like Eileen is why I love doing the Calendar Girls articles for the Valley Spinner's Guild newsletter. I highly recommend anyone belonging to a spinning guild and wanting to be more personally involved with the other members, to volunteer themselves to do this. It is amazing how it has enriched my life and how much fun it is.