Thursday, February 07, 2008

Rovings - Up Close and Personal

I have been asked by a few individuals what the rovings from the sheeps' 2007 shearing look like. I hope this picture helps.
Alphabetically from the left we have: Ailee, Amanda, Colin, Lacey, Loretta, and last but not least, Skittles.
Ailee is Amanda's daughter and it really shows and feels in her fleece. She's lighter in color than her mother, but both of them have incredible softness. I have been spinning some laceweight yarn out of Ailee's roving and can hardly wait to get a skein finished and washed to see what it does. Colin's fleece has been spoken for - well, most of his and Loretta's, his sister's. I want to make something for my DH from Colin as they were the best of Bud's when Colin was small. I think they would still be that way if it had not been for so much going on this past summer.
Next we have Lacey. Lacey is the mother of both Colin and Loretta, so I guess it's fitting her sample is in between the two. Lacey is the Leader of the Pack. She's the first one to investigate what's going on, the first to be friendly, and the first to the feed each morning! :)
Loretta's is next. I was surprised to see that Loretta was more of a dark brown than her brother's black although if I were to put both on either side of Skittles fleece, they would both look brown to Skittles black.
And last, but not least, is the Ole Man's fleece...Skittles' fleece is more coarse than the others. You can definitely tell a difference, but I have to mention that his fleece is still softer than, say a Karakul fleece, or a Romney ram's fleece. It's all relative...I have spun a skein of his roving up and while I would not wear his fleece next to my skin, it will still have many uses. And like me, he's getting more grey with each year that passes. At least I'm in good company.
I will have to assess our 2007 lambs to know what type of fleece he'll throw. And we have a batch of 2008 lambs cooking as we speak. Ah, Christmas in April for this shepherd! :) I also have been toying with sending in fleece samples for micro evaluation. Whle a lamb's fleece can give you a "taste" of what their adult fleeces will be, I still wait for a sheep's first fleece after their lamb fleece has been shorn to make a determination of whether or not that individual will be a good fiber producer.
All of this will be in each sheep's file and will help me make decisions about who to keep, who to sell. We can not keep all the sheep we produce here as we are not a very big operation with limited space. So I know that soon, I will have to start letting sheep find new homes. Until then I will enjoy each and every one of them.

And if I listen and observe, I may just learn a thing or two from each one...

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~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

I hate haveing to decide who to keep and who to sell! I feel like we should be able to keep them all... the neighbors should be supportive of this and let us graze our sheep on their property. Seriously though, we do want to expand our little flock, but due to pen space right now, we are pretty limited too :(

Sharon said...

I never tire of the Shetland color palette. My neighbor Mim says the she just hates the culling process, because her culls become locker lambs. She decides who will contribute to her overall flock and then culls the rest, but she describes is as going through - you stay, you stay, you die. And this year her she's had some locker lambs longer than she expected so she says it's been even harder. I'm glad we just have wethers.

Leigh said...

Absolutely gorgeous! What do you plan to make with the yarn you spin from it?

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

What a great photo of all the rovings lined up! I know how hard it is to get accurate colors, but it looks like you did great. I may go ahead and bite the bullet at BSG this year and send some of my fleeces off to be commercially processed. At least I can save shipping one way!

Rascal said...

If you need someone to knead them and drool all over them, then I'm your Cat. I do a great job with Mom's fur collection. Just ask her.

Kathy said...

thanks, Rascal! The "Kids" here do a pretty good job at it too! Shadow loves to rub the rovings all over his face, especially Skittles' fleece. But we have to watch Pixel as she'll actually eat it.

Franna said...

Nice, nice! Looks like lots of neat spinning ahead. The color range was one reason I got Shetlands. Isn't it fun?
I've got roving coming back from Stone Hedge - I'm so excited!