Monday, 16 November 2009

Shetland Sheep Society's Fleece Day

Firstly apologies for no photos, I did take some, but they don't really show anything meaningful.
It was a great day and thankfully the weather stayed fine. I had the usual "discussion" with the sat nav about the route I wanted to take. The fact that the A61 through Thirsk was closed didn't help matters!!!!
One of the Shetland Sheep Committee members who judges fleeces, Juliet, spent the morning talking about the faults and defects that can be found in fleeces, some hereditary, some man made and some down to the weather. How the shearing, wrapping and storage of the fleece is also important, as well as some of her early experiences of spinning fleeces.
There was a lot of discussion about what you want the fleeces for and the fact that "the book" on showing Shetland sheep asks for a shorter staple than a lot of hand spinners prefer and is this the right way to go etc. As you can imagine everyone has their own opinion on the matter and no one person was either right or wrong. There was also some discussion on the value of micron counting the ram's fleeces and making the standard less than the current micron count of 30. I am not going to open that Pandora's box here on the blog as views were obviously very divided.
Even though I deal with fleece everyday and I have a business selling fibre, I still learnt one or two things and with a fresh view on looking at fleeces I had another good look at the ones I have in store, to which end two more have been "turfed out" as not being good enough for what I want.
Paul Crookes was present, he's the owner of the Halifax Spinning Co. I've met him a couple of times and have seen the samples of the work he is producing, so I left him a couple of my fleeces to process for me in pencil roving's for some new ideas I have for next year.
That's it really, before we knew it, it was time to go home. It's been hard to describe the day, it was so interesting and so informative, but hard to relate back just exactly what happened. There is talk of holding another fleece assessment day next year. Will look forward to attending that day.

1 comment:

Jenny Holden said...

I wish I'd been able to go along, it sounds fascinating. I wonder whether we will ever get a Society position on fleece length? I'm wondering what to do about it in my flock!