Anyone shear sheep or spin wool?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by okiemom, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

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    I live in Tulsa Ok. I am going to need help shearing my two wollies and I hate the thought of just throwing away thw wool. Unfortunatly, the wool is not in teh best shape but I would be willing to learn how the keep it clean for the future. If anyone would want the wool they can have it.
     
  2. mistymanor

    mistymanor Member

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    Hmmm . . . . Where I can't help with the shearing, if you either have a local stream or if you can set up a tarp and a hose in your back yard, the wool is probably salvagable - put it in the water & see if you can get a couple neighborhood kids to stomp on it - literally! It gets a lot of the junk out of the fiber, and the running water washes it away. We did this at a friend's house with about a half-dozen fleeces, and then spun some, felted some, & etc - the fleeces washed this way came out cleaner than the fleeces washed in the hot-water & soap method.
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Dirt and manure etc. aren't really a big problem it's hay and burrs that make the most work. Once the fleece is off you "skirt" it or remove the worst of the soiled wool. Hand pick out as much vegitation as you can, it is tedious if there is a lot but the best time to take as much out as you can. I've only ever used the hot water soap method to wash wool, and any agitation would create feting or severe matting. The feece is then picked with a picker or opened up by hand or with a comb, carded and on and on. I hope you can find someone in OK to shear; it's not that hard once you ge the hang of it. We've hacked off fleeces with cattle clippers before and the wool could have been used after.
     
  4. mistymanor

    mistymanor Member

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    Actually, it's the combo of hot water & agitation that starts felting & matting - the cold water & agitation doesn't do it. And we just took the fleeces after they'd dried & carded them extra carefully. These were fleeces that someone was fixing to throw away, but they came out wonderfully. The one that was mine specifically came out a nice clean white - I'm planning on dying a bit of that one of these days (Read: In my copious free time8))
     
  5. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    I would suggest the easiest way to get a clean fleece is by careful shearing. If you watch a professional shearer, one who uses the 'sit her on her butt' technique, you will notice that first he takes off the belly wool and usually throws this aside for the 'shed hand' to put this with the others. Then he cleans up around the tail end and leg areas. He also does the face at this time. At this stage the only wool left on the sheep is the main fleece. If she is a coloured face breed the coloured wool is also separated from the fleece by this method.

    So, if you shear those places first then sweep all the soiled and less desirable wool away from your work area you can proceed to take off the fleece and you will have a good chance of mainly clean wool.

    Of course if the fleece is dirty with vegetable material and even manure it is probably easier to clean this dirt off while still on the sheep.

    Just one little tip. You can shear a sheep to make her look good or to harvest the fleece. If you are really good you can do both but otherwise if the objective is to harvest the fleece try not to cut the wool twice, if there are clumpy bits remaining leave them until next year as the very short fibres are not worth harvesting anyway and she will doubtless look OK in a couple of weeks when it all starts to grow again.
     
  6. Patti B

    Patti B Member

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    Hello,

    I live in NJ and I am learning to spin. I have just started though.

    Patti B
     
  7. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Hmmmmm! When I retire I think I will get myself a Harley and some shearing gear then travel all around your country shearing a few sheep here and a few sheep while bludging home cooking at each stop! :)
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You could probably beat a few tickets with a line like that!
     
  9. tingo

    tingo Member

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    good luck on learning or shearing your sheep - are you certain there are no shearers making their circuits around your state and area? is time they should be making their way around, all over the nation and canada? has to be. one of the best resources is your own univ of ok- ag/extension college/dept. call em up - they must know who to send you to (to email, call). tingo
     
  10. tingo

    tingo Member

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    thot i jes sent reply - didn't i????? :confused: