It's quite possible that I have found my next great craft adventure. My daughter's 4H club (which I'm co-leader of) was invited to Chickasaw Farm today for their Shearing Days.
There were 31 sheep sheared today. I did not catch the name of the gentleman who did the shearing and hoof trimming. He was a little too busy to chat. I was really amazed at how fast it goes.
Once the sheep is shorn (is that the right word?), the fleece is then laid out to be skirted. Any big bits of straw are removed along with feces and extremely matted spots. Somehow I missed getting a picture of that. Probably because I was too busy learning to do it. I was so amazed at how soft and fluffy the wool is right off the sheep like that. And my hands are so soft now from all the lanolin in the wool.
Not only do they have sheep on the farm, but they have a store where you can purchase yarn, roving, felting needles, knitted items and even raw fleece. I was a good girl though. All I bought for myself was some white and dark brown roving for needle felting projects.
Sheila Henry is the lady in red. She and her husband own the farm. She was kind enough to tell our group a bit about the process and let us all touch and feel the various roving. I was quite surprised at how much the texture varied from one sheep breed to the next.
They also have Alpaca. They didn't shear them today though. I'm told they aren't as docile as the sheep and there is a lot of spitting that goes on when the alpaca shearing happens. For that reason they don't have it open like they do for the sheep shearing.
This gal made my little Megan very happy. She loves alpaca and she came right up when Meg went to the fence for a closer look. I'm so glad she didn't spit on anyone. At some point Megan would like some leg warmers made from alpaca wool. I wish I had time to make them before her birthday. Maybe she will still want them for Christmas.Now here is where I could really get into trouble. They have French Angora Rabbits. In July they will have babies for sale. I understand Rob not wanting me to get a sheep. They take up too much room, require fencing and eat a lot. But a rabbit only needs a hutch and protection from the elements. They don't eat much. And I would have new wool every few days. I wonder how long it would take him to notice if I brought one home.
The other thing I saw there that I really want to learn is spinning. This lady was kind enough to let me take her picture. I wish I would have gotten a closer picture of her spun yarn and the roving. The colors were so pretty. There was also a lady there with a drop spindle, which looks like a small disk with a dowel through it and a hook at one end.
I actually ordered a drop spindle when I got home. As much as I would love a spinning wheel they cost too much. A drop spindle is less than $20 including the shipping.
If you would like more information about Chickasaw Farm you can visit their web site at chickasawfarm.angelfire.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Their store hours are Monday and Wednesday 10am - 5pm and Thursday 10am- 8pm. They also have workshops on some Saturdays. May 1st is with Rita Petteys from Yarnhollow about colors. June 5th is Sue PufPaff who will be making a felted scarf. July 10th will be Bonnie Havlicek teaching all about Angora Rabbits.