Wool & Fleece

We retain selected fleeces from our best ewes each year for sale to handspinners and crafters. Wool quality and characteristics will vary from sheep to sheep so we prefer to sell fleece by private treaty based upon direct negotiation with each buyer. Availability of roving is limited but feel free to ask (we balance a lot of chores around here). 

We can ship wool or you can arrange to pick it up at the farm. If you have an interest in buying wool, please return the Contact Us form and we will follow up with you. 

Historically wool has been as much a liability as an asset to commercial sheep producers due to low prices and the labor and cost of annual shearing of a production flock. More recently new methods for processing wool into wash and wear fabrics has resulted in a renewed interest in this fiber accompanied by higher prices paid to sheep farmers. 

In any case, we still have to get the wool off at least once a year. In the following photo, Jonathan is shearing a Tunis ewe. He has shorn our flocks since we first started raising sheep in the early 1980's. In recent years Jonathan has been accompanied by his son, Ben, and they typically spend most of a day at our place shearing over one hundred animals. 

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Every ewe is unique with regard to many traits and wool quality is no exception. We carefully screen each fleece and decide which one's to pull aside and pack individually for future sale to handspinners and crafters. 

A raw fleece is straight from the sheep and 'skirted' to remove wool from the belly and lower leg regions that typically contain a lot of dirt. The next step would be to wash the fleece, then card it into 'roving' and spin the roving into yarn. A very clean fleece may not need washing. 

Karen uses both a drop spindle and spinning wheel, but prefers the drop spindle. You can carry the drop spindle in a shoulder bag with your roving and sit and spin most anywhere. School kids love to watch her using the drop spindle to make yarn from the wool roving. 

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In 2012, Karen entered four fleeces in several classes at the Gwinnett County Fair and all four fleeces placed within the top four of their respective class. Above is a raw fleece ready to wash, card and spin. See closeups of fleeces and wool locks on the Fleece Photos page.

For a glossary of wool terminology go here: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/livestk/01400.html

Copyright Tim and Karen Leard ©2012-2013 
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