Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Icelandic Breeding Groups/ Washing Fleeces

Today I broke the sheep into three breeding groups. I am only breeding 12 ewes this year so each ram will have 4 girls each. Hopefully this will keep everyone happy and fence breaks will be kept to a minimum! This means the lambs should start arriving in April, just after kidding season ends. With the exception of the Nigerian goats, who are due January, most of the dairy girls should be due February and March.

I chose not to breed the ewe lambs born this year in hopes that they will take this extra time to grow and hopefully prove to be more parasite resistance in the future. Wouldn't that be grand.

I also spent some time skirting fleeces. Of the 16 to do, I got 6 done. One of the little moorit ewe lamb fleeces was exceptionally lovely so I decided to keep it for myself. I brought it up to the house and washed it. The fleeces were really clean this year so it only took a couple of soakings and one rinse. Once dry, I carded it up and now it is ready to spin into yarn.
This is how I wash my fleeces:

Run hot water in my washer (you must have a top load machine) with a bit of dish detergent. Gently submerge the fleece. Let soak 15 minutes or so. Spin out water. DO NOT agitate or you will have a felted mess! Take out fleece and fill again. Repeat this step until water is pretty clean. Try to keep temperature about the same each time as extreme temp changes can cause felting too. Rinse the same way. Let air dry on a towel. Once dry you are ready to card and spin.

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