The New York sheep and wool festival is going on this weekend in Rhinebeck, NY and I seriously look forward to the time when my littles are big enough for me to head out for the weekend to this mythical and legendary fiber event!
But since that is a good way off, instead, we’ll talk about our own fiber happenings. Last weekend was our shearing.
They were all sheared last May and I won't be scheduling shearings quite so close again. I plan to work on a March/April and November schedule after this. But we still got some lovely fleeces off of them.
I wanted to try separating the tog and thel this time. Icelandic sheep are dual-coated, which means that they have two layers off wool. The thel, which is closer to their skin and is classified as very fine fiber, has a microns rating of 19-21. That means it is among the softest of wools, and used for baby things. The longer outside fiber is called tog and is rated 27 microns and classified as a medium coarse fiber. When you mix the two, you get a wool which is great for sweaters and hats and mittens.
It was actually quite easy to separate the tog and thel. I just held the fiber in the bottom of my hand and pulled and the long tog would be pulled away. Icelandic wool is not very greasy at all which is SUCH a blessing when you are doing this sort of work!
Sophia and Grace had a lot of fun "helping" to pull apart the tog and thel. They mostly enjoyed running around with cast off wool and playing.
Lily did us all the enormous favor of napping throughout the entire sheep shearing! Yay!
So now everyone is nice and ready to grow a warm coat over the winter, which we will take right off in March and let them begin working on a gorgeous long fleece which just screams sweaters and socks and mittens and sheepy love.