Now, i wish i had it together enough to be able to show the step by step progression of removing the fleece...but in the end i took like 50 photos between 2 sheep and it was all a bit too much to digest. So instead i chose some of the better pics, where you can actually tell where the animal is in the mountain of fiber!
The shearing master is my friend Wendy. She lives down the valley on a large ranch with 30 some sheep plus alpacas and angora goats and shears them all herself. She was very fast...about 40 minutes per animal!
All praise to powerful farmer women.
The process basically starts with seating the sheep and starting with the head. Then the shoulders, then one side of the ribs to the butt, then you flip em' and do the other side of the ribs to the butt, then legs and lastly the gnarly belly wool. The art of it is in knowing how to handle the animal causing the least stress, being swift and sure, not cutting them and also being able to keep the fleece clean and in tact. phew!
In the end the fleeces were about 10 pounds each ! After skirting they were each about 8lbs.They are fairly clean and mat free, i'm pretty happy with them. I"ve certainly got my work cut out for me! A nice big blanket is all of 7 or 8 pounds...so i'll have plenty left over to sell as just yarn...and lupe hasn't even been shorn yet!