The black sheep. The wild child. Now, I didn’t actually meet Mariah when I was back in IL visiting, but I feel like I’ve gotten to know her a bit today as I’ve been working with her fleece.
I washed up some of both Ulla and Mariah yesterday, but the black sheep kept calling to me, with her crazy, curly sunbleached tips.
I know some people put coats on their sheep to protect from weathering and veg contamination and all, but I actually really like lightened tips on a fleece, so long as the ends aren’t weak and damaged. It gives the color of yarn more depth and interest, in my opinion. ( But then, I really like a natural, sheepy look.)
Mariah has a double coated fleece- the more “primitive” style of Shetland (as opposed to the two others I brought home, who are the single-coated, crimpier style). Her undercoat is very fine and silky, and the outercoat is longer, and a bit more coarse. They are also different colors.
You can separate them out if you prefer- it’s not terribly difficult. All you really have to do is hold the tips secure and kind of rake the undercoat out with a flick carder or comb:
But I really like to spin the two together right out of the lock. It’s super easy, as the outercoat , being longer, holds together the shorter fibers of the undercoat, so you don’t have to put nearly as mush twist into it as if you were spinning the undercoat alone. And then you get the wonderful, tweedy look of the two shades plus sunlighted tips, already expertly blended together by mother nature.
Here she is, posing with one of my favorite flowers.
Beauty, eh? I’m going for “wool-as decor” kind of thing there-
Beautiful! I do coat my adult Shetlands, only because they would get impossibly full of VM if I did not, because their “pasture” is a wood lot. Think bark, moss, and sticks as well as bits of hay and weeds!