Saturday, May 05, 2007

Save the Fleece!

Meet Hank.

Hank is a sheep shearer who gave a demonstration today at the Midtown Farmers' Market for opening day.

Hank is a really, really swell guy.

So swell that when he noticed Rebecca and me drooling over the pile of freshly shorn gray fleece that was laying outside the pen he said, "Go ahead and take it."

Rebecca and I go off to the side for a quick conversation (and a cup of coffee): Is he serious? Can we really take all of this wool? What would we do with it? We only just learned how to spin and pretty much suck at it still. But...this is WOOL.

We go back and say "How much do you want for it?"

Hank says "Oh nothing, I toss it all the time. Nobody wants it anymore. I figure I throw out about 3-4,000 pounds of fleece each year because there's no market for it anymore. Nobody wants the gray or black fleece at all."


Knitters and Spinners: We have Hank's phone number. We can hook you up. Save the fleece!

So I walked out of the Farmers' Market with a real burlap "wool bag" from the farm filled with an entire sheep's worth of wool - about ten pounds. It's sitting in my garage now (which will smell like a barn tomorrow, no doubt). Rebecca and I have decided to sit on it until the summer when we'll clean it up, card it and spin it up together.

How many sweaters do you think we can get out of one sheep?
We were both thrilled to learn that River Winds Farm is a new vendor at the Market on the first Saturday of each month...wool and yarn!


LaVerna said...

Free wool?Thats is soo freakin cool!You should really knit that guy a scarf or something for being so nice.

Aunt Jenny said...

2 sweaters I bet. You have to discard the edges (manure tags and crud) and any short stuff that just falls away. HOW FUN that you got it like that. What color is it? Is it from the sheep in the picture??
You are going to have so much fun taking it from sheep to socks (or whatever you knit) how fun!!

Knittymama said...

AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! I'm jumping up and down for you right now!!!

Chris said...

What sort of sheep? I think that'll make a difference. For example, I believe that Suffolks have what's called "carpet grade" fleece...

Anonymous said...

Hagitha Twittlesnap checking in and now jumping up and down in excitement for you! Do you have a wheel or drop spindle? I've never processed wool before, it looks like lots of work. But if the muggles can do it then so can we!

christina said...

what a riot!!! i really wanted to see the sheep sheering, but the weekend was packed. i love the picture of you with the wool bag!

Ginny said...

teach me teach me!! you look hilarious in that photo

theflyingmum said...

Oooooo! Are you going to dye any of it? i have a fabulous book called "The Craft of Natural Dyeing" by Jenny Dean. That would be so cool!

ruth said...

Wow, free wool fresh off the sheep - very, very cool.