With the number of fleeces that I look at during fiber festivals and more, and my limited experience in skirting at Meridianjacobs farm, I decided I REALLY wanted to understand what I’m looking at and looking for. Then of course there’s the research in which type of sheep I want to raise in the next few years. What better than the American Sheep Industry Association to learn about wool. And if I’m going to do that, I might as well jump in all the way.
There aren’t that many schools, but luckily there’s one about three hours from my house through UC Davis. The classes fill up fast, I mean …within hours.
It was a FULL three days. Information ranged from the cellular structure of wool fibers, estimating the value of a fleece on the commercial market, recognizing the qualities in a particular fleece (as well as the entire clip), to breeding strategies in a flock. An amazing amount of information. Of course we spent a good amount of time in the barn. And, while shearing students learned their skill, we dug deep into skirting and sorting fleece after fleece, after fleece. I think we all loved every moment of it!
On top of it all I got to meet some great people; from the stunningly knowledgeable instructors to the other students that included other fiber enthusiasts & artists as well as the enviable small sheep & alpaca farmers.
I’m missing sheep already and even more excited about Black Sheep Festival and the fleeces. And of course all of the sheep breeds!