We started our second day at Black Sheep Gathering with a trip to the Wool Show where Judith McKenzie was judging fleeces. It’s a real education and a pleasure to listen to her. Here are some helpful tips I picked up:
– Be sure to enter your fleece in the appropriate category if you want to have any chance of winning.
– You need to skirt and prepare your fleeces more carefully when submitting them to a show geared toward hand spinners than you would at other types of shows.
– Yellow yolk stain isn’t something to be afraid of, but you should wash the fleece promptly so that the bacteria doesn’t eat into your wool.
– Don’t try to increase the weight of your fleece by hiding old shoes or rocks in the center. The judges will not be amused. Also, please don’t include the severed ear of the sheep you were shearing. That’s a source of concern in more than one way.
– Shearers are few and far between. Shearers willing to shear Shetlands are even rarer. Shetland sheep are smart and feisty, and both sexes sport fierce horns, which they are willing to wield in defense of their fleeces.
Mom and I returned after judging to pick out a couple of fleeces to take home. She snagged a gray Corriedale-Romney cross. I managed to claim a black Corriedale (it may fade to a cinnamon color after washing). I was very pleased with my find as it was first place in its category.