The last (first) step in the knitting process

Last weekend Christine and I went to a Sheepshearing festival just a few miles from home. In the weeks leading up to the event I had conversations with two separate coworkers that were strikingly similar. They went something like:

Coworker: Oh hey, I saw a sign downtown for a sheepshearing festival in Waltham! I thought of you because you’re always knitting and stuff. Haha. So crazy!
Me: I have my tickets for that already.
Them: Hahah. Wait …oh. You’re serious, aren’t you? 

sheepshearing

I though the festival would be a handful of fiber enthusiasts, but when we turned into the parking lot I was shocked to see several fields full of cars. There were what felt like a thousand people there. And kids. TONS of kids. I think because it was the first warm weekend, there were animals to pet, and lots of fun fair food.

fiberfest

There were vendors for yarn, jewelry, soap, food, art, etc. But the best part by far was the sheepshearing tent. A tall, thin, white-haired man was taking the sheep out of the pen one by one, holding them steady without any restraints,  and ridding them of their fleeces with a big pair of shears. I may have elbowed my way past several small children to secure a good spot at the fence. Especially when he sheared the huge horned ram.

shearing

And so now I have my eyes on yet another step in the production process. First it was knitting. Then spinning and dyeing. Now I want to learn how to shear a sheep. Preferably my own sheep that I own someday. Are there any steps in front of owning and shearing sheep? I don’t think so….that’s probably the beginning. The first step. So I don’t need to hurry and get to it just yet.

sheep

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6 comments

  1. Salli · May 5, 2013

    We visited a lovely farm a few weeks ago to buy a fleece. The gentleman raises the sheep for meat and sells the wool for fairly cheap. A couple of us got some to practice processing. He invited us back for shearing in a few weeks, so I think we’ll take the little ones to watch.

    I think we nearly have one of my friends convinced that she and her husband need to own a farm for all of us.

  2. Kim · May 5, 2013

    Once you have mastered that skill you can move to New Zealand and go to town!

    • foxflat · May 5, 2013

      Or maybe I can just find a vacation package there where someone teaches you how and you stay at a farm for a week

  3. Carlin · May 5, 2013

    If you aren’t already familiar with Juniper Moon Farms, Susan maintains a good blog, and discusses owning and shearing sheep at least a few times a year. I am local(ish) to Waltham, and sad I missed this event!

    • foxflat · May 5, 2013

      Thanks Carlin. I wasn’t familiar with this blog…I’ll check it out!

  4. bonniehull · May 5, 2013

    Maybe Sally could get a couple of sheep for you to practice on…! Hah…

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