Cambridge (SHF1305) was born at Shepherd’s Hey Farm on January 27, 2013 (photo by Lee Langstaff).
Isn’t she cute in her pretty flower show coat??? (The sheep wear the coat to keep the fleece clean and to keep the sun from bleaching the fleece.)
I know what you are thinking….”OMG she’s done it. She’s bought a sheep to keep in her NYC apartment.”
Don’t worry, Cambridge still lives at Shepherd’s Hey Farm with her brethren of beautiful natural colored long wool sheep. She was bred for her fleece, though. So no…. while I did not bring home sheep for Finn and Lucy I was lusting after her fleece! Anyone who knows me can probably guess why I fell in love with Cambridge and wanted the fleece this little girl was going to produce, right? Not only was she darling, she was every single shade of grey known under the sun.
I begged to please let me be the one to process and make something out of Cambridge’s fleece. Sure, I had just begun spinning, but I thought that I could improve enough by the time she was to be sheared to do her fleece proud.
And on November 22, Emily The Shearer came to The Farm, and sheared 21 sheep. And Cambridge was one of them.
Cambridge did a very good job growing her fleece. It was thick and luxurious. She looked like she was very dark on the outside. But as Emily worked (and she was FAST)….all the grey in all the different glorious shades emerged.
Say it with me. “Ooooooooooooooo”.
Cambridge is 42% Romney, 19% Border Leicester, 16% Corriedale, 12% Lincoln, 7% Romeldale, 2% Rambouillet and 2% Wensleydale. I’ve actually linked to the fleece characteristics for all these breeds for you so if you are really curious, you can go look. The conclusion you will draw, I think, is that her fleece is probably “not soft” (think cashmere). It is true that as yarn, Cambridge’s fleece will likely not be next to the skin soft. That is not what she has been bred for.
What she has been bred for is this:
Long locks, bouncy, silky, even crimp (see the light grey locks in the foreground on this picture), oh and the COLOR. It is absolutely gorgeous. And the fleece felt good to the touch, what spinners may call “a great hand”…it’s not “soft” the way most people would think, but it feels good to the touch.
I was THRILLED. And since a picture is worth a thousand words….
After shearing, Cambridge was given worming medication, put back into a coat (a size smaller because….well, look, she was all fleece!!) and given lots of good food so she can keep warm…and grow some fleece for me next year!
Now the question was….what to do with this gorgeous bundle? Her fleece weighed nearly 8 pounds before skirting. I pulled out 10.75 ounces (this is not a magic number, I just pulled out what I wanted and then weighed what I pulled out) and got help processing her fleece.
Small amounts of fleece are hand washed carefully…
and as she is a long wool, we decided to hand comb locks and put it through a diz to create a “top”.
I decided to keep the colors as separate as I could because her very light grey was incredible and the depth on the charcoal was insane. Think I like her fleece?
Don’t you? Hand combing produces these coiled fluffs of the fleece with all the fibers aligned. This is going to be a breeze to spin. In fact….here she is on my bobbin! This is the light colored bit….it is literally silver!