Fleeces for Sale 2020. The global pandemic is forcing cancellation of many fiber sales this year. Instead, we will be offering skirted fleeces for sale on our website. Please click here for photos of individual fleeces, with pricing information.
Fleece from one of our ~ 90% pure Perendale lambs, “Viola”. This white lamb was shorn as a baby (to avoid overheating during mid-Atlantic summers) and again at 11 months of age, so this represents approximately 8 months of growth
Perendale fleeces are quite rare in the United States, and are in demand by handspinners. More information about the characteristics of Perendale fleeces is available here. We sell our fleeces at present at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (each May; typically selling out), as well as at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival (each September; again, typically selling out). We occasionally also post our fleeces to online groups. And of course we always welcome handspinners to come to our farm to select fleeces for themselves!
Three unwashed locks from Viola’s fleece, randomly selected from the forequarters, middle, and rearquarters of the fleece. Note the consistency in crimp and staple length. This fleece was “next to the skin” soft.
The same three locks after very brief washing in cold water with goat’s milk soap. Our lambs typically graze our hayfield all winter, needing very little supplemental hay, so although we do not coat our sheep, you will find their fleeces (especially the lamb fleeces) to be relatively free of VM.
Prices vary according to the age of the sheep, its color (natural colored fleeces being priced slightly higher than white fleeces), and the quality of the fleece. Lamb fleeces (typically softest) are valued more highly by handspinners, as are fleeces from natural colored (black) sheep and fleeces with a lot of fine “crimp” (typically associated with a finer micron count). Our fleeces range in quality and price from $16-$18/lb for “next-to-the-skin soft” lamb fleeces, to $4/lb for “bargain basement” unskirted fleeces best reserved for stuffing pillows or dog beds.
Yearling fleece from Cora, a ~ 90% pure Perendale NC ewe lamb (and twin sister to Viola). Cora’s fleece is very close to a true black, with only slight reddening at the tips (from the sun), and is darker than as shown in this photo.
Gently washed locks from Cora’s yearling lamb fleece.
Our sheep are shorn each year in late January/early February (prior to lambing); our ram lambs are shorn a bit later, usually in June, so that they don’t suffer through the heat of a mid-Atlantic summer. Our shearer is highly skilled, having won the U. S. Blade Shearing Competition in 2011, in addition to placing 2nd in the Intermediate Division in the World Sheep Shearing Competition held in July, 2019 in Le Dorat, France; you should expect fleeces to be relatively free from “second cuts”. We offer raw (unwashed), lightly skirted fleeces, either from adult (young) ewes or from lambs, suitable for handspinning. Note that we do not “coat” our sheep; this avoids felting of the fleece, and also puts our sheep at less risk of overheating in the summer. As a result, our fleeces may contain a small amount of vegetative matter (VM), easily dealt with as we feed mainly orchardgrass hay in the winter, while our lambs mainly graze our hayfield all winter long, rarely needing supplemental hay. Rather than feeding hay in conventional feeders, we feed in tubs on the ground. This results in increased costs to us (more wasted hay), but less VM in fleeces.
Jurors at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival have commented on the relatively low amount of VM in our fleeces. We check each fleece for soundness. If fleeces are to be shipped to neighboring states, we typically place them (in plastic bags) inside a feed bag, and remove as much air as possible with a shop vac. This greatly reduces shipping costs. Shipping fleeces across the country may be cheaper in “large” flat-rate boxes (though it is difficult to fit an entire adult fleece in one).
Adult fleece from Heather, a 2-year-old pure Perendale NC ewe. This shows how a “black” (NC) lamb’s fleece can lighten to gray, shading to cream-colored at the tips, as the sheep ages. I can only imagine how gorgeous a heathered yarn this would make when spun up.
Three lightly washed locks from Heather’s fleece. This fleece was also exceptionally soft.
Perendale sheep, originating as a Romney x Cheviot cross, are a “longwool” breed, although often fine enough in micron count (28-35 microns) to more properly qualify as a “medium” breed. The “Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook” notes that Perendale is “easy and pleasant to spin”, and that its “slightly crisp quality should help texture patterns show up nicely in knitted or woven textiles”. Perendale fiber is best known for its “Nice, even crimp; open staples; yarns with light weight and warmth for their size, because they are high bulk”. Fleeces typically average a staple length of at least 5”. We sell by the whole fleece only. More information on Perendale fleeces is available at: https://perendale.org/perendale-characteristics/
Please contact us in advance if you’d like us to reserve a fleece from one of our lambs or adult sheep.
Here are examples of what a local fiber artist, Laurel Haring, created from one of our yearling fleeces; photos used by permission.