Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Full Fleece Photos

This is the prime picture-taking time of year for Icelandic sheep, because they are all dressed up in their full fall fleeces, looking their best.  And they ARE looking their best this fall.  After the past couple of years being a bit "off" because I sheared them too late in the spring (resulting in short-stapled fall fleeces) or because they decided to play in the burdock patch (and thoroughly contaminate their prime fleeces) in the fall, I think this year we're going to have a terrific wool crop.

They're all looking so good, I couldn't resist doing a photo shoot yesterday.

Here's Nicholai, our beloved King of the Flock.  His age is really starting to catch up with him this year, but he's still just as handsome and sweet as he can be.

This is Rhonwen, who produces fleece so soft and silky, she actually gets fan mail!

This is Sapphire, one of my favorite ewes.  Her fleece is a very pure, inky black this year, but she still has her distinctive patch of silvering right over her shoulders.

Tawny's moorit (brown) fleece is silvered to the point that it is almost pink.  It should make for a really pretty--and unique--color of yarn.

 Titania is big and beautiful, with loads of fleece.

Tsarina is usually shy, but yesterday she seemed to enjoy posing for the camera.  And with a face this pretty, why shouldn't she?

Tsarina again.  I like how this shot shows off the three main Icelandic fleece colors right next to each other.

Ukraine looks kind of stern and burly in this picture, but actually he's a big sweetheart.

 We lost our lovely ewe Paisley this summer, but she left us with a legacy of six gorgeous daughters in our flock, all of whom have wonderfully lush, rich fleeces.  The next three girls pictured are her daughters. 

First is Tansy, whose fleece is so thick and rich it usually weighs a full pound more than that of other ewes her size.  Her wool is so long it reaches her ankles, and it shines pale gold in the sunlight

Next is Urbana, a very tame and friendly girl.  I've been working with her lamb fleece in my handspun quilt project, and it is just gorgeous.

Judging from how Whippoorwill's fleece looks this year, I'd say she's trying to rival Tansy in the "abundant gorgeous fleece" category, only hers shines like polished copper instead of gold.

 Utopia has grown so much!  She looks exactly like her mother did at this age.  (Yes, to others they may all just look like "Big Fluffy White Sheep" but I really do look at these animals enough that I can see details like family resemblances!)

Willow definitely inherited much of her fleece color and texture from her dad, Nicholai. 

Here is our always-beautiful Wish.  She's the daughter of Sapphire, the black ewe pictured above.

Love those rich red tones in Wren's fleece!

Shearing time is coming up soon for me.  I do it myself, so I spread it out over most of October, doing just a few sheep per day to avoid killing my back.  It's a big job, both time consuming and tiring.  But the fleeces are all looking so nice this year, I'm actually looking forward to it!


BaileyGirl5 said...

What beautiful sheep! I love that you described their personalities too. I can see it in their faces now.

susan knapp said...

beautiful photos!!! We just sheared our sheep on Monday and I'm glad I took photos before they got naked!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that fleece could get so long! Coming from Australia, the country that is famous for its merino wool, I think Icelandic Sheep are much better looking! Thanks for the wonderful insight into your life.

Nancy Chase said...

They do look a lot different from the Merinos, don't they?

The Icelandics' wool grows so long, they are sheared twice a year. The fleeces you're seeing in these photos are just 6 months' worth of growth!

V.R. Leavitt said...

Nancy, they're beautiful! Sheep supermodels. :-)