My first fleeces of the year were purchased today. Even better, I was picking them up at the same Farmers Market where Ann sells delicious tarts, cookie, Bread and pies! The Market is set up so you go in a big circle with all the booths have space and a wide gravel path. This year there are more booths.
1-2 Barhaven Farmers Market
3 Ross and Ann!
I bought Mom a couple of Chocolate chip cookies (they are her favorites) as well as Cookies and tarts for Glenn. More customers were arriving so I couldn’t stay and chat so it’s time to move on to the Fleece.
4 Note the bag of fleece in the back left corner of the booth!
The fleeces I purchased were Rams who belong to a flock of about 300 sheep. The Ewes are gainfully employed as professional Lawn maintenance specialists, keeping the weeds trimmed under solar panels! I hear the burrs that were in last year’s fleece have been almost eradicated. (I did not see any in the fleeces I got this year as I re-bagged them).
5 This is a bit better view of the 2 skirted Rams.
6-7 Distracted by small cool wild flowers beside the parking spot.
Now to get back to the important parts, these rams are Canadian Arcotts. This is a breed that you may have had the opportunity to have fun with before. Its one of 3 breeds (Canadian, Outaouais and Rideau Arcott) developed by the Canadian government here in Ottawa. The last part of their name, Arcott, stands for Animal Research Centre Ottawa. The Arcott breeding program began in 1966 with the goal to create a breed which reproduced rapidly for genetic and other sheep research. The original mix of breads are listed as Finnish Landrace, Southdown, East Friesian, Suffolk, Leicester, North Country Cheviot, Ramnelet, Dorset Horn, Shropshire and Ile-de-France for the Arcotts.
1982 all three Arcotts were recognized as distinct breeds. Rideau Arcott mature quickly grows rapidly and often have triplets. Although they are primarily a meat breed, their wool is described as a medium quality and variable. The Outaouais Arcott are also know for fast growing and often having triplets. There fleece is considered variable and there was a mention of good for milking. The Canadian Arcott is considered as a good meat breed with fast growth. The fleece was listed as Soft, lustrous 3-4 inches long and a 25 – 33 micron count.
I unfortunately do not have a photo of the rams who produced these fleeces. If this was in smell-i-vision you could experience the lovely sheepy aroma. Some rams are a bit aggressive aromaticly, but both of these fleeces have a more normal sheepy smell.
8-11 Fleece #1- Ram professionally sheered and well skirted. The crimp is tighter than fleece #2. The locks I used as an unwashed sample are about 3.5 inches long.
12-15 Fleece #2 – Ram professionally sheered and well skirted. Not as crimpy as Ram #1. The stale length is about 3 inches on the unwashed sample I pulled.
Both these look like they would make fun spinning fleeces and I look forward to sampling them for felting. I have not worked with a Canadian Arcott before so this will be both fun and educational. There will be samples to share but first I have to finish cleaning up the side yard so I have space to wash and dry the fleeces!
Coming up on Monday will be our guild A.G.M. We will also be having a fiber poker challenge. This year as well as Spinning and Weaving there will be a deck for Felting! I will tell you about that in a future post.
Have fun and keep felting, spinning, weaving, fleece washing! So much to do we need to make the days longer! Oh yes its summer, that will help!!