Fleece to Foot – Meet the Sheep
One of the most intriguing parts of Sock Summit 2011 was the Fleece to Foot Challenge. As you know, At the Summit was selected as the sock design for this competition, so we were especially excited to see the Fleece to Foot! (Note: the pattern is now available for purchase through Ravelry, with all proceeds going to the CCFA.)
I visited the sheep before their big debut to say hello and get a few photos of them. Spinning Ewe Farm in Beavercreek, Oregon provided the sheep and they spent the day in a pen in a corner of the convention center – not quite their usual accommodations!
Amy Wolf, the shearer, shared with us that these sheep haven’t been sheared before. Also, they were not particularly enamored of the concrete floor hiding underneath the straw.
The sheep seemed content to hang out in their pen, even once the crowds of people descended, but they were not terribly amused when it was time for them to walk across the floor to the shearing area.
(apologies for the blurriness – they asked that we not use flash to help keep the sheep calm, and my camera isn’t great at high speed photography!)
Once at the shearing station, Amy talked to us a little bit about the shearing process and demonstrated how she uses her legs to act as a chair for the sheep.
Once the sheep was settled, she started shearing. The shears look an awful lot like the sort of clippers used for human hair, but I don’t know if that’s exactly true!
I was really amazed how the wool comes off the sheep in one continuous piece – I have never seen a sheep shearing up close and in person before, so I didn’t really know what to expect.
At this point it was time for me to get back to work so I said goodbye to the sheep and left Amy to her task – a short while after this, all three sheep were sheared, the fleece was skirted and distributed to the teams, and the Fleece to Foot Challenge began!