I have my Jacobs sheared once a year, typically in early April. The product that comes directly off the sheep is called “raw” fleece. It tends to come off in one piece. At this time I skirt it (remove all “junk” wool, second cuts, and vegetable matter) and then either sell it as raw fleece or send it out for processing. That procedure consists of washing, picking and aligning all the fibers into the same direction. It comes back to me as roving, which can be sold as-is or spun into yarn.
The Handspinner’s Delight
The spotted Jacob fleece is prized by hand spinners and weavers. Fleeces weigh from 3 – 6 pounds and have a staple length of 3-7 inches. The white and black wool, which may fade at the tips to a brown, may be blended to various shades of gray. The colors may also be separated & used in their pure, natural distinctions. Jacob fleece takes dye beautifully, and felts well too.
Jacobs exhibit a great variation in wool quality and fineness. Jacob fleeces part easily to the skin with little grease. Crimp and wool quality vary over the body of the animal, often “running out at the britch” where spinning quality is comparatively less.
A spinner’s flock of Jacobs might contain animals with fine fleeces & also animals with coarser fleeces, each with its own application, for instance, wearable garments or rugs.