Skirting a Raw Fleece
When we shear, I skirt all my fleeces directly after they are shorn off the sheep. My shearers remove the belly and topknot, before the fleeces even make it to the skirting table.
Once my fleeces make it to the skirting table, I spread them out, dirty side up so everything that needs to be removed is easily visible. Next, I check the fleece for soundness, or breaks in the staple. I do this by grabbing the staple at each end and giving it a snap. If it breaks, the fleece isn’t usable for spinning. The damaged staple can be the result of fever, sickness, and/or stress. After I’ve tested for soundness, I remove all unusable pieces. This includes all poopy wool, all short-stapled pieces (leg, sweaty, short, and coarse breach wool), and all wool on the back filled with vegetable matter. Finally, when I’ve finished skirting, I fold sides in and roll from the bottom to the top. When looking at the whole processing procedure, properly skirting the raw fleece is the most important part.