After shearing a sheep you end up with a lot of beautiful wool but its all very dirty and some of it is way TOO dirty to use. Especially the parts from the belly and bottom that are caked in mud and worse. That is why its important to “skirt” a fleece before you pack it in a bag or box to be used later.

To skirt a fleece you lay the whole thing out so it looks like a flat sheep skin.

Usually, the yuckiest parts are around the edges of the fleece so its easy to work your way around the outside, picking away any wool that looks really bad.

At this time, you can separate the fleece into sections if you want to. Usually I will keep the whole fleece together for processing, but sometimes I will separate the softest parts of the fleece (often the neck) out to use for a special project.

Now toss your yucky stuff into the compost pile or leave it out for birds to make nests from, and get ready to start washing your wool!

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