>> Monday, November 16, 2009
Yesterday we went to the Royal Winter Fair. I've been keen to go and attend the wool auction. They also had a drop spindle competition, and several spinning and weaving groups demonstrating spinning on a spinning wheel and weaving on a loom.
The main event was a sheep to shawl competition where the participants spin the yarn straight from the fleece, then weave a shawl which ends up being judged then finally sold at the wool auction. They also auctioned the skeins that were spun on drop spindles but I was there for a fleece!
Beforehand they have long tables with all the fleeces laid out so you can have a look (and touch!) before bidding. They also print out a catalogue at the last minute once they have all the information about the fleeces. Fleeces are sold by the pound, so you bid a price per pound that you want to pay.
There's a range of sizes, this time there were fleeces weighing from 3.2 to 11.2 pounds. I wanted a smaller fleece, in a continuing effort to not fill our house entirely with craft things.
I used my catalogue to write notes about the fleeces I was interested in bidding on. I didn't really know how much they would go for, so I didn't want to fixate on one special fleece and end up with nothing if it was too expensive. The prices ended up at $4.50/lb up to $21/lb.
There's a wide range, this is one of the white fleeces, soft and fluffy with a fine crimp:
This one was the grand prize winner, fine and soft with a tiny crimp:
Surprisingly the prices weren't always based on whether the fleece had won a prize. Some of the top prize winners went for very reasonable prices of $6 - $7 per pound. I was writing down all the prices during the auction to try to see how much I should bid on my favourites. It was a bit nerve wracking. Near the end the prices seemed to be going right up, and I still hadn't won a fleece. There was a white one I wanted but it went up to $13 and I gave up.
I really wanted one of the natural grey/brown fleeces and ended up winning one of the last auctions. My fleece had long glossy wavy locks that I think is a Lincoln long hair. In then end I paid $7.50/lb and it was a first prize winner. I was very happy about that. It's so gorgeous, I can't wait to spin it up! I'll show how I'm going to process my fleece in my next post...