Originally “plucking” or rooing the sheep was the way to get the fibres from the sheep or picking up the fleece fluffs left in the landscape. The Icelandic sheep start to loose their fleece when spring comes around.
Rooing of a Shetland sheep, a breed close to the Icelandic sheep in breed characteristics: http://ssa.nls.uk/film.cfm?fid=1129
When pulling at the fleece of an Icelandic sheep the wool will come off quite readily - if it is the right time of the year and the sheep’s body is ready to shed its winter coat. The sheep isn't left completely 'naked', there is a fine new coat already growing as the old coat sheds.
To get the fleece from modern sheep breeds it is necessary to either use hand shearers or to bring in a professional shearer with electric clippers.
The professional sheep shearer can do in 3-5 minutes what I attempted one year with hand-clippers. It took me 1 1/2 hours to shear the sheep and she wasn’t exactly thrilled, and I decided that from now on it was better to let someone who was fast and efficient and knew his/her way through the whole procedure do the job.
Two photos of my cross bred ewe Dotty having her yearly 'do' by Lukas.
The Icelandic fleeces I purchased for the L’Anse aux Meadows project were not plucked, but were shorn with electric clippers by Lukas in the spring of 2009.
Enjoying the sun, and calling her babies, where did they go and will they recognize her!
Next time: fleece preparation for the viking project.