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My mother-in-law is quite the spinner and knitter and since my wife and I started dating, going to her mother’s house meant climbing over wheels, looms and other apparatus for creating textile. I never thought I would have much interest in it, but after my wife bought two sheep I decided to go with the ladies to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in Jefferson back in September.

It was a lot of fun to see other people’s animals and watch the judging. It was also funny to watch an enormous biker-looking guy drag a little Shetland around by the horn because it kept laying down in the show ring. It look liked Shrek manipulating Shari Lewis’ beloved Lamb Chops.

Kate’s mother went to the out buildings where the vendors sell the fleece and fabric – we headed to the barns and also to the sheep shearing demonstration – with the knowledge that at some point we’ll have to have to go after our sheep with more than a pair of Fiskars craft scissors. It wasn’t a step-by-step on how to shear sheep – it was a demonstration – but provided some insight. It takes a long time and a lot of practice and education to get good at this.

The demonstration was given by Dylan Weaver of Galesville, WI. He does shear sheep for a part-time living, but he also just enjoys the work. While he makes it looks easy – my minimal experience with our very friendly, tiny sheep make it clear that his skill paints a skewed picture of what a craft this really is. You’ll see the sweat pouring off of him at the end.

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