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From Fleece to Created Piece…

From Fleece to Created Piece…

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Today, I’d like to ponder the difference between buyer and seller. That might sound strange, but just go with me, eh?

 

Let’s start with the seller. The seller of fleece has a life. A life so full of time consuming moments that you wouldn’t believe. The daily feeding and watering, those should be separate entities because they are. They happen every day; rain, sleet, shine, or ice so thick you must break the layer off the water troughs of your babies. To us, they are all babies. We bundle up in the cold of cold putting layer upon layer of fine woolen creations on our bodies and we go out there, to feed them, to lamb or kid them, to worm them, to shear them. To check on them night and day. During kidding season, that is extended to, oh, 10-12 times a day.

 

Then there’s the deliveries themselves. Honest to goodness, we should get College credit for what we do. We are midwives after all. We know their symptoms, we watch for signs. We wait and wait and worry and pace and wake in the nights at any sound. We move out of our house and into a RV closer if possible even, lol, yep, that was me.

 

We wake at 5am to the sounds of an animal screaming and we rush to help. Sometimes we even have to go inside with our hands and move the baby around and sometimes we have to pull. Either way, we are midwives, without credit.

 

Then we spend time bonding with the babies so they aren’t considered ‘wild’ by the potential buyers.

 

While all this is happening, we are sometimes shearing the coats off of them. That takes anywhere from five minutes to four hours, depending on the method and price.

 

Oh, and their feet, and the bugs and the chemicals. And the goat catching. You don’t think about that, do you? We have to catch these animals in order to do almost all of these things. Ok, so we’ve birthed them, taught them, fed them, sheared them, trimmed their feet, wormed and debugged them. Now what? Now we either wash it and TRY to sell it, or we TRY to sell it Raw. My particular problem with all this is: my goats accumulate lots of hay and leaves and weeds throughout the six months they live before I shear. Who deals with that? The buyer or the seller?

 

So. You now know, well, sort of, the life of a fleece seller. Add a ton of work on to what you think and a ton of grief and a ton of love and you might arrive at a glimpse. These are our babies. What happens to our babies? Well, most of us try to sell the fleeces or use them ourselves. In my case, I have around 50 goats, so I can’t possibly use it all. Which brings us to the BUYER.

 

Due to my new artskill, I am indeed a buyer as well as a seller. As a buyer, I want perfect. I want ready to go. I want pretty, powerful, soft, amazing, new, unique, colorful, bright, light, sooooo soft. I expect that as a buyer. I also expect that my package will arrive tomorrow. Haha, ya, I do. I know better, but I want it that bad. I want it now. That is the thing with fiber. It’s needed now! Now for a project I can’t possibly finish without it. I went today for silk sliver. Was told it might be rare. Found it immediately on Etsy. Had to have it and I got it. That is the addiction of fiber.

 

So, how do the two meet? Seller who works their butt off year round and can’t help the weather or the weeds or the bugs, and buyer, who wants it all perfect? I don’t know the answer. Sorry. I am hoping for a compromise one day. Take that a step further than just fiber. Take it to the spun yarn. How much is that worth? Then take it even further to the finished product, possibly even designed by you as well, how much is that worth? In the end, usually not very much. It’s rather sad. All the time, the passion, the love, the physical hard work, only to sell a hat for $25. WHAT??? Yes folks, that what is my emotions of it all. I think it’s wrong. I think the child or forced labor around the world is wrong; while they are being forced to create cashmere or silk products to be sold for $5 in the US, we are here. WE are here.

 

So, go ahead and buy from anywhere where there is forced labor, we’ll just sit here tending our flocks and our herds and birthing babies and shearing beautiful and awesomely shiny curls that would clothe anyone properly, but at a higher price. Just think. If everybody refused to buy the forced labor products, they wouldn’t need the forced people anymore, would they? Thanks for listening.

 

Follow me, MamaSheri Halliday, at my blog.

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