Today I have been working with a beautiful Icelandic fleece I got at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I didn't get it at the fleece sale - if there had been any Icelandic there, they were gone by the time I was looking for them. I bought mine at the Icelandic Breeders booth. There were several fleeces there and I looked at possibly all of them until I found one that really caught my eye.
The one that caught my eye wasn't as large as most of the others, and it cost less per pound than the others. It was white with small brown patches throughout, but what really caught my eye was that the thel (the softer part of the dual coat) looked exceptionally soft and wonderful. The woman I talked to, to ask about it happened to own the farm from which this fleece came. She explained that it cost less per pound than the others because it wasn't skirted. She sounded apologetic about this, but it didn't bother me. I had pawed through the bag and was satisfied that it wasn't exceptionally dirty - in fact I found it a little hard to believe that it hadn't been skirted. When I said I would like to buy it she asked if I had seen that it was spotted, and I said yes. She seemed apologetic about that, too. I don't know why, because I came out of that booth thinking that I had gotten by far the best fleece of the bunch. And I still think that.
I've been separating tog (the longer, courser part of the dual coat) from thel today and am looking forward to the day when I can spin the different fibers up. I am really wanting a loom now because I would dearly love to weave this up into a shawl or a small blanket, using the tog as warp and the thel as weft.
I have the contact information for the farm and when I am finished processing this fleece I want to contact the woman and let her know how special this fleece has been. For some reason, I don't think she realized what a gem this fleece was and I want to make sure she knows how much pleasure it's giving me to work with it.