ObservatoryHillFarm is taking a short break
christine on Feb 15, 20225 out of 5 stars
Even without loads of knowledge or experience with knitting or yarns, one can see and feel that this is special — lush, soft, springy, strong. The natural brown color is beautiful. I hope I will never buy generic yarn again.
Sarah on Jan 19, 20225 out of 5 stars
I love the new yarn. It has a soft, bouncy hand and a great deal of integral stretch- a sign of very good quality fiber. The color is a heathery cocoa brown. The quality of the spin is good as well, so much so that I altered my plans when I had a good squeeze and decided this beautiful yarn had to be socks and hats! Very little vm and what is present is soft and easy to remove. It's easy to forget how much fun the good quality breed yarns can be to work with, if all a person usually uses is superwash merino. Thanks; I'll come back for more.
Sarah on Jan 19, 20225 out of 5 stars
I love the new yarn. It has a soft, bouncy hand and a great deal of integral stretch- a sign of very good quality fiber. The quality of the spin is good as well, so much so that I altered my plans when I had a good squeeze and decided this beautiful yarn had to be socks and hats! Very little vm and what is present is soft and easy to remove. It's easy to forget how much fun the good quality breed yarns can be to work with, if all a person usually uses is superwash merino. Thanks; I'll come back for more.
DoubleJoy on Mar 22, 20215 out of 5 stars
Love, love these locks, they are so soft and easy to work with. A heads up for folks with cats: These have a little lanolin left in them (which I like and wanted). I don't really smell it, maybe only a little pleasant sheepiness. However, it appears my cats can...when I went briefly to another room, one of them pulled the bag out of the box, and pulled some locks out of the bag. When I returned, both cats were rolling in them as if they were catnip. (Apparently, we all love the locks.) Thanks for the fast shipping!
hollyberry on Dec 27, 20205 out of 5 stars
Beautiful, lush, well tended wool! I'm so happy with this purchase and will return to this seller!
Monica on Dec 15, 20205 out of 5 stars
Cindy's the best! Yummy Bear's 2013 fleece was the first whole one I'd ever bought. It was amazingly easy - I used it as a break from some of the "others" that found their way into my stash needng a lot more work. Of course I had to find out what Yummy's 2020 fleece is like. She's definitly still Yummy, and if anything, softer than in her younger days.
We found our farm dream and the sheep found us.
Observatory Hill Farm is the culmination of 25 years of dreaming, working, saving, planning, working, researching, and working. We are working harder than ever on the farm, but liking it much better than working in an office!
At some point during those 25 years, we (Cindy and Mark Mackenzie) found each other. It happened when I (Cindy) was a Peace Corps Volunteer, and Mark was sent on an overseas assignment by his job at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Not long after that, I learned to spin wool, and think about having sheep of my own. Mark already had experience when he was a kid in Australia with his family's small flock of colored sheep.
Everything came together by some miracle, and we began the farm of our dreams outside Madison, Wisconsin, where we now pamper our flock of natural colored and white Corriedale sheep.
Our passion is caring for the sheep, who grow beautiful soft wool that is a handspinner's joy. Our raw fleeces are nearly VM-free, so you can love every minute of the time you spend working and playing with the wool.
To be notified when new fleeces are posted for sale, please send me a message with your personal (outside Etsy) email address. I promise to never share your email with anyone else, and that I won't send you too much spam! For more about our sheep, their wool, and our farm, please visit us at our website.
Cindy Mackenzie (?)
Owner, Shepherd And Sheep Flunky
Although I looked for a better photo, it turns out that I'm almost always behind the camera, not in front of it. Anyway, it's better to show Zena and her one-day-old lamb, with me in the back, since it's the sheep who really do run the farm!
All of the fleeces for sale are unwashed, raw fleece, shorn by a professional shearer. All fleeces are sold whole and undivided, so that you get all the good wool, not a small portion that someone else has selected for you. Why pay $20 for a few ounces of fiber when you can pay the same amount of money for a pound of beautiful soft wool? First-shearing lamb fleeces are usually three to four pounds, and adult sheep fleeces are typically five to six pounds. Remember that with Corriedale fleeces, up to half the weight of a raw fleece is lanolin and not wool. But even after washing, you will almost always have enough wool for any project you choose with a whole fleece.
As with all raw fleeces, there will be a few second cuts in the wool, but I've done my best to remove all that I could find so you will only pay for fiber that you can spin. Every fleece passes checks in multiple locations for soundness and tenderness. I would never sell a fleece that I would not be willing to spin myself. If there are any deficiencies in the fleece, I have done my best to describe them and I've discounted the price accordingly.
My prices are based on the qualities of each fleece, taking into account the color, handle, staple length, crimp definition and consistency, and whether there is any VM in the fleece that I've been unable to pick out. My base price for a good quality fleece is $20/lb. Prices above this amount reflect a fleece that is exceptional in some way -- for example a rare color, a longer than usual staple or some other quality that makes a fleece better than most. Lamb fleeces are almost always exceptional, and are usually priced at $23/lb. A fleece that has some drawback from my quality standard is priced below $20/lb, and I will explain why it is priced at a discount.
Accepted payment methods
Returns and exchanges
I gladly accept returns
I don't accept exchanges or cancellations
The following items can't be returned or exchanged
- Custom or personalized orders
- Perishable products (like food or flowers)
- Digital downloads
- Intimate items (for health/hygiene reasons)
Returns and exchange details
Shipping raw fleeces can be expensive, because of the "fluff factor." The box is large, but the weight is relatively small. Etsy's calculated shipping for the US Postal Service reflects the price for shipping a fleece in the smallest possible box I can use. Depending on the size of the fleece, usually that means that I must vacuum at least some of the air out of the wool in order for it to fit in the box.
I've heard spinners call these packages "fleece bombs." :-) The wool sometimes looks a bit strange, but you still get the whole fleece that you have paid for. It will definitely be a better deal for you on shipping for me to vacuum the fleece and use a smaller box.
If you definitely do NOT want your fleece vacuumed, please let me know when you order. I will assume that vacuuming is OK if I don't hear from you.
If you know that your fleece could be sent more cheaply by UPS or FedEx, please let me know when you place your order. Otherwise, I prefer to use the good old U.S. Postal Service. I've found that they almost always have the best rate anyway.
I'm happy to ship orders internationally, but please make sure before you order that the customs service in your country will accept unwashed raw wool imports. I would hate for you to have your fleece confiscated at the border! Contact me and we'll figure out the best method to ship your fleece to you.
Additional policies and FAQs
The flock at Observatory Hill Farm is jacketed year-round, so their fleeces are clean enough that you could spin them "in the grease" as spinners in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia generally prefer to do. If you'd rather wash your fleece before spinning, do so with care since fine wool fleeces will felt much more easily than coarser wool.
There are many excellent websites with information on how to wash a raw fleece. I recommend having a look at the instructions on these sites:
Have fun and enjoy your fleece!