It's always such a relief to get the fleeces off of the sheep and this year - with the recent spells of wet and warm weather (ideal for flies) - especially so. In fact we've ended up shearing a whole month earlier than previously. We've taken some fleeces off ourselves but got a batch done by the shearer on Saturday. Anxious about the weather as we've no shelter or shed for them.
The main things - where you can when hand-shearing - is to clip along the rise in the wool. The rise is caused by the growth of new fleece and clipping through is is like shearing through butter: lovely and soft, and leaving a small amount of the new growth on the sheep. I've tried to take a picture of the rise this year )as people often ask me what I mean) but not sure if this photo shows it well enough. In this photo you can see bare (ish) skin, then to the right of it the new growth in the wool, with the rise just showing under last year's fleece.
Returning the lambs to their shorn mothers is chaos. No one knows who is who, and lambs have been known to attach themselves to a shorn fleece which will smell like their mum. Within half an hour or so though, all is quiet again, the fleeces are cleaned and rolled and stowed in the defender ready to head home for further sorting.