Friday, March 30, 2007

Drama Llama!

I know its YPF. BUT. It is interrupted to bring you this breaking fiber animal alert! Meet Drama Llama aka Blackjack. Our new llama. He's a 6 year old gelded (think neutered) male, pack and halter trained. We were going to wait to get a llama to guard the sheep in June when we get the sheep, but he was such a good deal, we couldn't resist!

Above, this is yesterday, when we brought him home. Below, this morning, when I woke up to an unexpected snow storm!

I guess this is why you don't shear til the end of April/early May here!


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thank-you Angela!

Way back last year I arranged a swap with Angela on Fair Isle. She was sad that we had more types of wool at our disposal to try than she had on her little island. So I sent her a big box of all different types of wool, and she sent me a box of her Shetland fleece!

Of course, I had to sample some of it right away; the yarn sample above is three of the 4 kinds of Shetland, Navajo plied. The white is SO soft. Soft like kitty fur.

The 4 bags of Shetland fleece.

A treat! Angora-silk. This is maybe the softest thing I've felt so far. I can't wait to spin this!

And, I couldn't resist. 3 kitties. Sleeping Kitty Trifecta!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

CVM/Rambouillet Cross Sample Yarn

Another sample that Tania sent me from the fleeces Valerie and her split at Rhinebeck.

There were small nepps in this roving, but not bad, in fact, what I thought were nepps while spinning really evened out in the final yarn; there is hardly any uneveness to the final product.

Very sproingy, soft, but not merino or cormo soft, but still next to the skin soft.

Navajo plied, about DK weight final yarn. Also going with the stash of British Rare Breed wool samples to be knit into a blanket! All my natural colored wool samples are getting put into the blanket pile actually...


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Swap Socks!

Since Lesley received her socks, I can post them!

"Juniper Mesa Sunset Socks"

Handspun 50% superwash merino wool, 50% tencel, from Susan's Spinning Bunny in the 'Roses for You' colorway.

A 2-plied yarn in order to get the subtle color shifts. Eye of Partridge heel, otherwise simple cuff down socks in stockinette stitch to show off the colors in the yarn.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Thanks Knottygnome!

***Edited to re-upload the Pics, apparently blogger didn't like them the first time!***

I actually won a blog contest! Sara send me this gorgeous, hand-dyed yarn (socks for sure....)


Oh, and the Navajo-plied option won, so I'll be Navajo plying the Spruce and Tamarack Mer-ten.

Weekend plans, more fence building. Cleaning, prepping for tractor work, and whatever else needs doing!

Have a great weekend, Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

2-ply or Navajo ply?

Tamarack and Spruce superwash merino/tencel fiber from Spinning Bunny, 8 oz of singles, now how to ply?

The top is a Navajo 3-ply, the bottom a standard 2-ply.
Sample plied for feedback. Keep in mind, that the complete color range isn't shown in either sample.

Again, the Navajo plied sample above, and the 2-ply sample below.

Which do you like better?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


One of the biggest parts of getting our place ready for sheep is the fencing. The sheep need to be safely fenced in of course. When we bought our place, the fencing was in disrepair to say the least. Held together by twine in places, holes, bent, not on the property lines...

It looked like this ^.

So we began working on new fencing. Taking down the old, salvaging what we can for other uses, and putting up new woven wire sheep fencing around the property. We will also need to do internal fences, but this is another task.

And here you can see the old vs. the new. The new is very sturdy. Fencing isn't cheap either. Even installing the majority of this ourselves (which is a lot of work....) this stuff cost a pretty penny! Luckily, once it's up, with maintenance, we won't ever need to do this again.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Susann! Trekking 78!

The wonderful Susann in Germany sent this to me! Out of the blue! I've been craving this yarn for a long time, and tried to order it here not once, but twice and got sent the wrong yarn!

Thank-you Susann! You're like having a SP that's not secret...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Greenhouse Found

I think I'm going to start a new blog thing here. Homegrown Mondays. Either gardening, sheep farming, or anything homestead-type related, since I normally work on those projects over the weekend. If people are interested in joining me, I'll start a blog ring!

So, this past weekend, we built our greenhouse. Greenhouse found, as it was largely created with materials found. The core of the structure is the a-frame created by an old swingset frame we found on the property. The front legs are bolted to some bases that were also found. The t-posts, found. We did have to buy the poly film, and we ordered the good kind from FarmTek that supposedly lasts 4 years. We also bought duct tape, lots of it, and insulation panels.

It's about 8 x 8 feet, a pretty good size. Definitely big enough for me to do all my seed starts for the garden, and even have a few nice early and late season treats.

The inside is filled with 9 large plastic tubs which hold water. The water will warm up during the day and act as radiant heat at night, as well as providing a convient shelf for plants, and an immediate source of water for watering.

The strawberry plants moved in for a jump start...

And I started a few trays of seeds!

Friday, March 09, 2007

First Handspun Pron

Well, since I haven't finished any new yarns this week, I thought I'd dredge up something from the past. My first handspun. Technically this pinky-purple and blue here are my second and third handspun, my first never got photographed, but is represented by the gray stripe in this scarf.

I had learned to spin before I learned to knit actually. The gray, my friend Mary taught me to spin with; I had to take a work trip a few years ago and we visited her. Once I had made yarn, I figured I needed to find something to do with it...enter knitting!

Then I got caught up in learning to knit, and forgot about spinning for a while; about a year I think. One day, I remembered, and ordered this purpley-pink Ashford merino top from Susan's Spinning Bunny. Spun it on the drop spindle I had been given by Mary.

Loved it! Ordered more....and a couple more spindles....this blue is the third attempt I made at spinning.

After knitting the pink into a neckwarmer, and the blue into VooDoo wristwarmers, I was fully hooked on spinning. I started researching wheels, and about a month later, Nate surprised me with my Fricke for our anniversary!

So, that's my spin-knit story. I love how I can see the overtwisted, wormy bits in the yarn, the uneveness, and somehow, just a little bit, I think I can see myself in there too.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Tamarack and Spruce Single

This top photo shows the side not in the full sun, not shiny and reflective like the below photo. Oh, yeah, this is 50% superwash merino, 50% tencel from Susan's Spinning Bunny, like the pinky yarn for Lesley's socks...just a different colorway.

I've spun up 1 bobbin full, about 4 oz., and started the other bobbin last night. I'm still on the fence about plying it. I'm not sure if I want a barber-poled 2-ply that knits up Trekking-esque, or a Navajo-plied yarn that is more self-stripedy.

Maybe when I'm done with the other bobbin I'll do some samples and let Nate pick. After all, it is yarn for his next pair of socks!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cormo Cross Sample (handspun friday pron...)

A little skein of about 2 oz. Cormo-cross fleece that Valerie and Tania purchased at Rhinebeck and split. They sent it to Zellinger's for processing, and it came back in lovely carded roving form. Tania and I traded fleece samples, I sent her some of my CVM and CVM cross samples and she sent me this!

A two-ply, DK weight yarn, lovely, lovely.

Very sproingy, fluffy, and soft. Next to the skin soft! Lovely portobello mushroom color too. Taupe? Mushroom?

I feel like Spring is around the corner, and we'll have less and less mornings like this. With crystals of ice and a dusting of snow. Soon I'll see green shoots and signs of life instead...

And in June, we'll have some fleece of our own. We're working hard (especially Nate) on the fencing, pastures, and sheep-readiness. We found a breeder close enough with the kind of sheep we want too, called her, and reserved some lambs!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Baby Kimono....closure ideas?

One little Baby Kimono...knitted up in a day or so a while back. So tiny! Of course, not seamed yet, but what to do about the closures? I'm not a fan of the big dangly ribbons. I want something more simple.

I've come up with these ideas: buttons through the little YO holes at the edge (but then this wouldn't be able to grow with a baby, would it?), making yarn braids and using them for closures, I-cord, and simple snaps sewn onto the insides, with a few different sizes availible. Moms, what do you think would be the most practical?

Yarn? Some kind of acrylic-wool blend, I forgot what, the LYS owner gave it to me a while back, asking if I could use it, it was already in a yarn-cake, sans label at that point!