Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summertime

And the spinning, knitting, playing with wool, and all that is slow.

You know, taking time of to go to (Mesa Verde-Spruce Tree House):


With Nate's sister and her fiancee, go on the river for a day, and just enjoy the monsoon season.

Spin a little (I've been working on this Coopworth for a while now, and don't even think I'm half done)...


I'm still knitting the red diamond scarf, the summery socks.

Carding a bit.


Oh yeah, read Harry Potter the Last too (loved it).


Life is good, even when the fiber time slows down. Happy summer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Strauchy the Cardy

I recently got one of these:


A Strauch Finest drum carder with all the bells and bobs that go with it. With the soon to be abundance of fleecy goodness that owning sheep brings, I wanted to be able to card fibers and make batts and blends.

Fred fleece, dyed with cherry and grape KoolAid, tips flicked, then carded made this:


Cinnamon colored Suri alpaca and taupe colored CVM wool made this:


I haven't spun these yet, but the are very soft, and no nepps! no nepps! I followed the instructions on how to use the carder, and did Flick locks first. The Louet carder I borrowed from a friend, I definitely got nepps.

But, here's a question, what if I can't flick the locks first, meaning I can't determine tip and tail of lock and they poof out and turn pure white and hard to Flick? will this card into a neppy mess of merino? (I have a hogget merino fleece I'm thinking of here...)



OK! Now to nominate some other Rockin' Girl Bloggers!

Spin gets the nod for being awesome, just look at the latest lace shawl she whipped up and designed!

So does Angela for doing the whole sheep raising, farming, growing thing but on a remote island!

And, last but not least, Beanie gets a nod for maintaining her sanity in NYC with 3 kiddos, a wheel, and having a great sense of humor about it all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Microfarm Tuesday

Wilco helps with gardening (sort of....actually he just ran off with a radish).


(but he looked so stinking silly and cute with it in his mouth I couldn't help but laugh!)

Now, I'm not sure if we just have weird chickens, or they're all like this.

This is how they sleep:


All crammed in and piled up and spilling out of the little DogLoo that we had them in when they were tiny chicks. This picture was taken at night, they had already gone to bed but I wanted to have evidence of this chicken-pile so I came in to take a picture.

We build a really nice nest box contraption for them. They have roosts. But apparently they like the Chicken-pile-bed better. Who knew!

Drama Llama, Tiny Baby Goats, and Sheepies in the pasture this morning. People have asked me if its a chore to go out every morning and evening and let them in and out, and make sure they're fed-watered-sheltered. Honestly? Nope. No harder than taking care of my dogs and cats, and I love it. I love watching them run out into the grass, and "bahhhhh", "meeeeehhhh", "baaaaa" first thing.


And, for Theresa, Fred! (and friends).


The drum carder came on Friday, and I've played with it a bit. I've made a couple of nice batts, but need to practice more and actually read that "Color in Spinning" book I got with it.

Still working on the Red Diamonds scarf/wrap from VLT (halfway maybe...) and the blue striped summery socks, and have about 6 spinning projects on the bobbins.

I almost forgot! Rockin' Girl Blogger Award! Laura and Pam nominated me for this, and I'm honored!


Thank-you. I shall strive to keep posting microfarm updates and spinning for your viewing pleasure!

Now...who shall I nominate? I'd better think about this one and get on it tomorrow.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Handspun Blues

75% Corriedale Cross Wool blended with 25% Alpaca (all from local animals and blended in the local mill, oh, and bought at a local Fiber Fest!).


Two-ply
367 yards (335 m)
Z spun, S plied
2.8 oz (80 g)
22 WPI


How about using this for the body of one of the VLT scarves, and the gray Fred laceweight for the borders?


OH! You want to know who won, don't you?


I'm definitely going to have to go with Peri's "My life has never quite been the same since they became Druids!" -Dory.

So Peri, since you're a spinner too....I could send you some Spinnables instead of handspun (say....Fred batts?) or some handspun yarn, let me know!

(now...to go track down that drum carder!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yak Lace

My second knitted item from Victorian Lace Today (aka, VLT, or my new favorite knitting book)!


Pattern: "Scarf with the striped border from Weldon's, Volume 5, 1890" (the one on page 80) by Jane Sowerby.

Yarn: Handspun yak-merino-silk blend that I spun from a Paradise Fibers microblend.


Verdict: Love it. The pattern really worked well with this yarn, I think if you used a true laceweight the pattern would be a little on the open side (well for my scarf preferences anyways!).

Quick and easy to knit. I had the border chart and the center stitch pattern memorized in no time, in fact I even knit this around the campfire the night before we picked up the sheepies.


Looking for a first lace project? This might be the easiest lace I've ever knit.

Looking for something to do with a random skein of fingering weight-DK weight handspun? This is the pattern that requires the least yardage in VLT (400 I think, but I only had a skein of 350-ish and my scarf is plenty long).

I'm loving the entries in the Kitty Cat Caption Contest! Keep them coming, I'll pick a winner tomorrow!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Kitty-Cat Caption Contest!

So, since I'm mired in work right now, and don't have time to blog proper, here goes.

1) Leave a comment with a caption for this picture of the sunset and Dory:



2) If I like your caption the best, you win!

Win what you say?

Why, handspun yarn of course!

I'll let you pick from a couple of skeins.

I have a finished Victorian Lace Today scarf to blog later this week, more handspun, and more sheep pictures, of course.

Labels:

Friday, July 06, 2007

Dyed Wool for Fiber Friday!

First up, Coopworth locks from Merlinthecat (ooh, I need to send her some Fred in return...) that I dyed magenta-purple-red:



Love those colors. This will have to be spun laceweight again for another project from Victorian Lace Today.


Next up: Fred Fleece! Dyed a lb with logwood and a lb with logwood and cochineal. Not shiny, but great color shading. This should make great batts!


And finally, more Fred fleece, this time with the magenta and purples from the KoolAid, much like the coopworth. Still wet here, ready to be dried, flicked and spun!


Happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sheep to Skein; Fred

So, I introduced you to Fred yesterday; when we picked him up, he hadn't been shorn yet for the year, so we decided to shear him. Luckily we had taken a sheep shearing clinic in April, and Nate was OK with giving it a go. I know a lot of people with sheep. They all have a hard time scheduling the shearer and getting it done, apparently it is hard to find a good shearer these days. So we've decided even with a learning curve, we'd like to do our own.


Good thing that Fred is pretty mellow for a big ram. Weighing in at about 300+ lbs, he could have easily protested. But, I'm guessing he wanted that wool off too!

Mid-shear:


Ahhhh. Summer haircut. Fred much happier now. Baaaaaaaa!


Of course, now I had a fleece to play with too! I skirted it, and washed it that afternoon, then let it dry in the sun.


CVM = California Variegated Mutant; point in case: Variegation! The locks, combed out in order of lightest creamy color to dark gray, all from the same fleece. I love what this means in terms of spinning variability.


Of course I had to spin a sample skein! I spun the combed locks randomly, grabbed a handful at a time trusting I'd get a nice heathered yarn this way.


Fred fleece spun very nicely. Soft, next to skin soft, easy to spin, and I can definitely see spinning this up in a range of weights, from worsted to laceweight.


Since I'm on a lace kick, I went with the laceweight.

Specs: 2-ply laceweight Fred CVM yarn.
130 yds, 1 oz.
Lovely stuff!

(and, I have a lb. mordanting in the dyepot to play with tonight when I get home...)

Monday, July 02, 2007

SHEEP!

Well, its been a lot of hard work, a fair amount of cash, and a lot of planning, but we're officially sheep owners! Meet our sheep:

Patty, a 3 month old CVM ewe:

CIMG5659

Fred, a 6 year old CVM ram (prior to shearing, which will be another post this week):

CIMG5640

The rest of the "girls" Marjorie, Shirley, Florence, and Eliza:

CIMG5656

Eliza, the chocolate brown (black in the sheep world) 75% CVM, 25% Corriedale ewe with one of the other girls:

CIMG5661

Apart from Eliza, the other girls are all pure CVMs (and actually Eliza will be registered as CVM since she's 75%), they are all about 3 months old, born this past March.

CIMG5658

So far, they're getting along just fine with the goats. Mr. Drama Llama wasn't too thrilled when we first put them in there, but he's doing fine with them today.

OH! There are many more pics on Flickr...click on any of these pics to be taken there, or to enlarge the picture to see greater detail.

We already sheared Fred (and the llama) since it's gettting hot here they really needed a summer trim. I'll continue posting pictures of them, and our microfarm adventure!

Thank-you Nate, I love you. :)