Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day of 2008.....

It's so hard to believe that it's the last day of 2008. The days have just flown by!! With one storm after another moving through the area, the past few days have just been a blur of clearing snow....again, and again, and again. The poor sheep!! The snow is so deep now that they simply cannot move through it. So it is very important to keep those paths open for them. Thankfully they all seem to have gotten used to the snowblower....and know enough now to keep out of the way. Of course we are due to have another large storm move through in the next 24 if there isn't enough snow on the ground already. Hard to believe that winter has just started. Can't help but wonder what the new year will bring.

The new year will bring lots of resolutions and good intentions for lots of people. I have thought about resolutions and what I would like to accomplish in the new year. After all, it's hard not to think about it since it seems to be the main topic of discussion these days. I have come to the conclusion that I'm not going to make any resolutions this year. I simply do not want to be disappointed in myself because I couldn't keep them. Or set goals that I know I won't be able to meet. All I want to do is to continue enjoying my sheep, knitting, spinning, quilting, and family. Yes, it would be nice to slim down a bit, but I'm not holding my breath on it. Nor am I going to make it a resolution and turn it into something that I feel I have to do. I will do my best to include more exercise (as if I don't get enough taking care of the sheep and the house) into my daily routine. Just as I will do my best to finish a few projects before starting new ones.

Now to share pictures of the felted kitty I made for my oldest for Christmas this year. I used Suffolk and an eyelash yarn to knit it. The Suffolk didn't felt as well as I was hoping it least not where it was paired with the eyelas yarn. The places where it was just plain Suffolk did just fine. It does have a musical button when its tummy is pressed it will play "Over the Rainbow". And the nose is needle-felted using black llama. My daughter simply loves it and it now resides with her in her apartment. (The pattern is by Fiber Trends.)

Hope everyone has a wonderful start to their new year! May it be filled with lots of fibery fun!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winter Musings

Thought I would share a few pictures of how winter is going around here. Since my last post a few more winter storms have moved through the area leaving us with about 3 feet of snow. My poor sheep have to jump if they expect to get anywhere. So they stick to the paths that have been kept clear for them using the snow blower......or the paths that they have created from walking in the same tracks time and time again. Needless to say everyone is staying pretty close to the barns. With the exception of Levi, that is. For some reason he seems to think it's wonderful fun jumping through the snow. :.) I guess that's part of being a young, playful llama.

Today brought us rain instead of the usual snow. It was nice in that it helped clear many of the roads. Not so nice in that it now added weight to what was fluffy, light snow. So the morning was spent cleaning off shed roofs.....and around the skylights on the house. Both barns have metal roofs and the snow is slowly sliding off. The pumphouse has already lost its snowy covering. Of course we are due to have another storm move in tonight and leave behind another 5" of snow.

While it may not be the most fun always having to make sure paths and the driveway are clear, the snowy weather has made for some very good spinning. I have managed to spin up 3 more skeins of bulky weight karakul yarn and am just about finished with a bobbin of Shetland singles (which will eventually be sock yarn). I have also brought in the fleece from my older llama, Cavi. I am going to run it through the picker and then spin it from the fluff. I had a vision of spinning it into a nice bulky yarn and then knitting up a felted llama (or two) with it. He gets sheared again in the spring and I really don't want to have two of his fleeces to deal with.....espeically since Levi will be sheared the following spring. I think one llama fleece a year is more than enough to keep me busy. :.) I won't even mention the 21 Shetland fleeces that I get every spring.

I have been making quite the dent in my Shetland fleeces. I have gone through quite a bit of it and have about five or so fleeces left to play with. A couple of those are earmarked for my use only. No putting them up on my etsy site. If I don't do this then everything will end up on my etsy site and I won't have any for myself. I'm also working on my second (out of three) Karakul fleeces. Looks like I will be buying at least one more Karakul fleece in the new year. And a Scottish Blackface. Love the looks of the sheep, but really don't want to buy any. So the next best thing to buy a fleece to play with. :.)

Have been busy knitting. I knitted up felted kitty for my one daughter. Used Suffolk for that. It didn't felt real well in the places where it was done using an eyelash yarn. That is one breed that will go on my "doesn't felt well" list. I also did a felted sheep out of Karakul....and a felted puppy....also from Karakul. The puppy was for my other daughter. I knitted up a felted winter hat for my loving hubby out of camel. Learned a very valuable lesson there. Camel is hard to felt and becomes very fuzzy when it does felt. Another fiber to add to my "doesn't felt well" list. Finally I knitted up a felted quirrel. That was done using karakul, grey norwegian, and suffolk. Yup, you guessed it! The karakul and gray norwegian felted up beautifully! The suffolk....not so much. Pictures of the felted lamb and felted puppy are below. Not sure if I will post pictures of the felted kitty.....and definitely won't be putting up any pictures of the felted winter hat. The felted squirrel isn't quite done no pictures there.

I even managed to get some quilting in....believe it or not. A friend asked me for help with a pattern that she really liked. So I took some time one morning and played with it in EQ6. Loved the way it looked so much that I pulled out some Christmas fabric and started cutting. By the afternoon I had all of my blocks sewn together and my rows were partially put together. By the next afternoon I had the rows together and the top done. The quilt is now on the machine and in the process of being machine quilted. It's a wonderful pattern and I'm so happy that my friend brought it to my attention. It's been quite some time since a quilt pattern has caught my attention so much that I just had to make it. It also renewed my interest in quilting. I've been happily stitching away on December's block of the month. Does this mean that my knitting will come to an abrupt end? No. It just means that I will be spending some time working on my applique in between knitting projects. And I tend to spin just about every day. After all, there should be balance if one enjoys several hobbies. :.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

First Big Storm

Here are pictures of our first big snow storm of the winter season. Of course these were taken shortly after it began snowing. We've had quite a bit of snow accumulate since then. The weather forecasters are predicting somewhere between 8"-12" of snow by the time all is said and done. Of course the sheep don't mind at all. They know that there is a barnful of hay just for them. They don't worry about me trudging out there, breaking the ice on their water, and filling up their feeders. All they care about is the barnful of hay. :.) Wouldn't you know it, the snow started coming down right as the hay was delivered this afternoon. Just a little at first. By the time the last 10 bales were downloaded it was snowing like crazy! The hay did receive the "llama seal of approval" though. My oldest llama, Cavi, actually stretched his neck out over the fence to grab a mouthful of hay while it was still on the trailer. As if that weren't enough, he was even gracious enough to smell the hay that a stranger had offered up to him. He probably would have taken it right out of his hand if the hay guy had been patient enough. Understandably enough, he was trying to get the hay off the trailer before the snow really started coming down.

I love the snow! Doesn't always make doing outside chores the most pleasant, but it does make for excellent spinning, knitting, and quilting weather. I love sitting inside working on my latest project while watching the snow falling. Everything always looks so pretty all covered in white. Plus the sheep seem to really enjoy the snow as well. As long as it isn't too deep for them that is. Last year we had to keep a path shoveled so they could get from the buildings to their water. We'll do the same this year if need be.....only we'll use the new snowblower we bought last year and never got to use. It got held up on the other side of the pass when a huge storm came through closing the pass. By the time it finally made it to this side we didn't get anymore snow. And didn't have enough on the ground to be able to use it. So, needless to say, all this wonderful snow is getting my hubby very excited. He finally gets to play with his new toy.....the snowblower! :.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wonderful Weekend!!

I had such a wonderful weekend! Pictured above is the quilt exhibit at the local museum. I was lucky enough to be able to go to the exhibit opening. Wow!! To be that close to all these wonderful antique quilts was absolutely breathtaking!! And so incredibly humbling. The quilts were simple yet so incredibly eloquent. The hand stitching was so beautiful to see. It reminded me that quilts don't have to be heavily quilted on a long arm machine in order to be beautiful. "Less is more"......that's what I kept thinking with each quilt I looked at. Even the crazy quilts were stunning beautiful, yet so incredibly simple. The embellishments weren't piled on in layers (like you see in some of today's crazy quilts). It was so incredibly simplistic that you were able to enjoy the beauty of the stitches and the embroidery floss used. Not to mention it really allowed the silk background to be seen as well. Yes, there were some lovely applique quilts....and lone star quilts.....and utilitarian quilts that had such tiny pieces in them. There was a lovely variety of antique quilts to enjoy.....including a silk crazy patch kimono. The quilt made out of the cigarette silks was quite intriquing. Some of the photos on the silks were rather risque. My hubby sure enjoyed looking at them though. :.) He also enjoy looked at the quilt made from cigar silks. Wow! Quite a bit of collecting went on for both of the quilts. All in all, a very lovely exhibit. One that I will definitely be going back to enjoy while it's here.
Here are pictures of the Shetland I've been slowly spinning up. Just not enough hours in the day to do all that I would love to do. The two skeins I have done so far are about 350 yards each (one is a bit less). While I haven't figured out the wpi yet, I'm guessing it to be about a sock weight yarn. Which is good since I really want to knit up a pair of cabled socks for myself with it. I have another bobbin filled....a second bobbin partially filled.....and six batts all ready for spinning. All from the same fleece the skeins pictured above came from. It's such lovely, lovely fiber to spin up. :.)
This is the alpaca/merino/silk blend that I purchased a couple of months ago. I have it all spun up and one skein completely done (pictured above). Love the way it turned out. So incredibly soft! And the color is definitely different. I still need to get the other skein plyed.....and then decide what I want to do with it. Maybe a lace scarf or something. There is about 200 yards in the skein pictured so it wil have to be a fairly small project. I don't plan on purchasing anymore of this roving. It was a bit on the spendy side. Plus I've been having way too much fun playing with my Shetland lately. :.)
I have been doing some knitting. Christmas knitting actually. You'd think I would have started earlier and not have waited so long.....but with all the batts I've been carding up lately for my etsy site I just haven't had any time to spend on any of my own projects. I think it's time things slowed down for the etsy site and I spent some time getting a few of my own things done. I have four projects that should really be done for Christmas. I know that I can get at least three of them done in time. The fourth.....well, I honestly don't think that will happen. My loving hubby asked for a pair of socks for Christmas made from the wool from one of our sheep. I haven't even brought in a fleece for it....although I do have one in mind. So it looks like that may have to wait until after the holidays. .....or at least until the drum carder is opened up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fiber Fun!!

Here is the end result of my latest fiber experiment. I wanted to see what would happen if I blended Shetland that was one color with silk that was dyed another color. Then I added some multi-colored Firestar to the mix.....and got the above result. My youngest says it reminds her of a mermaid. So this is my *mermaid* batts. It didn't come out as soft as I would like. I think that is in large part to the Firestar. The Firestar wasn't soft at all on its own. I do think it will make wonderful sock yarn though. The Firestar is nylon so that should give the yarn strength and help it to wear well. Haven't quite decided on whether this group of batts will be offered up for sale or not. When I was carding my hands were picking up a nice blue tinge.....I'm guessing from the Shetland wool. But the water was clear when it was put back in for another rinse. So maybe the light bit of lanolin on the wool is holding just the blue coloration from the green dye and that is what I keep getting on my hands as I work with it??. I really don't know. I would love to offer these batts up for sale but am hesitant simply because of the possible dye problem. I guess I could always put a warning of sorts on the page. It is a very pretty blend and it would be a shame for it to sit on my shelves waiting for me to get around to actually spinning it.....which it would do.

As much fun as I've had blending I really need to put it all aside for a bit and actually get something carded up for myself. The rest of Carrie's fleece from last year has been patiently waiting for me to card it up so I can finish spinning it up. So I will be spending time doign that instead of blending. The first two bobbins have already been plyed and the twist set. What beautiful yarn!! Definitely telling me that it wants to be made into socks. And not just any socks.....cabled socks. One skein is 350 yards....the other 328 yards. So there is plenty there for socks. :.) And I anxious to see what the rest of the fleece will yield. She has such pretty coloring. Light gray with darker colored fibers mixed in. In fact, I love her coloring so much that not only did I keep last year's fleece from her, but I also kept this year's fleece.....and am seriously debating over whether I will keep next year's fleece as well. She produces such a lovely, lovely fleece....not only color-wise, but also handle as well. She always feels so silky to the touch.

I did start another knitting project the night before last. Like I really needed something else on the needles. I still haven't finished my sweater with the Shetland lace inlay. This project is a felted sheep done using the bulky weight Karakul yarn I spun up a while back and large needles (size 15). I have to confess that I'm in love with the sheep already and it's only half done. Working with the Karakul yarn has been a dream!! It knits up nicely and the coloring is simply not what I expected at all! I was expecting it to be pretty much all one color (off-white). To my surprise there are spots of darker color here and there. It really adds to the beauty of the sheep. I hope to have this finished in another day or so and ready for felting. It's going to be a big sheep that's for sure! And it definitely has been a very timely project. I find it extremely calming to work on and that is exactly what I needed right now.....especially since I'm fighting a pretty nasty cold.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Latest Batts

Here are my latest batts. I even had a small amount left over from the burgundy batts that I was able to use to spin up a sample skein. Wow! It spun like a dream!! And the yarn is so pretty!

The burgandy batt (s) (there are actually 3 of them for a total of 5 ounces) are 70% Shetland/20% Soy Silk/10% Icicle top.....for a bit of sparkle. I dyed the fiber after I had washed it, but before it was picked or carded. I also dyed the soy silk before blending it with the wool. Ended up with a very lovely batt.

The other batts are all a different blend using a fawn colored Shetland. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do so I opted to try something different with each batt. Hence the Shetland Blend Sampler. The top batt is 70% Shetland/20% Soy Silk/ 10% Icicle top. Turned out to be a very pretty (and very soft) white batt with a bit of sparkle to it. The middle batt is 75% Shetland/25% Honey colored Soy Silk. Really brought out the golden tones in the fawn Shetland. The bottom batt is 50% Shetland/50% Tencel. Made for a very white batt that has a nice sheen to it. Reminds me of white satin. All the batts came out incredibly soft. I had enough Shetland left over to make a baby batt (about 1/2 ounce) for myself. I went with a Shetland/Soy Silk/Icicle blend. I will spin this up into a sample skein. Not sure what I will do with all the sample skeins I seem to be collecting. All I know is that I really enjoy spinning them up. Gives me a chance to enjoy a bit of the incredible batts I've been creating lately. These batts will be available for sale on my etsy site ( ).

I have been spinning up the pink Shetland/Soy Silk blend that I carded up some time ago. Wow!! What an incredible blend to spin. It practically spins itself! I'm ending up with some very pretty yarn. I also plyed up some natural colored Shetland that I've been spinning up for quite some time. Just straight Shetland. I was spinning this with the intention of making a lace shawl from it. After plying it, though, it is just screaming for me to use it in a pair of cabled socks. :) So it looks like the shawl will have to be put on hold so I can start on some socks. Now to decide whether they will be for me or for my loving hubby. :)

On the quilting side of things....yes, I've actually found a bit of time to quilt lately. Haven't gotten much done but I am almost done getting a block ready for stitching. Just have a few more stems and the leaves to glue baste in place. Of course once this block is done and ready for stitching it will have to be put aside. I'm a block behind on one of the block of the month programs I am doing. So the current block will have to be done before I can do last month's block (which is the block I am currently working on). Why I didn't start with the latest one first is beyond me. Sure would have made a bit more sense. Oh well. :) Keeps things interesting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Yarn

Here it is!! The finished yarn made from Shetland/Golden Retriever/Soy Silk with a touch of icicle top. It came out very pretty.....and is incredibly soft. There is about 142 yards here. Not sure of the weight because I haven't taken the time to figure out the WPI (wraps per inch). I'm guessing it is probably somewhere between a sport weight and a worsted weight.

I now have another very lovely blend in the works. This one will be a blend of Shetland/Soy Silk and icicle top. Love the bit of sparkle the icicle top gives. The Shetland has been dyed a lovely deep burgandy. The soy silk was also dyed burgandy, but took the dye differently. It came out much lighter in color. Almost purple. Very pretty. So far I only have one batt partially done. Needs a few more runs through the drum carder before it will be finished. I will be sure to share pictures when it is finished. I'm really enjoying my drum carder these days. It's another facet of spinning that I am just now discovering.....and thoroughly enjoying.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fiber play

After what has been a very stressful couple of weeks, I was finally able to spend a bit of time in my spinning room. Pictured above is the latest blend to come off of my drum carder. It is 40% Shetland, 40% Golden Retriever ( my dog Rudy), 20% honey colored soy silk, and a touch of icicle top (for a bit of sparkle....which doen't really show up well in the photo). I carded up two batts and had one spun the very same day. While it spun up nicely, I'm not sure I will go with the same blend. I'm thinking a bit more Shetland and a bit less "Rudy" may be better. It was more fluff than anything and made for some difficult carding.....even with my brush attachment. Other than that it was a wonderful blend and spun like a dream! The finished yarn is now outside drying. I hope to get a picture of that real soon. Not sure what I will use it for yet. It is a very soft feeling yarn.

Here are pictures of the baby surprise jacket that I finally finished. I used a wool blend yarn that I had spun up at the fair this year. Let's see if I can remember the particulars. I think I ended up using about 290 yards of a dk weight yarn. Gauge was 6 stitches to the inch. Can't remember the needle size right now. I did do a swatch before I started. It was rather fun to knit up....once I figured out what I was doing. Not sure what I will do with the completed sweater since there aren't any babies in the family. Maybe I will make a teddy bear for it. I do know that I'm looking forward to making a larger version for myself.....once I figure out exactly what I want to use fiber-wise. I know it will definitely be Shetland. Just haven't decided if it will be a Shetland/Soy Silk blend (which I simply adore)......or if I will use all natural colors.......or all dyed fiber.......or if I will blend it with a bit of llama, too. Still in the playing phase of it. I dyed some more Shetland up yesterday and will blend that with a bit of soy silk (once it is dry). I'm also going to try dyeing a bit of the soy silk and then blend it with the Shetland. Curious to see the end results of that. Plus I have already carded up two batts of a Shetland lamb/llama/soy silk blend. I want to spin those up to see what the finished yarn will look like. Feels incredible though. :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

What a week.....

It's been quite some time since I last posted. Things have been beyond hectic here the last couple of weeks. It all started out with my father having a heart attack last week. We got him to the hospital where he was in surgery less than an hour after arriving. Talk about stubborn! Even when he's in ICU he is laying there telling us how he should be at home and how he doesn't need to be there. Good news is that he is doing fine. He was released late last week and is home driving my mom nuts because he just won't slow down.

Of course that wasn't the only thing that went on last week. One of my "fur babies" got real sick last week. I came home from the hospital only to find that my miniature schnauzer (pictured above) was falling all over and extremely unbalanced. I was unable to take him to the vet the next day because I was due back down at the hospital early the following morning. So he had to wait until things settled down with my father before I could take care of him......which really tore me up. Things settled down enough to where I could get him to the vet near the end of last week. I was told that it was nothing more than a simple ear infection and he should be better before the end of the weekend. The end of the weekend came and he hadn't improved at all. So back to the vet he went early Monday morning. He ended up staying at the vet until Wednesday. He had a plethora of tests done on him (and some x-rays) only to discover that he has a very serious ear infection deep in the right ear.....and a ruptured eardrum in the left. They found some cheat grass (I believe that is what they called it) seeds in both ears. So they put him on two antibiotics, one steroid, and pepcid ac to keep his stomach calm. There's nothing like having to push pills down a sick dog's throat twice a day. He's not real happy about it, but at least he has been cooperating.

When I first brought him home he had to be carried everywhere. His equilibrium was so off that he just couldn't walk or stand. It was really heart wrenching to watch him try. This morning was amazing!!! I carried him outside so he could do his thing. I was really careful to set him under a tree (it's been raining for the last two days....even snowed for a bit yesterday) so he would stay fairly dry. While I was feeding the sheep I would glance over at him every now and then to make sure he was doing okay. To my amazement he got up and actually made his way across the yard. He only fell once!! He was even able to make his way back across the yard to the front porch without falling. Of course he is not walking perfectly. Still a lot of wobbling.....but compared to what he was able to do just's amazing. And makes me so incredibly happy. He even growled at me this morning. Thought I was going to cry. My little schnauzer is very vocal. Doesn't snap or bite....but does like to voice his opinion on just about everything. He has been quiet since Monday. So for him to start "talking" again tells me that he is finally starting to feel better....which makes me so incredibly happy. It's been a very difficult week and a half for the both of us.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fiber Fun!!

Here is the result of my latest afternoon of fiber fun. This is a blend of 75% Shetland/25% Soy Silk. The Shetland is from of my own sheep. He has such lovely fawn colored fiber. And it's so soft. I had dyed it before putting it through the drum carder. Then I blended it with bleached soy silk. Sure did lighten up the pink color (which I really like). I ended up blending only half of my original batt at a time. Didn't want to take the chance on overloading my carder.....or messing up my newly blended bat. It took another four runs through the carder to get everything blended to where I was happy with it. This is defnitely a learning experience for me.

This is actually my first attempt at blending. I have never used my drum carder for anything other than simply carding up fiber for spinning. Love the end result of blending though and definitely see more of this in the future. I'm already planning on blending one of my Shetland lamb fleeces with a bit of wool from my llama and soy silk. I'm hoping it turns out really nice. I would love to use it to make a sweater for myself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Polar Bear Stuffie

Now the first polar bear stuffie I did has a friend. I finished this little guy up a couple days ago. It's about the same size as the first one I did. I didn't use as much polyfil in it so it felted a lot better. Button eyes, needle-felted nose using black llama wool, and the facial features are needle-felted. This one has a red ribbon with a small gold jingle bell.

Been enjoying some spinning lately. I bought this lovely, lovely fiber blend at my local fiber shop. The blend is alpaca, merino, and silk. I'm not real crazy about spinning alpaca or merino, but just couldn't refuse simply because of the color. Surprisingly it's spinning up like a dream!!! I spun up a sample skein on my drop spindle the very same day I bought it. Loved the way it was spinning so much that I decided to spin the rest of it up on my spinning wheel. Thankfully I bought 8 ounces of this very lovely fiber. Haven't a clue as to what I will do with the finished yarn. All I know is that I'm really enjoying the spinning. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Polar Bear Stuffie

This is my latest knit/felted project. This little guy is made from Cheviot yarn that I spun up quite some time ago. It measures about 8" long and 5" high. The pattern can be found in the 2008 Interweave Felt magazine. It did knit up quickly. I had it done in about two evenings. Learned quite a bit from it, too. I had never felted a stuffed knitted item before. The body felted a lot nicer than the legs. I think it was because there was a bit too much stuffing in the legs. The eyes are little buttons and the nose is needle-felted using black llama wool. The facial features are also needle-felted.

Thought I would share pictures of my latest spinning project. I bought 3 Karakul fleeces last year at the fair. Actually I bought one and my loving hubby bought the other two. Anywhoo, at this year's fair the breeder I got my fleeces from was giving me a hard time about not doign anything with the fleeces. So I thought it would be fun to spin up some Karakul yarn and make a felted sheep from it. Then send the felted sheep to the breeder with a little note saying it is made from the fleece I bought. So I picked the fleece and then spun from the "fluff". The resulting yarn is pictured above. It's a bulky weight yarn with nice texture. It was spun on my Ashford Country Spinner. I took a picture of the center-pull ball simply because it was the biggest center-pull ball that I had seen. It weighed 12 ounces!! (and over 225 yards) It was plyed and is the light colored skein. The second skein weighed 9 ounces (about 140 yards) and was dyed a pretty shade of a bit of contrast in the finished sheep.
I had so much fun spinning up the two skeins that I spun up a third one. The third one weighs about 9 ounces and is 192 yards. I still have plenty of fleece left and will be spinning up yet another skein. I'm thinking of putting at least one of these skeins up for sale on my etsy site. I've really been having lots of fun spinning up this Karakul fleece.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

More fiber fun....and some quilting

As if I didn't do enough spinning at the is a picture of post-fair yarn that I spun up. This is Merino that was beautifully dyed. You can see specks of color.....greens, a bit of gold.....nice fall colors. Don't know why I bought this roving. It's not like I really needed any more fiber. I guess the colors just called to me. :) Anyway, I brought home 8 ounces and proceeded to spin it up that very night. There is about 400 yards between the three skeins. Haven't figured out the wip yet, but I'm guessing it is about a worsted weight. The challenge for me was the fact that it was Merino. When I first started spinning I couldn't spin Merino if my life depended on it. Gave me fits!! Stayed away from it after that. Well, I have discovered that experience does make a different (or maybe just lots and lots of practice). This spun up beautifully!! It spun up about as consistently as anything will for me. (I like to say that my spinning is consistenly inconsistent.) I did enjoy it quite a bit and can see spinning a bit of Merino in the future.
It was also back to playing with my Shetland fleeces. I dedided to pull out Cisco's fleece and play with it a bit. He's a nice light fawn color. Very beautiful fiber!! And it dyes up like a dream!!! Not sure how much I will leave the natural color. I'm having so much fun dyeing it different colors. The pink I'm keeping for myself. I have a desire to blend it with a bit of silk and then spin it up. The other three colors will be put on my etsy site for sale. They are 4 ounce bunches. Here's a picture of Cisco so you can see how beautiful he is.

My flock consists of 21 Shetland sheep.......11 wethers and 10 ewes. When I originally started my flock I chose animals for their fiber and their color. I was setting up a spinner's flock. It became a breeding flock for a few years and now we are back to a spinner's flock. No rams here!! In fact, the three ramlings were all taken to the vet yesterday to be wethered. Levi was so happy when we put them in with him. He was bouncing all over his yard. He now has his own little flock to watch over. :)

And for the quilting part of it all......not only did I finish up the first block in the block of the month I'm doing through a local quilt shop.....but I also picked up the kit for block #2. Pictured below is block #1. It's a bit brighter than what I normally do.....but I like it. It makes me smile everytime I see it. Plus it has motivated me to continue working on a quilt that is my own design. And it will have sheep on it. :)

Lots of yarn!!

Here it is....finally! Pictures of all the finished yarn that I spun up while at the fair. Lots of time to spin means lots of yarn. Haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do with it all.....yet. :)
The top right picture is of a Targhee-Corriedale-Merino blend yarn. Found the fiber in a tub when I was looking for something to spin. Not sure exactly when I bought it or why.........until I found some kid mohair locks, that is. Of course this was after I had already spun it up into singles. I'm guessing it was bought to blend with the kid mohair locks. Oh well. I have a better fleece I can use for that. Since the kid mohair is this wonderful reddish-brown color I think i will simply blend it with a moorit lamb's fleece I have. Should make for some very pretty yarn. There is close to 800 yards between the two skeins. Haven't figured out the wpi (wraps per inch) just yet. I'm guessing probably a dk weight....if not a sport weight.
The top left picture is of a hand-dyed wool blend yarn. I had bought this during the fair on one of my only breaks away from the fair ground itself. Wanted something a bit different to spin. It was labeled as "virgin wool". Whatever it is, it spun up beautifully!! There is about 500 yards between the two skeins. At least a dk weight.
Bottom right is a skein of Grey Norwegian yarn. Definitely a worsted weight.....if not a bit closer to bulky. This skein is about 150 yards. I really didn't like spinning up this fiber. It was rather course and produced a smooth rather heavy single. I had purchased a pound of this fiber, but only spun enough to fill the bobbin about 3/4 of the way. There was a young spinner sitting next to me who really loved the fiber so I gave the rest to her. She really loved spinning it as it spins rather consistently. This will end up being made into a felted sheep. It's just too course (for my tastes) to be used for anything else.
Finally, the bottom left picture is of suffolk. This spun up into a worsted weight yarn. Wasn't too bad to spin, just a bit course for my taste. The three skeins yeild about 570 yards. Just enough to make about two felted sheep. It did take dye very you can tell by the black skein on top.
So that is the end results from this year's fair. I was able to get quite a bit spun up and did spin a rather nice variety of fiber. Of course this is just what was spun up on my wheel. On my drop spindles I spun up some Shetland (from one of my own sheep)......a bit of llama (from my black guard was so soft and spun like a dream!!)......and some corriedale (which I simply adore spinning). Wonder what I will be spinning at next year's fair.........

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My new llama

It's been quite some time since I've posted on my blog. Life has been keeping me pretty busy....especially the guy pictured above. :) This is Levi. He is my new llama. He is a rescue llama. I was told that he is a year old, but am seriously having my doubts about that. I'm thinking he may be younger....probably about 10 months old or so. Of course I don't know much about llamas so I could be way off on this. He is a real sweetie and has been easy to handle. I've been brushing him and taking him on walks every day. As for my other llama.....well, let's just say that he is acting like he really doesn't care about the new llama....although he can be seen checking on Levi quite often throughout the day. It's rather comical to watch. :)

When we first got Levi he was kept in the barn so that we could get to know him....and him us. It didn't take long for one of the llamas to push the screen out of a barn window so they could stick their heads through. And this is how they spent the first couple of days....with one or the other having their head stuck through the window. Now that Levi is able to come out into the yard everyone is getting acquainted through the fence that divides them. It is really sweet to see. It looks like Levi has a favorite already. He really seems to like Q-tip a lot.......who just happens to be white like him.
If I felt totally spoiled before I know why. My loving hubby decided to surprise me with a new wheel shortly after the fair ended. I am now the proud owner of an Ashford Country Spinner. It's one of those wheels you just didn't know you wanted until you actually have one. Of course my hubby is a sucker for big bobbins! LOL! I guess they don't get much bigger than the Country Spinner. He also thought I might enjoy having a wheel that I could ply on and not having to constantly change flyers on my Kromski. I must admit it is very nice having a wheel set up just for plying. All of the singles I spun up at the fair is now plyed and ready to be used in some future project. And all of it was plyed on the Country Spinner.

Of course all this fiber play hasn't left much time for quilting. In fact, I have barely quilted in the past month. Although I did get the first block of the block of the month I joined done. Which is a good thing. Especially since it's time for me to take my completed block in so that I can pick up the new block. Now I'm just hoping things will settle down a bit more so that I can enjoy my quilting once again. It's funny how you tend to miss something when you just don't have enough time for it....even though you may have other hobbies that you enjoy just as much.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another fair season has ended......

.....and now it's time for me to get caught up on things around the house before I can finally breathe again. The 2008 fair went rather well. There were some rough spots....and some lessons learned. Afterall, I am still learning. This is my second year as department superintendent.....and it did go much better than last year. Met lots of interesting people from all over the world.....and was the motivation for those who've always wanted to learn how to spin but just didn't know where to start......or were too intimidated to give it a try. The department sponsor was pleased with how well things went. The store traffic had increased over last year as did sales. Can't complain about that at all. :)

Of course there was a very dark spot in it all. One of my little felted sheep was taken from the spinning area. It was definitely something I was not expecting at all. I had brought both of my felted sheep in so that people (especially the kids) could see and feel something made from hand spun. Apparently someone felt that they needed one of my felted sheep more than I did. "Little Charlie" disappeared the second day he was there....with people in the spinning area.....and a crowd in the barn. Someone had reached over the wrought iron fence that surrounded the spinning the inside of the table where "Little Charlie" was. At first we were all hoping a child had simply walked off with him and would be returned as soon as the parent saw it. Unfortunately he was never returned. "Little Charlie" did have a label on his belly with his name, my name, and date he was made. I honestly don't think I will ever see this little felted lamb again. I'm just glad that I took pictures and was able to make a small sheep pincushion from the left-over yarn. It was spun from the real Charlie's lamb fleece. The other felted lamb was taken home.....and a lesson was learned. Put things on display that you don't mind if they walk away.

I had taken my Clemes & Clemes wheel to spin on for most of the fair. My Hitchhiker was there for the first couple of days, but it went home when the Clemes & Clemes was brought down. The C & C is a much heavier wheel (less chance of it walking off) and people really seem to enjoy seeing it in action. I did so much spinning this year that I filled six bobbins (spun about 2 1/2 pounds) with singles....which now will be plyed into finished yarn. At one time I also had five drop spindles going. All with different fibers. Most of the drop spindles have been wound off and the yarn finished. Only two still have singles on them.....and those are the ones that I travel with. Now to decide what I will do with all that finished yarn. :)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New mystery quilt.....

.......from is up and running strong. The Quiltville mystery list has been incredibly busy with all the chatter from everyone who is busy sewing, sewing, sewing. As for me.....well, I won't be participating in this mystery. It has come at a not-so-convenient time......fair time. Opening day for our local fair is this Friday.......which wouldn't be a huge factor if I were not incredibly involved in the fair itself. As luck would have it, I was able to land a superintendent position at my local fair (wool department) so things start up early for me. While the fair runs 10 days......I'm there for at least 14 days. Between all the prep work, set-up, and tear-down......well, it makes for some very long days. Which means very little time for pretty much anything else. Of course I thoroughly enjoy the fair itself and my days do by rather quickly. Looks like we will have wonderful weather for it, too.....which is always a good thing. :)

Looks like the summer temps have pretty much left us for this year and we have moved right into Indian Summer. Lots of lovely sunny days that aren't overly hot. Thankfully I was able to finish washing up all the fleeces I needed to before the weather cooled down. This summer I washed 13 Shetland fleeces, 2 Karakul, and one Llama fleece (from my guard llama). I look forward to spending the winter months playing with all of this wonderful fiber.

See Ewe at the Fair!!!!