Friday, January 25, 2013

Betsy's Fleece

I've been working through some of last season's fleeces as it will be shearing time before we realize it.  I pulled out Betsy's fleece.  She is one of the Sofa Sisters (so named because the twins were grossly obese when we adopted them) and is a Border Leicester X Cotswold with lovely curls.  Here is a nice picture of Betsy with her twin sister, Bitsy, that I took last year.

So here is how I spent my week:
Nice dirty locks.  Lots of mud but almost no VM or second cuts.
Ben helping, or supervising, or watching to see what the donkeys out front are doing.
A 2 oz. sample of those lovely curls.
Soaking away some of the mud in a warm bubble bath.
First batch of dyeing.
A good rinse.
Final rinse.
And I have no picture of the dry fiber yet as we have a sort of sleety frozen rain falling now but you can trust me when I say I am tickled with the results.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Passing Time

So far, we are having a rainy January.  That is a good thing as we certainly need the water.  It does change the way we do things here on the farm.  I was hoping to get a lot of dyeing done this week but that has not been the case.  I do my dyeing in the stable so I can do it in the rain but I hang my drippy rovings outside to dry and that is just not happening this week.

I had done a little dyeing on Monday and managed to get two batches of roving dry by hanging them in the bathroom.  This roving was my "everything but the kitchen sink" colorway.  I had dibs and dabs of perfectly good dyes in a few different jars so just poured those all over my wetted roving.
I wrapped it up tightly, steamed it for a while, rinsed it out and then let it spend three long days drying.  It was dry enough this morning to split the roving and begin spinning it.
I am spinning it slightly thick and thin.  So far I am happy with the way the color is coming together and I am always pleasantly surprised to see the whole thing plyed.  And I am absolutely loving spinning on my HansenCraft mini e-spinner.  I do thoroughly enjoy treadling my Majacraft Millie or any of the other wheels around here but this little guy has a fabulous WooleeWinder and a bobbin that holds lots and lots of fiber.
Once this is done I've got a pink and gold hank of roving that I also managed to dye on Monday.  Then, if the rain continues, I'll have to just dig into the stash and work on some nice natural colored wool.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


We have had a day & a half of rain which was quite welcomed as we are currently in a drought.  All of the animals have shelter but some prefer not to use it.  Goats stay under cover until the rain ends & then spend a good bit of time tiptoeing around so as to avoid puddles.  It is funny to watch them jump from high spot to high spot.  They will even hesitate to follow me with a grain bucket if I am slogging through a puddle.
The sheep couldn't care less.  Betsy much prefers to use this shed as a scratching post.
Tootsie Pie, our all purpose house & farm dog, was hunting for small rodents as usual.
While Mollie, our sixteen year old bird dog, was barely managing to readjust herself to continue her nap.
The ducks were so busy exploring new puddles that I couldn't get a good picture.  They were all bathing, dabbling & generally having a big time while the chickens simply tried to get a drink.  This was the calmest duck I could find.
While Gwen, one of the Anatolian Shepherds, was keeping watch over her pasture from the tractor shed.  The Shetland in the background was passing time leaning up against Al's shearing board which won't get much action now until spring time.
And this little Shetland is doing her usual "own thing".  She grazes at the far end of a pasture, ignoring the fact that all the other sheep had already run up the hill on the chance that I was bringing them a treat.
And here's to a quiet new year - at least so far, so good!