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May’s Splendor

First rose in bloom, Therese Bugnet

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Bearded Iris from a friend

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Lilac scenting the whole yard

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Deciduous azalea

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Fig tree just starting to leaf out- with tiny figs already formed!

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Another soft and squishy skein of Esther fingerling weight yarn

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The grass is growing like crazy, and the sheep are hard at work munching it down. Just a couple of bales left in the woodshed- much to the chagrin of Boo Kitten, who is usually found lounging atop the stacked hay.

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I can’t wait to have a shed full of sweet smelling bales again!

Esther Sampling

Washed up my first batch of Esther fleece this week, and was really anxious to give it a spin!

So, here we have my first go

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It’s chain plied- and about an aran or chunky weight. It worked up quickly into a nice substantial swatch

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with very nice stitch definition for the latticework pattern. Could see this being a nice weight for nice warm cabled vest.

For my next sample thought I’d see how she handled spun up quite a bit lighter. Here are the two yarns side by side for comparison.

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I really like this light two-ply as well. Would be great for stranded colorwork.

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Good show Esther! Such a versatile girl 🙂

Frank and Felix Come Clean

Thanks to the rain on Saturday morning I was able to get a hold of Frank and Felix and start to help them out of their messy, felted winter coats.

Frank was a tough job. Most of his neck and upper back was felted all the way down to the skin. I think that he feels a lot better now that he’s free of it, even though he wasn’t too pleased about me fussing over him for so long. I found it interesting though that his chest and sides were starting to shed on their own- I don’t remember him doing that before. At least it made that part of the job go much more smoothly.

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Felix’s neck was pretty felted too, but was easier to get away from his skin, so it went a little faster.

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Most of the fleece from both boys was not really worth saving, but I was able to salvage some nice chest wool (after trimming away about and inch and a half of felted tips off it all). It was all damp from the rain, so I washed it right away, and was pleasantly surprised at how white it came out (really should have taken a “before” photo)

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Both of them have such beautiful wool. It’s a shame that so much of it ends up unusable. I think I’m going to try the fall shearing again this year and see if that helps.

In other wool news, I finally spun up a skein of my saved up Sadie undercoat blended with Edgar’s 2017 fleece.

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Now I just have to find the right way to use it.

And I also wanted to share a photo of a little post-sweater project I worked up out of my first skein of Bambam Too 2017 (Schoonover Farm)

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Between the rich brown color, soft hand & squooshy crimp I enjoyed every minute of this little cowl!

Scenes from the Barbershop

Saturday was nice and sunny, and I was able to convince Chone that he needed to be relieved of his heavy winter coat (or at least part of it)

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He’s usually a good sport for at least the first half of the job.

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And we had a nice bit of quality time, with lots of rubs and snuggles

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He’s such a sweet little dude 🙂
So he’s about half-shorn now, much like Dottie and Esther.
Still haven’t had a go at Felix and Frank yet, and Frank look like he’s already shedding his fleece a bit.
It’s just as well- I think that he’s pretty felted. But I hope to have a chance to get him tidied up soon.

In other fiber-y news, I received a sample of angora from a friend the other day, so I spent some time today playing with it and working up a little sample.

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I’d never spun angora before, so it took a little bit of practicing before I got a feel for how it drafted. It’s so soft and fine- but with a decent staple length, so I decided to spin it on it’s own, with no wool blended in.

My regular old hand carders did a decent job prepping it- not perfect, but got most of the clumps opened up

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Thought I had a picture of it on the bobbin, but oh, well-
Here is the resulting swatch

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Serious halo- and I haven’t even washed it yet!
It could probably have used a bit more twist in the singles, so I’ll probably try that next time so the yarn is a little stronger and more stable. But I’m pretty pleased with how the first try went.

Makes me really want to make one of these
or perhaps one of these

The little ones look like they’d work up pretty fast….