Good Tired

It was a beautiful weekend.

There was shearing (not here, but over at Schoonover Farm)

There was gardening.

And there was dirt moving.

But, sadly, there are no pictures.

I am very pooped, and the sun is going down.

Too late to document the progress.

I am now installed on the couch with Tiny Gus. One thing I can share on the fly is a photo of some newly completed socks

That’s all I’ve got for now.

But I need to get something new on the needles, so will be working on a “next sweater” plan this week!

Ala Cart!

Cool, rainy weather means none of the sheeps seem interested in being sheared yet. So I’ve been focusing on washing up the last of last year’s wool. I’d almost forgotten that I still had Dottie’s fleece hiding in the laundry room closet!

Also been doing more dyeing- this time Strawberry and Malbec (the lilac is exhaust from the Malbec dye bath)

Juicy, fruity colors. All my recent dyeing has been on white fibers, but I’m thinking I might need to do a round of each color on Dottie’s shades of gray…..

But the breaking news today, under the heading of “working smarter, not harder” is the arrival of a new garden cart!

Still in the box, fresh off the FedEx truck. (We weren’t expecting it until tomorrow)

I’m super excited about this development, as I think it’s going to save me a lot of time and energy

Color Play

Sorry I missed last week. Had some technical difficulties. But hopefully that is behind us!

Spring is springing, and that always gets me in the mood to play with color. I started by diving into my available dyed stash, and hand carding up some small samples of muted blended colors

I spun those up into a sampler skein, each color bordered by the dark drown Daphne wool

It’s kind of a neat effect, but I definitely underestimated how much twist it needed- or maybe I ended up spinning it a bit thinner than I originally planned. Well, that’s what sampling is for, right? Was much more satisfied with my second attempts-

I think of these kinds of heathery blends as painterly colors. They will be a nice additions to my stash of Fair Isle project yarns. But this round of carding made me realize that I had some gaps in the woolly color wheel. ( the greenish shade above is the result of pretty thorough blending of blue and yellow fibers, as there was no green in the fiber stash)

So this week I did some more dyeing!

I had a few Wool Tinctures standing by, and was originally thinking that I’d get out the dye pot and fire up my propane burner,,,, but the weather wasn’t really cooperating. Not quite dyeing outside weather yet.

Then it occurred to me that I could probably use the Wool Tinctures in the microwave like I do with KoolAid. Just dissolve the dye teabag in a glass jar, add the citric acid (and some white vinegar for good measure), add it to the pre-wetted fleece in ziplock freezer bag, and microwave for 2 minutes or so.

And voila! Clockwise from upper left: Forage, Snap Pea, Pumpkin

So quick. So easy. I don’t know if I would recommend dying yarn this way, as I generally do get some color variation on the fibers,, but I really like that effect on the locks. And then you can blend it back together on the carder, or not. Like so-

They look so Spring-y 🙂

Out in the pasture, shearing has begun with Fiona- who is proving to be a bit of a challenge. Very felted along her back, but hopeful that I’ll get some nice, workable fleece from her sides at least. The wool itself is much softer and crimpier than previous years, so that’s a nice surprise.

She doesn’t look thrilled with her haircut so far. Hopefully phase two won’t be quite as tedious as getting the felted mat off her upper back was!

(re)Making the Bed(s)

It’s been a tractor-ing kind of weekend!

I hadn’t mentioned it here before, but a few weeks ago we got a new septic system installed. Big relief to have that project completed, but as a result of the the digging to bury two new enormous tanks, we have a small mountain of soil in the side of the house (photo taken after we’d already moved maybe 8 tractor bucket loads)

I’ve decided that we’re use that soil to remake our garden beds- removing the timbers that are currently defining them and filling in the walkways inbetween to create a continuous planting area. Also hoping to take delivery of a trailerload of mushroom compost soon to support this project.

It’s a lot of hauling. Wood out, dirt in. Thank goodness for the tractor. Was nice to have beautiful weather this weekend to get started on it.

Boo kitten enjoyed some sunbathing time while supervising and providing moral support. 🙂

And just this morning I chanced upon a new companion for Speck, who has been seeming very lonely since Yellow Chicken died. This girl too was an only chicken, so it seemed like a great solution.

And now that the heavy lifting is done for the day, I will get back to finishing up those socks- the blue/orange ones just need ends woven in

But I’ve still one more toe to reknit on the argyles-

And I need to pop out and visit with the sheeps. They’ve been enjoying this sunny stretch I’m sure- and are starting to think that they might want to ditch their winter coats.

Time to get the shears sharpened up!

Have a good week folks-