Farm Tour!

Yesterday the Man and I went down to Whidbey Island for a Livestock Adviser field trip to Gary and Lois Fisher’s place, Camelot Downs.

Gary and Lois have all “Colonial Livestock”, animal breeds that were brought over to the US from Britain and elsewhere during the colonial period.

They have a flock of Southdown sheep,

Southdown Flock+Romney

with a couple of Romney’s (can you find the Romney in the picture above?),


a Coopworth cross I didn’t get a photo of and and also a Lincoln wether thrown in (as company for one of the llamas).

Lincoln wether

Llamas act as flock guardians,

Llama guards

and Ginny ( a “Henny”- offspring of a male horse and a female donkey) patrols the borders of the place, keeping a lookout for coyotes and dogs.


and a little closer (she’s such a snugglebug)-


Lois processes most of the wool herself, as the Southdown fleece doesn’t lend itself to commercial preparation (staple length too short, I guess)- and showed us some of her drum carded batts and handspun yarns.

Occurs to me know that I should have gotten photos of that stuff as well. Oops!

But anyway, was always good to be in the company of other fiber-folk!

In knitting news, the back of the Oregon vest is complete and I’m moving on to the left front.

I must say, it does feel odd to be knitting a sweater in pieces. I feel like I have to keep comparing the new piece with the back to make sure the waist shaping is even and all that.

It’s much easier making adjustments to the pattern on the fly when you’re working on the garment as a whole. Just one more reason to knit in the round.

That’s about it for now. Have to go and spin up more of that Oregon vest wool…

Almost forgot to blog!

This weekend has really whizzed past.

Saturday I had the opportunity to go down to Seattle and give a spinning demo at our friends’ retirement community, Merrill Gardens at Queen Anne.

First time I’d done something like this, but it went pretty well I think. Had a nice size group of folks show up, and they seemed to be interested- asking a lot of questions, and fondling all the wool samples I brought. Once I got talking, it took a while to get to the spinning part-( there’s just so much to say about the wool itself! and the prep!)- but we finally got there.

And everyone was amazed by the wonder of wool becoming yarn before their very eyes.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think to have the man take any photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination to sketch the scene.

Anyway- I should mention that I finally have another project in the works:

IMG_0272 (Medium)

A nice, simple, functional wardrobe item. I’m actually following the pattern (so far), with one small modification- I’m doing a little bit of shaping at the waist so it isn’t quite so boxy.

The yarn is a nice thick dark brown Romney 3 ply-

IMG_0268 (Medium)

that i will have to spin quite a bit more of in order to finish. Don’t know what it is with me and the 3-ply lately. It’s a bunch more work, but I love it anyway.

This is how far I’ve gotten-

IMG_0263 (Medium)

About half way up the back. The square thing sticking out the side is a pocket, that will get sewn down to the inside front when the vest is assembled. Here’s a better photo of how that works out:

IMG_0269 (Medium)

That’s all for now, except…..

First person to guess what I’m going to be for Halloween gets a prize!

A Different Direction

Wednesday night’s topic last week at my Livestock Adviser class was sheep (!) and llamas. Yea!

Mother Hildegard George, of Our Lady of the Rock on Shaw Island was our speaker.

Mother Hildegard

Mother Hildegard runs the sheep operation at the convent. They keep Cotswolds, selling breeding stock and wool products through their website. She brought a lot of wool-related materials (roving, yarn, books, magazines) because she’d heard that there were a bunch of fiber folks in the class. Sounds like they’ve got a really nice setup there on Shaw Island. 300 acres, no real predator problems.

During her class I started a swatch. About 4 inches wide. A nice smooshy corriedale (navajo plied). And I liked how it felt so much that I just kept going. Pretty soon I had 20-something inches of swatch, and I thought, “I should really turn this into something.”

First I made it into a band. Picked out the cast-on, and kitchenered the two ends together.

Here is Bruno, somewhat reluctantly modeling the band:

Bruno in headband

(Poor Bruno. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But he’s a good sport. Gotta love the sweet Bruno.)

Anyway- it was a nice band,, but the edges rolled under like crazy. It needed something more. So, I picked up some stitches behind one edge (so the edge itself is visible on the front) and knit a hat top out of some lovely soft emsket Shetland. Then I did the same on the other edge, but knit about an inch or so of 2×2 ribbing.

And here ’tis- from the side:

Hat from Side

and from the top:
Top of Hat

I do like the cross-directional interest, especially since the yarn is kind of self-striping.

In other news, we have a mountain of fresh and fruity wool muffins from my last KoolAid dyeing adventure:

KoolAid dyed wool muffins


More Loose Ends

The weaving report: I finally got about 13 inches woven on my handspun sampler, and decided that was enough for now, so I cut it off the loom, and now rather than the project itself being a loose end, the project is a mess of loose ends! I’m sure there is a better method for finishing it, but for now I’ve tied all the little ends in pairs so it doesn’t unravel itself.

weaving with loose ends

My first weaving. It’s simple, and certainly not perfect, but it’s fabric. Cool, eh?

First Fabric

Didn’t quite finish sock #2 this week,

Socks in progress

but working with those bright fruity colors has motivated me to dye up another batch of sherbet-y goodness:

Fresh and Fruity

Kool Aid is so much fun.