Category: Blog

Farm Livin’ 101

So, I was at a Spindrifers (local spinning guild) meeting on Saturday, talking sheep with Yvonne, who recently adopted some CVM (California Variegated Mutant) sheep. She mentioned something about a WSU extension event going on in Stanwood next weekend. Farming seminars and such. Just my speed!
So I came home and checked it out on the web- Country Living Expo 2008, Stanwood High School, Saturday, Jan 19.

I am so excited. The man and I are both signed up (he gave in pretty easy because it’s my birthday- I lucked out there!) and I think it’s going to be great. Lots of good topics for the seminars, everything from maintaining a pasture to shearing sheep on a stand- and a prime rib lunch to boot.

Now that’s my idea of a good time.

I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

Life is like a pile of rolags…

Happy little pile-o-rolags

Success in the product is largely about the prep work.

(Maybe I’ll develop that metaphor more completely later on.)

These little rolags are carded seconds of a couple different wools.  Bits left over from my first time around flick carding the locks. Handcarding the rolags is more work than the flicking process, but it lets me make good use of the shorter fibers that get screened out in the first go-round. And it’s kind of a relaxing way to spend an evening.

I spin up the rolags using a long-(ish) draw  method, and it results in a really nice soft, lofty kind of yarn.  I do love the long draw and spin this style whenever I can. Of course, it works best when the fiber is well prepped and drafts easily and evenly.

But that can be said of most things  in spinning, and life, eh?

More Fun with Fleece

The new little fleece is all dry and ready to be played with:

Kitsap Romney Washed

It cleaned up beautifully, and is just dying to be spun up. So, we’ll go through a little bit of how I get it ready for spinning.

With something like this, I usually just grab a few locks at a time and use a flick carder (or dog brush) to open up the ends and remove any short or weak bits (any remaining veg falls out too) . In photos:

Flick Carding1Flick Carding2

Holding the locks by the butt end, I comb down through the tips of the fibers, opening them up.

Then I turn it aronfand do the same to the butt ends.

Flick Carding 3

And then you have a nice little cloud of loosened up fibers, all still going in the same direction. I usually spin right from this stage. I just make up a mountain of little fiber bundles and then get spinning.

But if you want to, you can easily make your own roving. Just tug out a small bunch of fibers fo the end of the bundle, and keep drafting them in a steady stream until you run out:

Drafting roving by hand

Then you can gently wrap them into a tidy little bun for spinning later.

Here is a short video demonstration:

I am Rich in Wool

Yes, indeed.

Today was knitting day at work (we meet at lunch), and we had quite a crowd show up after two weeks off over the holidays. Was neat to see what all people have been up to over that time.

And would you believe, I was gifted with another fleece!

Yep. I am becoming a wool magnet.

What’s especially cool about this one is that it still has it’s 4H blue ribbon with it. It’s a very nice bunch of wool- soft, crimpy, no veg, and pretty darn clean (compared to some things I’ve worked with). It’s been sitting in a basement for about a year or so now, so it’s got a bit of an orange-y cast from the lanolin, but I expect that it will wash right out.

And so, without further ado, here ’tis- the underside, and the outside, respectively.

Kitsap Romney Unwashed-undersideKitsap Romney Unwashed

Isn’t that a nice little fleece?

I’ll be washing about half of it up tonight so I can pass some of it off to another spinning friend. Gotta spread good wool (good will?) around.