Month Ends with Beginner’s Mind


Beginner’s Mind: Border Leicester, CVM/Romney, Gulf Coast Native 40 yd about an Ounce

To end the month with a spin is good. To end, as one might begin, even better.

This yarn is spun with ends of runs…blobs with alfalfa, neps galore, uncombed locks. Just a pile of scruffy stuff that I loaded onto the handcards, cleaned, carded, and spun. I plied the dark CVM/Romney/GCNI with a fat Border Leicester single. Soo soft and delicious! Lumpy, bumpy, irregular, thick, thin, and a yarn any beginner would be horrified to spin.

This ends month #1 of Yarn Every Day on Ravelry. What a wild group! If you are a Raveler…come on by…we’ll be giving it a go next month, too!

Spinning CVM, Thinking of a Chicken


CVM/Romney 2-ply, 1/4 oz, 20 yd, 12 wpi

I bought this fleece to make a sweater for Tom. It is so dark brown, it’s almost black. This picture was taken with a flash, so the color is washed out. I’ll take a picture in the morning and add it to this post. The color is so amazing. And soft? Oh, I hope there’s enough for a sweater for me. I’ll lose weight, I’ll get small…whatever it takes. This is some special wool!

Update on the chicks. They are behaving like wild injuns. Wingie was always on them about staying close to her. Well, today, they were venturing out…not just out of their run, but out of the garden completely. We had a hawk scare today too. Three crows swooped in and escorted the hawk away. I think that is pretty amazing!

Back to the Garden

Twenty four hours is a long while to be gone from a place like this: a labor intensive-dependent place, with living, breathing, eating dependents. We got back late yesterday afternoon, ate, relaxed, and slept. This morning, the celestial choir awakened us. All 9 roosters were going off, simultaneously, in pairs, in quartets, in…well, you get the idea. They were just so needy. Artie, the muse, on the other hand…



She is laying on, you guessed it, Sally’s fleece, all rolled up in an old sheet. I haven’t yet had time to skirt, weigh, etc, so there it sits. And, as you can see, she knows a good thing when she feels it. The gal who has to sleep with mommy, and has, for 15 years…well, there’s something better.

The garden needed attention. I planted borage seedlings, cotton seedlings, a couple rows of Jacob’s Cattle beans, and lo, oh, yeah, and behold…the Contenders are blooming. Also, we have 3 little ears of corn on corn stalk #1. Also, we pulled a dozen or so plump crisp red potatoes out from under. Also…oh pah, I won’t go on. I did have a lot to do out there, though. Fertilizing the Seminole squash and the Cocozelle…good ol rotted chicken poo hay. Watering the onions and the Brandywines. Half the dang day.

Then there was food to make. Blueberry muffins, daily bread, sausage & peppers…another good chunk o time. And, needless to say, I had to drive to the feed store.

So…the spinning didn’t get going until about an hour ago…and what should I spin? Well, Gracie came today. Gracie is a CVM Romney cross. The darkest dark brown. And as soft and silky as a bevis.


An Ounce of Gracie

This is what I did. This soft, slidey stuff takes a little bit of gettin’ used to…so, I took that ounce that I washed this afternoon, and spun ‘er up using a variety of tensions and ratios and speeds. Light, medium, and slow. There you go.

Back from Barberville


All I spun today was a bit of coreopsis dyed Gulf Coast Native. I cannot resist showing off the first skein from my little girls along with that apricot colored yarn.

We screamed to Barberville last night, after the Morningside shearing/festival day. Played a very hot dance. We were joined by Katie Bailey Waller and Joe Waller on the stage. Pat Czar called. Dancers come from all over the state to have a weekend of non-stop dance with a different band/caller every hour. It was great to have the honor of playing the last dance.

Today, we had a performance gig and an afternoon dance with Roy Moye calling. Katie and Joe were up for playing again, so we had a Turtles Wallerv sound. Now, we had a lot of down time between gigs. So…Mr Spindle came in handy. But, not for long. At music festivals, you end up, well, if not making music, then talking about music, or getting together to laugh with musicians you haven’t seen in awhile. It was one of those days. So, most of the spinning was of musical tales.

First Haircut for Holly & Sally


Holly & Sally Hogan Waiting for their Date with Joel the Shearer

Oh what a day this has been. The crack of dawn came all too soon. Every animal was hungrier than usual. And we had to catch 2 wildy gals who have the run of 5 acres, and no we don’t have a ramp or a chute so don’t ask. Between the 2 of us, we got ’em into the back of the truck and drove to Morningside, where they were born.  Here they are, in the little feed pen, waiting for their date with destiny…their first shearing.


Holly in the Shear Position

Now, I do know how much you want to see all the grim details of their shearing. But you get one picture. My girls would be horrified to think of the indignity. Ahem. Actually, Joel the Shearer has been plying his trade since he was 12 years old. His sister is his assistant, and more than able is she. He shears a sheep in about 3 minutes. Flawlessly.


Nekked Holly & Sally Evaluating her Sister’s Haircut (“OMG, I’m Next?!)


Holly Fleece. Smell that Lanolin?

I couldn’t wait to get home and unroll those sheets. I took a couple locks from each fleece to measure, to wash, and to …. SPIN.


Holly & Sally Blend – First “Skein”

I did take pictures of Sally, but I am in a total hurry…more on that in a minute. May it suffice to say that I washed a bit of each fleece, then dried it in the hot afternoon sun, then carded and spun a fine single, and plied it. This mini skein is only 8 yards long. But, ain’t it grand? This is some whisper soft lamby fleece, I tell you. Washed, the locks were over 4″ long. For Florida gals, I believe they did real good.

Now, Tom and I have to drive to Barberville, because we are set to play the last dance, at 10:00 tonight. Right now, we’re fighting over staying overnight. I can’t see it…everyone needs feed and water in the morning. But, it’s 100 miles each way…and we have to play there again tomorrow at noon. What would you do?

A Dash of Apricot & a Map


The apricot-coreopsis fluff from yesterday’s post (below) is being transformed into yarn. But, there are so many last minute things to do before tomorrow’s big reveal, that I just can’t fit one more centimeter of yarn into my day.

Tomorrow Holly & Sally get loaded into the truck (that ought to be a worthy sight) and driven back to Morningside, where they were born. There, they are destined to meet a shearer called Joel, who came all the way from Alabama to shear a few Gulf Coast Natives.

Before the haircuts, I will be dressed up like your maiden great-grand-aunt who lived in the sticks in 1880. I’ll be setting with Susan the soapmaker, showing off these plant dyed yarns of mine. I can’t bring the Fricke, but I have many a handspindle to accompany me. I promise to sneak a certified non-authentic camera in, to take a couple pictures.

After the haircuts, Tom & I will drop the naked girls off back home, feed the chickens, and depart for Barberville, where we are scheduled to play the last dance at 10:00. Then…who knows. We will probably drive home so as to be here to feed the critters first thing. Then, it’s back to Barberville for more pickin’ and fiddlin’ – a midday gig and an early afternoon dance.

Hence the book of maps.

Ah, to be Single & Orange


172 yd/1 1/2 oz Gulf Coast Native Singles – Coreopsis

The dyed locks from last summer ran out, but gave up a nice soft singles yarn. I’d like to ply it, and the choice I have is between waiting for coreopsis to bloom and dyeing more, or plying with a different color. This time, I’m opting to wait for flowers. I’m hankering for solid colors.

Today, our fiddle band played for the opening day of Morningside’s Farm & Forest Festival. Many many elementary school kids were let out of jail and brought to the farm to enjoy a day of earthiness. They made rope, watched a blacksmith, a tanner, and a banjo maker, they ate kettle corn and roasted corn, they saw a “cracker” barnyard and an heirloom garden, they touched tanned pelts, and they sat on benches and sang along with the Flying Turtles String Band. We return on Saturday with our sheep and my baskets of plant dyed yarns. Our gals, Holly and Sally, will get their very first shearing. We are very excited! Holly and Sally…well…not too much.

Naturals in Demand


This morning, we were still up in the air about the Farm & Forest Festival coming up this weekend. We knew we were scheduled to play music on Thursday, but we didn’t know what we were going to do with Holly & Sally. The shearer is coming from Alabama, and he will be shearing on Saturday. We are scheduled to be playing at Barberville on Saturday night and on Sunday. It was suggested that we drop the sheep off Friday, and just leave them. No. Nope. Uh uh.

So….after mucho deliberation and a nice conversation with the Morningside gang…we know what we will be doing with the girls. They will get a ride to Morningside early Saturday morning. (Early because the Farm & Forest Festival is about a less mechanized time…no modern stuff is allowed on the farm during the festival.) Joel will shear them in the afternoon. We will take them home. We will drive to Barberville. Ta da.

Oh ha! But…one more thing. Yes…about my natural dyeing. Ahhhh, yes…I guess we did have a conversation about that last year. Oh boy. Well, I dug through my baskets and found some yarns. Some started. Some finished. Some dyed locks. Yay! Coreopsis locks! YAY!

I cabled some goldenrod yarn, reskeined the pokeberry and the marigold, and carded into roving some of the coreopsis locks. I’ve just started spinning that roving. I can’t take my Fricke to the festival, because it looks like something out of the Jetsons. But I can take yarn.


This is Gulf Coast on the bobbin. I have about 50 g of dyed locks. I’ll spin a little 2-ply.

Also, since the Virginia Creeper is going gangbusters…I’m going to be dyeing after dinner. I have Gulf Coast, Corrie/Mohair, and Border Leicester soaking in the bathroom sink. Tune in tomorrow…

Singles – Cotton – Sally


L-R Cotton Seedlings, Newborn BL Singles, Sally Hogan – GC Yearling

Does this photo really need commentary? I took this morning’s singles out in the sun for a portrait, thinking, “Heck, those cottons would be nice as a backdrop,” when along came Sally to see if I happened to have a corncob in my hand. I did not, but she remained interested. Here she is, taking in the photo shoot, probably thinking, “I know there’s a corncob over there, somewhere.”

Oh…these are the last singles I need for my top secret emergency project…which I will have great fun posting later on down the line.