Get to Work!

Great stuff, having room to move without cats attacking the fiber in my hand, basket, box, bag, or on the carder or the wheel. Great stuff. Here’s the bottom of a batt that will be making up a second ply for some avocado dyed *GCN. This batt is GCN Sammas, yellow silk/Merino blend, red Border Leicester, and pitch black alpaca.

*GCN = Gulf Coast Native Sheep

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First Batt out of the “new” Studio, with Lailie

TDF Day #5 – More Corespinning

Cocoons

Tailspinning

Last night, I stayed up late. There was to be a webcast from CERN at 3AM, announcing success in the search for the Higgs boson. I’m working my way through jacey boggs’ swell book on textured spinning, spin art, and I welcomed the alone time in the wee hours – I could spin uninterrupted.

So, I picked up where I’d left off: Corespinning – Cocoons.

I collected a few bits of colored fiber (I’m not big on dyed fiber) and some of my lambs’ 2012 fiber (which I’d carded into batts) and watched the Corespinning section on the dvd again. Then, I read the bit on Cocoons. Clear enough.

First off, I pulled out a naked undyed batt of Curly Lumpkin, some yellow silk fiber, and some indigo dyed fiber from Curly’s Aunt Holly.  First attempt was not embarrassing, and actually, quite a lot of fun. Once again, I had a little trouble controlling the tendency for the yarn to be overspun.

My second attempt was spun from a batt of Mary’s fleece and her Mama Holly’s blue fiber for cocoons. This yarn came together well, was not overspun, but, I realized I was spinning a perfect thick-and-thin.

These little samples were a lot of fun to spin, and I know that I will be revisiting this technique soon. I can see these yarns knitted up, in my mind’s eye, and I like what I see.

Today, the 4th of July, is traditionally, a day for bbq and relaxation. So, I made a gigunda potato salad and a dry rub for a boneless pork roast, and picked some peppers and tomatoes and cukes and made a heck of a salad. We enjoyed a silent neighborhood. Not a firecracker. Not one. Not a car up or down the road. Not a kid yowling, hollering, or crying. We enjoyed the scene. We enjoyed strolling through the pasture. We enjoyed the day. I did not spin until the critters were all tucked in.

Next up was Tailspinning.

Now, it doesn’t take a genius to know that it takes clean curly locks to make a tailspun yarn. I had a handful. Literally, a handful. The locks I had came from a Border Leicester sheep, one of the funniest looking sheep, in my opinion, but one that grows some of the most amazing fleece around. I had dyed these locks with coreopsis way back when. Really, when, two or three years ago? So, that’s what I had. I used a superwash merino sockyarn as the core.

This was a very easy yarn to spin. Not a very easy yarn for my wheel to take up. The locks got caught on the spring clip that the yarn threads through on its way to the bobbin. Made me CRAAAAZY.  But, not much harm done to my psyche. That handful of locks was just enough to cover the few feet of unwindable core. Ta da. This won’t be a big favorite in my studio, until I add to my collection of, ahem, 1 spinning wheel.

Tour de Fleece – Day 1: Racing Stripe

Day 1 – Racing Stripe: Alpaca/Gulf Coast Native Wrap on Gulf Coast Single

Tighter Shot of  Racing Stripe

This year’s Tour de Fleece is going to be a little different for me. This year, instead of spinning for volume, I’m going to be working my way through Jacey Boggs’ book, spin art.

Day 1: Lesson 1 – Racing Stripe

I chose a batt I’d carded of some Running Moon Farm’s colored Gulf Coast Native for the singles yarn, the “core” of the yarn. For the racing stripe, I chose a singles yarn I’d spun from a RanMar Alpacas blanket tweeded up with some bits of Gulf Coast.

My predeliction for spinning in the grease jumped up and bit me in the hiney. The batt did’nt draft smoothly. At all. So, even though I was spinning at a low ratio with low tension, my yarn kept getting all reverso-ram-mered. The singles “yarn” that I was spinning kept wrapping around the stripe! Ha. Ahhh, Beginners Mind.

In the end, I spun 16 yards of this funny little yarn. It’s soaking right now, and I think it will relax and bloom nicely once that little bit of grease is gone.

Welcome to Tour de Fleece 2012!

Oatmeal Block

Oatmeal Cardi ~ in A Gulf Coast Native/Alpaca Blend

Good thing I took this picture when I did. The sweater’s still wet, and I readjusted the yoke. But, hey. Here’s the thing. The knitting is done! Tom’s making me some cherry buttons…in his spare time (right). Thank you Amy King for a great pattern!

So…it’s on to the next project…which is the finishing up of the Eco-Vest (Katie Himmelberg).

 

The Stork has Arrivayed

Annie Hogan 8 hrs old

After a Feed – Day 1

Sally with little Rosie

Smitty Running with Annie – 1st Outing

Ready for Vogue

Annie & Pa

Mary Hogan – 5 months old Today!

Well, on the 10th of February, around 2 in the morning, Annie Hogan was born. She was the first of twin Gulf Coast Native ewe lambs born to Sally. Rosie came next, smaller, more fragile. Sally decided to keep Rosie. She left Annie under the barn, and when Maa retrieved her, Sally let us know that she was a one-baby Mama.

So, we brought Annie in the house, fed her colostrum, popped her on a towel on the lap o’ Pa, and went to sleep. For a very short while. It’s been awhile since Sally rejected a lamb…Curly Lumpkin was the first…so we were a little out of practice. Yesterday was divided between setting up a nice safe pen for Annie – in the living room, and picking up those necessities such as diapers and sheep milk replacer.

The weather has been unseasonably hot. But, last night, it rained like heck, and today it’s breezy and cold nights are projected for the next few. So, I knit a lamb sized sweater. After all, these babies don’t have terribly thick fleece. We did convince Sally to go into the hay barn with Rosie, where she spent last night, and most of today. She brought Rosie out for a constitutional mid-day, and then retired to the sweet warmth of the barn. Annie got to wear the sweater for an outing. She’s a wonderful eater. And her energy is high. Pa & I dressed her up, and with Smitty leading the way, we “went for walk!”

Annie popcorned the entire way. Around and around the yard. Meeting chickens – yes, the hennys all came over to inspect her – and roosters and trees and leaves…so many interesting things to sniff! She posed for pictures, paid an uneventful visit to Sally and Rosie, and ran into Cousin Mary and Aunt Holly (who reminded us gently that she already has a child and doesn’t need another). Curly and Bing ran up from the big pasture and met us at the fence. Curly and Annie did a lot of kissy face stuff, but Bing, although courteous, really had better things to do than socialize with his 2-day old sister.

A nice outing, all in all. When we came inside, Annie polished off the remains of her afternoon ba-ba, allowed me to shrug off her sweater and put on a fresh ditey, and then she marched into her crate and plopped down for a nice nap.

Fashion detail: Annie’s sweater was knit from yarn spun from her momma Sally’s and Aunt Holly’s fleeces.

A Light Note

Lumpy Bumpy Finnsheep 2-Ply

Here’s a non-GC yarn. I received a bit of a Finn fleece during a fleece study awhile back. Here’s some spinning with the crimp. The yarn has 2 plies, one smooth (from rolags) ply, and one spun tail to tip (from locks). This isn’t a fabulous picture, but the yarn is amazing. Buttery soft, luscious, and I’d love a sweater, a next-to-skin sweater, knit from this. Unfortunately, I have only 4 ounces.

 

Tour de Fleece – Day 10 & Day 11

Alpaga 374

As all you Tour de France junkies know, there are 2 rest days scheduled in every race. This year, the rest days are the 11th and 18th of July. Those of us spinning the Tour de Fleece take the same days off. I used yesterday to organize, reorganize, put away piles of fiber I’d “thought about” spinning, and pulled out others I am going to spin. And like all days off…well…in my world, there’s no such thing. So…by this afternoon, I have a skein to offer. Part of my cape project. Another 5.75 oz…374 yards on the nose. Worsted seems so fast to spin after days of eeny weeny singles!

Listening to Nixon in China (John Adams) 1987 Nonesuch. Whoo hooo!

Tour de Fleece – Day 5

 

Grease Singles – Gulf Coast Native “Sally”

Two-ply “Sally” and the Sweater Begin Knit from Her

First…notice what a difference in light does! The interior flash reveals something very interesting. Many spinners are used to spinning prepared squeaky clean fiber. But there are still a few who know about spinning “in the grease.” This particular yarn is being spun in the grease. The fleece is cold scoured – soaked with enough wool wash to get the crud out but not the lanolin. Then spun into a “firm” singles. The yarn is not fuzzy, but spinning is fast. After the yarn has been plied, it will be washed…and it will bloom and soften. This type of spinning is a treat for tired old hands. Lanolin is such a treat!

The sweater, Katie Himmelberg’s Eco Vest, is a project I started last winter. Can you tell how yummy the knit is? Mmm mmm. Eventually, I’ll finish enough yarn for this. The skein I spun today is 168 yards, and 3 1/4 oz. Not quite enough to polish off this knitting!

Next TDF challenge is to spin a skein of both “Holly” and “Sammy.” I am itching to experience the difference between these senior members of the flock. Sammy’s fleece is really something…I’m saving it for last. Next up is Holly, whose fleece I’m spinning clean, as a laceweight 2-ply.

See ya tomorrow!

Maybe, Maybe Not

I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of making a cream colored fingertip length cape. Dramatic. But, here on the farm? Mmmm. I’d be daft, don’t you think? It’s just too off season for any natural dyeing. I don’t have a stash of coreopsis, or a trove of indigo…so…I looked into the guest room uh…fleece storage room.

Seems I do have some color, indeed. I have, a couple of GCNI fleeces – these are grey fleeces from Running Moon Farm in Louisiana. I also have a russet colored alpaca blanket from a fellow named Lance who lives with my friends Martha and Randall in Georgia. And, let us not forget that silky long staple GCN from my friend Pat down the road.

L – R GCNI/Alpaca/GCN, GCNI/GCN

There you have the blends. With some adjusting, I think I could bring out the russet in the blend of all three. Though, those rolags of “just color” are pretty lovely. So far, though, the blend of 3 cards much easier, as the GCN is long and silky.

L-R Blend of Color, Blend with Cream, Barberpole of One Ply of Each

All pretty. I am fonder of the darker yarns. But the greyish yarn is so soft. And, and this is a consideration, I would certainly be able to stretch “Lance” a lot further if he made up one-third of the 4500 yards.

Okay. So that’s the predicament. Any help out there?