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

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

TDF ~ Day 6

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Quinn

A rose tweed Gulf Coast Native 2-ply named after my granny.

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Day 6 TDF

Day 6: The day I learned that my cats really are the bosses around here. Daisy, literally, hangs on the wheel when it isn’t spinning. Maggie lays on my foot on the treadle when I am or am not spinning. Millie has a thing for the lazy kate. Daisy is going crosseyed (ok, she IS part Siamese) watching the wheel turn – for hours on end – head nodding as she is fixed on one spot. Ahhh, boy oh boy.

The good news, is that I am out of acid dyed fiber. Now…I have only locks I’ve dyed with flowers. And I like that SO MUCH MORE! I appreciate all you lovely spinners who are fascinated with color…and I leave all of those dyes to you. I’ve done so much dyeing in the past that my skin is very sensitive to dyes. Carding and spinning take me up close and personal…to the point of swollen fingers which I do not need. So, it’s off to the coreopsis, marigold, fennel, and avocado bins! See ya later, bye! *wave wave*

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).

 

Illuminine Begun

Illuminine on the Needles

Well, after a solid week of intensive sheep care, I’m taking a day off – or rather, I’m giving Sam the Ram a day off. He’s holding his own. The sky has opened and we’re getting a good deal of much needed rain. I need to knit.

And so, I’m knitting. Tell you what. I’ve never before knit a kit. But, I won this one, and by golly, I’m knitting ‘er up. This is a lovely pattern, lovely yarn, thanks to NaKniMitMo (a Ravelry group), designer SpillyJane, and Carol Sunday’s yarn. I like the pattern, am enjoying the knitting, but darn, I’m not all that excited about the colors.

A good gray is hard to blend. I know about that. This gray is not a good gray. The red? Alright by itself, but beside the gray, something odd goes on in my brain. The blues, I like. I like the blues. But not against the gray. It’s the darn gray.

All that crabbiness aside, this is a good day to knit. Even though I have a commission for a whole pile of laceweight, I need something brainless, something that doesn’t matter. Too many things matter too much sometimes, you know?

Tomorrow is another day, baby.

Oh, Ram!

Sammy

Well, all this lamb business started after Sammy arrivayed on the scene. He came here from Georgia last summer, 6 months old, and adorable. By September, he was feeling his oats, and the ladies thought he was pretty cute, too. Midwinter, we had 2 sets of twins arrive. There’s a scar on Sammy’s face, from a dog attack last winter. Just to the right of his mouth. You can barely see it now. And, by the way, his fleece is fairly spectacular.

Zee Nose

Now a year and 9 months, his nose is taking on the characteristic wrinkle and hump. But, he’s still our pretty boy.

Bing at the Lick

Bing is giving me the eye. He’s a shy boy. Curly Lumpkin’s twin. But, what a difference between them! Sammy’s pa has scurs. Sammy’s horns are definitely horns, but they’re not massive. Here’s Bing. At 7 months old, he’s as big as his daddy, and those horns. I would like to get a close up…maybe one of these days…his head is all bone at the top…he’ll be quite the headbanger.

Bing beside his Pop

Here’s Bing, showing his profile. Already, he’s developing the characteristic humped nose. We’re hoping his horns take a turn out soon…they’re so close to his face right now…they look like they’re ready to pierce his cheeks. So, he’ll be our “At Stud” guy. He has the luscious fleece of his Pop Sammy, and great size and conformation. He’s Perkins all the way on Sammy’s side, and Perkins/Holt on Sally’s. If you read here much, you know that our gals, Sally & Holly are also very large horned ewes. So, we expected her babies to have size. Bing, though, is so gorgeous, I want to invent a new category for him!

This little photo session was brought on by my morning with Mary, who, at 2 weeks, looks ready to go out into the world. What a Big Girl! I’ll get pictures later.

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!

Handspun Shawl – Lady Magdalene

Lady Magdalene Put to Pasture

This is freshly completed Lady Magdalene (design by Kimberly DelaCruz) knit during a Ravelry KAL in the Parts of Craziness group. Rather than using a laceweight or fingering yarn, I used a handspun Border Leicester singles that I had spindlespun last summer. The yarn knit into a fuzzy, almost mohair-looking, textile. This piece was roughly pinned out, but not yet washed and blocked. Still the design is fairly apparent. Here’s another picture…

Hatting it Up

Funky Hat in Border Leicester and Alpaca/CVM

Inspired by Ray’s Hat, which spontaneously burst from my needles a few weeks back, I wanted to knit a hat that had plush warmth, weight, and a flat top. HA! Okay. That wasn’t hard at all. Here’s the five-sided top of a Funky Hat knit from a super-bulky 2-ply Border Leicester yarn. The breeder of these BL sheep sent me samples of her CVM fleece. I bought the softest, darkest fiber…one that wasn’t actually for sale – but was an example of her finest fleece. Fortunately, the shepherd was as overcommitted as I am, and she let “Gracie” come home to me.  The very dark CVM was blended with black alpaca (ply #1) and plied with a thick and thin Border Leicester single. This “beginner’s mind” yarn “outlines” this hat in more ways that one. This hat is a paean to all that shepherd love at Pheasantfield Farm in Chestertown, Maryland.

Here’s another view…not the greatest picture…I can’t get that lovely outside light, because, well, I’m a wimp. It is too cold for me to be staging hat photos, today.

A bit too soft-focus, but you get the idea.

This morning, I knit another hat using this model. It has a “fur” yarn integrated in the band, and the crown is six-sided. It’s vermilion. You’ll have to wait til tomorrow for a picture. Sorry.

A pdf of the pattern will be available for sale on etsy in a day or two. I want comments back from my testers before it’s released.

Spinning Winter Yarns

Gulf Coast Native Thick & Thin with Natural Dyes

This is a skein of extra special EXtra soft GC Native yarn. An ounce and a half and 46 yards. Outrageous.

Purple Ruffles Basil meets Mohair Blend

We had an outstanding year in the basil garden. I grew both Genovese for the farmers markets and for our own pesto cravings, and Purple Ruffles Basil for dyeing. I sold some of the purple basil plants, and kicked myself after I found out what a great dye it makes.

This is a 2 1/2 oz, 74 yd skein of Mohair/Wool blend handspun. The locks were dyed with Purple Ruffles in an acid bath. This is a heavy lustrous yummy yarn. This skein screams “HAT.”

I found, quite by accident, that a pH shift makes for interesting changes to the color. This steely gray shifts right over to a dark celery green with an alkaline rinse.

A Funky Hat Yarn

Kinda gorgeous, n’est-ce pas? This is 4 1/2 oz and somewhat over 200 yd of Gulf Coast Native/Mohair blend. This was spun from a handpainted handpulled roving, plied with natural brown and cream GC fleece. This cbp is destined for at least one more hat…tho this ball of yarn is definitely big enough for 2 hats.

I’m out of hat kits, and figure that after knitting one more hat (O the Holiday Season!), the 2nd half will go into a funky hat kit. I have a new pattern that is pretty exciting…a spin-off of Ray’s Hat. This yarn would be stellar. Then again…a 1 x 1 ribbed elfish hat would be outrageous, too.

Gulf Coast meets Marigold

Here is a 3 1/2 oz/174 yd skein of natural brown GCNI and cream GC singles, flecked with marigold. A big soft hearty skein. I find myself not putting it in my etsy store, not taking it to the farmers market. I love this skein of wool.

Fleece Study – Navajo Churro

This began as 3 1/2 – 4 oz of raw Navajo Churro that I received as part of a fleece study. I spun this yarn in the grease. What a lot of grease. This would be the perfect fleece with which to start an FSM (fermented suint) project.

The final clean yarn weighs in at a bit over 1 1/2 oz and 200 yd. This is a soft yet hairy fingering weight yarn. Ooo La Laaaaaa!