Saturday, September 4, 2010

Michigan Fiber Festival

This little guy Really wanted to come home with me!  It's a good thing I took my car and not the truck!  The Pygora Goat was featured at the Michigan Fiber Festival this year and boy are they cute.  But alas, I believe I will stick with my little Shetlands and Laverne and Shirley (my 2 Merino ewes).
This was my first year to go to the MFF and probably my last.  Not because it wasn't loads of fun with Lots and Lots of vendors but it was just too far to travel....even for fiber!  My goal was to buy a new spinning wheel.  I have a spinning wheel but I got that know the one...I need a new wheel...a better wheel...a wheel with more bells and whistles....a wheel that will make me a better spinner....that wheel.  So....lots of dealers to choose from at the MFF.  A Jensen dealer was there.  I can hear you saying, "Uh-Oh".  That is exactly right...uh-oh.  They were BEAUTIFUL..they were all stained and gorgeous and I spun on one...big mistake.  I did not budget for a Jensen.  I'm thinking, "I cannot spend that much money on a wheel...just walk away...just walk away"  I bought it.  I bought the Tina Traveler.  I walked it to my car.  I spent 30 minutes making sure I put it in the car in such a way that it would be safe.  I get back to my hotel and I'm getting it out because my friend and I are going to SPIN that evening on my new wheel.  I set it on the ground and I see a huge scratch on that beautiful walnut wheel!  How in the world did that happen?..I haven't had this wheel 2 hours and I've ruined it!!  I want to cry.  I start looking in my stupid car trying to figure out the culprit that caused the damage.  Nothing...there is nothing.  To make a long story short..the scratch was already on the wheel when I bought it and the dealer was wonderful and took it back with no problems whatsoever.  They thought it was a split in a knot hole and it may have been, but all I saw was a scratch, so I returned it. Unfortunately, they did not have more.
This is a Canadian Production wheel that I ended up buying from a friend of mine.  It is probably from around 1880-1900 but it spins like a dream and I think it looks like a piece of art!  When I got home, I had this waiting on me..
12 bags of Shetland roving and 2 bags of Merino.  It's like Christmas!!  I have to give a shout out to Frankenmuth Woolen Mill in Michigan.  They do an absolutely fantastic job of getting the fleeces clean and the roving is wonderful.  I am going to try to sell some of the roving in the yarn shop I frequent and I came up with this as a packaging idea.

I took a picture of the sheep whose fleece was on display (this was a combined fleece of Laverne and Shirley) and added my farm name and one of my favorite verses..."for He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under His care."  Psalm 95:7.  We'll see how it goes. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Sheep

We have 3 new additions to the farm.  Only two are shown for now.  The little ram lamb I bought (an emsket kat) is more interested in having his chin scratched than in having his picture taken. I could not get him far enough away from me to get a decent picture and finally gave up.  The little girl above is a mioget ewe lamb.  She let me touch her today for the first time so we are making progress. 
This little ewe lamb is grey with a beautiful mixture of dark and light grey spots on her.  They all came from Under The Son Farm in Indiana.  We brought them home about a week ago and they have settled in nicely.  My son (with his driving permit) drove me the two hours, so we had a nice long lesson as well.  I was amazed at all the beautiful sheep and their fleeces.  She showed me her beautiful keeper lambs as well.  I am thankful there are such dedicated breeders out there producing these wonderful sheep and breeding for great conformation, great fleeces and and great personalities.  She was a wealth of information as well and helped me pick out lambs that will help me reach my breeding goals. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What a fun day!

I had so much fun today at a dyeing class at my favorite yarn shop.  It's my favorite for many reasons but the best reason would have to be the people.  When I moved here 13 years ago, I really didn't know anyone who shared my love of all things wool.  People would say, "You have sheep? Really?  Interesting."  Nobody really "got" me and it was so frustrating not having anyone to talk when I bought my loom and then my spinning wheel.  It wasn't until about 3 years ago I found this wonderful place where the people did not look at me like I was some kind of freak when I explained that I just spent the day  trying to over dye a beautiful gray Shetland fleece. I also love these people because we do a Bible study together every Monday and that has been such a blessing to me.
Today we did a dyeing class of both spun yarn and roving.  I have experimented some with dyeing but it was great getting together and hearing so many great ideas and just plain experience that these ladies have.  You can't get that from a "how to" article. 
This yarn turned out much prettier than the picture shows.  She did a technique I had never seen.  She placed the yarn in the pan with the dye mixture in the bottom then sprinkled dry dye over the top and sprayed it with a water bottle.  It is a really nice mixture of purples and green.  I would have never picked these colors personally but it turned out nice.  I really don't understand why, but I don't like purple yarn, I don't buy purple clothes.  I do, however love the movie The Color Purple
My favorite was dyeing the roving.  We had 7 colors in mason jars and we dipped the roving in 3 colors at a time, then rotated them after about 10 minutes.  We had some really cool combinations!
Here are the finished products. She recommended dividing the roving in  half to make the sections of colors shorter. 
I can't wait for it to dry so I can see what it looks like spun.  I think I might dye some more roving one solid color to ply with.  I'm afraid it might look funny otherwise but maybe not.  I may just try both ways! 

Friday, June 11, 2010

The beginnings of a coop

It's amazing what you can create from stuff you already have lying around the farm.  Granted, I was starting out with an existing "sheep shed"   My husband built me these little sheds for pastures that don't have access to our barn several years ago.  They have really come in  handy and now one of them will become a chicken coop!

I still have quite a few fencing issues to deal with but I just couldn't believe what a difference a coat of paint and a new front door made!  We also cut circulation vents in the back of the shed and covered them with mesh screens.  Not quite ready for chickens yet but getting close.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Project Overload!!

I decided to clean out my basket that sits beside my chair in the living room.  You know the one, the one with all those projects in it.  I couldn't believe how many unfinished projects were in just that basket!  I thought maybe if I posted them here it would inspire me to start picking them off one by one.  Of course that means no more trips to the yarn store for awhile and we know that ain't gonna happen!  I think I took an article I once read too literally.  It said if inspiration strikes, don't put it off..start that next project.  I think they must  have been trying to sell worked!
Here is a summer top that I have 1 side finished.  I am most inspired to finish it first with summer approaching.  It makes me think of a warm sunny day and a trip to someplace with a white sandy beach and tall tropical drinks. 
This is one of those blocks of the month projects.  I've kept up pretty well until this month.  I have the next block class this week and as you can see this is not quite finished.
A gray cardigan I started at the end of winter this year.  It is going to be lovely, but not high on the priority list.  It probably wont get picked up again until the Fall.
This is a Babies and Bears jacket I am making for my mom for Christmas so I have awhile.  Again, I have it half finished.
Here are half of my daughter's boxer shorts.  Yes, I said boxer shorts.  Never heard of anyone knitting boxer shorts?  Me either.  I told my friend who owns the yarn shop that if I ever came in to buy yarn to make more boxer shorts to please refuse to sell it to me. 
Mohair...what can I say about mohair.  I'm not a fan.  Unfortunately, I didn't figure that out before I started this project.  It is suppose to be a long sleeve shirt basically.  I really don't know if I will be able to make myself finish this one.  What can I say, I'm just a wool girl I guess.
 Orange helmet liner for my dad for Christmas..last year.  Maybe I can get it done before this Christmas!
A log cabin blanket I started because I have so much Eco Wool left over from an afghan I actually did finish.  No hurry on this.

This is a top I started for my daughter and really only have to sew up the sides and weave in the ends.  I think I am going to rip the neck out and do it with a different yarn.  I used yarn I already had and  not what the pattern called for and of course the stupid pattern was right!  Redo!
Well, that is about all..there are probably more lurking in the basement or in my laundry room but I'm not going to search for them yet.  I'm wondering if maybe this is a sickness!  OK, I'm inspired to finish something now!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Good News

We had one of those fast and furious storms blow through yesterday afternoon. I love it when you can see the whole rainbow. They are so beautiful. Even though we are all familiar with this scripture, I thought it would make a great selection for this week's Good News.
Genesis 9: 12-16

And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come; I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spinning Woes

I finally got around to spinning some of my wool from Laverne and Shirley (my Merinos). It is soooooo soft. This is only the first spool from 2 gigantic bags of roving I have in my basement. I still can't get over how much roving I got from 2 sheep! And this is still last years wool so I have that much again in the garage waiting to be sent off.

I have had problems with my wheel not taking the roving and it shows in one of the strands here. It just doesn't have the twist it should. Everyone at my spinning group has looked at my wheel but none of us seem to be able to get it working right. I think I will hold off spinning more until I can figure something out because I'm not very happy with the results and I really want to make this sweater. It is a pattern from Made in Brooklyn by Jared Flood. much little time.

Friday, April 30, 2010

It's hard being three

It has always been hard to find someone to shear my sheep. They have to drive 1 1/2 - 2 hours to get here and I only had 15-20 sheep. Well, imagine how hard it is to find somebody to come for only 3 sheep! The word impossible comes to mind. I would have just sheared them myself but my clippers are not working. That is actually a bit of an understatement. They go flying into about 8 pieces every time I turn them on. Luckily, I found a family about 40 miles away who had a shearer coming to their farm this week. So, we loaded into the goat tote and with a great sigh of relief, got the job done. I was feeling a bit guilty about how crowded they were until I put them back in the tote to come home.

Plenty of room now! I love this little tote. It is just perfect for a few sheep. I had to take my son to school with the sheep in tow. Lucky for him, I couldn't maneuver thru the school traffic and had to let him off down the road a bit. They say it's hard to look cool with sheep in your back seat!

Here is Lucy.....kind of guarding the sheep. You might remember I had trouble with her hurting the lambs. She has been permanently removed from the pastures. She roams the yard and about 2 square miles around our house. She digs under any fence, walks right thru our electric fence and so I gave up. It is actually working out great. I still have a great guard dog and she gets to roam the open range!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wag More....Bark Less

Haven't introduced Hattie to the blog yet. She is about 6 months old and wow did I forget what it is like to have a puppy in the house! What a handful, it's like having a small child again! Now that she is settled in I have been thinking it would be great to add some chickens to the farm. Not a lot, just 5-6 hens. I don't know why my husband and son looked at me like I had a third eye when I shared this idea with them....they asked "What's next?" I guess I thought that was a serious question, so I answered " Well, since you asked, I would love to get a hive of bees." Now that I think about it, I should have waited and broke that news after the chicken thing gets settled!

Here is Hattie as a puppy sporting her favorite team jersey!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back in the saddle

Well, it's been a long time since I've even logged into my old blog or anyone else's for that matter. I sure have missed it. I think the tipping point was not having any little lambs of my own this year. I had to get my fix somehow, so I logged onto my old favorite blogs as well as a few new ones I found and soaked it all in.
I had to change the name of my blog at least to Pinewood Shetland (singular) or something totally new. I only have the one lonely Shetland and my 2 Merino ewes. I decided since it has been so long, I would just start fresh with a new name.
I hope to renew some old acquaintances as well as make a few new ones.

Laverne says "Here she goes with the pictures again! At least give me a hair cut first!"