Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Is there a draft in here, or is it just me?"


"And me?"
"And me?"
Well, it IS cold and foggy, but . . . .

In order to keep tabs on the upcoming blessed events, crutching the ewes was tops on my list of things to do today. Using our ancient livestock clippers without a suitable head made it slow going, but at least there is less wool now to get messy, and a little less obscuring the way to the milk bar. Dinah and Rechel weren't very cooperative, but first-timer Valentine stood better (haltered, as they all were) and nibbled hay, and stuck around for lovin' after I was done. Brava came up for her share of my attention, too; I think I need to call these two my "brown sugar girls," they are so sweet! Valentine isn't really bagging up yet, but her vulva and overall shape are changing, and I actually felt a lamb. Braveheart got his job done after all, even though he took his own sweet time doing it. Maybe my little polled ram didn't look masculine enough to suit my girls, and it took him awhile to convince them!

I have started my spinning "final exam," and I'm struggling. I finished the dark bluefaced leicester top (indistinguishable in the photo from the dark Romney on the bobbin), and pulled out the baggy of white Angora bunny. It didn't look like it was in roving form or anything, so I grabbed a handful to give it a try. And another try. And ANOTHER try. Since I haven't heard of anyone spinning Angora bunny all by itself, without blending it with another fiber first, I thought perhaps this was simply an exercise in frustration. So I shoved all the bits and pieces of "yarn," along with the wad of bunny fur, back in its baggy, and got out the sea island cotton roving. I KNOW some people spin cotton. Will I be one of them? I don't know; I made a bit more progress than with the bunny, but still struggled mightily to keep a strand of yarn going. Maybe I'll be better at it when I return to my wheel. The cotton is very interesting, silky-soft stuff, though!

That's it for now at . . .

9 comments:

Lauren said...

The top ewe (which one is she?) looks closest to delivery, at least from her angle.

BTW, I think you've done a marvelous job with your spinning assignment. Any plans for your yarn of many varieties? Plying it against itself might be interesting. If nothing else, you could make a unique jacket for son Brian. He could practice identifying all the different types of fiber!

I'm still hobbling around here waiting to get in for a permanent task (oh and the boys are 14 as of February, Robert's a trooper; David's a grump.)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

From top to bottom (the order in which I think they will deliver) are Rechel, Dinah, and Valentine. Dinah is due April 19, Valentine is due April 23; Rechel is a wild card but I hope she goes at least a week before Dinah; I only have so much space in which to partition off lambing jugs!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh, and for the yarn, I want to ply each kind on itself, somehow felt the ends together so I don't have tons of ends to weave in, and make a big scarf. I have NO ideas for a pattern or method, and no one else seems to have any, either!

sheila said...

Michelle, all that fiber you're spinning is just BEAUTIFUL!!

Joyce said...

Hi Michelle,
I've been reading your blog for quite sometime and have enjoyed it so much. I thought I would stop and say hi and give you a few bunny spinning tips. I raise angora rabbits, primarily germans, and I do spin bunny by itself. I find it easier to card it a little bit with handcards and then spin from the end of the rolag. Another good way is to fold the bunny over your index finger and spin from the fold. Bunny can be slippery so try slowing your speed abd reducing your tension. I use a roberta electric, but I'm sure it would work the same on a treddle wheel. You can see my blog at stormwarningangora.blogspot.com
Joyce

Sharon said...

Your spinning is spectacular. I'd give you an A++ on your final exam, if I were the one grading you. My neighbor Mim raised rabbits long before she starting raising sheep and learned to spin on a drop spindle using angora from her rabbits - yikes!

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

So funny to see crutched ewes, isn't it?! I finished shearing here today...45 head done with for the year! We ran into 3 or 4 that were already starting the lift tho... we have to shear in early March or it becomes a royal mess. Seems silly, why are they lifting when it's still so cold out? Most mornings we wake to 15 or so, but there have been a few 10 degree mornings and the daytime temps get above freezing for a while. So tell me, are your girls in the lift yet??

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Angora can be a pain to spin, but like Joyce said, try carding it and reducing your tension to almost nothing; that works for coton also.

Becky Utecht said...

I remember the first time I spun up angora all by itself. Like you, I wondered if that was something one is "supposed" to do because it doesn't seem like many people do it. But yes, like the others have said, you can spin the angora by itself if you go slow and reduce your tension. I love mixing angora with my combed Shetland neck wool for a soft fluffy yarn.
If you want to ply each type of fiber onto itself, maybe you could Navajo ply it. That would keep each type pure and would also mean no ends to weave in. But it would make a three ply yarn which might be thicker than you want.
About the bag shots, isn't it funny what we shepherds will do in anticipation of lambing? Watching and comparing bags gets to be a compelling pasttime in the last days and weeks before lambing. I know I was real happy to see the BFL bag shots Bill posted on his blog. LOL.