Sunday, August 08, 2010

Black and white

Last night I finished the two ounces of "white mystery wool" on Paisley and started a half-ounce sample of black Shetland from Kara on Tamarin.

I also finished four ounces of white alpaca singles. The black fiber is to separate it from another four ounces of white alpaca, which I will add to this bobbin (gotta love those big Louet bobbins!).

This afternoon my big-eyed, beautiful, black Bodhran left for his new home.

I had so much fun spinning that lavender mystery batt with my Turkish spindle that I asked Jeannie to pick up a little surprise for me when she went to Paradise Fiber in Spokane. She brought me this shiny Louet merino silk top

AND this gorgeous silk hanky! (I know, it's not black or white - it's "Sagebrush.") This will be a totally new adventure for me. Any tips?

Between the spinning last night and Bodhran's departure this afternoon, I took a little drive in the country. Some background first. At the end of June, Shetland breeder Mylrea Estell went to Jim Chastain's Whistlestop Farm to shop for a new ewe lamb. She saw a scurred ram lamb there with "amazing fleece and absolutely correct structure," and emailed me about him. I thanked her for thinking of me, but after a 100% ram year here, I wasn't in the market for another ram. It took a full month to register that those scurs had to come from somewhere, and maybe I should check out the dam! After checking with Jim to see if he would be willing to sell the ewe (yes, but only as a package deal with her scurred ram lamb), I asked Juliann if she could spot the poll carriers (what would I do without Juliann?). Bingo! So off I went this morning to take a look at some white sheep.

This is the ewe, a big-bodied seven-year-old by Drum Jings (AI).

This is her handsome son by an F1 Island Skeld ram.

Both of them have good breed character, excellent structure, and extremely consistent, crimpy fleece. While both are a bit bigger-boned than I prefer, I think they could be excellent crosses on what I already have. With Brava gone and Inky's thin condition putting her breeding status in question, I need another proven poll-carrier ewe. I don't need another ram, but perhaps I will look back and see that getting this lamb was an incredible blessing....

And no, the Chastains don't just have white sheep:

"Lucky," Jim's black and white border collie, was a big help with the sheep and so wonderful to watch at work:
I just love this last photo. Yes, he really was "hiding" behind that grass stem. Ha!

That's it for now from . . .

12 comments:

Jenny Holden said...

Gotta love those sheepdog photos :o)
The spinning looks as though its going great. I've got a load of little bundles of fleece samples for you here. I just have to give them a wash because I'm not sure of the laws on posting raw fleece! Sorry so long, shearing was a rather drawn out process again this year!

A :-) said...

So, one goes and two arrive? :-)

Let me know how it goes with those hankies. I have some and have no idea what to do with them :-D Spinning silk is going to be my next challenge I think.

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Beautiful photos Michelle! I just love that sagebrush colourway - I can't wait to see what you do with it. I have a bunch of silk hankies that I've purchased but am too nervous to use! Maybe you will inspire me!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Your spinning is fantastic! I've not worked with a hanky, so will enjoy your post(s) on that :-). Don't you just love watching a really good dog work? Some day...

Dianne@sheepdreams said...

So exciting to bring some new sheep into the fold! (and wouldn't we all like to bring a dog like THAT home with us!)

Michelle said...

Just a clarification: no new sheep at Boulderneigh yet! I haven't committed to this ewe and her ram lamb because, as always here, I must make room for them first. A ewe and wether still need to find homes....

As for the hanky, after talking to a friend via phone and watching two YouTube videos on spinning them, I am SO ready! I think it's going to be fun!

Mom L said...

I don't spin, weave, or any of the other things you folks do, but I'm fascinated with what I learn on here! Spinning silk hankies? I can't wait to see how this unfolds!!!

Nancy in Iowa

Kara said...

I really think that ram lamb is very cool! Too bad we couldn't "share" the package deal. You keep mom and I'd take son. Let me know when you figure out how to click and drag sheep from one blog to the other! :)

Michelle said...

Oh Kara, couldn't we build the perfect flocks (to us) if we could do that?

Kenleigh's Fiber Studio said...

I love the 'click and drag' sheep idea :)

Beautiful spinning and I too, can't wait to see the hankies spun up.

Lucky is a lucky dog to have his own flock of sheep to work - great photos!

Michelle said...

Yes, Shannon, and Lucky proves that Shetlands CAN be herded just fine, thank-you!

Sharon said...

Beautiful spinning Michelle. You're going to have to start thinking about projects pretty soon at the rate you're going.

That's a lovely flock, and I agree with you. Working dogs are marvelous.