Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More itch-scratching

Thanks to my class-prep-generated fiber-itch, my spindle-spun Inky singles are finally getting some attention, too! During Brian's science class yesterday, I started plying. I had been keeping the two full spindles in an old shoebox, and it occurred to me that the holes in the lid would be perfect plying assistants.

I don't want to risk taking my Jenkins tulipwood Swan on my trip, so this project won't be going with me. Still toying with taking my miniSpinner, but also need to figure out some trip knitting. I have one small project that is nearly done, and another (Ravelry link) that I am champing at the bit to cast on. Can I find the time to swatch before I leave? Stay tuned!

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, January 30, 2012

Class prep

Who knew it would be so much fun?

Since last Wednesday's class, I've flick-carded and Kool-Aid-dyed two three-ounce batches of donated Romney locks I had previously washed. I've assembled eleven spindles, tested them, and got leaders started on all of them (plus a couple extras), figuring out while I did so that I have a strong preference for bottom whorls and why.

All that fiber play gave me the itch to start my own spinning project, so I chose a four-ounce braid of super-fine Merino I got as a prize in a contest. The colors remind me of violets IRL. I just may have to take my miniSpinner in my carry-on bag so I can keep spinning in Texas!

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm an auntie!

He was born on a Sabbath (yesterday), just like his mama. And I get to meet him this Thursday!

That's it for today from . . .

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pregnant pause

Petite Marta with her cute little "baby belly"

Ample Annabelle with her big "baby belly" (I'm expecting twins from her again)

Retired Inky. The old gal looked pretty uncomfortable this morning, so I gave her some Banamine before letting the girls+Bart out to bask and graze. She's moving better now.

Today we got TWO Speckled Sussex eggs! Maybe I can cautiously start dreaming of egg-laden recipes like bread pudding and biscotti again. Over the winter I've been mostly abstaining from using any eggs so I can supply my two most regular customers, using ground flax meal (1 T. in 3 T. water per egg) as a substitute in baking. Eggs are definitely a seasonal ingredient around here!

I stayed up last night until I got my Celaeno bound off.
Got it washed today, and it's blocking on the guest bed with a fan blowing on it in hopes of drying it in time to wear it to church tomorrow. This is another wonderful design of Romi's; her bottomless creativity amazes me! I like the yarn I used for this a lot, too. It's Dream in Color Starry in Romeo Blue.

My nephew is still taking his sweet time to arrive, much to my sister's discomfort. He can't hang out in her womb forever, though, so I'd better get some travel knitting lined up!

That's it for today from . . .

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Triple-play day!

FINALLY - a third hen has rejoined the work force! This is the first egg from someone other than Buffy and Muffy, the two Easter Eggers, in over a month.

A good day to dye

Yesterday's Textiles class went great. Everything was "Show and Do," and the kids seemed fascinated with it all - stinky, greasy, raw wool from three different - and progressively softer - breeds; washing wool; clean wool; dyeing wool (roving); flick-carding clean locks. I actually ran out of time, so could only demonstrate hand cards and show them my drum carder while they took turns flicking, but I'd rather run out of time than have bored kids. I took my camera but only had time and thought to snap one picture while they were adding Kool-Aid to the crockpot (that's half the kids in the class).

Here's the resulting dye job:

The kids are really excited about using the brightly colored roving. I told them I'd have them spin a single of white and a single of dyed so they'd have a "barberpole" yarn when plied, and they loved that idea. I'll have to dye a couple more batches (in different colors) to have an ample supply for everyone, and still need to assemble and test spindles, so there's another busy week ahead.

At least we have sunshine (temporarily) and flowers. :-) I always forget about my little patch of snowdrops; I'm sure they were blooming when I tortured you with the photo of blooming sarcacocca. Oh well, this way I can prolong the torture!

P.S. I've turned off word verification for now after a reader told me Blogger was being difficult. Hopefully that helps.

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two cigars

Lambs are due from these two exactly one month from today. (Heh. Ask my sister how babies respect due dates.) Annabelle (top) was bred to Cadbury, so that first-time father deserves a cigar. Petite little Marta (bottom) was bred to Bunker, another first-time father, so make that two cigars!

(All the sheep's names are hot links to their NASSA pedigree pages.)

Dreaming of the shepherd's "Christmas" at . . .

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January showers bring January flowers

Sarcacoca smells good, too. :-)

Rubbing it in at . . .

Monday, January 23, 2012


I've been a busy little fiber-bee, assembling materials for my next Textiles 101 class. I made a list (and am checking it thrice!) of all that I need to take Wednesday. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to take my Clemes and Clemes drumcarder; without it everything I need will fit in the handy-dandy "crate cart" that Rick got me for Christmas.

I'm taking raw (skirted) fleece so the students can experience washing some (and probably be grossed out - ha). I'm also taking washed fleece ready for them to flick and card, which I've been busy washing in small batches. (Above is a bit of natural-colored Shetland plus donated Border Leceister/RomneyXSuffolk). It's been a long time since I've washed fleece, and I'm actually enjoying it - and getting the itch to finish up various saved bits and fleeces I have laying around here. But next week we start spinning, so I have to finish assembling those spindles.

That's it for today from . . .

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bullet points

• It is W.E.T. We are on a hill and safe; not everyone is.

• We had our carpets cleaned yesterday. NOT good weather or timing for it, but we had it done as a partial trade-out with one of Rick's clients. It was the first job they've had all month. Rick's business is only marginally better.

• My sister's baby is D.U.E. Been there; sympathize with that. Come out, come out, whoever you are!

• I am poised to fly to Texas to meet said baby. Again, not good timing for that. Why couldn't he have arrived a couple weeks before I started Textiles 101?

• I am not getting my minimum weekly requirement of saddle time. A little time on a little horse's bare back this morning helped - a little.

• I'm on the last chart of my Celaeno shawl/scarf. Navy yarn with silver strands is very difficult to photograph accurately.

• Two of my ewes are obviously expecting. One is not obvious. Not expecting?

• Sheep-cuddling is good for the soul. Make that souls. Yes, animals have souls.

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ready or not, sink or swim spin!

Today was the first day of our homeschooling co-op's winter term. In a co-op, the parents are responsible for teaching all the classes. Among the classes I have taught so far are a high school cooking class, several high school figure drawing classes (I will be teaching another one next term by request), a class on horses, two "living history" classes, and a couple others as well. Teaching a fiber class of some sort has been rattling around in my brain for awhile now, and I finally decided to take the plunge this term. I've titled it "Textiles 101," and the 6th graders are my guinea pigs students.

Today I introduced our topic and gave a brief history of textiles, from the first mention of human coverings in Genesis through the Industrial Revolution to today. The next seven weeks will be spent learning "post-apocalyptic skills" (ha!) - scouring, dyeing, carding, spinning and plying wool, then card-weaving and finger-knitting with both their homespun and commercial yarn. I am crossing my fingers and toes that I can keep the kids busy and engaged. Some already know how to knit; one hyperactive boy is surprisingly enthused; several of the girls were grossed out when they learned about lanolin, of all things! (How will they react to raw wool?!?)

I think I have everything I need. Among my tools and stash I have a crockpot, electric teapot, Kool-Aid in various colors, hand-cards, a dog flicker brush, a drum carder, and white long-wool roving. My farrier's wife donated some skirted white fleece from her flock; my friends Duane and Jeannie at Santiam Shetlands donated some roving, commercial yarn, and all the prepped materials for spindles; and a local art gallery and frame shop donated mattboard with which to make card-looms. I have two adult helpers, one of whom spins and knits. I'll let you know how it goes!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Yesterday it was COLD in the house. I never could get a good fire going in our woodstove, and even with wool socks, long underwear, jeans, polarfleece pullover and heavy polarfleece jacket, I was uncomfortable all day. Rick got some drier wood when he got home and soon had the fire generating more heat. Watching my DH love on the dogs warmed my heart. :-)

A sure sign that things are heating up is the migration from the hearth to the couch!

Today it is raining on the snow, turning everything to sloppy slush and mud. But the house is warmer and the roads will be safer when we venture out later for Brian's violin lesson.

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, January 16, 2012

A little snow is good for the soul

So pretty!

And apparently practical, too:

That's it for today from . . .