Monday, December 15, 2014

Lots of spinning going on in the studio.

 I've been spinning. A lot. And I love it.

It's funny how some things are meant for certain times of your life. Like I've had turkeys, ducks, goats, cows, pigs. I've worked different jobs. Had 2 kids when I was 20 and 22. I could handle things at different stages of my life. Some things I've tried and will probably never do again. Just wasn't for me. Or it's just too much to handle. Then some things come back around and I start all over again. Like pigs. Which I will be getting 2 of in March. But I think I'll be ready for them by then.

But this spinning thing, I guess it's the right time for me now. It wasn't last year, when I bought the spinning wheel. Things just didn't work out. And I got too frustrated. And I had way too many sheep and goats. And life was just crazy.

Now I am ready. I knida sorta know what I'm doing now. Thanks to the class I took last month. And my nice pretty calm clean happy studio too. I can go over there now and spin all I want. I have everything I need there. And a good radio where I can listen to good music. It depends on the weather what stations I can get. But the past few days, it's been classical. Which is great to listen to while spinning. Country is good too. But the classical is calming.

So I went over to my studio yesterday and started spinning the beautiful Romney-Mohair rovings I got from the fiber show a few months ago. It's so pretty and soft. It's called Sea Turtle. I finished it today. Set the twist in the 3 skeins along with 2 skeins of the brown Romney I had done last week. And tonight spun some gray-silver roving I got from Polly at All Books in Chatt. plus some roving Sandra sent along with some fleece I had gotten from her. It was perfect to go with that little bit of roving. Made a whole bobbin full. I had some white Merino wool I had spun a few weeks back when I was practicing. It was pretty thick in some places. I spun the grays real thin. So when I plied them together, it turned out so pretty. They are all hanging on the drying rack in the studio to dry.

These are the 2 bobbins of single ply, ready to ply.

This is one of the balls of roving. I just love it. And my home made Lazy Kate, for holding the bobbins while plying. It works!

This is one bobbin full of the plied yarn. It turned out so pretty. Now to figure out what to make with it. It will go with my brown felted jacket, so maybe a scarf.

Isn't it beautiful? I am rather pleased with myself for being able to even do this. It is so fun! It's on the niddy-knoddy here.

Then off, ready to go in the wash water, to set the twist. I watched a video today and did it her way. It's so soft and smells good now.

On the left is the 2 skeins of the Romney. I still have about 5 more pounds to wash and card. On the right is the 1st skein of the  Sea Turtle.

This is the gray-silver I started later tonight.  It's all plied and washed and hanging too. I love this yarn. I'm going to use it to make something for Mrs. T's oldest daughter for Christmas.

And this is a little cowel I crocheted for one of my kids. I don't even know if it's really a cowel or not. I just started making it up as I went along. I did the popcorn stitch around the outside.  I like it. And it's fast and easy to make too. I need fast and easy right now.

So I am just happy to be spinning right now. I think I need to be able to do this. I hope to start spinning some of my own sheep's wool soon after Christmas. I want to take my time and do it right. Then in March, I'll have 12 more fleeces from my sheep to work with. I love my sheep. And the alpacas are growing on me. Poor Sugar King had some barbed wire caught on his tail yesterday. Of all the animals to have that happen to, it had to be the one who will not let me get near him. I had to go get feed and heavy duty gloves on. The grabbed the wire and pulled. It was wound around his wool, but not the skin. I got it out and he was just fine. He didn't struggle or freak out. He knew I was helping him.

Another long day tomorrow. Spending it with my mom. Then to the middle school to watch my youngest in her fist band concert. Then one more market and I am officially done til spring. I thought I would have a soap sale. Then I might start a Shopify account. See how that goes for me.

Happy week before Christmas, y'all!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Markets and dog fur.

Went to the last holiday market yesterday. Only had enough room for the length of 1 table, so had to get creative and go up. I asked my husband to make a tree out of the free wood a friend gave us, to hand ornaments from. And stacked the crates up for the soap. Brought the wire rack for soap too. I had the basket of dryer balls on the floor in front. So it all worked out. And got lots of compliments on how it looked. It was a really long day. It was over at 4 but by the time I was loaded up, it was 4:45. And still had to go shopping for Mrs. T.

And 2 of my lambs, Cara and Campbelle, were in a live nativity at a church in Lafayette Friday and Sat. night. So had to go get them. We all went and made it to the last tour though the town of Bethlehem the night Jesus was born. It was a really good depiction of what it was like, with people dressed in the clothing and selling things like bread and fish and baskets and oil. And live animals. My lambs were a big hit with everyone. And they were so good. I think they liked laying close to the little fire the shepherds had going.

This is the tree my husband made. He did a really good job. Everyone loved it. And this will be our Christmas tree! I'll put some lights on it and put some little ornaments on it and call it done. I sold several little sheep and pins cushions and dryer balls.

And this is some of the softest ever dog fur. I have been asking for a year now for some of Chester's dog fur from a customer. She brought me this bag full of it yesterday. I love it. It feels like alpaca. So I am going to spin this in with some of my gray-brown Romney wool and see what happens.

I think I'll go to the Main St. farmer's market this Wed. and that will be it. I said yesterday was the last market, but I'd like to sell more soap. So I'll have a sale buy 4 bars of soap and get 2 free. If anyone needs some, let me know. I can get them in a flat rate envelope or box. I know the box is $5.95 but the envelope is probably cheaper.

After Wed. my car will be cleaned out and stuff put away til next spring. I am tired. And need to be making Christmas gifts.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wool washing experiments. And more felted sheep.

This is the white Shetland fleece I bought. I tried a little experiment a few days ago. I had heard on a fiber forum how some people use Orvus Paste, which is a horse shampoo. So I found some at Tractor Supply. I got a little bit of the wool and used Orvus. Then another hand full and used Dawn.

This is before washing. It's more a cream color. Not a lot of VM, but dirty.

Here are the 2 drying on racks. I cannot really tell much difference.

This is washed in the Orvus. Nice and soft. Clean. But still a bit yellow, which could just be the sheep it came from. I don't really know a lot about all this. Someone did mention that not all sheep will wash up pretty and shiny white. That some sheep are a creamy color.

This is the wool washed in Dawn.  I think the Orvus is a little whiter looking at this picture. Someone also said they use Dawn and Orvus together. So I might try some washed that way today and see what happens.
But this is really soft and clean too. I also didn't let it soak as long as I usually do as I had to leave in a few hours to meet my mom. So I'll let more soak longer today.

And some more cute little sheep I'll take to the Bazaar Christmas Bazaar at Brainerd market this Saturday. The gray one on the left is from some Icelandic roving I got from  Jessica in NY. I also made dryer balls with some. The one on the right is from the Romney fleece I bought at the fiber show. I love this wool!
The 2 white sheep are made with the white Romney wool.

And have to have some cute little different sheep, right? I made a lamb to go with the big blue ewe. And added more wool to the red ones.

Off to the studio to make more things for market. I'm also making some Christmas gifts for family. I made a pretty cowel last night and will use a few of the wooden buttons I got from Wooly Moss Roots. I LOVE these buttons. But now I want some bigger ones for the cowels.

Are y'all all busy making things? Would love to hear what you're all up to.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Working around here

 See this tree? See where it's headed?

Right onto the little barn out back. Not a good thing. So it's being cut down today. The sheep are back there, so they'll eat all the pine needles. This little barn is old, but built to last forever. It's oak, from rough cut boards. I have tried to pound nails into these boards. It can't be done. The man who built this place, he wanted things to be here a very long time! So he built to last.

I spent a good part of Monday going around the electric fence, taking off branches that had fallen over the wires, trimming underneath, tightening the wires, moving things around. Last time the sheep were out here, Cora Belle had gotten out and was at the top of the hill, baaaaing like crazy.

Some of the posts needed to be replaced, so got those put in this morning. Fixed the ground wire and turned it back on. It's hot again!

So let the sheep out there this morning. There's green grass out here. So they will be happy for a few days here.

Had to get another round bale of hay Monday. They had eaten all but a little pile in the corner. I think the first bale lasted a month. So $35 a bale plus $5 to deliver, I think I can live with that. I'll have to get at least 4 more. SO much cheaper and less waste than square bales. And I don't even have to touch them!!!!

Buttercup, on the left here, and one of the Tappit brothers, were playing. She could be in heat. But the boys are wethers now, so nothing going on there. I have decided to not breed the sheep this year. I'll wait til the lambs are bigger and try to find a Romney ram for next fall. I am in love with Romney wool, so will see how the wool is with the Finn/ I love my Finn wool. And together, I think that would be some really awesome fiber.

Getting ready for market this cold gloomy dreary Wed. afternoon. Just picked collards, lettuce, kale and wild chives. Plus, found some wild dock growing out in the garden. I looked it up and it can be used like any green. I really want to do wild edibles. There is so much growing here that's wild and so nutritious and beneficial to us. I'll take some to market and see how it goes.

Monday, December 8, 2014

And some more wool...

 I have gone a little crazy ordering fleeces on-line the past few weeks. It can get a bit addicting for sure. Some are just beautiful. Others, not so much.

This one came from Windswept Acres. Romney sheep.  They are coated and this fleece is amazingly beautiful! I cannot wait to get it all washed and spun. It's just beautiful. I would love to get a Romney ram now to breed my Finn sheep next year. Wouldn't that make some awesome fiber?

I can't remember, but I think this is Border Leicester wool. I ordered 2 or 3 pounds of it. It's really pretty too. And clean. Came from John and Madeleine Messersmith.

This came today from Sycamore Farms in N.C. It's Shetland. It's really greasy but not too awfully dirty. I just bought some Orvus Paste from Tractor Supply, which is a horse shampoo. Sodium Laurel I think. It's supposed to really get fleeces clean and white. I hope this one gets clean and white after using it. It's really soft.

This is from Elk Sheep farm. Raw Lincoln fleece. Very crimpy and soft. I hope it gets white when cleaned. Don't really know what to do with this.

This came from one of my blog friends, Sandra Morris, of Mitten State sheep. It's BL too. SO beautiful and clean and soft. Can't wait to get it all washed up and spun too. Thank you Sandra! I love it!

Sandra also sent some BL roving too. Really soft and pretty. Thanks again. I love this!

Now this. I ordered 2 fleeces, which I can't remember what they are, probably Romney too, from an Emily on the Raw Wool for sale forum. When I got the box and opened it, it stunk so bad! And it felt wet. I had to leave the box outside. Then the other day, I opened the bags and put them on the racks. They are totally nasty. Full of VM and really quite gross. And still felt wet. I paid the most for these fleeces than any of the others.  I'll have to wait to even do anything with these til later, when I might not have much to do. I am not happy with these at all. And I hope I'm able to salvage enough to do anything with at all.

This is a Romney fleece that I washed last week, in Dawn and a whole box of  Borax. It's still a bit yellow and the tips are a mess. But near the bottom of the bag, toward the end of skirting it, I found some really nice parts. I am using this for needle felting and dryer balls. I might try to wash this again in the Orvus and see if I can get it looking whiter.

This is that same fleece, in some batts. It's  just a little yellower than I'd like it to be.

So, I will be busy, washing all these fleeces. They will become cute little sheep or owls or pin cushions or dryer balls. But most will become beautiful hand spun yarns.

It's been a learning experience for sure, ordering on-line. Not really knowing what I'll be getting. Some did not look like the pictures at all. And some I was very surprised and happy with. And I will be ordering more from them for sure.

Happy Monday to you all! Gotta get back over to the studio and create more pretties. What are y'all up to today?

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I have been making lots of needle felted woolies this past week, getting ready for the first of 2 holiday markets in a row. The first was today. It was so fun! I did really good there. Sold a lot of soap and dryer balls. And sheep. Other things too, but mostly those things. So I will be making more this next week.

I made these cute little pin cushions. I love them. But didn't sell any today. I'll be going to the Main St. market Wed. so maybe I can sell a few there. I think this will be my last Wed. market. It's getting to be too cold for outside markets. Especially for just 1 hour.

Some more little owlies. They are so sweet. I need to look for some little feathers and put on the little heads.

I did sell lots of sheep. One lady bought 3, then wanted a little lamb. So had to get that made while there and her grand daughter took it home to her. I had one of the other vendors ask if I could maybe make a bass or catfish for her husband. I told her I could certainly try. She said she's call to see how much I'd charge. She'd like a life-sized fish, so not really sure what to charge. Also another lady wanted to me to make an Airstream camper for her husband who is restoring one. Still working on that.

I love going to markets and meeting new people. I met a new neighbor out my way here. She was next to me today. And saw so many old friends there. It's always fun.

Now to get ready for next week! Hope y'all have a great Sunday.

(Almost forgot to say that anything I make is for sale! So let me know if anything catches your eye. These would make great gifts! And shipping probably wouldn't be too much.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December already!

    I am so busy I don't know where to start. Or go. I have a Holiday Market at 2 different churches the next 2 Saturdays that I am trying to get ready for. I've been ordering fleeces and getting some of them delivered. I've been washing a white Romney fleece I got Monday, so I can make dryer balls, snow people and owls with it for markets.

Also trying to take care of Mrs. T and her household problems. And trying to spend time with my Mom and sister, while she's here at Mom's. I am SO thankful my sister Heidi has been able to be here so much during this time. My mom fell a few weeks ago and broke her right knee. She won't be able to drive til after Christmas now. She's walking, so can do some things for her self now. And my brother was her last week from Colorado. He left Monday morning. So it's been fun. And lots of food. And traveling here and there.

So I am trying to get some things made for the holiday markets in between all this. Haven't had much luck though. I have 2 more full days to work at it. Just seems like so much to be done still.

And my hive outback was empty last Friday when I was showing my brother the hives. Slap empty. Well, we did see a few bees buzzing around it. I was just stunned to find it empty. It was full just the day before. I've been feeding both hives sugar water so I know there were bees in both hives.

So now, the garden hive bees have been out back in that hive, cleaning it out. I suppose some of that hive's bees joined the garden hive. The queen must have died. I did see what looked like a few queen cells on the bottom of a few frames up there. But the bees are doing a good job of getting all the pollen and honey moved to the good hive. When they are done, I'll put that hive away for next year's new bees. Or a split from the garden hive.

So this is why I have not been here lately. Just so much to do! What is going on in your lives out there in blog land?