Saturday, August 29, 2009

enormous order...

I just received an enourmous order (12 pair !!!) for knitted socks from a very dear repeat customer in canada.
her color wishes are very specific , so i 'm going to be busy dyeing yarn and knitting for several weeks.
So everything else is going to be put on the back burner and postings here will be sparse for awhile.
goes to get her dyeing stuff together....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

washed and combed

I got most of the fiber from merry meadows farm washed and dried. i took a few locks and just combed them out with a flicker brush

staple lenght is between 4.5 and 5 inches, fiber is sooo soft, no scratch effect at all against the skin.

even after washing and brushing the hairs still have a lot of crimp in them, this fiber should spin up into a springy yarn, great for weaving shawls,scarfs and knitted socks.
I love it!! got to get some more!!
I can't wait for the long winter nights now, i'll be spinning, carding, weaving like crazy!!!
I used to be very fond of bright colors (and still am) but now i'm really getting in

to natural colored wool.

more raw wool..

I received a box of raw wool yesterday that i won on e-bay last week.
this is it, plus there are 4 bags of fiber missing out of this pile that i am washing right now.

Its from Merry Meadows Farm out of California.
They raise Cormo,Finn/Dorset/Targhee/Corriedale crosses,Targhee and Merino sheep.
The fiber i bought are cuttings, leftover from trimming the fleeces. For $3 a pound i thought I'll try and I'm very pleasantly surprised.
The fiber i got was quite clean, very little vm and most of it is absolutely gorgeous .i just had about 12 oz that is not usable for spinning(the pile in the upper right corner in the first picture) because its either too dirty or too short.The rest is just great fiber, very soft with a lot of crimp.

I'll post some pics of the washed fiber when its done.
I will surely buy more from this seller.
by now I've got about 80# of fiber accumulated, some of it has been washed or washed and carded.
but I've got about 60# still in the raw. I'm planning on getting about 10-15 more pounds in the next few days and then I'll quit.
What am i going to do with all this soft goodness you ask!? I'll get it all cleaned and carded and will offer most of it in my shop during the winter. some of it i will keep for my own use, spinning yarn to sell or keep some for myself to knit and weave with.
*So , if you are looking for good clean fibers for your spinning or felting needs look in at the shop from time to time, maybe you find something you like. and since i bought this at such reasonable prices i can sell it below what most other sellers ask .*
I bought that much because i wanted a good assortment of different breeds. so far i've got merino, cormo, rambouillet,corriedale,shetland,alpaca,romney,leicester,cotswold and several others i just can't think of right now. some of it is crossed breeds .
I will blend some of these different fibers when carding to improve the shine, handle,softness etc.
I'm learning quite a bit about the different breeds and the fiber they produce. a year ago all i could distinguish was soft , not so soft and scratchy. now i can pretty much tell you what breed the fiber is just by looking at it.
I love to work with this wool and I'm sure a fiber addict!!!
Well , i better get back to the washing,I've got four bags in hot water in the bath tub and a washing machine full soaking.
Y'all have a fibertastic day Sheep

Saturday, August 22, 2009

little Visitors...

My fiber goings on are put on hold this weekend due to my two little grand sons visiting.
I had both of them yesterday afternoon,my son picked the youngest one (9 weeks old) after work,but the older one (now 14 month old) is going to stay with us until Monday.
And let me tell you, anyone with two (or even more) small children to take care of: y'all deserve a medal !! I've raised two myself but they where 9 years apart, so you can concentrate on one, but this !!! wow !! My respect for my daughter in law, and mind you she is only 17!, has risen indefinite! How does the girl do it? i could not(not longer than a few hours anyway).
Well, anyhow, here are a couple of pics with the boys:

John and Daniel (we call him 'Big Dan' ,he weighs 12# already and wears the same size diapers and clothes Gavin does!!)


Me and the Babys
So I'll report back in middle of next week.wishing everybody a great weekend.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More ALPACA...

So i finally got to spin up a small skein of this scrumptious chocolate Alpaca i carded yesterday.

I experimented around a bit with different whorl sizes,speeds and yarn thickness.
I ended up with a very nicely balanced two ply with a wpi of 9 ,worsted. The color is just amazing, a deep ,rich ,dark chocolate.Yummy!

first i was a little disappointed about the feel of the yarn, i imagined it softer.
So i soaked it in warm water for a few minutes(with a little fabric softener) , squeezed it dry in a towel and whacked it against the counter a few times.And Bingo!! now it's the way i thought it would feel: very soft, no 'prickle effect ' on the skin and a nice drape. The yarn is light and fluffy, like a cloud but really strong ,i cant just break a strand between my hands, i have to cut it.
Yes, i think I'll be working a lot with Alpaca in the future, and why not? It is a lot easier to process than most sheep wool, is softer than merino(it has been compared to cashmere) and the price per pound is comparable or less than for most sheep wool ( at least on e-bay). It'll take me a while to process all this fiber, i got about 10 pounds in assorted colors (still looking for a good deal for a white fleece on e-bay).After I'm done washing and carding all of this i will offer some of it in my shop but i will safe a good chunk for myself, i really would like to spin enough up to use for weft for a big size shawl i can wrap myself into on cold winter nights (or days ).Maybe a variegated yarn with all the colors in it.
Next I'll be turning my attention to the fawn colored fleece,stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I know I'm getting a little repetitive but i really can't get over ALPACA!!!
I won several auctions last week for raw alpaca fleeces and they are starting to come in.
this is 3# of a rich chocolate brown with a staple length of about 5 inches:

this is 1# of fawn with a staple of about 4 inches

and last but not least 2# of a medium tan with a staple length of about 4 inches.

I just cant get over how soft the wool is! Even unwashed and dusty its just heaven! I've heard that most people do not wash the fleece before spinning, i do because even though the fiber isn't visibly dirty it does contain a lot of fine dust and sand.Good thing is it comes clean very easy. Since it doesn't contain any lanolin it can be washed with lukewarm water and just a hint of soap.This is the water after the first wash:

So, not apparent but quite dirty after all.I dump the water ,fill up the bucket one more time, let soak for about 10 min., squeeze out the water,fill up one more time,no soap , rinse and spin in the washer.Dry it on a rack outside in the sun.I use those little mesh lingerie bags.Its a little tedious since the bags don't hold much fiber but they keep it from moving around too much and make the whole process a little more orderly.
I'll be washing and carding this soft goodness in the next week or so and start offering it in batt form in the shop.So come on by and maybe you see something you might turn into a next to the skin soft yarn!
Prices will be very competitive and Ravelers,remember there will be a 10% discount for you !!
I will post pics of the carded fiber later.
Now back to washing ALPACA :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kick me while i'm down..

Well, did i ever have a shitty day yesterday.
I noticed that my left elbow(the side i had the lumpectomy/lympectomy on) was slightly swollen.Always on the lookout for the dreaded lymphedema to set in. i mentioned it to my oncologist at my 6 month check-up yesterday morning. she looked at it squeezed here ,pressed there and yes, it's a possibility . She didn't seem too concerned about it, but let me tell you:
I AM!!
I don't want to run around with one fat arm!! So i asked here what to do about it and was told to keep an eye on it and if it gets worse she'll send me to a physical therapist. What's that gonna do? I already move my arm around, how can any kind of exercise make it better? oh, and there is also a sleeve i can wear. Great!! I'm so bummed and then on top of that i found out that once i will stop taking my cancer meds in a year and a half i will loose my insurance( medicaid) since everything but actually taking cancer meds is considered non-active treatment . Well, what about all the other health problems I'm dealing with because of "the cancer" and its treatment?
chemo gave me my joint (taking meds for that) and memory (taking meds for that)problems,radiation killed my thyroid(taking meds for that) and i have mental(depression,anxiety attacks, taking meds for that) and high blood pressure (taking meds for that)from the combined experience of the whole pharmacy bill comes to a little over $900 a month!!which right now is taken care of by medicaid.once it stops i won't be able to take any of these nor go to the Doctor for anything not even a mammogram because we can not afford it.I obviously don't work and John gets a disability check and that's what we live on. we are one step away from being homeless as it is. This is scary!!! what am i going to do???I've got a year and a half to figure it out i guess , if there is a way at all.
Sorry for the whining and i promise my next post will be on a happier note(even if i have to make it up :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm in LOVE!!

I discovered ALPACA!!
i wondered about alpaca for awhile but was a little leery ( it intimidated me because it's just so exotic), so far i only worked with various sheep fibers.
So last week i came across a listing for 1lb of assorted colors raw alpaca fleece on e-bay. it listed for $5.00 so i thought,not much to loose there, I'll try it. a few days later my alpaca arrived. i opened up the bag and ... OH MY GOSH!!! Fiber heaven! It is sooo soft! It's like reaching into a bucket of silky body lotion. Gorgeous natural colors ,creamy white,fawn,dark chocolate and black,and it even smells good! They say that you can spin it without washing right the way it comes of the animal,but i washed it anyways and run it through the carder a couple of times,and if its possible, its even more scrumptious .The carding is a little tricky because the fibers are so fine and light.

but ahhh... the end result is worth it.

I'll be spinning some up in the next few days for Dave's spinning chalenge.....and I'm off to check e-bay to find some MORE...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Luscious Fiber

After two hours of blending these fibers on my carder i got these two big piles of 'Oh my god this is soooo soft ' batts:

and merino,silk,superwash merino

now i have to blend all those together as consistend as i can .
That will be several more hours of cranking the carder,and then... the dyeing.

Basket surprise

I just found a little surprise( well, three actually) in a wicker basket out in the "studio":

They must be just a few days old

It was sitting high on the shelf and hasn't been moved in awhile.So i took the pics and put it right back.I'll update their progress every few days.
Other than that nothing much going on. I've been carding some luscious silk,merino,mohair,and BFL together into several oh so soft batts.I'll dye them in the next few days,probably a "blue" theme and get ready for spinning it up. I'll try on a sport weight single yarn to use for weaving myself a shawl.light and airy but warm and hopefully soft.