Hair O\’the Lamb

I’m thinking a really bad word right now….
21 May, 2008, 8:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I had a great idea for a post, logged in and promptly forgot what I was going to write about.  Shheeeesh.   I guess it couldnt have been that great then, right?  Maybe I just need some coffee.  Sadly, there is  none in the house and what with me looking like I have a 3rd degree burn on the side of my nose, I dont think running out to the coffeeshop is an option (Ok ok…I’m a Leo-we’re a vain little bunch. And we exaggerate. Sometimes). 

I have been having an affair with crocheting and it has been going fine l but I think I went and bit off more than I could handle-I started the “Chanson en Crochet” capelet in a fine mohair/rayon blend.  The yarn is doubled to give a light sportweight and the ensuing changes in gauge weren’t a problem.  I was doing fine until I got to the flower section…3 rows from the end.   I’m having trouble with wrapping my brain around that part for some reason…Anyone out there have some tips for finishing that portion?  I am considering scrapping the mohair version (even though it looks great) and doing it over in a more substantial yarn.  I guess I could always use the mohair as a lacy scarf…or I could go freeform and just make it up. We’ll see.

Oh!  I just remembered what I was going to blog about…there is a bird that lives in the backyard that sings at night.  Loudly at night…for hours.  The first night it happened it actually woke me up, but after that I got used to it and it became kinda cool and exotic.  The other day M was checking the sprinklers in the front yard and I overheard him talking to the neighbors. I didnt catch the first part of the conversation because I was in the house but it mostly went like this:

M: “oh yeah…it gets really loud sometimes…”

Neighbor: “Keeps me awake…”

M: “Us too…”

Neighbor:  unitelligable…..”and blow it out of the tree…”

M: “oh dont do that!”

Neighbor: “yeah it might have a nest of babies up there…I guess we just have to get used to the fa-la-la” . 

So true, so true.


Three bags full….
19 May, 2008, 10:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Thats how much raw fleece I currently have!  I have washed one bag, had one waiting in the wings…then very happily acquired 2 more bags!!!  I am aswim in fleece, most specifically pure suffolk lambswool.  My friend’s son recently got 3 more sheep (Iggy, Rodeo, Snowflake and an as yet unnamed ewe). I am the benificiary of the sheared wool and I could not be happier.   Along these lines, since I had 600.00 from my best friend George the government I decided that they should fund my purchase of a drum carder.  After all, its called “stimulus money”, right?  What could be more stimulating than wool? (DO NOT ANSWER THAT)   I have purchased a new Ashford carder and plan on setting up my operation in the studio behind my house. 

And so it begins….my foray into the world of wool.  I plan on processing, dyeing (hopefully with natural dyes), and spinning this wool with the hope of selling it, and if it catches on, perhaps a new line of business down the road.  I have tons to learn but I have always wanted to do this and now the Universe has dropped a sizable amount of fleece in my lap-lets see what happens!

In related news, I have finished the “Bob and Weave” wrap from a few Knitty-s back.  I used one whole skein of Fleece Artist Kid Aran-not sure of the colorway- for the “Bobbing”and a couple skeins of KnitOne Crochet Too Tartlette and gold lame thread for the “Weaving”.  Pics to follow later today.  I love how it turned out but of course, its been 100 degrees here so I wont be using this one for a awhile.

(oh yeah, the mother of all cold sores has struck again…grrrrrr)

…In which we learn how to wash a sheep (fleece)
6 May, 2008, 9:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ok, I’m back.   Still subdued and missing my cat but I am on the other side of it now and getting on with things.  During the break I learned to crochet (thanks Sheri!), read some good books (Including “A fine fleece”) and not incidentally acquired two large feed bags full of wool.  You heard me right…wool.  Fresh from the lamb.   The sheep in question belongs to the son of a co-worker who is raising it for a school project (I love Northern California…wish we’d had school projects like that back east.  Come to think of it, I did have a reading teacher who sometimes brought lambs-rejected during lambing for whatever reason-to school and kept them beside her desk for a day or two but that is another story).  It is the first shearing from his Suffolk lamb and boy is it ever soft.  He dotes on this lamb and the wool was in very clean condition when it got to me.  But as you might well guess, even a clean lamb is still kinda dirty, being a lamb and all.

I laid out an old sheet and dumped one of the bags out on it, then as best as I could, skirted it.  Its not exactly in a whole piece (being in halves I’m guessing) and it was a little hard to tell what was what but I got the worst  of the vm and sheep dirt picked out.  Then I placed the wool in 2 large mesh laundry bags and threw it into the washer which had been prefilled with hot water and Dawn (lavendar-I figured it couldn’t hurt). I pushed the bags under the hot soapy water and let them have a good soak, then spun them out.  I did this a total of 4 times until the fleece was clean.  The last time I washed a fleece, I did it all by hand and…I do  like this method better.  Then I fluffed the wool on the sheet in the sun and let it dry.  Since it was a beautiful sunny day it didnt take long at all.  I then packed it back in one of the mesh bags to await carding.  I have to kind of steel myself up for that one, since I am prone to tendonitis in my wrists even with normal use.  On the other hand, makes a perfectly rational arguement for a drum carder.  I have been checking them out online and I think I could justify having one around. Next weekend I will tackle the second half of the fleece, and will take some pictures of the process.  I originally thought it would be a good project for the knitting group but really washing fleece isn’t that interesting of an activity. 

The portions of the fleece that I have washed by hand are snow white and very soft (I think I may have mentioned that previously but they are incredibly soft…like lambswool lol) and I can’t wait for the spinning to commence!  I promised the donor that I would make him something-I’m thinking a hat or fingerless gloves would be good for a teen guy who likes sheep enough to raise one.  (and yes, I know its going to be sold for meat eventually…but give me a break on that part for now-k?)

More later!