Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wool for socks!

OK.................forget the background clutter.  The house is a mess, it's been several weeks in a row of festivals to attends, 'work' to go to and sheep records to look over (in my red notebook).
I am finally  getting wool sent out to the processors to have socks made.  This project has taken much longer than I anticipated.  I have eight Shetland crossbred ewes' fleeces that I've had to tip to meet the requirements for the yarn to be spun for these socks.
I have 16 pounds of washed white wool mashed into the plastic vacuum bag shown above.  This was quite the feat.  Getting that bag of wool into the box shown below it. 
We did manage to get it in, by vacuuming the air out of the bag and pushing it down into the box.  The minor problem was that I could hear the bag taking in air...a leak!  I only had one bag and this had to do!
As I prepared my letter and payment to go into the box, we watched the  bag grow out of the box.......so, again we went through the process of sucking the air out with the vacuum and quickly attaching the letter and payment inside.  Then, while my husband wrestled the box closed, I grabbed the packaging tape.  Ripping large strips of tape and pressing across the top of the box and down the sides.  As we turned the box onto it's side to encase it in another layer of tape, the first couple of tape strips began to pop off.  I knew this was not going to work.......the packaging tape was just not strong enough!
....and that darn bag was taking on air! as the box was beginning to bulge across the top and sides.
HOLD IT! I told my husband, let me find the duct tape......off to the garage I go. 
Back for a third try, with the red duck tape.  Again, we vacuum out the air, push the bag back into the box....quickly close the bag....quickly grab the tape and start wrapping the box with tape.  Three strips across the top and all the way around, then three strips from the side and and all the way around.
....the box still bulging, we decide to have breakfast and wait a while to make sure that the box is not going to explode. 
Several hours later, the package is still holding together.  Delivered to the post office and en route to Conneticut. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

2013 Algonquin Mill Festival

Another Great year for the ALGONQUIN MILL FESTIVAL!!
This is the third year in a row that we have had fantastic weather for our festival and the attendance was great too.
Got to meet some really nice folks again this year, which is always a pleasure to visit and talk knitting or sheep.....or just time when you remember your 'Grandma used to do that'.
...those that I spoke with about shetland sheep and are interested in some ewes that I have available, please contact me soon as we will be putting the breeding groups together real soon and if you didn't want them bred I will need to know soon.

Now some pictures with my new camera....as I am still figuring it out.  Tried out the 'sepia' setting too, pretty cool.....

Above two pics. are of some shetland ram lambs that participated in the festival.

Scott and Kathy making a delicous meal for all the spinners and weavers demonstrating.

Beautiful Fall day at the Festival.

Our spinners cabin, with dye pots in the front.

Bob working on a needle felting project.

Emma tending to the dye pots.

Lynn working on some quilting.

Brenda working the great wheel, Julie and Kathy running sock machines.

Jo and Kate spinning in the spinners cabin.

Ann taking care of sales.

Many more guild members participated to make this a successfull event, but I was not able to get out and get everyone's picture.
...as we close festival year 2013 we can call it a SUCCESS and can only hope for next year to be as good.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

sheep for sale

For now, I am pulling pictures taken a couple of months ago.....
The picture above is one of a four katmoget ram lambs that I have available for sale, each of them has a very desirable fleece, uniform and crimpy.  Another ram that is available is solid black with good correct horns, his fleece is also very nice! 
$350.00 /Ram

I have a few ewes that I would like to see move on to new homes, these are good hardy ewes.  As long as I have them I will use them in my crossbreeding program for market lambs.  I have bred them to my shetland rams in the past and do have some very nice ewe lambs from them, it's just time to make some room and make some of these ewes available. 
Since we are getting into the breeding season soon, I will consider offering some of these ewes for sale as being bred or exposed to my ram.
$250.00 /Ewe

At this time I have two ewe lambs that I would let go as unregistered for $100.00 each.
Moorit ewe born in February, she could be bred this fall. 
Fawn ewe born in April, she is nice, Moorit based coloration, dark brown legs and head, body coloration is lightening up to maybe fawn, as her lamb coat grows out, nice crimp is developing in her fleece.

email me if interested in these possiblities.... 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Great Trail Festival - 2013

In progress now, the 2013 GREAT TRAIL FESTIVAL

This past weekend I did my duty participating in demonstrating at the Great Trail Festival.
I will be there again this coming Sunday, to meet more festival go-er's.  This is always a nice event, with such a great location. 
Vendors scattered about in a nice wooded setting, with paths to travel throughout. 

This is the 'kickoff ' of all the festivals to come......a very busy, but enjoyable time.

Also, planning to attend the Stark Co. Fair Wednesday to take in some tastee fair food and watch the 4-H sheep show. 
Hope to see Ellie with her shetland ewe Autumn participating in a class.

Good Luch Ellie!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

United Quilt Guild Show

This past weekend was a busy one.  Some members of the ALGONQUIN SPINNING AND WEAVING GUILD helped with the demonstrations during the three day show.  I have no pictures to publish due to my camera malfunctioning.....I think it is time for a new one....just an FYI for those who have a printer dock for their camera.....BE SURE TO BUY THE RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES ONLY!!!!

I did not realize there was a difference and I've ruined my camera... the bad news....my camera cost me $400.00 about eight years ago, the good news the new one that I am looking at cost $200.00 and has better zoom and larger pixels than the old one.    Live and Learn.

anyway,  the quilt show.  Their theme was "quilts of the underground railroad".  They did have some beautiful quilts and some educational speakers regarding history and quilts.

We did provide an awesome display of weaving on the triangle loom, rigid heddle loom, spinning with the great wheel, spinning wheel and drop spindle.  Along with many beautiful items made by those demonstrating.  It is always enjoyable to talk to all of the people who passed through and watched, asked questions and told stories of their mother or grandmother who had a loom and wove rugs for their family.

And sparked some interest for those wanting to learn to spin and weave.

It was a great three days of demonstrating and a pleasure to meet so many nice folks!



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

....more Wool Washed

I started washing more wool Monday morning.  I wanted to get done early due to this heat we are having.  I have finally finished washing the wool that I am sending out to have socks made, that is the wool on the left half of this cattle panel, the right side has three fleeces that I will pair up with last years fleeces to have roving made. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chloe has her lambs

Chloe has finally delivered her lambs......and of course two rams!  They both look like they will have crimpy fleeces.  Chloe has a wonderful fleece with luster or sheen, which ever term you prefer.  It is a pleasure to spin.  Hopefully these traits will be passed on to these guys, I'm sure they would make someone a really nice ram or fiber wether.

Booth at Lake Farm Park - Wool Fest

This was our booth at LAKE FARM PARK -Wool Fest.  Dave, Tammy and I decided to go together and share a space at this event.  We have quite an assortment of items to offer, from raw fleeces, roving, skeins of hand spun yarn, hats, scarfs, shawls, purses, ornaments and antler buttons.

We had great weather for this event and a super location....at the end of a row at the entrance of the building so even though it was 80 plus degrees, we had a constant breeze.  It was nice to meet and talk to all the other fiber minded people.

I also had some time to use my drop spindle which I don't always use, but really enjoy it and should make more time for it. 

**note to others**  The drop spindle is an inexpensive way to get to spin wool if you cannot afford a spinning wheel.  Don't deprive yourself of getting to make your own yarn! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sheep for Sale & Lake Farm Park - WOOL FEST

I haven't any pictures to post here today, but I have added some pictures under the FOR SALE tab.  Have more lambs/ sheep to add, but not everyone wanted their picture taken, so I will try another day.

Preparing for Wool Fest at Lake Farm Park, Saturday & Sunday, June 22nd and 23rd.
I will attending both days with fiber friends, we have gotten a booth together and I will be offering roving in black, moorit, grey some light mioget and a moorit shetland/ alpaca blend of roving...also some hand spun skeins.
If you are going to this event, stop by and introduce yourself.  It would be great to meet more fiber enthusiasts.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Alongquin Guild Meeting - Dye Day

Once a year we have a dye day at our monthly meeting, we always have a great turn out of members to learn and have a chance to dye some fiber together.
Above pic. shows members getting the low-down on what to look for when buying a fleece and how to skirt a fleece.
This year we had purchased some Jacquard dyes to try out.
I found Mildred playing with my raw wool.

She appears to adore the aroma.

Below, various techniques used to dye wool:

Raw wool stuffed into nylon potato bags, left to soak in stock pots of dye solution.
 Skeins left to soak in crock pots with dye.
Roving arranged in an electric skillet left to simmer with dye solution, carefully placed to make striped roving, therefore, striped yarn once spun.
 ....I believe locks of wool being dyed.

End Results Below:

Try your hand at dyeing some wool......add a little to your skeins!!
Have a Great Day! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Washing wool

My plan was to wash the fleeces from my eight white crossbred ewes beginning early Sunday morning, well I didn't get started until afternoon so I didn't get all of the wool washed but I finally have gotten started.
I will give a quick walk through how I now wash wool, thanks to Dave L. for showing me an easier way.
....my previous method was one five gallon bucket at a time, that is ok if all you want wash is a small batch. 
Begin by starting a small fire outside, campfire style.....I didn't think to take a pic. of my fire at the time.
I have purchased 6 stock pots from Marc's (local store), cheap.
Fill the stock pots with water and bring them to almost a boil (very hot).  Remove them from the heat and squirt your dish soap into each pot, until the water is slippery when you quickly touch the water with your fingers. 

Add wool.
Stuff wool into the pots till full, this is something that you just have to get a feel for.  With a Shetland fleece I would wash one fleece divided among three pots.
This is what I am washing white wool from uncoated sheep......I have HOURS in tipping these fleeces.  I am having socks made with this wool and where I am sending it their machines can only take a staple length of 4 1/2" length, this wool is just a little longer, so I've tipped ALL of it that I am sending.  I've held the britch out.  I'm hoping for at least ten to twelve pounds of washed wool.
It doesn't take but maybe 15 minutes soaking in hot water before you can pull it out.  I use a cheap kitchen spatula and I have a wonderful metal slotted spoon with fingers to grab the wool and pull it out.
(plastic spoons bend too much).
Lay the hot wool out onto a platform such as I use, a metal cattle panel covered with chicken wire or the plastic mesh, laying on top of cardboard tables......or whatever works.  You just want a place you can lay the wool out to cool to air temperature.
 Once the wool has cooled work with smaller batches, put some wool in a 5 gallon bucket.  Now you can use your garden hose and spray the wool with cold water and rinse it.  It usually takes 4-5 rinses to get the soap and silt out and it doesn't take a lot of water each time, just enough to cover most of the batch you are working with, I use a strainer to set the wool in as I pull it out of the bucket, squeeze out the water and repeat.  After I am satisfied with the rinsing, I like to stuff the wool in nylon bags and put them in my washing machine and spin out the excess water, this just helps to get the wool drying faster.
 Although, because I started later in the day than I like to I ran out of good drying weather so I had to move indoors and have the wool drying in my garage on my skirting tables with a fan blowing on it.

The most I have washed in one day by myself is 10 fleeces and that is enough for me, it keeps you hopping.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Meet Chloe, a light grey moget ewe.  For a while I thought that maybe she didn't get bred this year, but she began to show and she just keeps hanging on.  She is as big as a barrel, I'm hoping for twins, all the other yearlings delivered twins and I expect the same from her, although she was born from a set of triplets. 
Here again the back up ram would be the sire as we removed all the ewes from the ramd breeding pens Jan. 5, 2013.

This is really later than I like to have lambs and I am thinking of breeding much earlier next time.  I may begin in Aug/Sept., so we lamb in Jan. & Feb, 2014.  

What do I spy in the grass.....

As we were coming in our driveway early this evening we could see something moving in the grass.  We have new residents!! No MaMa in site, just five little skunks playing in the driveway.
 These guys are so small, they can't be over a couple weeks old, the clover in the yard is as tall as they are.
The little blur at the bottom is part of a pine tree I was standing behind as I snapped this photo.  Even as I walked up on them, they were totally oblivious to me even being there.
....I hope they don't stay too long, we don't need their aroma.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wrapping up The 2013 Great Lakes Fiber Show

As I review the pictures I've taken, I wish I had taken more photos.  But this is the second year I've helped assist with the fleece judging and some how I always run out of time and don't get out to take more photos.
Although, I don't mind getting to see all those lovely fleeces that are entered into the competition and get to talk to many of the exhibitors about their sheep.

I had entered several fleeces in the competition.  Taking Third place in the Medium and Coarse classes.
Above is Claire's fleece a grey shetland, whose fleece is one of my favorites. -Medium-
Below is Lacy's fleece a black shetland with age greying white fibes coming into the fleece-Coarse-


The ALGONQUIN SPINNERS & WEAVERS GUILD set up near the fleece judging to assist with sales of fleeces and help during the judging.

Fiber enthusiast purchasing fleeces and making that big decision about which one......or two to buy.

Simona M. demonstration to a visitor the drop spindle technique.  Simone is quite the hand spindle spinner, who I had to insist that she enter a skein into the skein competition and of course she took 1st place in the fine plied yarn class.

Dave L. talking with the fleece
Judge about some fleeces.

Another great kick off of the fiber festivals to come yet this year, I had a great time and always look forward to this festival and all the wonderful 'fiber folks' that I meet each year.

......may your pastures be lush and your fleeces fabulous!