Sunday, April 27, 2014

Who says?

Who says that a cold water wash won't help wash raw fleece? This is some of the Jacob's fleece that I bought last weekend. In case you can't make it out, the fleece is in the mesh bag and that black water is what remained after I let the wool soak for about six hours in just plain cold tap water. The waste water has gone to the garden and the wool is getting its final rinse. This is the first time I have tried cold water and I'm pleased. (I did wash the wool in the usual hot water method after the cold water but it took at least one fewer soak in hot water and dish soap.)

Who says that Jake isn't cute? Jake is cute.

Friday, April 25, 2014

And on the wheel.....

This is some of the Jacob that I bought last weekend. I'm spinning it on the Schacht-Reeves 30" and I am having some serious fun. The Jacob is just a dream to spin (the yarn I have finished is soft and springy; super fiber). After hand picking the washed fleece, I ran it thru the drum carder 3 times. I'll spin another bobbin and ply the two singles.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Jacob's Sheep

I sure wish that I could take a better picture 'cause I think pictures would be the only way to really show what a wonderful farm we visited Saturday. Spring is here and it is time for sheep shearing. Sheep shearing means fleece and nothing makes me quite as happy as a nice new fleece, fresh off the sheep. My friend Lisa knew of this farm near Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire that raises Jacobs (just about my favorite looking sheep). I'd seen a fleece that Lisa had and ooooohhh. She was kind enough to put me in touch with the delightful Janet and Brooks and they welcomed us up on Saturday.

Let me say first that we love the mountains. This farm is in the mountains; in fact, it is surrounded by big mountains. It is down a long dirt road and longer dirt driveway and in a little valley all its own. There are heritage ducks and game fowl, a couple of adorable sheep guard dogs, a cat, a two  inside dogs and a guard goose for the fowl. And sheep, lots of adorable Jacobs and thirteen lambs. The lambs......oh, there were about eight of them playing King of the Hill on a boulder and gamboling. Lambs really do gambol.

And the fleece. The smell of a fresh fleece is one of life's joys for me. Janet kept bringing out fleeces to look at and what lovely fiber. I ultimately chose (with their help) a ram's fleece from a fellow named Hector. Hector has some well delineated colors and my plan is to separate the fiber out between white and dark and spin them separately. I washed about a pound of fiber yesterday and I'm so happy with the results. It is super soft and springy and I bet it will be a lovely yarn. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Yep, I'm guilty. I always have been guilty. My pets absolutely have human emotions. For example, here's a pic of Jake. Jake is sad. Jake is crying (note the tears). We were getting ready for a ride to New Hampshire and he was so forlorn to see us leaving............

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Date: 4/16/14


I sure had a great day yesterday because I got to go out to Kate's house for a visit. Kate owns Great Rock Alpaca and I'm proud to call her friend. She is a great lady and her alpaca are lucky creatures indeed. She and her husband own about 70 of them and they are just the cutest things. They make the funniest noises and I always get a giggle when one is bold enough to nibble my hair. All will be sheared next month so I'm glad I got to visit before they all get a haircut. You can't help but feel better about the world after spending time with an alpaca.  I took a few pics of the alpaca and Kate.

I met Kate last year.when I needed some alpaca fiber in a specific brown. I found her website and gave her a call.  Well, she invited me out and I found amazing fiber. We had a blast and I made a friend. There are a lessons here.......they are: 

1. Don't be shy about calling a shepherd; you might find excellent fiber and maybe even make a friend. 
2. If you need some excellent alpaca fiber (or even an alpaca), get in touch with Kate.
3. Try spinning alpaca if you haven't. Look for fiber with good crimp and I bet you'll find it easy to spin and I bet you'll be hooked.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Maine = pretty

We have lived in New England for 7 years but hadn't ever been to Maine! There wasn't any good reason except perhaps my complete distaste for driving on highways and to avoid highways AND get to Maine; well, it is a 4 plus hour drive. Anyway, we drove up yesterday and wow. Just, wow. We did NOT stop at any of the outlet stores and we didn't stop at any of the intriguing antique stores or little boutiques. We did go for a beach walk, visit a lighthouse and eat some fried clams.

Our Maine drive started in Kittery. Then we drove to York where we stopped for a walk and visited a lighthouse. We were driving historic Rt. 1 so the next towns were Wells, Ogunquit, Kennebunk and etc. We drove thru Kennebunkport (which was settled in 1642 so lots of old stuff to look at). Lunch was at a place called Mikes (there were loads of cars with Maine tags; a good sign) and then we home. We will go back when we have more time....there was a ton of stuff that we didn't have time to investigate but it sure was a great day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I have a wonderful friend named Dee who makes the prettiest lavender sachets on the planet. She sent me some for my last birthday and they are just too pretty to put in a drawer. She embellishes them with buttons and lace and wonderful designs and given all the wool in this house, I'd like to have about 100 of them. 

Since I can't have hundreds of Dee's sachets, I came up with a way to get some lavender around all my fiber. The scent of lavender is so wonderful and the fact that moths don't like it; well, all the better.  I bought some lavender oil and saved a few pill bottles. Then, I put several cotton balls into the bottle, added several drops of the lavender oil to the cotton and put the bottle in with woolly stuff. I know that the lavender won't completely protect my stash from moths but the wool sure will smell good. And even better, the sachets that Dee made for me can be hanging out in the open where I can enjoy looking at them.

(don't forget to protect all of your animal fibers; moths like alpaca and......)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Hanks and Travis Makes A Nest

Here a a few of the latest:

Fake Rolags

Spinning longdraw is my favorite method and to really, truly spin woolen longdraw in the purest way, you need rolags; lots of rolags.  Rolags are traditionally made using hand cards but there is a way to make them using the drum carder. Lots of folks make them right of the drum. I don't like that method only because no matter how hard I try, I end up poking my arms and hands on the pointy bit and it hurts. So, I remove the batt from the carder and:

Split the batt into thirds across the batt (as opposed to long ways);

Grasp the sides of the  fiber and pull it apart; it separates like the pages of a book. My goal is to get something close to the size of handcards;

Roll the fiber loosely around a dowel and,


It is essential for easy spinning to keep the fake rolags a reasonable size and to keep them light and airy for a light and airy woolen yarn. The ones pictured here are made from some yummy alpaca from Great Rock Alpaca; the staple is a little long for rolags (for my taste) but they spun like a dream.