Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fiber Weekend

This weekend was wonderfully exhausting!

It started with hauling two equines over the pass in my horse trailer – Chris, who was going to a new home (she loves him!) and King, a B Welsh pony for Correy’s next driving project. Talk about Mutt and Jeff! Since the weather has been icky, I figured I’d have to chain up, and needed chains for the trailer. When I went to get them, the ones they had were so slick to put on, I bought a set for the truck too (I have some chain chains that I’ve never opened, and will now return). I had Correy’s daughter, Brin, with me – what a helper! I guess I should admit that until this time, I’ve never put chains on a vehicle… in my whole life! Fortunately, these new-fangled chains are a snap to put on, and easy to take off. It was slow going over the top, but we made it, and everyone was fine.

Got to Correy’s and dropped off the pony (sorry no picture, I wasn’t thinking…). He looks like a miniature Clydesdale. We then went to the fairground to set up (Correy and I share a booth). Again, no picture (ditto…).

We went back the next morning to finish, and these pictures don’t really show much… (Except LindaLou having a good time!!)

I was surprised very surprised by the almost complete sell out of my dyed yarn, and all but 2 skeins of Mom’s “Vintage” mohair yarn. I sold a fair amount of roving, but not as much as last year. The yarn was a total hit, in spite of both of my swifts committing suicide the night before I left so I couldn’t finish rewinding the skeins (to mix up the colors). I sold all of the superwash/bamboo, and all but 1 skein of the superwash. WOW!

I couldn’t resist this picture:
This little guy was “helping” his mom and dad in the booth behind us. It was a very long day for him (and everyone else). I was so envious!

On Sunday, Correy and I traveled out to Ashwood so I could pick up this year’s pigs. After helping with pig rodeo, I brought home these 3 boys:
They’re still pretty wild, and contained in my horse trailer. I don’t think it will take long for them to get used to the human that feeds them, however!

Rainfall total: 75 inches since November 1, 2010.

Have I mentioned that I’m ready for spring?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Madness (fiber style)

Sometimes, when you’re in a hurry you don’t take the time to check… I was in a dyeing frenzy this weekend, and thought I’d use some of my remaining Gaywool dye for an 8 oz. chunk of Blueface Leicester/Tussah silk roving. When it came out of the steamer, it looked like this – kind of fugly.

Since I had invested 8 oz. in this fugliness, I thought I’d spin some up so that (hopefully) it would look like something people would buy. I think it works really well! Note the sheen - I really like this stuff!!

Ok, so I learned that the roving needs to be really wet to use the shake and steam method with this dye, otherwise the dye won’t dissolve through the roving.

I also tried spinning the moorit merino/alpaca blend again (see this post). I figured out that the whorl on my wheel was not the one that I was used to using, and once switched, it was really a breeze to spin. Ok, it took me 5 hours to spin and ply 171 yds. (about 1.3 oz), but I must say, it’s rather nice. I was going to sell all this roving, but now I need to keep a bit so that I can have enough for something…
Some of the results of the dyeing frenzy:

Yarn (superwash merino/bamboo)

Various rovings
I have 1.5 lbs. of yarn yet to dye, the above yarn to rewind so the colors get mixed up a bit, labels to make, and… Uh Oh – I think I need a list!!

Also found a wonderful home for the big horse, Chris. He’s going back over the hill to 40 acres, where he may be ridden, or be a BIG pasture ornament. He is a) too tall for me and my $100K knees and b) eats 3 times what one of the ponies or all of the alpacas eat. I will miss his sense of humor, and his general doofyness, but I won't miss the feed bill.  He served a great purpose - got me back on a horse before and after my surgery, and for that I'm grateful - but given the investment in my lower appendages, I need a shorter steed. I’m also hauling a pony over for Correy (a driving project), so I’m hauling the trailer full on the way over. I’m bringing 3 piggies back, but they’ll be riding in a crate in the back of the truck (they’re about 9 wks. old).

This will be a fun weekend at Fiber Market Day in Prineville. It will be good to see old friends, maybe make new ones, and sell some stuff!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fiber Frenzy and winners!

In honor of the switch to Daylight Saving Time, I have a new verse to my feeding song:

I’m feeding in the dark.
I’m feeding in the dark.
What a gloomy old feeling,
Where’s Noah and his ark?
It’s hardly a lark
Not a walk in the park,
I’m feeding, I’m feeding in the dark!

I’m in the count-down-to-Fiber Market day frenzy. I’ve started winding off yarn into smaller skeins for dyeing. As they come from the supplier, they are in 8 oz. +/- skeins, and are too fat for all the dye to penetrate. I was trying to figure out a way to somewhat accurately measure ounces or yards, and remembered someone’s tip about using a fishing line counter ($12.99 at Bi-Mart). I put the swift onto the loom so that the skein was vertical, hooked the line counter to the distaff of my spinning wheel (click for big) and then wound it onto an antique clock reel. Linda says I Macgyvered it. (man, I thought I'd cleaned up...)
Now I just need to figure out a way to use the spinning wheel to power the clock reel and I’ll be in business!! Next time, I think I’ll just order the yarn on cones, and wind them off in ounces instead.

In my twitterpated state when I realized that I had been blogging for a year, I didn’t take time to reflect on what’s happened in my life in that time, and there’s been a lot:
  • Probably the biggest thing is that I had both knees replaced. Even though it was difficult, and not pleasant, I’m very, very glad that I was able to do it. I am no longer in constant pain. It’s funny – you never realize how pain rules your life until you don’t have it any more.
  • I’ve made a number of decisions about the farm, such as no keeping turkeys or pigs over the winter. I’ve also decided that someone’s brain must have left the building when I decided where to put the barn. It’s at the bottom of the hill, so guess where all the water goes? I will be putting up a new barn, on higher ground this year. The old barn will become hay storage, initially, and then repurposed as an equipment shed, or dye house (depending on electricity and water access). Needless to say, there will be French drains installed around it.
  • I’ve made some new acquaintances through my blog, all of whom I value and enjoy. I’ve also been able to keep up with old friends through blogging. Everyone has such different lives, and yet we all have at least one thing in common with one another. It’s a form of technology that I’m glad that I embraced, luddite that I am. 
Drum roll please! The two winners of my anniversary contest are: Sharon and Mim! While I know that neither of them really need any more fiber, I’m glad they are getting some of mine!

Thanks to everyone who responded, and thanks to all who follow my perambulations, however erratic!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Opps - need a deadline for entry.

So the blogiversary giveaway entry deadline is 3/13/11.  Like I said, teflon for brains...

OMG - I've been blogging for a year!

Actually, the anniversary was March 5th. But since I have teflon for brains, I was thinking that it was later in the month and wasn't worried about it.

In honor of my anniversary, I will give away 4 oz of loveliness to two readers. There are a few different forms of loveliness to choose from:
  • Dyed (or undyed) merino/tussah/bamboo
  • Dyed (or undyed) BFL/tussah
  • Dyed (or undyed) corriedale top
  • Dyed (or undyed) yarn (superwash merino, merino/tussah/bamboo or mohair)
  • Moorit merino/Brown Alpaca Roving
  • BFL roving (white)
Leave a comment, feel free to forward to your friends/blogpals.  Winners will be chosen by random number generation.

Being as ADD as I am, I can't believe that I've stayed with it! And more to come, I promise.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shameless self-promotion...

Part of the reason for all the dyeing going on is my participation in Fiber Market Day in Prineville, March 26th.  I've gone for many years, and had a booth for the last 4. 

This year, in addition to having the booth, I'll be giving a class in Natural Dyeing on Sunday, March 27 (also in Prineville).  If you will be in the area, it would be fun!  Here's a copy of the flyer - click for big.

One of the cool things I'm going to do is have everyone bring a skein of yarn from their own animals (or stash). We'll dye them, too, and everyone will get a sample of the different skeins.  Not all fibers take dye the same, and this will be a good way to demonstrate that (not to mention "test drive" your own fiber!).

Monday, March 7, 2011

Iz hab code in by nose...

Today is a better living through chemistry day – Airborne and Mucinex are my friends. I finally succumbed to the cold that I thought was allergies all last week (dang). I should have known when my nose became leaky faucet Saturday, and I couldn’t seem to get warm. Oh well, hopefully, it will be the last one of the season (the first one and only other was at Thanksgiving).

As such, I had a very bori... um, relaxing weekend. I read 3 books (I read very, very fast). I brought the dyed fiber in from the porch (see previous post) because after 2 weeks it still wasn’t dry. It’s now suspended between my hutch and a box over the window thingy, and mostly dry. I fluffed and braided all but 8 oz. of the fiber that was dry. I took a nap with Lyra. I walked Annie around the pasture, having her stepping over logs (she’s very aware of where her feet are, unlike a very big horse I know), and picked up all of her feet. She had forgotten that skill when I first got her – with some work (not really all that much), she’s remembered.  And I did it without her being tied up. What a good pony.

My sister reminded me that I had not sent her pictures of Ted. 
He basically fills this basket, which is 20" across – he’s becoming rather rotund… If he looks like he's glaring, he is.  I still can't touch him without him hissing and growling.  He was all comfy before I interrupted him. I would like to be at home curled up under my down comforter with Lyra.

Oh, and after 2 days with no rain, and a little sun, it's raining again, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Current rainfall total: 60 inches since Nov. 1, 2010.

Spring is coming, right?