Monday, May 24, 2010

I may actually be over-fibered.....

Last weekend I was one of the spinners on a sheep-to-shawl team at the Waynesburg Sheep and Fiber Festival in Waynesburg, PA (for photos of the 3 shawls, see Wild Rose Farm's blog, here--that's me in the sunglasses!). And then I carded lots of batts this week, photographed them and should get them in the shop this coming week. And spun some yarn. And knitted some hats. And knitted on my brown tweed sweater, ripped it out, knitted it again, and must rip out again because I'm math-challenged and figured the raglan decreases incorrectly. And today I headed to Stramba Alpaca Farm because.....I'd never been to an alpaca shearing and wanted to see what's up with that (she says innocently). Been a while since I assisted at sheep shearing and wanted to see the difference. Folks, it's more work than sheep! Sheep seem to be more accepting of having their hair removed. They have their hooves trimmed and usually get a protective shot of meds. Assistants grab the sheep for the shearer, whisk away the fleece (which sticks together as that's just the nature of sheep fleece), take it to a skirting table and pull away the undesirable bits. Alpacas don't like the whole idea of laying still and having shears run over them and some of them yell about it--loudly and unendingly. The assistants grab the fiber in 3 (and sometimes more depending on the farm) different batches--the blanket, the neck fiber and the trash. Their fiber drifts everywhere, and must be swept away before the next animal comes in. Sometimes there are other things that need to be swept away. It's tiring work and requires lots of helpers. By the time we were down to the last 4-5 alpacas, when I was asked to hold the animals head I had to refuse because I was just too tired to do the job well and didn't want to accidentally hurt the animal. I think I clogged the shower drain with the junk adhering to me. My feet hurt and I've had ice on them for several hours tonight. I don't want to card, spin or knit tonight cause I've seen (and picked off the barn floor) enough fiber for today. My hat is off to shearers and their assistants, because they will get up tomorrow and do it all over again. You guys rock!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Idaho adventure and Posy Toes spinning

We returned home last weekend and had a ton of stuff waiting for us--unpacking, washing laundry, mowing the overgrown lawn, making more arrangements for FIL to move in, etc, etc. I took a good number of photos for artistic inspiration and hope to have a new line of fiber batts based on the hot springs, geyser pools, and lichens that abound in Idaho. For a relatively dry state, I'm amazed at the amount of color that nature manages to squeeze out of the environment. Here's a teaser:

Work progresses on the Posy Toes Caladium batts. I've got almost a full bobbin.

I usually spin half the fiber on one bobbin, half on another bobbin, and ply them against themselves. I'm still trying to decide if I want a 2-ply like the others or if I want to Navaho-ply these to preserve the color gradations because I like them so much. Making a 3-ply would mean changing the sock knitting pattern as the yarn will be considerably thicker. We'll see.......