Monday, April 11, 2011

Take A Sheep To Lunch

I was over at a friend's the other day and she asked if I'd help her go through her wool stash. She'd only had 4 or 5 sheep so I assumed she maybe had 10 or so bags of wool up in her loft. I think she tossed down 25 bags. No one is immune :-).

Most of the fleeces had sat for a long time. Many had turned a dark yellow that I wasn't sure would wash out. I haven't had much experience with yolk or canary stains - just know that sometimes that's a real problem. Regardless, these were all sheep I knew and just as with my questionable fleeces, I sure didn't want to just throw them out.

I took one I especially liked just to see how it would react. I should have taken a before picture, but just trust me when I say it was bright golden, bordering on orange in spots. Maybe just from sitting? Jump in if you have any thoughts.

It washed out really nice (even if I did forget I had my camera's white balance set to "cloudy" which gave these first two shots their own golden coloration - great for sunsets, not so much for white wool). I did bump the water temp to 140 and gave it three washes and three rinses.

It felt a little dry so I added some Fibre Rinse to the last rinse and I think I've finally found that product's best use (at least for me). I haven't been happy with the results on other fleeces, but for this particular fleece, it worked perfectly. Did just what I'd hoped it would do.

So, here we have another fleece with some (not Buddy style ;-) VM. I fluffed the locks up and some fell out, ran it through the drum carder a couple times and some more fell out.

This is Baby Lamb, a Romney/Corriedale cross, often referred to as "The Gerber Baby" of sheep...long before Keebler hit the ground ;-). Julie's going to try to find a Baby Lamb picture and I'll post it later.

Some more fell out on my lap as I spun ('cause I was taking Baby Lamb to lunch ;-), but there are still some specs in the yarn. This is my favorite type of wool to spin, by the way. I know most folks love that super soft merino type, but I like the coarser, open, fuzzy fibers. Probably says something about me or my personality.

Heavy worsted/lighty bulky. Sadly, probably best describes my body shape :-o.

It was too windy to do much outside, so I pulled out one of my Stitchionary books and picked a pattern that I liked, thought would work well with this yarn, had a yarn over to a purl stitch that I'd never done before. Looked that one up (always try to learn something new), thought I had it figured out...


I don't believe any amount of blocking is going to help that.

Yep, a serious yarn over snafu. The small holes on the left are correct. That big loopy hole on the right? Looks like I need to start making a better effort to get to Knit Night. Glad that was just a sample and not a whole sweater. This yarn would make a lovely sweater, Julie.

I love to block knitting. Finally something on this farm that does what I tell it to. I think that sits right up there with mowing grass. Progress you can see. Instantly.

So, I learned something about old wool and washing a Romney type fleece. I obviously didn't learn anything about yarn overs, but I had a lot of fun trying. And the best news - those old fleeces are salvageable...with a little extra work. Wool with a little VM is salvageable...with a little extra work. You could probably say farming, shepherding, life in general is salvageable...with a little extra work.

This Saturday, April 16th, is Saint Drogo's Day. According to my Spin Off calendar, St. Drogo is the patron saint of shepherds. According to Google, also baristas, orphans, the mentally ill and horribly ugly people. We'll stick to shepherds. And coffee.

I have a few fleeces I really don't want to take to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival in May. They aren't horrible, but I'd rather anyone interested in buying them could get their hands in them and see exactly what they are getting rather than get home and be disappointed.

I know it's short notice, but would anyone be interested in coming out to the farm this Saturday and eating lunch with some of our favorite sheep? You'd probably better bring your own lunch unless you are fond of PB&J or blue box mac and cheese. Or, better yet, bring a potluck dish to share.

We can pick through bags of washed wool and you can test how anything processes on our carders or combs. I'd be happy to demonstrate how to skirt a raw fleece for processing or show and how I wash wool. Since it's shepherd's day, we can go over some basic skills like trimming feet, deworming, giving shots, the right way to feed hay or just hug some sheep.

And maybe someone could show me how to do a yarn over to a purl stitch :-).


Heritage Farm Village said...

i have always wanted to see your farm! though i know nothing about wool, just love the animals andd your farm is so beautiful! :) was thinking of shopping in lex on sat. with a friend but not sure what she wants to do...jill

thecrazysheeplady said...

I would love for you to come out. And you need to be learning about that wool ;-). I'll add teaching drop spindling to the list!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Don't forget there is a ton of stuff going on around Lexington in the spring - notably Keeneland's spring race meet.

If anyone is interested in spending the weekend, I have a good B&B to recommend. Just shoot me an email thecrazysheeplady AT myfavoritesheep DOT com.

Lori Skoog said...

I wish I lived closer! It's all news to me, but very interesting!

Alice said...

I would like to come and take a lamb or two to lunch. There's so much to learn. I appreciate the opportunity!

~Tonia~ said...

Wahhh!! I want to come out soo bad! Wish I would have known sooner. You know me I will process about anything. What do you want for the fleeces? Would you be willing to bring it to me at the KS&F fest?

Bee Lady said...

I wish I lived closer, I'd come out and have you show me how to ply so beautifully. I'd attempt to show you how to YO on a purl (I don't know if I remember, but I'm sure it'd come back to me) then head out to Keeneland for a Mint Julep!

Cindy Bee

Terry said...

Sounds like heaven! I love Lexington, I love sheep, I love knitting! :) I live in Colorado :(

Anonymous said...

Hi Sara:
I think you are saying the pattern is: k yo p

Assuming that's what you want to do, you knit the stitch, bring the yarn to the front, then to the back, and back to the front before making the purl stitch. So, you totally encircle the needle once.

I just finished knitting a lace shawl and had a lesson at my local knitting store. This is how she taught me, and it worked beautifully.

June, NH

Alice said...

You took that sheep to lunch, Sara and for dessert you got some vanilla white yarn!
I like to think of a little VM as sprills ;-) Delicious!

Gayle said...

Some of us are just too far away to come to the farm although I would in a heart beat if I could. I would totally love to hear the right way to feed hay. Daisy has been here three years and she is doing great because she is one tough sheep...not because I know what I am doing! :)

Your knitting is amazing. You may see flaws, but I see perfection.

Christine said...

Hmm, I'm an ugly, mentally ill shepherd. Do I get to celebrate 3 times?

Jody said...

I truly wish I could come and meet the gang. it would be so much fun and a wonderful experience to meet such an amazing Shepherdess :-)

Anonymous said...

Sara I would come if I wasn't going to the Fiber Event in Greencastle. Sorry I'll miss it.
Debbie B.

Anonymous said...

If the pattern calls for p yo k ...
you purl the stitch,leaving the yarn in front as if to purl the next stitch, but instead knit it. An extra stitch is automatically added.

June, NH

DayPhoto said...

Boy if I could I would be there in a flash! Have fun!!!


~Tonia~ said...

BTW The spinning is gorgeous! As well as the knitting. Call it a design element. :) I would have never known that it wasn't supposed to look like that if you wouldn't have said something. I was always told that there really isn't a wrong way to do a YO as long as you are consistent with it throughout. What were the instructions for the pattern? I might be able to help.

Anonymous said...

I don't hand knit, but I'm going to try just so I can block and have something do what I tell it!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin