Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Walk With Me Wednesday

I could actually do a Wednesday Yarn Along post.  I finished the second sleeve.  I'm going to try to get it blocked today, but a. I really should be doing other things to get ready for this weekend and b. I'm not sure it will dry.   We sure needed the rain, but at this point, couldn't the rest of the week's forecast have waited until after the festival?  

Still, if it's going to be cold and damp (which is actually perfect for a fall wool festival) it would be nice to have a long sleeve wool sweater to wear in the evenings (we are there until 10:00 p.m. :-o). Plus, it's technically advertising, right?  I usually say the sweaters are there for inspiration...but if it's for advertisement then I'm practically required to get it blocked :-D. 

In the meantime, enjoy taking a walk with Hank, Tilly and Kate :-). 

Spiders have been light this year :-(.

The bees are happy with all the fall flowers.

Liddy likes flowers, too :-).

Our walk out back inspired the sheep to come out.  

I guess it was a good advertisement ;-).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Special Find

I'd been stuck in front of the computer all day (the calendars are done though :-). It was one of those beautiful fall days that, at the end, if you haven't done something to really experience even a tiny bit of it, you just have to hang your head in shame.  I grabbed the dogs and headed back to the Frog Pond.  

The Frog Pond is a small pond near the back of our farm.  When me moved here and started cleaning everything up, the bulldozer guy said we should just fill it in.  I knew though that even in it's humble state, it was home to all sorts of tiny, important to me at least, wildlife.  I would never destroy that.

We ended up just doing some repair work to drainage and dam and I started collecting Kentucky native plants, shrubs and trees to fill gaps and add color around the edge and encouraged as many flowers as possible that support all the bees and butterflies we hoped would stop by.  

While I haven't seen tons of Monarchs this year, I have seen more than "normal".  I walked back periodically to see if there was any sign of activity back there and was, as always, seeing nothing, worried because the majority of our milk weed had already died out for the year.  

Today (Sunday)?  Well, look!  :-D


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Goodnight Moon

I thought for sure we were going to miss the lunar eclipse tonight, but a few minutes before it started, the clouds drifted apart and other than a slight foggy haze, we could see it all.  Very cool!

I did some reading ahead of time to try to learn how to best capture it and one of the top tips was to include something like a building or trees as a frame of reference or set the stage.  Sometimes I get shots with the trees heading up Stella's driveway, but tonight the moon was pretty high in the sky and with no lit up capital building handy, I'll have to use words to set the stage.

I was sitting out on the Grahaminator2000 using the wall as a back rest and my knees, elbows and forehead as my tripod.  Liddy came out there with me and so did Hank, Baaxter, Spud, Woody and Maisie.  I took a few breaks to give everyone back scratches and apparently I wasn't giving Maisie enough turns so she bit me!  Luckily she only got my jeans or it might have been "BANG, ZOOM! Straight to the moon!"*

 I guess that about sets the stage ;-).

Okay, I'm headed out to see how what it looks like now.  I hope everyone got a chance to watch.

* How many remember that?

So What Happened With The Basket?

This might be my favorite thing I've ever put together.  I enjoyed the whole thing - the sheep herself, shearing, washing, dyeing, spinning, picking a pattern, finding the perfect basket, winding the weird circular skeins that perfectly (by accident) showed off all the colors, writing up a little history of the Renny and the project, arranging everything just so, taking a picture and seeing how the yellow and green match the background... 

I kind of hated to send it off to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival, but since that was the plan, that's what I did.  And I'm glad I did!

I'm obviously thrilled with the ribbon, but I'm equally impressed with the really neat tag with a festival button attached.  I love little details like that.  Very classy.

The minimum class requirements were to spin at least a pound of yarn for a project, include the pattern the yarn is to be used for, knit a swatch to verify your yarn will work for your project and put it in an appropriate basket.  We were also to include information on what kind of fiber, if it was wool, what kind of sheep, the grist of the yarn, how it was prepared...  That was all to fit on an index card.  

I managed to do that, but felt that there was also more to the story that should be shared because it was going to play such a big part throughout the entire project.  Why I would pick that sheep, those colors, the journey so far...

"Renny is very special to me. Not only for who she is, but for what she has taught me. You can live through way more than you think. You can have the courage to do the things that need to be done, even if they are hard or scary. People will help and support you. If you are going to tackle dyeing wool and steeking (cutting) a sweater for the first time, Renny’s your girl! :-)"

I can't wait to start knitting.  Well, after the Kentucky Wool Festival.  And Spinzilla.  Yeah, I signed up for Spinzilla (I  really need some adult supervison!).  Baaxter and I joined the Meridian Jacobs Team :-).  If you're going to participate in "A Monster of a Spinning Week", Baaxter's your boy ;-).  

More about that later.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Liddle Blast From The Past

I'm frantically scrambling (as usual :-/) to get the Equinox Farm and Lamb Camp calendars to "the printer" so they'll be ready for the Kentucky Wool Festival next weekend.  Look what I found when I was pulling pictures for the lamb calendar!  

It's cute little Liddle :-D

When she was just little and not yet Liddle (Liddy).

I think she was dreaming of having a real mom to sleep with.  

And her dream came true :-).

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Stories To Tell

Here is a short video. I tightened up the distance between the flyer and bobbin whorls and added lots more oil and she's gotten quieter...I think. Still has lots to say though, maybe at different points between drafting and winding on? Possibly a clue?  What do you think? Normal noises or do I need to look further?  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yarn Along - Long Sleeves Needed

Not much knitting going on because my focus needs to be finishing up stuff for the Kentucky Wool Festival the first weekend of October.  I am working on one small project I've had in the queue for a year though.  Just in time for cooler weather, I've decided to change my 3/4 length sleeves on the Marcel sweater to full length sleeves.

One down, one to go.

Since the yarn used in the sweater has seen all sorts of sunlight and might not still be exactly the same color as the leftover yarn from my stash, I am alternating a few rows of old and new yarn to ease the color transition.

I didn't make any notes (yeesh) about what needle size I used so I had to guess on that.  I know my knitting has changed significantly since then (I knit tighter now) so I had to try and figure that in as well.  I test blocked the first sleeve and it's pretty darn close.  I can see some slight differences, but anyone else would have to look really close...and that would be really I'm not too worried ;-).

When the single beds turn to double beds...yep, time to be thinking about long sleeves.  Comby and Eli aren't thrilled.  I'm jumping for joy :-D.

And another beautiful officially first day of fall morning.  Half the sheep have already headed back in.  I think Hank would like to as well, but he's got some making another pass through the breakfast bar on the hill, so he's splitting the difference.

We are often asked why our farm is named Equinox Farm.  It's because that's the day we closed on it back in the fall of 2003.  A very happy anniversary :-)

My book for the week was Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  It was cute and a fun listen.

Joining in with Ginny...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

She Followed Me Home ;-)

I've been keeping my eye out for an antique Canadian Production Wheel (CPW) and found this pretty wheel at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival.  Diane from Acorn Fiber Works had just picked her up from an estate sale the week before, so I think it was destiny ;-).

This wheel was made by Frederic Bordua, from Sainte Hyacinthe, Quebec.  It was likely made between 1870-1923.  1923 because that's when he died, so I'm guessing the wheel is easily 100 years old.

Apparently most people "name" their CPWs (and other wheels).  I don't have any of my wheels named, but maybe I could be uber clever and call her Hyacinthe ;-).

Her "chicken nut".  Do you see it?

Cast iron treadle.

This wheel has worked very hard.  See the groove from where the yarn travels from the hooks through the orifice?

See all the tiny grooves on the back side of flyer?  I think those are wear marks, too.  I believe I've seen someone make a cross over a flyer to change tension or draw in or something, but I'm not sure if that would cause those marks.  Would wool even do that?  Maybe cotton or flax?

No marks on the hook sides.  Any thoughts?  

A trait of the CPWs is that they chatter to you as they spin.  This wheel has a lot to say!  She spins perfectly, but I'm wondering if she's a little louder than she should be.  Sounds like it's coming from the bobbin area.  The only thing I see that appears a little suspicious is that the two maidens don't seem exactly even.  The left one is a bit tipped forward compared to the right.  Is that a clue? Anything else I should look for?

Or should I just listen to her stories and enjoy her?

I think she was pretty happy to spend some time stretching her legs on the back porch yesterday :-).

Don't you wish these wheels (and other antiques) could really talk?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Kentucky Cat Shepherd

There is a cat in Ireland that shepherds Zwartbles sheep.  You can follow him on Twitter @1CatShepherd  Betsy shepherds concrete sheep.  And lambs ;-).  Yes, she is still here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Evening News

An evening as beautiful as the morning.  I carried my work outside and enjoyed the golden sun, hummingbirds feeding heavy, Claire Bear and Comby checking in, Liddy in the yard and lots and lots of wool :-).

I was packing my basket for the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival this weekend.  Some yarn for "show and tell", roving to be wound up for the drop spindling classes I'm teaching...

...some extra spindles for anyone who needs one.

Doesn't this look like fun?  I think there are still a few openings if you'd like to come out and play learn to spin :-).  

So, who is Liddy's new best friend?  There were quite a few good guesses!  I do think that Maisie kind of likes Liddy...but she'd never show it ;-).  Blossom is definitely a favorite buddy, but she's a "old" friend.  The surprise new BFF is Baaxter!  I keep finding them eating together, sleeping near each other and Baaxter is being surprisingly sweet to her.  I just can't get over it.

Today though...I was Liddy's best friend.  She's been so good throughout "weaning" and seems to be fitting into the main flock just fine.  Today?  Not so much.  Lots of crying for momma.  I sat down in the barn with her this afternoon and she climbed into my lap and took a nap.  This evening she had to come out and "work" with me.  That's okay.  I'm not all the way weaned either ;-). picked Laurie from Maine as the winner of a new farm calendar :-D.  I'm still working on them, but they are getting close to "going to print".  Next week!

My biggest news is that one of my photographs made the cover of one of my favorite sheep magazines, The Shepherd!  It's a picture I took at Kathy's last fall.  They also used a few more inside and included pictures of the scarf and shawl that Karen made.  I am so excited and flattered!  

I have more exciting news to share, but it's late and I need to get to bed so I'm going leave Hank in charge.

What a beautiful evening.


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