Summer is here and lots of time is spent keeping the animals cool. I am working on some weaving samples and will be posting my latest draft soon. In the mean time, I found this GREAT video to share!! 🙂
Summer weather seems to have finally arrived. I sheared all the sheep and have been working through skirting all of the fleeces. Many of the Shetland fleeces have really nice color variations throughout the fleece. If you are looking for color, we will have lots of colorful fine wool Shetland lambs available next year and a few white lambs also.
I knit the samples above a few months ago. I couldn’t decide whether to write up a tutorial or not…. I rarely post tutorials on my blog. I have always been inspired by my friend Carol’s blog. She has a wonderful blog for Passap knitters with lots of tips and tutorials. I thought maybe I should take some time to share a little bit on my blog too…
The photo above shows some samples I had knit a while back on my Passap E6000 (grey sample) and Silver Reed SK840 (mustard colored sample). I knit lots of scarves which are mostly all knit on the double bed. I don’t like how the edges of single bed scarves roll.
Over the winter, I thought I would be nice to have a single bed fabric for a scarf because it would be a lighter fabric. There is the edge roll issue with single bed fabric. But what if I could rib the edges?…. I have a couple of double bed books which reference the long stitch (also called half Milano) technique but most instances are as a backing. I found a blog that showed the long stitch edge with stockinette in the middle. I did not want plain stockinette for the center knitting but a tuck stitch or slip stitch design. Since tuck stitch seems to curl a bit, the edges will be tamed with the long stitch edge. Once I started knitting these samples, I realized there are many possibilities for the center design…
You can follow the directions in the blog I linked if you need detailed set up directions. Basically, you are just casting on in full needle rib. After the ribber circular rows, knit as much “end” border as you want. Then transfer the middle stitches (which will be your patterned knitting) to your main bed. (Main bed is: back bed Japanese, front bed Passap). Leave as many stitches on the ribber as you want for the long stitch edge. Passap use black strippers.
In the photo below (ignore the dark spots caused from my iron during steaming!), the sample shows an edge with 3 stitches and 4 stitches. The scissors in the photo on the right show the line between the 3 stitch edge and 4 stitch.
I made a basic pattern in Designaknit (DAK) for my SK840 and Passap E6000. I used a built in tuck pattern from DAK. Remember to leave plain rows in your stitch pattern for the ribbed edges. I have found that 5 stitches works good for a basic scarf. The photo below shows 3 plain stitches on the side for the SK840. For the E6000 you make your stitch pattern in plain black and white squares (no symbols), leave your edges stitches plain for however many stitches you want on the edge. When using the Passap and DAK you must “lie” to DAK. On the DAK download screen, you have to enter a double bed jacquard technique (example 183). Click download. Once it is downloaded to the machine, you will enter your technique you will really be using. I used T130.
When knitting on the E6000 remember you will have to slip one direction on the back bed. You only want the back bed to knit every other row. I messed around with different lock settings and I think there is a lot more to discover with this. I used CX on the back lock. I am going to knit up some scarves and try some other locks settings and see what happens. 😉
I saw a wrap on Purl Soho which I believe is this same technique. So you can knit narrow or wide fabric with this long stitch border.
These are flat rib scarves knit in bright “happy” colors. The flat rib can be knit on any knitting machine with a ribber (double bed). Set your machine up for full needle rib (all needles in work on main bed and rib bed). Needles are alternating–not directly across from each other. Knit your cast on (zig zag, hang comb, knit circular rows). After the cast on is complete, you will transfer some ribber stitches to the main bed and put those ribber needles out of work. All main bed needles remain in work. On these scarves I had 4 needles out of work (or was it 5?) on the ribber and then one needle in work. Repeat this pattern across the entire ribber bed. I had 2 ribber needles in work on the edges of the bed. Once you have this set up, knit across slowly with the carriage/lock or knit across by hand. Knit across by hand by doing a “free pass of the carriage/lock, then knit the yarn into the latches and knit off– by hand. This row will be hard to knit because of the doubled up stitches. Knit scarf to length desired and bind off. This pattern knits lays flat (edges do not roll). It is a great pattern for using up stash and “gifting.”
Remember when knitting in full needle rib, you will need to use lighter weight yarns than what you would use for single bed or 1×1/2×2 rib etc.
The scarves photographed were knit on a 9mm bulky machine in worsted weight yarn.
I sent Cormo and Wensleydale fleeces to the mill to be spun into yarn. The yarn is now here and it is listed in the shop. The Cormo yarn is 2 ply worsted weight with yardage per skein approximately 150 Yards +/-. Cormo is a fine wool and is next-to-skin soft. This is a naturally bright white wool. The Wensleydale yarn is single ply Lopi style spun yarn in bulky weight.
Skeins are approximately 90 Yards +/- and they are big 5 ounce skeins +/-. Both wools take dye very well.
I am attaching a video (below) featuring Mati Ventrillon of Fair Isle, Scotland. It shows how she makes her highly sought-after Fair Isle sweaters according to traditions that are centuries old...
The Making of a Fair Isle Sweater…
With the New Year just a couple of days away, I figured it was time for a blog update. We have added a flock of fine wool Shetland sheep (several ewes in many colors and a couple of rams) to the farm and will have breeding stock and fleece available.
I am posting a great video by British Wool to share. Hope you have a great New Year!
The British Wool Story
Fall is over and winter is coming fast! We had a frost the other day and it was a reality check that winter is just around the corner. I do have a few white Wensleydale ewes available and one black wether. The ewes range from 91%-98%. All of the sheep have wonderful fleeces! Here are some photos of the fleeces just recently sheared from these sheep.
The fall sale is coming soon at the Weaver’s Guild of Cincinnati.
Fiber Arts Sale 2017
Friday, Nov. 10th: 4pm – 8pm
Saturday, Nov. 11th: 10am – 4pm
Sunday, Nov. 12th: Noon – 4pm
“Experience the Luxury of Handmade
Original Works by Weavers Guild Artisans”
I will have handspun, farm wool batts, and artisan knits available in the sale.
Yes, that is a rotting pumpkin in the photo below. That may prove fall is over!
Summer is here! I have added some new wools to the shop with more to come.
We always have Killdeer nesting in the gravel along the driveway. They are so small, but are up and running around soon after hatching.
We have had so much rain that the riding arena has grass growing in it! The horses are working hard to mow it.
In my “spare” time, between working with the sheep, riding, dyeing, weaving, and spinning, I have been knitting up bunches of swatches for items I will have in the Cincinnati Weaver’s Guild sale in November. With summer here, it seems as though November is far off, but it will be here in no time and so will winter. So enjoy summer while you can!
I am selling some of my Wensleydale sheep in order to make room for some new genetics. These are all high percentage Wensleydales with many being by UK rams. I have white, silver, and grey Wensleydales. Located in SW Ohio. For more information message me via my contact page.
HELLO SPRING? Well, it may be a bit early, but the forecast says 60 degree weather for the next few days!
A few months ago, I dropped off some Cormo fleece at America’s Natural Fiberworks (ANF) in Sommerville, Ohio. They always do a great job processing fibers and spinning yarns. Cormo wool is usually carded and then pin drafted to remove the neps/noils/short bits of fiber. There are only a couple of mills in the US that have the equipment to pin draft wool. I have always had my Cormo pin drafted but I decided to see how it would turn out if it was carded into roving. AFN have their own flock of Cormo sheep and are experienced with processing Cormo. I recently picked up the finished Cormo roving and it turned out really nice. The roving spins up into a more rustic type yarn (not smooth and fine) with lots of character. I really love the spun yarn. I hope to get the roving listed in my shop in the next week or so.
I took a few photos of the mill when I picked up the roving. The mill also has a yarn shop stocked with lots of natural fiber (wool and alpaca) yarns, rovings, and accessories. They also sell handwoven rugs and felted saddle pads. There are lots of other items in the shop too. They have a website for the yarn shop at: www.ilovetheyarnbarn.com and also a website for their alpaca farm http://www.blessedcriations.com/
The photo below is the fiber washing machine. It is really nice! I wish I had one. 🙂
Photo below is the felting table they use to make large felted items and blankets.
Studio stuff?? I have a warp wound and waiting to be put on the Saori loom. It will be cloth for a jacket (eventually!)
The sheep are ready for spring shearing.
Winter is here. Winter work consists of keeping the livestock in the barn (during the bad weather) and fed. I am outside and in the barn more than I am in the house… So far winter has been mild, but I am sure the snow is not too far off.
The sheep are happy and their fleeces look nice.
I have been finishing up some weaving.
This is a straight draw twill with a mix of different cottons (all different weights) for the warp and weft. The warp was haphazardly sleyed in the reed.
Below is a Saori style scarf which is also a mix of different cottons for warp and weft.
I will be back to listing more wools in the shop since the holidays are over. 🙂
The locks below are Wensleydale and Coopworth lamb cross. They were dyed in the same colorway.
Until next time…
Fall is here and I have been busy washing fleece. After posting a photo on Instagram, I had lots of questions about how to wash raw fleece. I put detailed directions on website if anyone wants to see how I wash fleece.
The animals are enjoying the cooler fall weather. The weather has been perfect for trail riding too!
I know it is not officially fall, but once the kids are heading back to school, it seems as though fall is here. It is still hot here (in the 90’s) but the evenings are cooling down and feeling more like fall. The sheep have welcomed the cooler evening weather and so have the dogs.
Frances and Dakota think it has cooled down enough in the evenings to play.
I have stocked some new hand dyed Wensleydale rovings and locks in the shop. If you have not spun any farm fresh Wensleydale roving, you should give it a try. It is so soft and drafts effortlessly. The shop is stocked with natural white and black roving along with hand dyed roving. The hand dyed roving drafts just as easily as the undyed roving. I will be adding new hand dyed fibers weekly so be sure to check the shop.
A lot of time has been spent at the lakes. Finally the water has warmed up. 🙂
I have listed some new hand dyed Wensleydale rovings, locks, and carded batts to the farm shop on Etsy. Most of my dyeing inspiration has been the hot summer weather and lake views.. So the wools are pretty much a mix of brights and muted vegetation/greens.
My Churro Club yarns from Weaving Southwest arrived. The Churro Club is a monthly box of hand dyed, US grown and spun, Navajo Churro yarns from Weaving Southwest. These yarns are great for tapestry and pretty much anything else.
I hope your fiber artwork is going along good! Even with all the farmwork, I am managing to squeeze in time to work on my weaving and spinning projects.
Summer has arrived! The sheep don’t seem to mind the warmer weather. They spend the day under shady shelters next to the waterers.
I finished my handwoven rug. Still deciding on what to weave next on the Toika loom!
Still working on my scrappy overshot scarves on my Schacht Baby Wolf. This has been a rather slow weave since I have been dividing my time with a tapestry on my Mirrex loom.
Hello Spring! Finally! I have been busy washing and dyeing wool. I will continue to list wools on the Etsy farm shop as I have time.
My latest weaving project which will eventually be two scarves.
Here is a sampling of what I have been listing. More to come soon!!
Super-soft Cormo chunky farm wool batts.
Wensleydale lamb locks
I have been listing some locks and handspun in the shop as I have time. Since the winter weather has let up a bit, I have had time to get caught up on some projects. 🙂
The sheep are doing great and the fleeces look super nice!
Handspun from my flock.
New locks in the shop.
Spring is almost here! It’s time to make some sport socks on my Erlbacher Gearhart circular sock machine.
The warp is on the sectional beam. I am still debating on which draft so not much happening on the AVL at the moment!
Today was a taste of spring….finally.
I am happy to get a good photo of one of my Cormo sheep… Most photos end up like the one below because the sheep are always too close!
The long towel warp is off the AVL loom. Now time to hem!
The above draft was a Hin und Weider.
Next warp is going to be a black scarf warp. Bamboo yarn. This yarn is slick, so I am making a cross for the sections.
While most people are enjoying winter from the inside looking out, farmers are on the outside and are too busy to look in! This winter has been quite mild but there has still been plenty of work with winter feeding/haying along with keeping the sheep and horses inside, out of weather. The snow and below zero wind chills have finally ended (for now). It has been nice to have the livestock back outside and have a bit of a break from the constant work of keeping them in.
My Cormo ram, Pyt, has found a new home. He left along with my beautiful silver 98% Wensleydale ram and 2 of my 93% black rams. These are all excellent rams with great fleeces and confirmation. I have had lots of really nice lambs by them. I will be introducing new genetics next fall. These ram will continue to put beautiful lambs on the ground at their new home.
Shop news: I have added some washed locks to the shop. I will be adding some dyed Wensleydale roving and locks in the next few days.
I have added another horse to the herd! Atarah is a beautiful 4 year old Paso Fino mare out of proven show lines (La Conga X Dali). She has been shown successfully in regional shows (in GA 2014/2015) and also placed well in the 2015 Grand National Paso Fino Horse Show. She has lots and lots of brio! 🙂
Finishing up another long warp of a favorite draft on the AVL. These are towels in bright colors.
Scarf warp wound for the Saori loom.
Fall is over and winter is on it’s way.
Rug on the Toika.
This flower has refused to die.
Winter colors in the shop.
Saori weaving is a type of free form weaving. I use a lot of my art yarns/chunky yarns in Saori style weaving. The first step of the process starts with washing and dyeing the fleece. After the wool has dried, it is carded into a batt.
The batt is spun into yarn.
I select warp threads and wind the warp.
The loom is dressed.
The cloth is woven.
The cloth is cut from the loom, washed, and fringe is tied.
A Saori scarf!
New fibers listed in the shop. Also, I have enabled the Etsy Direct Checkout for those who prefer to not use Paypal to checkout.
I have carded a bunch of Cormo art batts for spinning. I will be listing some of the handspun yarn in the shop too!
The sheep are loving the fall weather.
Fall is here and shearing will start soon for the Wensleydales.
…A few fleece “on the hoof” photos I took while checking the sheep.
There has been quite a bit of dyeing going on lately. Some is listed in the shop. Lots more to still list.
Until next time…
Sometimes it seems like not much is done when you are working, “behind the scenes.” It is like cleaning closets. You cannot see that anything has changed unless the door is opened. A lot of “behind the scenes” work has been going on in the studio and barn. Though a lot of work is being done, not much seems to be visible!
I made a new logo/banner for the Etsy farm shop. I hope to do some more “fine tuning” on the website too.
I have lots of newly dyed fibers I will be adding to the shop this week. I am also going to get some fleece washed and listed too. I have a bit behind on the shop because we are getting the barn cleaned up and ready for winter. I have also been riding the horses a lot more since the weather has cooled off a bit. 🙂
Slowly listing new hand dyed wools on my online farm shop. The Cormo is bright white undyed so it dyes very well.
Been spending lots of time at the lake. Fall will be here soon… We found an old canoe and pulled it over to the other side of the lake…
The summer is coming to an end. I can feel fall in the air. The end of summer brings one good thing, the end of the parasites that have been plaguing the sheep! I have been doing weekly sheep health checkups. Everyone is doing GREAT, but this has been a bad (or good?) year for parasites. I rotate pastures which does help break the worm cycle.
I have listed some new dyed fibers in my online farm shop. I have more fiber assortments and dyed top to list. Hopefully, I will have most of it listed by the end of the week. The fiber assortments are great for carding. I love to make batts from an assortment of fibers.
I have been using up some of my handspun stash to weave Saori scarves.
I have some breeding stock and wethers (fiber pets) available. The ewe in the photo below is one who is on the sale list. She is so beautiful and comes from UK lines. Her sire is Grand Master Flash. He is a UK ram. I am hoping to downsize a bit so I can introduce some new lines into the flock.
This skein was spun on my Hansen Minispinner. I participated a bit in the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry, but I have been busy with farm work (as always), and I haven’t had the time to do as much spinning as I would like… I guess I will try participating in the Spinzilla this October.
I entered the above skein in the local county fair and it won first place! I haven never entered anything in the fair (except for horses when I was young), so it was a bit of a surprise. 🙂
In the next few weeks, I will be restructuring my website and blog. I have already started working on the blog page! Blog subscribers (RSS FEED) will need to resubscribe to the blog in order to continue receiving new posts in your inbox. I should have the new subscribe box up by the end of this week. You will not be able to resubscribe until that time. The blog can be found by going to my web address at www.hermanhillsfarm.com
There will be not box to sign up on the right navigation as there was previously. To receive new blog posts in your inbox, you will need to fill in the information at the bottom of any blog post page. You will need to click on the blog post title to open the full blog post page. This is also where you leave a comment to a blog post. Below is a screen shot of where you need to fill in information. Fill in the name and email fields also some text is required in the comment box. Be sure to check the box “Notify me of new posts via email” box. Do not sign up until the end of the week or when you see the web address for the blog (in your browser) is indeed www.hermanhillsFARM.com I may have it fixed sooner than the end of the week…..
My web address of www.hermanhillsknittery.com will be changed to www.hermanhillsfarm.com. Right now, both web addresses take you to the same website. Eventually, I will be dropping the knittery web address. Blog posts will be sending from the hermanhillsfarm address and therefore I will need to update the code that sends posts.
All is well on the farm. It has been rainy, cool, hot, and humid. Typical weather for SW Ohio!
Got some spinning done…
I take lots of photos (not just of sheep and fiber). We were exploring on our old property down the way and I got some great photos of this old truck. Some nice colors for dyeing. As you can see from the photos, the rain was coming…and it hasn’t left since.
I have listed new dyed locks listed in the online farm shop. The dark Wensleydale locks are from a black/silver fleece and I over dyed them with a mix of purples.
Lots of hot weather, rain, and foggy mornings lately.
The towels are off the loom and ready to be washed and hemmed.
My husband replaced the back beam on my Saori SX60H loom. The back beam had warped (wood not dried correctly?). My dealer (Saori Santa Cruz) ordered a replacement beam and now it is installed and ready for a warp!
Took a short break at the lake… summer is here and it is hot!
I apologize to those who receive my blog posts via email. The photos in the last blog post email were huge!! I am sorry about that. After upgrading to the lastest Apple OS and the new Photos program, I had some issues with photos being sideways on my blog. “Easy enough,” I thought. I will just post the photos from my phone app.” Little did I know, the phone app does NOT resize photos. They were not sideways, but the photos were huge in the email. I have given up on using the newest Apple OS for now and will be posting from my laptop which has not been upgraded!
The Cormo top has arrived from the mill. It is a bit thicker diameter than regular top which results in a great top for dyeing. I have a limited quantity of this available. Once it is gone, there will be no more until next June. Find it here in my shop. I have it available in 4, 8, and 16 ounce quantities.
I have been busy spinning some super-soft Cormo batts. The fleece is washed (to remove all lanolin!), hand-dyed, and then carded. The batts are about 90% Cormo with 10% Wensleydale, other wools, silk, Angelina. I have listed some in my shop. These batts are next-to-skin soft!! I love them!
The photo above is my spinning progress so far. I have 2 batts (about 8 ounces) in this colorway. I plan on knitting a Venetian Blind shawl with the yarn. If you are a member of Ravelry here is a link to the pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/venetian-blind . I am not sure if the link will work for a non-member. Ravelry membership is free. It is a great resource for everything fiber (knit, crochet, spin, weave).
I am spinning on my Mach III wheel by Spinolution. The bobbin is the 8 ounce bobbin. They also have a 32 ounce bobbin and yes, they are huge! I love my Mach III. I have had it for several years. It is the perfect wheel for spinning Aran and heavier yarns.
What is a Pixie Lock Picker? You may have seen it featured in Ply Magazine. The Pixie Lock Picker is a tool which helps to easily open locks while you are prepping fiber. When I prep fiber for combing, I always open the tips of the locks before combing. This is a must for long wool locks and lamb locks.
I use to use a flick carder but I have replaced my flick carder with the Pixie Lock Picker. My flick carder works good but the Pixie Lock makes opening up the tips so much quicker! In the photo below, I have photographed the locks prior to flicking (top) and after (bottom). I only flicked open the tips.
The Pixie Lock Picker fastens on my wrist. It is easy to pull the lock tips through the tines to quickly open them up.
The Lock Picker has an adjustable velcro closure so it can connect to something other than your wrist. I regularly attach mine to the side of my drum carder so I can quickly flick locks while carding.
The craftsmanship on this tool is top notch. The wood is red cedar and the tines are rust proof stainless steel. The Pixie Lock Picker is available online from Two Twisted. The shop also makes combs, niddy noddies, and other beautifully handcrafted fiber art tools.
The velcro is adjustable. I have mine adjusted to a very small size because my wrists are skinny! 😉
I have added some new washed and dyed Wensleydale locks to my online farm shop! More to come soon!
The online farm shop on Etsy has been stocked with some new hand dyed locks. There is also farm fresh Wensleydale roving available in white and black. The roving is so soft and silky! It is so wonderful to spin. I will be adding some more washed Wensleydale locks (white, black, and silver) soon!
Just to update everyone… There are several ewes bred for the 2015 lambing season. Lambs are due late spring (April-May). If you are looking for a fiber animal, I have a few really nice wethers available.
Update: These have all been sold. Thank you!!
I have a few black and black/silver Wensleydale rams and wethers available. For more information, leave a reply to this post. (Your post will not be published) or contact me via the “Contact Us” link on the top left side on homepage of the farm website
The sheep have enjoyed being in the barn away from the winter weather. They are a tad bit spoiled as are the horses and livestock guardian dogs! They have all been spending a lot of time in the barn!
There is a great new book out by Ashley Martineau called, “Spinning and Dyeing Yarn.” Ashley has profiled 4 fiber artists with Herman Hills Farm being one of the profiles. I am not posting about this book just because my farm is featured in it. The farm profile is just a small two page story out of a 200 page book jam packed with information!!!
The book is a complete guide on spinning and dyeing. There are also some DIY projects for making your own wheel, niddy noddy, and drying rack. The spinning section covers basics and also a lot of art yarn techniques (which are great for spinner wanting to try something a bit different).
The dyeing section covers many different dyeing techniques. I love books and even though I am an advanced spinner and experienced dyer, I have found new information and techniques within the pages of “Spinning and Dyeing Yarns.” It is a book for every spinner’s library. The pages are filled with lots of beautiful photographs of fibers and handspun yarns from many talented artisans. The book is hardcover, with nice thick paper, and binding which helps keep the book open flat.
I have never been much of a Facebook person. It always seemed sort of confusing. Two weeks ago, I decided I would give Facebook a chance. It is still a bit confusing, but I am figuring things out. I made a Facebook page for the farm. If you are Facebook, check it out at www.facebook.com/hermanhillsfarm .
The Wensleydale fleeces I sent to the mill to be spun into yarn are now back. The yarns are so beautifully spun and have a nice sheen to them. The colors are natural white and black/silver. The natural white yarn is available in fingering 2 ply and aran 3 ply. The black/silver yarn is aran 3 ply. I have the yarns available for purchase in my Etsy shop.
I finally finished up the warp that was on the Saori loom. I had decided I was going to use my AVL Warping Wheel to wind the next one. The Warping Wheel is primarily used for sectional warping, but there is an optional cross maker attachment which is used to wind warps for a plain beam.
The Warping Wheel is great for winding long warps. It tends to work best for 8/2 yarns and thinner. I usually use a mix of thick and thin yarns for my Soari warps, but this time I used 8/2 bamboo. You cannot fit too many thick yarns under the clip on the Warping Wheel. This was the first time I have used the cross maker. It worked GREAT!
The photo below shows the warp going under the clip. There are 80 threads of 8/2 under the clip.
I made a makeshift paddle so I could wind on 4 threads at once.
Winding on 4 threads at once results in a 2 by 2 cross. I prefer a 1 by 1 cross, but the 2 by 2 worked fine.
The Warping Wheel raddle has 4 threads in each raddle space. Since I was not warping sectionally, this was not an issue at all.
I wound 2 bouts on the Warping Wheel. Each bout was 80 threads. Now on to the weaving. I will keep you posted!
The weather this summer has been crazy. First it was rainy, then hot, then rainy, then cool, now it is hot again. The parasites (worms- especially the barber pole worm) have been thriving, so I have been keeping a close watch (as always) on the sheep. The barber pole worm (haemonchus contortus) can be deadly for a sheep. The sheep must be closely monitored in the spring and summer for signs of anemia which indicate the presence of the barber pole worm. We practice FAMACHA for controlling the barber pole worm population.
My son and I wormed the sheep this morning. I have one yearling wether (Wobble) who just loves the wormer. Most sheep dislike the taste. He loves it. Wobble follows us around as we check the other sheep and worm them if necessary. He is quite a character. I took a few photos of the sheep fleeces since I happened to have my phone with me. The fleeces are looking really nice!
Summer is finally here. It has been so busy around here! I have to get my blog caught up!! The lambs are growing fast and so are the weeds! I had a skunk move in under the chicken coop and have been trying to trap it. So far, I have caught barn cats and raccoons. Maybe tonight I will catch the skunk? The chickens have not seemed to notice the smelly skunk. I guess they have been too busy laying eggs.
The spring rains were great for the hay fields. We have the barns full of round bales and square bales..
I snapped a couple of photos of the Wensleydales “wool on the hoof” when I was worming the sheep.
I took some time to knit some socks on my circular sock machine. I knit the ones below with Regia Blitz Color yarn. They turned out great and I love the way the yarn knit up.
My Cormo have been sheared and I have a couple of fleeces that have not been spoken for. The sheep were coated all year. This is the prime coated fleece. It is $25 per pound raw. Shipping is extra. (You can estimate shipping at USPS Shipping from 45013.) Fleece is sold by the whole fleece or by the pound. When inquiring about fleece, please send your Paypal email address and zipcode. I will email you a Paypal invoice. If you do not have Paypal account, include your zipcode. I can email you a Paypal invoice. You can pay via credit card through the Paypal link on the invoice. Contact me via the “Contact Us” link on my website homepage. The link is in the upper right hand corner.
Update: All the fleeces have sold. Thank you!
Alicia 7lb 14oz
Alec Ram 7lb 6oz
The Cormo sheep have been sheared and I will be skirting fleeces for the next couple of days. Most of the fleeces have been spoken for, but there may be a couple of extras. I will send out a newsletter with information about remaining fleeces (if there are any).
I took the above photo when the ewes came in from the pasture in the evening. The pastures are very lush, so I do not need to feed the sheep grain. I give them a just a little grain to get them to come in paddock near the house at night. The coyotes don’t tend to come too close to the house. My Great Pyrenees does a great job of protecting the sheep from pedators, but I feel better knowing they are not too far from the house during the night…
I bought an Ashford Sample It rigid heddle loom from the Woolery to use for small projects and samples. I also thought it would be nice to have a small loom to take with me on trips. I love this loom! It is small enough to fit on my lap when weaving.
The loom has a weaving width of 8 inches making it perfect for scarves, small projects, and color sampling. The outer dimensions are about 18.5 x 11.5. It is small enough to fit in a tote bag. It comes with a couple of stick shuttle and one reed/heddle. I prefer to use boat shuttles for most projects. The mini Schacht boat shuttle is the perfect size for this loom.
I bought the Weaver’s Idea Book awhile back and plan on using my Sample It loom for some of the pick-up techniques in the book.
Here are a few photos of the finished scarf.
Brianna lambed at 4am. It was a very chilly 20 degrees. I had been watching and waiting for her to lamb. She had some problems with delivering triplets last year and I wanted to keep an eye on her again this year.
Brianna had two big, healthy ram lambs. The sire is a UK ram named Popeye. These rams are just beautiful and have nice confirmation. I can’t wait to see how they fill out as they grow.
I have two weaving projects going right now. One is a very simple warp of 4 harness dish towels. I wanted something quick to weave. I found a simple draft in one of my Weaver’s Craft magazines.
The other weaving project I am working on is a multishaft twill sample from Bonnie Inouye’s book, “Exploring Multishaft Design.” I love this book. It is currently out of print, but the Author is working on a revised version. The cloth in the photo below is a 16 harness plaited twill.
I added some new handspuns to the stash! The fibers are a mix of farm fresh Cormo and Wensleydale from my sheep along with a little silk and Angelina. The green/blue will most likely become weft for a Saori weaving project. I plan on using the lavender one for a hat.
I have added some super nice fibers to my farm shop on Etsy. Fibers include: Cormo lamb, adult Cormo, washed Wensleydale lamb (white and black/silver), and some Kid Mohair locks. The Cormo and Wensleydale were homegrown right here on the farm. All locks have very little (if any) vegetable matter. The Cormo and Wensleydale were coated fleeces.
The Cormo lamb locks are so soft and delicious, they could probably melt in your hand! I have a bunch of the Portabella colorway (top right in photo below) waiting for me to spin.
I was checking coats on a few of the sheep and got a quick picture while they munched on some hay.
I also took a some photos of the growing fleeces…
I have stocked my shop with some farm fresh Cormo locks (adult and lamb), super soft Kid Mohair locks, and Coopworth lamb locks! I have also added some farm fresh fiber Samplers. The Samplers are farm fresh fiber from my sheep. Each sampler has a half ounce of each of the following: Cormo top, washed Cormo locks, washed Wensleydale locks, and Wensleydale roving. (The top and roving was processed at Zeillinger’s Mill.) The samplers are a great way to try out spinning from locks and processed fiber from my sheep.
New stuff in the shop (Wensleydale locks (dyed), Wensleydale lamb locks (washed), and some Angelina sparkle).
I wound two warps which are exactly the same. Each warp is long enough for 3 72″ scarves. I put one warp the Saori loom for my son to weave and the other warp was put on my Baby Wolf for me. Both will be woven in a Saori style. I will post photos of the finished items soon.
Here are some photos of the progress so far…
I wanted to try to crochet amigurumi animals. I have a couple of books for amigurumi but for some reason I could never figure out how to start with the magic ring. I ended up finding some super simple directions for the magic ring in the book “Happy Hooker,” by Debbie Stoller.
I found an online class called “Amigurumi: Woodland Animals” by Stacy Trock on Craftsy. The photo above is my first project from the class. Now that I have the magic ring figured out, I feel confident to go on and crochet all the projects in my amigurumi books and finish the rest of my Craftsy class!
I have some new handspun to share! Fibers include super soft Cormo and Wensleydale from my sheep, along with various other wools, silk, and Angelina.
Melon handspun 108.5 yards chunky weight singles yarn.
I got some before and after spun photos of my next one. This one (below) is Tyblue. I spun it from a batt my son carded for me. The yarn is heavy worsted singles 245 yards.
I was checking the sheep the other night and just happen to have my cell phone, so I snapped a couple of quick pictures. This is Wibble (ewe) and Wobble (ram) a couple of the high percentage Wensleydale lambs we had this year by Grey Owl (UK sire). Wobble is the one on the right sporting a grey camo coat (the coat was made by Rocky Sheep Suits).
Wobble had a bit of a slow start. He was very weak at birth and had pneumonia. The ewe had triplets, but the third one was too weak to thrive and passed away just minutes after birth. The ewe was a maiden ewe and was not very “motherly” with the lambs. They ended up being bottle lambs. Eventually, the lambs did bond with their mother but she was not too thrilled with them nursing!
It is just amazing to see how far along they have come since their difficult dystocia delivery. They are so happy and healthy.
This top was processed at Zeillinger Wool Company. It is super soft and fluffy.
The wool has been processed into a “worsted combed top”. During the processing of the fiber, noils and short fibers are removed. The end product leaves you with a perfect parallel fiber. The advantage to a top is being able to spin faster than a regular roving and a much finer or thinner yarn. (Worsted wool description provided by Zeilinger Wool Company).
All of my Cormo top is from my flock of ACSA registered Cormo sheep.
My new wheel arrived a few days ago. I was trying to decide between a Spinolution or a beautiful Schacht Saxony. Both wheels are entirely different (and are for different types of yarns!). It was a hard decision. I ended up choosing the Spinolution Mach III and couldn’t be happier!
I ordered the 8oz set up and the oversize bobbin set up for my wheel, along with the wheels and lazy kate. I think the only other thing I need to order is the tube orifice. I would have ordered it with the wheel, but I did not know anything about it until a day or so ago.
Here are a few photos of my first skein spun on my wheel. The fibers in the yarn are Cormo and Wensleydale from my sheep along with some silk and Angelina.
We had some beautiful lambs this year. We did have a few bottle lambs. The bottle lambs are a lot of work, so the shop was on a bit of a vacation for awhile. The lambs are now all weaned and doing great! Now there is finally time to get back to washing and dyeing fleece and locks. I should have some washed and dyed locks ready to list in the shop some time this week!!
We took a weekend trip to Lexington last weekend to attend the Kentucky Sheep and Wool Festival.
We attended the festival as “shoppers” not as a vendor! There were lots of great vendors there. They also had a skein and fleece competition. We plan on going down to the festival again next year. I may even enter some of my fleeces in the competition!
While we were in Kentucky, we took a trip to Midway to visit the Wiesenberger Mill. The mill processes locally grown wheat into bread and pastry flours. They also have some really good mixes you can buy from their online shop. The muffin mix is great!
On the way down to Lexington, we headed over to the Woolery in Frankfort, KY.
I have shopped the Woolery online, but have never had the chance to go to their brick and mortar store. The store has a great selection of weaving books and supplies along with lots of spinning equipment and fibers.
My Cormo top and Wensleydale roving is back from the mill. I have it listed on my online farm shop in 4 oz increments. It is all just beautiful and it spins up so nice. The black silver blend of Wensleydale roving is one of my favorites to spin. The silver gives the yarn a beautiful variation of color.
Keeping track of a long treadle sequence can be a challenge sometimes, especially if you have to stop in the middle. Once I stop in the middle of a sequence, I usually forget where I left off. I saw someone else suggest using beads to keep track of treadling, so I decided to make my own treadle tracker.
I searched for beads with numbers on them, but I could not find any. I bought white plastic beads and marked them with a Sharpie marker. String the beads onto a piece of yarn in the sequence of your treadling. Use a yarn that will keep the beads from moving on their own. You want the beads to stay in place until you move them.
Attach the yarn to the beater. On my beater, I was able to loop the yarn over each end. Each time you beat, you will push a bead over with your finger. I don’t always use the beads each time I beat if the treadle sequence is easy to remember. I do move the beads when I am interrupted, so I know where I left off!
It’s HERE! My much anticipated Art Roving Hackle from Blue Mountain Handcrafts is here. I have been wanting one of these hackles for quite some time now. It is a breeze to use. I have been having lots of fun combining fleeces and fibers and coming up with some awesome rovings.
The above roving is a blend of Cormo, Coopworth Lamb, Wensleydale lamb, Silk, bamboo rayon, and Angelina.
There was very little waste after I dized off the roving.
The diz I used is one I recently purchased from Seven Yaks on Etsy. It has several diz hole sizes to choose from.
There are some new locks (Wensleydale, Kid Mohair, Coopworth Lamb, Shetland) and top in the shop! Most of the stuff has been stocked in my online farm shop, but I have also listed a few things on my Etsy. I have not used Etsy much at all (only once about a year ago) and I decided to stock it also. I do stock different items in each shop. So be sure to check both of them if you are looking for more of a certain item. Each shop will also feature one-of-a-kind items too. I will combine shipping for purchases made in both shops at the same time. My online farm shop will continue to be the main shop with the majority of stock.
Every once in a while, I will pick up some feathers from around the farm. I have guinea fowl. Their feathers are beautiful and unique. They do take dye well. I have dyed a few. I still have not used them for anything. I know they work well as an “add in” to art yarn. I just don’t think I would ever wear anything with feathers in it.
I have added some farm fresh Wensleydale lamb locks to my online farm shop. There are some washed white and silver/grey/black along with some dyed locks. These locks are from my high percentage Wensleydale lambs. The locks are very soft and silky.
Fall is here and it has been very busy here on the farm. I took a few of the Wensleydale ewes to be bred with UK semen. I will ultrasound them in a couple of weeks to see if they settled. If not, they will be bred with my high percentage Wensleydale ram.
The weekend I am picking up another Cormo ram and a ewe to incorporate into my Cormo breeding program. These new sheep have great genetics and fleeces and will be a great addition to the flock.
I spun up 4 ounces of Wensleydale locks the other day. The yarn turned out great. This yarn is going to be the perfect edging on a hat!
Over the next few days, I will be adding some new stuff to the shop. I will now be stocking Angelina sparkle. Angelina is a super soft polyester fiber. It can easily be added to batts during carding or spun into fluff as you are spinning.
I also have some more dyed Cormo locks and some farm wool batts. I hope to have all this stuff added to the shop by this weekend!
The flowers are still blooming, but I know that summer is just about over. We have been busy getting things ready around the farm for the coming winter weather. There was a lot of rain in the spring, but this summer has been hot and dry. I spent time going through all the pastures and checking all the fence lines for burr weeds and sticker bushes. The burr weeds and sticker bushes are terrible for the horses manes, tails, and fetlock feathers, not to mention the sheep fleeces! I spend lots of time making sure all the pastures are clear of all these weeds!
We did get a bit of rain the other day. The pastures sure do need it.
Ok, so there is a bit of play on words for the title of this post, but honestly I wonder sometimes. I love to spin singles. LOOK at all the yardage you get from singles. Other times, I think, “Well, the yarn may be more interesting if it is plied…” The majority of the time I try to decide what the end us of the yarn will be. If it is going to be for weaving and used as weft yarn, I will keep the singles. If I am going to be knitting it, I will ply it.
I knit a lot of winter accessories. I like to use bulky yarn to knit quickly. Bulky yarn also makes a thick wooly winter item. I am outside 365 days a year in all weather tending to the animals and I don’t like to be cold! Thank God for Charhart Coveralls. They are my winter weather favorite. Ok, enough talk about winter. It is in the 80’s and super nice outside! 🙂
I spun up one of my textured farm wool batts. The fiber in the batt was Cormo, Shetalnd lamb, Wensleydale locks, mulberry silk, and a smidge of Angelina. Here is a photo of my textured singles.
The singles looked great, but I decided they would knit up as a nice foofy hat. The singles were Navajo plied. This yarn will knit into a quick winter hat! Oh, and I guess this ply is exempt from the title of the post. Navajo ply is a 3 ply!
My long awaited Schacht Sidekick I ordered from Spin to Yarn has arrived! I didn’t waste any time putting her together. Assembly didn’t amount to much. The wheel arrived fully assembled. I just had to figure out how to unfold it! After she was unfolded, I read through the instruction manual one last time to be sure I had everything correct. The manual specified oiling points, so I gave her a good drink of oil.
When I sat down to take her for a spin, I noticed she was a bit stiff. I had read on the Schacht Ravelry forum to oil the treadle joints, so I added a few drips of oil there. I didn’t see any improvement in treadling. I figured the driveband was a bit tight and maybe it would break in after some spinning.
After a day or so of spinning the wheel didn’t loosen up too much. I looked the wheel over wondering if I had missed something. There is a rear maiden bearing and a front maiden bearing.
I had oiled both bearings (or so I thought), but decided to oil again. After looking at the rear bearing closely, I realized I had oiled the inner white part of the bearing, but not the actual bearing line where the two black pieces of the bearing connect. My dealer had explained to oil the bearing, but it was not until I looked at it very closely that I realized I had not been oiling the correct part of the bearing.
The bearing is made up of two black rings. The dividing line between the two black rings is where the oil needs to be placed. I ran the tip of my oil bottle around the line and added a good dose of oil. As I started to spin, the difference was tremendous! I spun for a bit and added some more oil. It loosened up even more!!
It is amazing that just a little oil in the correct spot can make an immense difference in how a wheel spins! I am always sure to oil all of my wheels after a couple of hours of spinning to keep them spinning well. And remember even a new wheel needs a good oiling!
I have spun up a ton of yarn the last week or so. I still have to photograph some of the others, but this is what I have so far…
The corespun yarn was spun on my Majacraft Rose. It was spun from an awesome batt from Hands and Notions.
I spun some thick and thin singles into some coil yarn. This was spun from some of my hand dyed Merino/milk top. I spun the singles on my Majacraft Rose and spun the coils/ply on my Ashford Joy (with the Freedom flyer).
I have been dyeing some combed top for the shop. This combed top is so soft and squishy! I had to keep some for myself too!! Here (above photo) is a sneak peek of what will be listed soon. I have a few more colorways to photograph and list in the shop. The blends are merino/milk, merino/banana, and merino/silk top. There is also some good old merino top too. Keep an eye on the shop over the next week or so for updates!
We had some unique visitors the other day. Our neighbor has cows. They have a bull and pasture breed some of the locals’ cows. A few of the heifers, which were there for breeding, found an escape route through the fence. They crossed the road and came all the way up the driveway before realizing they were lost. They didn’t stay too long. I guess they found out the grass really isn’t greener on the other side…
Look at all the progress I have made on my waffle weave dish towels. Yep, if you look very closely, you will see I have exactly one pick of purple cotton above the yellow header. Ok, so it may not look like much progress, but after having a huge sleying error, resleying, and then finding out I needed to add two more threads for a floating selvedge, it really is progress! Or should I say, it will be progressing now!
After I resleyed the reed, I saw that I had only left one thread on each side for the floating selvedge. I had to add another thread to each side. I wrapped the thread around an intarsia knitting bobbin and weighted it with hemostats.
I have finally had time to sit down and write a blog post! Things have been pretty crazy around here the last few weeks. The shearer came and sheared the Cormo. All the fleeces have been skirted, packed, and mailed. I have sent the uncoated fleece (the fleece that is not under the coat) to the mill to be processed into top and should have it back in a few months.
I have kept a few fleeces and will have some washed and dyed locks in the online farm shop soon.
After all the shearing was done, I spent the rest of the day vaccinating, coating, and trimming hooves.
I heard rumors. Yeah, there were quite a few stirring around about a year ago. Rumors that Schacht was coming out with a portable wheel. The rumors are true and Schacht is now in the final stages of production for the new Sidekick portable wheel.
I pre-ordered a Sidekick from Spin to Yarn. I was contacted recently and told my wheel is scheduled to ship at the end of June. I am so excited! Schacht posted some videos of the Sidekick in action on their website. It just looks like and awesome travel wheel.
Here are some details from the Schacht website:
The Sidekick is Schacht’s newest spinning wheel. She’s designed to fold easily, yet be a solid spinner. Here are some of the Sidekick’s features:
- Folds to 21 1/2″ h x 8 1/4″ w x 15″ d.
- Integrated storage of bobbins, flyer, and whorls for transport.
- Lightweight at 13 pounds.
- 13 3/4″ drive wheel allows for ratios from 4.25 to 15.25.
- Long, comfortable treadles.
- Uses the same bobbins, whorls, and flyer as the Schacht Matchless and Ladybug wheels.
- The Sidekick can be purchased without the bobbin-flyer assembly.
- 25″ orifice height for comfortable spinning.
- Employs Scotch tension with precise control knob.
- The drive wheel spins on ball bearings. The flyer turns on self-aligning bearings.
- Drive band tension adjuster allows for all whorls to be used with one drive band.
The Sidekick comes with 3 travel bobbins, fast and medium whorls, threading hook, and adjustable carrying strap.
Also available: The Sidekick Bulky Plyer Flyer Package can be added at any time.
So really, what else could a spinner ask for in a travel wheel? Looks like they have covered just about everything! I will be posting a review after I receive my wheel!!
Here are the specs:
4.25:1 and 5.25:1
6.25:1 and 7.5:1
9:1 and 11:1
12.5:1 and 15.25:1
SIDEKICK SPINNING WHEEL – OPEN
27 1/4″ h × 18″ w × 15″ d
SIDEKICK SPINNING WHEEL – FOLDED
21 1/2″ h x 8 1/4″ w x 15″ d
DRIVE WHEEL DIAMETER
3″ × 4 1/2″
3″ × 4 1/2″
3 1/2 oz
I carded up on of my textured art batts the other day. The batt was full of Merino, Bluefaced
Leicester, lots of mulberry silk, Wensleydale locks (from my sheepies!), Teeswater lamb locks, bamboo rayon, and Angelina. This batt is soooo next to skin soft and smooshy. Batts don’t sit around very long around here. 🙂 I quickly pulled a strip off the batt and joined onto the leader of my Majacraft Rose.
I spun, letting the yarn become what it wanted. The yarn spun up very quickly and before I knew it the batt was gone and the bobbin was full. I love to spin singles, so I knew this would be another single which would be so nice and textured, it would stand on it own and not need plying. Textured singles is what I love spinning!
I spun this yarn from one of my super chunky art batts. It is so soft and fluffy. The fibers include hand dyed: Merino, bamboo rayon, natural colored black Wensleydale locks (from my sheep), Teeswater lamb locks, mulberry silk, and Angelina.
I got quite a bit of spinning done the other day. This yarn was spun up from one of the lovely batts I purchased from Hands and Notions. She has a wonderful selection of chunky carded batts. This batt spun up very fast. This yarn is so next-to-skin soft and fluffy. The majority of the fiber content is merino farm wool…It is so soft!
I spent the day making up some textured art batts to spin. The batts have merino, bamboo, throwsters silk, Wensleydale locks, and Angelina. I used some natural black Wensleydale locks. I really like the way the batts have turned out. Now it is time to spin!!!
Brianna had beautiful set of twin lambs this year. There is a ram and a ewe. The ewe is just beautiful with lots of silver on her. These lambs were bred with semen from the UK. They are 93% Wensleydale.
Our first 2011 Cormo lamb by our Alice Field ram was born March 19. He is doing just fine and mama is really proud.
I did remove the coat from the ewe to be sure the lamb was nursing good. This ewe has a beautiful fleece. The coat is going back on and she will be ready for shearing in a couple of weeks.
One of my ewes surprised me the other day when she had twins. I was surprised because when her ultrasound was performed, it only showed a single.
She had a ram and ewe lamb. The little ewe had a shaky start, but she is doing just fine now. They are both happy and healthy!
These lambs are from a UK sire and are 95% Wensleydale.
I was spinning up some yarn the other day, adding in my typical yarns and fabrics. I like to add in textured yarns and strips of fabric. The novelty yarns are usually around fingering weight or a little heavier.
I decided to add some of my art yarn add in’s (or Snippets as I like to call them) in my shop. I am going to list these in the Etsy shop I share with my sister. So if you want to be adventurous with your spinning, check them out! The Snippets are made from top quality yarn/quilt shop fibers and fabrics.
I have been super busy carding up some batts. I have my Matchless set up on double drive and have been spinning like crazy for a new weaving project I have in mind.
The project I am wanting to weave is a really neat woven hat using the Saori method of weaving. I got the idea for the hat from Jill of Saori Santa Cruz. She always has something neat she is working on and the hat really caught my attention. I hope to have enough yarn spun up soon so I can start weaving!
I was outside feeding the other day and took this photo of one of my barn cats (Liquid) with one of the Cormo ewes (Matilda). I rarely have my “real” camera with me when I am out doing the farm chores. I just so happened to have my phone with me and I took the photo with it.
I thought about the nursery rhyme, “BaaBaa Black Sheep” when I took the photo. I know, Matilda is white, but I still thought about it!
The Cormo are getting close to lambing. They are due mid-March.
I have added some new Wensleydale locks to the shop. I am working through a couple of freshly shorn fleeces, so I guess you could say these are “hot off the sheep!” These locks are long and silky.
Yes, it is more alpaca. Remember the chocolate brown alpaca I washed recently? Well, I made a few batts with it. The batts are so soft. I blended the brown alpaca with pink merino, white alpaca, and some Angelina. I cannot wait to spin these batts!
I have opened an Etsy shop with my identical twin sister. We have been wanting to work on something together and thought it would be fun to open an Etsy shop together!! I will have special items in the Etsy shop that will not be in the Herman Hills Knittery online shop. I have been working on a few new knit items too so keep an eye on my shop and the new Etsy!! This shop is also part of the Fiber Indie eXperience (FIX) and purchases made here will enter you in the FIX drawings!
The photo above is an example of a few items that are in the Spin to Yarn Etsy shop. As you may know, my sister’s shop Spin to Yarn (her main site, not the Etsy one) has many Schacht and Louet products in it (with more Schacht items to be listed soon including the new Sidekick wheel-more on that in a later post!). She will be listing a few Louet items on Etsy, but all the Schacht items will only be available through the main Spin to Yarn website.
I have been washing up some AWESOME alpaca fleece. I have been spinning it as soon as it is dry! Yes, it is that awesome. I have set aside a little bit for the shop, so check it out! It is so soft it just about spins itself! I really love the color. It is a nice light chocolate brown. I am blending some batts and will post a few after I get them spun up!
I had some time to sort through my fleeces and wash up some locks. I will be dyeing some for my batts and art yarns. I have listed some washed locks in the shop and will be adding some dyed ones soon! These fleeces are really super nice. The locks are extra long, around 5+ inches (relaxed length, not stretched length!) These are the perfect length for spinning, carding, art yarns, felting projects, you name it!
I am posting an update on the cardigan I am knitting. It is the Ruffled Cardigan from Knit it Now. This is a great pattern. The directions are well written and easy to read. I have finished knitting all the pieces, blocked them, and am sewing them together. The photo is the long ruffled band that will be knit around the edges of the cardigan. I just love the way the tuck stitch pattern has turned out on the band. I should have my cardigan finished this weekend, so keep an eye out for some pictures!
I am participating in a knit along on the Knit it Now Ravelry group. The pattern for the knit along is the Ruffled Cardigan from Knit it Now. After making several swatches on my SK860 mid-gauge machine, I finally broke down and ordered some yarn. I was trying to knit from my stash, but none of the yarns seemed to work well for the pattern. The ruffled lace border on cardigan is knit in tuck stitch. The tuck stitch is knit at a higher tension than the stockinette stitch. Most of the yarns I swatched from my stash did not make a nice soft tuck stitch. The yarns were worsted and towards the higher end of the tension dial just when knit in stockinette stitch, so I could not knit the tuck at +2 tension. The yarn I ordered is a 100% wool from the Yarn Barn. So far I have knit the back and one of the fronts of the cardigan. I hope to have most of the knitting done by Friday and can work on blocking and sewing the pieces together over the weekend.
I spun some more yarn today from one of my textured batts. The fibers include: merino, Wensleydale locks, bamboo rayon, firestar, and mulberry silk.
The shop has been updated with some new batts!! They are fresh off the carder and ready to spin or felt!!
The other day, I was going through a bag of very old knitting stuff (I acquired from a knitter who had passed away) and came across this little gadget. It is called a Daisy Knitter. It was in a small baggie with a pattern and instruction leaflet. It is used to make a type of knit flowers. I guess it is similar to the plastic flower knitters you can buy at the local craft store. The Daisy Knitter is metal and was made in the USA between 1930 and around 1950. It makes a rather stringy little flower. I think it would work for some type of embellishment on a cardigan or a bag of some sort. It is a pretty neat little gadget. I am sure I will find a use for it.
This yarn was spun from one of my textured art batts. The batt was full of alpaca, merino, mulberry silk, silk noil, Firestar, and Wensleydale locks. It is really next to skin soft.
This was spun on my Matchless with the bulky flyer. I am still working on the bulky flyer. I ended up getting rid of the cotton drive band that came with the flyer. It just wasn’t “grippy” enough and as the bobbin filled, it seems to slip. I have a cone of 2 ply linen cotton. The linen is one single and the cotton is another. It is a unique yarn… I am hoping this will solve the drive band issue…
Finally, I had a chance to skein up some of my new yarns. I have a cone of fingering weight longwool that I have been really wanting to dye. This wool is spun from a blend of luster longwool sheep. It has a nice sheen to it. I also skeined up some super soft chunky merino.
The merino will be used as warp/weft for some scarves on my Flip rigid heddle. I have been wanting to make a few more scarves and knit some hats. This yarn is going to be just perfect!
I dyed the longwool in semisolid colors and the chunky wool in a blend of purple/mauves. I mixed up some more dyes tonight and plan to do some more skeining and dyeing. I have a couple of cones of sock yarn that I will be skeining for dyeing also.
I bet you saw the title of this post and was expecting to see a photo of a spiffy new loom. Well, here is the story…I ordered an SX60H Saori loom from Saori Santa Cruz. The Saori loom arrived a week or so ago and it is still waiting patiently in the box. I purchased this for my son for Christmas. I have only had a chance to sneak and inspect it. It has been really hard for me to keep it in the box! Weaving will have to wait until after Christmas. I am sure my son will love his new loom.
I made a bunch of art batts and am spinning them into a worsted/chunky weight singles yarn. The fibers in the batts are hand dyed merino, bamboo, alpaca, Wensleydale locks, firestar, mulberry silk, and Angelina. I have been spinning them on my Schacht Matchless with my bulky flyer.
I finally have the bulky flyer figured out. I have only had my Matchless for a couple of months. I ordered the bulky flyer with the wheel. I did not even have the wheel figured out before putting the bulky flyer on it. I love the Matchless. It is an awesome wheel. I can spin anything on it with ease. I did have to a bit of fiddling around with it at first. It is quite a bit different from my other wheels.
I plan on using the hand spun to make another scarf on my Flip rigid heddle loom. The cold weather is here. I am outside most of the time, so scarves (and hats!) are on the top of my list of items to make.
There is a new machine knitting website called Knit it Now. I recently attended a webinar for Design a Knit (DAK) knitting software. I was so impressed with the Webinar. I plan on signing up for all their webinars. Some of them cover topics I already know, but I know I can always learn from someone else.
The website is very easy to navigate and it up do date technology wise. I am really happy that someone has taken the time to make a site like Knit it Now. It is run by the owner of BT Yarns, Sue Jalowiec and her partner Matt. I have bought yarn from Sue before and she has always been a pleasure to work with. The person behind the website design, Matt, has done a wonderful job making the site very user friendly while integrating the latest website technology.
Knit is Now has really nice dynamic patterns for sale. The dynamic patterns can be resized to work with any type machine and yarn. They also have a learning library you can subscribe too. The learning library has tons and tons of tutorials on machine knitting. To top it all off, Knit it Now offers live webinars which cover an array of topics. You can connect to the instructor in the “live” classroom.
I could go on….but I really think you will want to check the site out for yourself. www.knititnow.com
After many distractions, I finally got my heddles threaded. I hope to have the reed sleyed and the warped tied on by this weekend.
I have already been lining up my next project. I am planning a long warp for towels which will be given away as gifts for Christmas.
Everyone hates being stuck behind a Sunday driver, but it isn’t all that bad if you are the one driving! 🙂 The weather has been really nice lately. This is the best time of the year for trail riding and driving.
I spent 5 days in Lexington, Ky to attend the World Equestrian Games. I had tickets for the driving series. The driving consists of 3 parts: dressage, marathon, and cones.
The first part of the driving series was the dressage driving. The dressage took place over two days. The judges look for a good turnout (how good everything looks) and how well the dressage test is driven.
The marathon driving was day three of the driving series. The marathon tests the stamina and fitness of the horse The marathon usually consists of 3 to 5 sections. The section E is the hazard/obstacle section. The hazard section of the marathon draws the biggest crowds.
I was lucky to find a spot in the front row at the Head of the Lake hazard. Marathon hazards include water, tight turns around trees or man-made obstacles, hills, or fences and pens. Drivers are scored on how quickly they can negotiate through the hazard. They also must find the fastest way throught the hazard. Points are deducts for too much time spent in a hazard.
The last phase of the driving is the cones. The cones is an timed obstacle course. The course must be driven with the red cone on the right and the white cone on the left. The cones are just a few centimeters wider than the wheels of the cart. Each cone has a ball balancing on the top. Points are deducted for knocking the ball off the cone.
The scores from all 3 parts of the driving series are combined to give a final result. In all three parts, scores and times are converted into “penalty points”, which are then added together. The competitor with the lowest penalty score is the winner.
For more information about the World Equestrian Games, visit www.alltechfeigames.com and www.usef.org
Here is a video of Chester Weber on the cones course.
I have been dyeing quite a bit of bamboo lately using Procion MX fiber reactive dyes. These dyes are used for plant fibers like bamboo/rayon and cotton. Since the fiber reactive dyes are a little more labor intensive than the acid dyes, I usually dye a lot of fiber at once. The dyeing is quite easy, but the rinsing can be a chore. Once I have dyed a batch of fiber with reactive dyes, I am happy to go back to dyeing with acid dyes for awhile!
Bamboo is one of my favorite fibers to use as an add-in for carded batts. The fiber is soft and silky. It adds shine and soft texture. I will be adding some to the shop soon!
I finished weaving a super quick scarf on my Flip rigid heddle. The weather has turned a bit chilly and I decided to take a break from threading my floor loom to weave a scarf.
From start (threading) to finish (tying the fringe), this scarf took about 2 hours to weave. I used Classic Yarns Cashsoft Chunky for the warp in 3 colors of purple (three 50gram balls, one in each color). The yarn was about 9 wraps per inch which made the sett at about 5. I used my new 5 dent Flip heddle which I recenlty purchased from Patty Anne’s Place.
I wanted my scarf to be 70″ long so I could fold it in half and pull the ends through to make it super warm, and keep it from falling off! I also wanted the scarf to be 6″ wide.
Here are my calculations:
9 wraps per inch divided by 2 = 4.5 (I rounded this up to 5 for a sett of 5 and used a 5 dent reed/heddle)
70″ length + 10% take up= 76
76 + loom waste of 24″ on a rigid heddle (add more if you are using a floor loom)
70+6=76 +10%= 83.6 +24 = 107.6
107.6 is the total length of each warp thread. Notice I did not add any length in my calculations for sampling. You can add to the length if you want to do some sampling.
Ok, next calculation: How many warp ends?
The woven width + take up x sett= how many ends I will need.
6″ + .6 (the 10% take up) x 5 =33
I need 33 warp ends.
How much warp yarn do I need?
Total length x # of ends
70×33=2310 divide 2310 by 36 to get yardage
2310 divided by 36 =64.16 or approximately 65 yards
I did not calculate yardage for my weft. I used various handspun yarns.
The photo above is what my warp looked like. I used 3 colors of Cashsoft.
The scarf moved along quickly. It seemed as if it was done in no time. The handspun yarns I used for the weft were mostly worsted or chunky yarns.
When I reached the end of my weaving, I cut the warp threads, removed the scarf from the loom, and tied my fringe. I tied over hand knots for the fringe. A trick I have found useful for getting the knots tight is to use a tapestry needle in the knot. I tie an overhand knot and insert a tapestry needle in the knot loop. I hold the needle up above the fell of the woven cloth as I am pulling the knot tight. After the knot is tight I remove the needle and tighten the knot a bit more. I find this makes a neater knot!
I have been working on spinning some yarn for weaving weft. The latest handspun is a blend of CVM, Wensleydale locks, merino, mulberry silk, and bamboo.