Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stuff I Made 2 - Jen

Here is a skein of yarn I spun from the roving I squirted with various colors at “Dye Day”. I ended up with 175 yards, so will try to squeak out a little chapeau, or perhaps a jazzy scarf.

Guys! Do you mind? No, its not a toy or a new animal, now scram. honestly.
Honest Abe is modeling a witch hat I needle felted from a form I bought at Hemlock Fiber festival. Wool came from Marigold, our first black ewe that now lives with my cousin Gwen. I wore it for trick or treating through the village of Middleport on Halloween eve, and I was nice and toasty warm.

This hat comes from Buttercup’s lamb fleece. She has only a little white on her neck, but it really makes an impact when randomly mixed with her nice dark moorit. This hat was made from dp needles. I’ve been reworking this pattern to accommodate my homespun yarn, and after 5 hats with various needles and dimensions, this is the pattern I will use from now on, which is: Cast on 90 sts on size 6 dp needles. K1P1 for 5 inches. Switch to size 4’s, k for another 5 inches. Knit two together every 4th, then knit 4 rows. Knit two together every 3rd, then knit 4 rows. Knit two together every 2nd, then knit 4 rows. Knit together every 2, then gather up remaining stitches on tapestry needle and knot. And the best part – NO SEWING!!! (I hate sewing).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Clover's Breeding Pen - Rich

Clover is our mioget gulmoget ram that we brought in this summer. He has an excellent conformation and a beautiful fleece! He’s certainly one of the top rams we’ve had here on the farm. I won’t hold the fact that he’s not spotted against him!
Tiara is a mioget ewe that we brought in to give us some modified genetics. She has a gorgeous fleece and an excellent conformation. She is also spotted, but we’re breeding her for modified genetics this spring, so we’ll have to for go the spots with her offspring this time. She is just a really nice ewe; one of our best!

Chiffon is another new ewe. She is a beautiful emsket gulmoget.

Another view of Chiffon. She’s not a spot carrier (that I know of), but she has just about everything else. We’re looking for a modified gulmoget out of her this spring, and my guess is that it will be very nice – given the genetics.

Cihat's Breeding Pen - Rich

Cihat is very relaxed with his girls. We’re throwing a lot at Cihat this fall in hopes of getting some interesting spotted colors and patterns. Yes, that’s a gulmoget in the far background, and we’re hoping for a spotted gulmoget out of her.

Our white ewe lilly is playing hard to get. This is a good picture of Cihat’s extremely straight top line. Lilly still has ratty looking wool from her March Sheering. Many of our ewes do. The developed a rise right before sheering, which caused some erratic results. We’ve not had much luck with our shearing. If anyone knows of shearers that travels to WNY in the spring, let us know. I would sooner remove my own spleen before attempting shearing.

Cihat seems quite taken with Fantasia, a yuglet sokket katmoget ewe we brought in this summer. To his left is Southern Belle, a fawn yuglet sokket ewe and Peony, a mioget smirslet sokket ewe. I didn’t know she was modified until we got her home! She might very well be the nicest all around ewe we have out there!

Sheltering Pines Cihat is a ram that we’ve had for two breeding seasons now. Others may disagree, but he is probably the nicest all around Shetland ram that I have seen! His conformation is as good as it gets, he has spectacular horns and soft silky fleece with nice length. His legs are straight as an arrow! He’s also a yuglet flecket to boot! I hope to get some offspring with all of his qualities, plus katmoget and gulmoget patterns. He just has a great pedigree and displays all of the things we could want in a ram.

Another look at his group. To his immediate right is Seraphim, a yuglet sokket musket ewe. Next to her is another gulmoget ewe that we like a lot. We’re closing in on the 17th day of breeding, so everyone should have been bred. We’ll see.

Friday, November 16, 2007

White Pine's Breeding Pen - Rich

Here is the little prince right now. What incredible markings he has! His fleece is a light to medium grey under there. I need a ewe like him. He doesn’t seem very active in the pen, but he did take a run at Zabrina on Friday, so we’ll have to keep watching.
Here we see two of White Pines ewes. On the left is Sheltering Pines Kiraz and on the right is Zabrina. We’re hoping for at least one spotted katmoget from these two (hopefully two as Zabrina at least carries spots). Zabrina is our largest ewe and has a very nice conformation. She’s put together very nicely. Kiraz has the HST markings that I like and has very dainty features. I have to confess that her color has always intrigued me, but I don’t know what it is. I suspect she’s and iset moorit, but she may be fawn. She has a lot of white mixed in, so it’s tough to tell. She’s not quite a yuglet, but nearly so.
Here’s a complete shot of White Pine’s entourage. Violet is in the middle right in front of him. She is a katmoget with some genetics that I like. She might carry the modifier and might also carry spots. We’ll see. She has very striking markings – very well defined. Buttercup is the farthest on the left. She just has an outstanding conformation and heavy fleece. I’m hoping for a spotted kat out of her as well. I’ll be happy if I get three spotted kats out of this breeding group. I would say that I’m very interested in what Buttercup throws because she has almost everything except a really soft fleece and yuglet markings. Fortunately, White Pine has those things in addition to his outstanding conformation and HST markings.

Little Buttercup looking at me and wondering what in the world have we done to her. This is her first breeding season. Her father was a solid yuglet socket with some UK breeding.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dye day - Jen

Sherry hosted a "Dye Day" a few weeks ago. Internet is cooperating today so I am posting some photos. Above is her front porch/yard, all neat and cozy. Full of soaking wool, propane heaters, stainless steel pots...and a bunch of kitties.
Here she is tying up roving in preparation for the process I would describe as "Squirting", but that's not what it is called really, but I can't remember the name for it.
Stella had some gorgeous mittens and yarn percolating in a most covetable enamel bowl complete with a built in electric heat source.
These mason jars are holding prepared dyes, or stock I think I heard Nancy say. These were what we were squirting onto the roving.
Sprinkling dye directly onto soaked yarn and mittens...
then they were transferred to a larger pan and cooked on the stovetop.

As the dye gets absorbed into the fiber, the water gets lighter and lighter (makes sense, but never thought about it b4.)

Here is Stella, cooking up a delicious batch of mittens!

Last is Nancy, gave up on squirting, and is now just dousing roving with color.

Monday, November 5, 2007

2007 Breeding Rams - Rich

This striking young ram is Windswept White Pine. He’s a yuglet sokket katmoget who has every quality that we look for in a ram. He has an excellent conformation, quiet disposition (although he’s climbing the walls right now), and beautiful, wide horns. We paid a lot for him, but we’re hoping for big things. His markings are quite stunning! He also represents our first venture into spotted katmogets. We’re not sure where this will lead us. I think he will get four ewes this year (and hopefully will produce a couple sets of twins). He is the ram on the left in the photo directly below, posing with his companion wether.

UndertheSon Clover is a mioget gulmoget, in the two photos below. What a beautiful color! We brought this ram lamb to the farm this summer from Indiana because we were looking for a gulmoget ram with a nice conformation and modified color. He has everything except spots! It looks like he’ll get a couple of ewes this year (I’d like to give him two more if I could, but there are only so many to go around). I should probably throw a spotted ewe at him, but I don’t have one to surrender.

This is the second season we’ve used Sheltering Pines Cihat, in photo below. Last year, we ended up with four lambs out of him and all were extremely nice. Unfortunately, I sold them all like a bleeding idiot!

He’s a white yuglet flecket ram with very soft fleece. His lambs were all improvements on their mothers and all had nice fleeces to boot! I also discovered that he carries moorit, which I didn’t realize. Our goal this year is to get a spotted gulmoget and katmoget out of him, while maintaining his excellent conformation. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll be happy if we repeat what we did last year (with a few more yuglets, perhaps?). I’d like to end up with a yuglet gulmoget or katmoget son to replace him some day. We’re excited about the possibilities with some of the excellent ewes that we brought in this year. It looks like he’ll get eight ewes this year (which he apparently doesn’t realize because he’s awfully mellow compared to the youngsters).