Sunday, February 25, 2018

Knitting Circle Fiber Arts Market

Trying to wind down from the excitement of meeting new fiber friends and catching up with my ever growing circle of wonderful lovers of natural soft shetland wool!  Had a terrific day at the Fiber Arts Market, first time I've had a booth and it was really great!

Hee hee.  I am terrible at tying up loose strands - see the black hat in center with the strand of yarn hanging off.  I will do anything to avoid threading a needle.

Van Packed and ready to go

The yarn display looks like such a mishmashy hodgepodge.  Every skein is so unique, good luck getting them to line up in a nice even row...

To those who purchased from me today, try a search on the ewe's name in the search window of the blog - there may be posts of WIP as I worked each ewe's fleece.  I also have series of photos on my Ravelry page for each if you just want to search for the ewe photos.

Thank you to everyone for your nice comments about our wool and breeding program, please keep me posted with your progress on knitting and spinning our wool!

Love to all - Jen

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Whispering Pines Eddard

The final keep ram lamb is Eddard out of Nitro and Emma.

I personally think he is the nicest of the four in an all around sense. Nice build, very fine fleece that is largely the same from front-to-back, pretty much the whole package. I’ll be looking forward to getting micron samples on all of these rams, but this one in particular. 

I still remember the one day last May when I was working in the barn, set down one of my work gloves, and he snatched it and ran away with it like a dog. I’ve never had one do that before. He was a bit of a dickens as a lamb, but is much more reserved now as a yearling.

Eddard in the front as a lamb

Those are the keeper ram lambs from the class of 2017. Surely, we will get more this year that we like as well or better than these guys, but we are to the point now where it’s more of a personal preference in terms of what we keep as they are all quite good. I think we had about 15 ram lambs this spring, and all were what I would call keeper quality. I began finding small flaws with each to get down to these four, and these were the best non-moorit and fawn katmogets. I liked all of the greys, but settled on this one.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Whispering Pines Jon Snow

Jon Snow is a grey katmoget ram out of English Garden and Mr. Darcy. I’m quite impressed with him so far.

Of the four ram lambs we kept, he has the longest fleece, which is what I was hoping for when I put his mother in with Mr. Darcy in 2016. He is fine with nice fleece length. 

I’m not sure what I am going to do with him as he is related to quite a few of our ewes (as are all of these ram lambs).

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Whispering Pines Oberyn

I spoke a bit about Oberyn during the breeding groups post, so I don’t have much to add to that, other than to say I hope his ewes have lambs in a few months. You never know with these young rams. 

It always excites me to use sheep that have several generations of good traits behind them. In this case, his mother is Pearl and his father is Nitro. 

My goal is for him to do for us in black sheep as Canterbury did with brown.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Whispering Pines Tormund

In 2017, I thought we had an extraordinary crop of ram lambs. The ewe lambs were very good, but the rams were the crème de la crème once again.

I entered the year, not wanting to retain any more ram lambs, as we already had eight adults. Ahh, the best laid plans…

We ended up keeping four of them because I thought they were too good to…put out to pasture.

The first one was Jane Eyre’s smirslet fawn katmoget out of Nitro. His name is Tormund. He was one of my favorites at birth, so it was no surprise that I ended up retaining him. 

He is one of the more athletic looking lambs that we’ve had. He is taller and has a very long body. He is also very fine (his mother is our finest ewe), but I feared his fleece might be too short.

 It looked pretty good last weekend, however, as we snuck a pre-shearing peek.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The rise

I was asked about the rise on a shetland fleece after I used the term to describe what I sort for when deciding if a fleece is show/sale worthy.  Some breeds will shed their fleece every year, and the rise is the weak spot in the fleece that allows it to happen. 

Some people will harvest the fleece by plucking it off, or "rooing" after the sheep has hit the rise.  You can tell the sheep has hit the rise when you grab her by her wool and a clump of it comes off in your hands. 

Rich and I tried rooing once and my hand was aching by the time we finished so we just take the chance that most of the sheep are in the midst of the rise at shearing time.  Here is one of many very cool photos from the Shetland Museum of people rooing their shetlands:

The problem is if you shear too soon before you hit the rise will result in a difficult time shearing and too late results in a weak spot at the base of the staple that has the same effect as second cuts.

Kelly Bartels at OK Acres did a really good post on this with current photos of a sheep she rooed.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

What I am working on

Spent a little time this morning with the ram lambs from 2017.  We keep them separate from the adult rams until they get a little bigger.  I got some nice photos I'll blog later this week, here's just a couple.  

Finished the knitted knockers for Sharon, they'll be delivered on her birthday on the 16th with the rest of the care package my coworkers put together.  Made them from Elara, they are so nice and soft.  Yes, I did try them on.

Plying the experimental self striping yarn - I think it worked out well and will be making up packages of .2 or .1 oz batts in different natural colors to sell to spinners to make their own stripy creations.

Still trying to get Marianne carded.  The knockers took up most of my wool time last weekend.  Love saying knockers.

Last of Lady Mary plied and ready to wash.  Can you tell what
fairy tale is being depicted in the print behind the yarn?

Working on another article for submission to Spin Off.  Not telling what its about.  Would love ideas for future articles if you have any.  Hannah?

Got a very nice message from a spinner I met in Wisconsin asking for more neck wool with very good feedback from her first experience spinning our soft shetland wool,  Made my day.  Then, found a bag of neck wool in garage I forgot I had, so will have fun picking through it today to select some to wash and card for more neck wool batts.  I am truly the luckiest girl in the world.

And finishing the toe on Will's second sock, worked on last night during Olympics while Cody slept in his chair under his sleeping bag.

Decided I will make a pompom for the Bousta Beanie as was inspired by the adorableness of pompoms on many of the hats on parade during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics last night.

Finland Olympian.  Want this pattern.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

What I am working on

First of all, the girls wanted to say good morning to you all:

I love how they are all looking at us except the one center right eating hay off her friend's neck.

She's got crazy eyes

Had to finish the Bousta Beanie cause I needed the white for a gift I'm making for a woman at work who just had a masectomy

Still needs ends tucked in and blocking.  And yes, it is huge.  Not doing pom pom, too fiddly.

Plan to knock off two of these today in white for Sharon from work, feel free to include her in your prayers.

Carded up the neck wool into 1 oz batts to sell at upcoming fiber event in Rochester

I never know who the neck wool is from but I think the middle one is Itasca as she has old lady grey bits in hers which I love.

Carding Marianne

Drying Elizabeth Bennett

And I had an idea I am trying out, will make pairs of .2 oz batts in combos so spinners can make self striping yarns.  Trying it on the wheel today to see how it works.  Will be great for all the odds and ends of flicked locks that are left  over after I card into one oz batts

And will be posting these yarns to etsy this week: