Joe, Emma, John, Bennet, Kate and I went over to Bonnieview to shear some sheep this morning. None of us had ever sheared sheep, and some hadn’t even wrangled them so it was a bit of an adventure. Neil had already gotten a few done and was in the middle of another when we got there. At the end of the day we’d probably sheared around twenty sheep and while we sorted through the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of wool, we got to pick out what we wanted to take with us. Joe and I wound up with two big black garbage bags: one full of white fleece and the other full of black.
A fairly biblical shot of one of the newly naked…
Bennet, shearing his first very pregnant ewe.
Kate holding so much garbage fleece that it looked like an intact sheep!
Emma and Joe, getting two done at once. Emma got really quite good at shearing them by the end of our time at Bonnieview. The whole process was fun to watch and made the whole afternoon fly by. Next? Lambing… oh man, lambing!
I just worked my way through a wonderful blog my friend Schirin posted a link to yesterday. The blog is called Farmama. It’s written by a woman living on a farm with four children and is making her life as sustainable as possible. I appreciate the simple, bright beauty of her photographs and her stories about knitting sweaters for her children starting with raising the sheep, all the way through the dying, spinning and knitting process. Oh my heart! I’m inspired beyond belief.
I found an old ball of bulky yarn that I’d spun months ago when I got my first batch of wool from Bonnieview. I decided to try dying it with a packet each of the blue and purple kool-aid. Turns out that the purple overwhelmed the blue but the end result is a fairly nice light purple yarn with flecks of cyan here and there. I like it much better than the crazy “Caution Orange” I made a last week, to say the least.
I knit another pair of baby shoes using the Babystovler pattern from Handmade by Calista. The process of working my way through the leftover bits of yarn and through the yarn I don’t like is fairly addicting and baby things are small enough that I can bust through a walnut-sized ball of yarn and wind up with a pair of useful and sweet little shoes! That is my definition of satisfaction.
Joe and I slopped our way down to the farm to empty our compost bin and we stopped by to see the new piglets! The second pig just had her litter of piggies yesterday, and you can see the other sow in the background with her litter. In amongst the new piggies, there’s a wee black one with white socks on his feet. They are so tiny and wriggly that it was hard to get a good picture. The sow never pulled her head out of the hay burrow she had made, but her grunting got louder when she heard us come in. Oh mama-piggy, your babies are so tiny and sweet! Still, I know what they’ll look like in a couple of months: big piggies.
I read a tutorial on dying yarn with a crockpot and kool-aid and thought “Well, why not?” So I skipped down to the village store, bought a packet of each flavor and spun up two spindles worth of yarn. I soaked the yarn as soon as I was done spinning it and then followed the directions in the tutorial. About an hour later I had a ton of yarn pretty bright orange and salmon yarn that smelled like hot juice. I wanted to make a yarn that went from yellow, to orange, to red then to blue and back through the colors again. Turns out the kool-aid in the blue pouch is NOT blue. No, it’s also red. The same red as the stuff in the red pouch. SNAP. I was hoping to work some purples and greens in with that blue pouch and instead I have something crossed between sherbert and construction site.
But, now it’s been two days and I’m getting over the initial peevishness. The colors are starting to grow on me, to the point where I’m even starting to think of some projects I can work it in to. Next time, it’s blue all the way baby. If I can find a wrapper that doesn’t lie, lie, LIE.
Oh, and it was a great tutorial, so if you’re interested in spending the minimum amount of time and money dying something, this is definitely the way to go.
It’s been too sunny and warm the last couple of days to not take Linus out in the snow to play! He was out for a good long romp and now he’s busy drying off his incredibly muddy paws.
Meanwhile, happening elsewhere… I finished knitting a second New Aviatrix hat for Aunt Carol! I just popped it in the mail this afternoon.