Wednesday, June 23, 2004

wash day

Seems to be the time of year to wash the fleece. This fleece is not mine, but instead, belongs to a friend that lives down river from me. She has just started to spin (about 2 months ago) and is doing very well. She had started out to get just a fleece or two from a farmer who she brought her piglets from...but as chance would have it, the farmer was quite generous, and she now finds herself in possession of 20 fleece! She brought a few up to my house the other day, and we picked and scoured for a few hours in the afternoon. I believe we worked on a Southdown (the vanilla color) and a Columbia/Dorset Cross (the grey color). They both washed up quite well, but I have not had the chance to spin up any of it yet, as all of my bobbins were full.

At spinning group today, I worked on plying up the Alpaca that was on the wheel. I wound up with 310 yards of 20wpi, double ply, about 8oz. Just short of being able to fill the 6 foot triloom. My friend twisted up a piece of the Columbia/Dorset...and held it next to the Alpaca. It made a nice blend of colors. The bag was on my car seat when I went to leave, what a sweet surprise. I will have enough to spin up and put on the loom with the Alpaca, for a nice shawl.

One of the fleece she received was called a Baby Doll. I have not seen it yet, but have been reading about the breed. They are a miniature breed from a Southdown. They have the cutest faces, looking somewhat like a little teddy bear. No wonder they call them Baby Dolls! You can read more about them at this link.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

worth waiting for

Spring is late in arriving to this mountainous river valley...but it is always worth waiting for. Every where you look, new life is springing up. The birds are busy feeding their young, the deer and raccoons, the skunk and the bear, the frogs and the fish and the is all the same. Another spring and everything reproduces! Including the chipmunks! They must reproduce at a fantastic rate. I am battling with chipmunks this year. There are way to many of them. We are overrun with them. It is time to take drastic measures. Ideas anyone, anyone?
It is slow going on the fiber front. I have started too many projects at once, and therefore, have finished not a one. Now I am starting to play with something called finger weaving, or finger looping. It has been around from the period between the late 12th and the early 15th centuries. I do not yet have the hang of it, but with some decent time set aside to play, I will master it.
I spent a good amount of time with the bunnies yesterday. I have been so busy with the garden that they have not had a through grooming since I clipped them. Black Jack continues to grow, and still remains as sweet as he was when I got him. Such an outgoing disposition for a bunny. I am tempted to bring him indoors and make a real pet out of him. He has such personality!

Saturday, June 05, 2004

shhh, keep it a secret, Odocoileus virginianus

This little fawn was first noticed by the chickens! I had not seen the mother come to drop it off, but I did hear my chickens clucking that "I am telling on you" sound. It is not an alarm cluck, but it is more of a "something is not quite right" sound. I walked out onto the deck to see what was going on and I saw that several Black Stars had surrounded something on the hillside under the tree house. There, on one of the big rocks, was this little fawn. I shooed the chickens away (they will go anywhere for a bit of scratch)...and then I slowly walked down the slope to get a picture. The fawn stayed very still and allowed me to get quite close. I could have reached down to touch it. It was so very beautiful, and I marveled at how well it was camouflaged, the spots on the fawn blended remarkably with the dappled shade.

A newborn fawn has no scent (or so they say). This is to protect it from predators...mainly black bear in this area. I snapped a few pictures, and walked away. I could observe the fawn from the deck as I hung my clothes out to dry, and I continued to check on it throughout the day. I wondered if it was Sweetpea's fawn. She has been a good mother around here for the past few years, but I had not seen her lately. She is easy to recognize, as she has a broken leg that healed with a big knob at the knee. She is also quite tame because my neighbor took care of her when she was lame. She comes to him, but I try to discourage her from hanging around. She may become to used to people and this is a sure death sentence for a deer during hunting season. I waited all afternoon for the mother to fetch her baby. She did not show up. It started to rain late in the early evening, still no momma, and the fawn just stayed right where it had been all day.

After supper, we went out on the deck to check on the fawn, and it was gone! Mamma came and collected her little one, just as secretly as she had dropped it off. I saw them in the grass across the street the next day...there were two grown does and one fawn. I could not tell if one of the does was Sweetpea, because the grass was to tall, but I expect to see them again on their daily walk down to the river.

I am STILL working on the lace socks. It should not be taking me so long. I think to myself that it is because the stitches are so tiny, but I think I am making excuses. I have completed one sock, and now I am halfway down the cuff of the second one. I have also started another shawl on the 8 foot triloom. This time I am using up some stash merino leftover from an afghan that I made some 18 years ago! Think it has aged sufficiently? I have not given much thought to the design of the plaid, but sometimes I figure I just have to let it happen by itself, that is the fun of it. I wanted something to work on that was mindless...I have had to much counting pattern rows with the lace socks!

I received a nice package in the mail from CW. I had traded some Hopi Black Dye Sunflower seeds for some wool rovings to sample. She sent me some Border Leicester, Corriedale, Llama and some plucked satin that I could compare with my angora. I am so happy to get this fiber, as it will give me more experience as a spinner working with different breeds to add to my notebook. There is so much to learn, and it is so nice to have someone help me along the way. I have never met another spinner without learning something new...and that is part of the fun of this craft.
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