Well my christmas knitting is done. I was planning on taking a picture of the MIL socks finished but I sent them out before I took the picture. Anyway I’ve been busy picking, dyeing, combing and carding. Here’s a couple sneak pics of what I’m going to be talking about on the blog in the next few weeks.
5 pitch english combs
Fancy Kitten Drumcarder (pic ganked from their site)
hackle for blending
I also got a really nice ball of sock yarn with stitch markers and ‘lil extra from Sfredette on ravely in the “spin or dye swapping group.”
Here’s a few things that are heading into the etsy store.
Christmassy fibery goodness
wool and alpaca blend
I’ve also started a test knit for my friend the Fickle Knitter. If you are interested in checking out her blog you can check it out here: http://www.fickleknitter.com/
I spent most of this week processing fiber. I did of course get out to play (and groom) the rabbits and feed the goats and alpacas treats. I even was able to get some cross-country skiing in. However for the most part I was processing fiber. I usually start by taking the dirty fleece and skirting it on an old sheet in my living room.
Fluffy loving the fleece
As you can see the Fluffy loves it when I get the fleece out too. After the fleece is skirted I usually divide it into two halves. Then it’s time to scour(wash) the fleece.
Depending on the type of fleece it can take one wash (huayaca alpaca), wool fleece(2 to 3 washes) and suri alpaca(4 to 6 washes). I found the huayaca is the easiest to wash as the dirt is usually just dust and some vegetable matter(vm). Sheep fleece due to the lanolin(grease) takes a bit more work if it is tightly crimped it may take even more. I found suri alpaca to be the hardest to clean because the locks seem to hold the dirt they remind me of actual hair locks because they are so silky but can still be dirty(ask me how I know).
A great place for me to scour seems to be my bathtub. I just use hot water from the tap and add enough dawn dish detergent to make the water blue(industrial size from sam’s club). Then I put the fleece in( if it’s alpaca i use a mesh bag to hold all the pieces) I make sure the fleece is completely covered with soapy water and walk away(keeps me from wanting to swish it around and felting it).
(notice the cat did not join in the washing process)
I check the fiber after each wash to see how clean it is by drying a lock with a towel and holding it by a fan for a few minutes. When it is clean( not greasy) I put in a mesh bag and use my top loading washer(only in the house for this purpose) and spin it for about 10-15 seconds. Then I lay it on the drying racks to dry.
I do try to keep the cat out of this part of the process. I also use a fan to dry it faster. Once the fiber studio is done I won’t have to do this in the house anymore. I’m so excited. That is basically how to clean a fleece. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
We are officially having our first snow day of the winter season. I woke up to my son telling me there was no school and looked from my bed to see a wall of white.
This is out front and the barns.
my favorite view
This is the greatest part, just outside my back door.
After checking the animals to make sure they were ok. I started scouring 6pds of fleece. Honestly, I haven’t touched it since summer when I skirted it and washed the first 6 pds. This is the 2nd wash.
I usually do a big batch of fiber in the tub and spin it for about 15 secs in a washer only used for that purpose.
I also hit up the drumcarder for a bit and sketched out a new hat pattern I’ve had on the brain for awhile. I feel I had a successful and productive Snow Day.
Well a happy thanksgiving to all. I had a wonderful day surrounded by friends and family. We got some snow here so I thought i’d share some pics of the animals. Today started out wonderfully hubby is home, kids are happy. Finished a really cool hat I’d been wanting to make for awhile. The pattern is Hannah by Blake Ehrlich. The MIL socks are coming along. Then I had the fudge fiasco. I was making butter cookies and fudge for the firemen’s women’s auxilliary. We have a craft fair this weekend. The first fudge came out great the second is a grainy oily mess. I thought I was cooking it too high and the condensed milk in it was solidifying. It turned out my spatula was becoming shorter and i didn’t notice it. So i took the fudge off and thought it was time to add the marshmellows and chocolate. After adding those items i realized it was grainy and then became oily. ewww good for nothing but the trash bin I guess. Hmmm chocolate didn’t help today maybe some tequila will do the trick.
Francois and Romeo
Francois and Gavin
Romeo and Francois
Really gross fudge
pony tail hat
I’ve decided this week is going to be the crazy week starting Tuesday. The hubs is coming home( for a week) after being off playing soldier since February. Thank goodness I have the best network of fiber friends. Tuesday is when I usually open the firehall for our weekly Stitch n’ Bitch(although admittedly we often eat more than do fiber arts). I’ve handed someone else the keys. My other friend offered to do thanksgiving with everyone bringing a dish for the entire group and their families. Then there is the firemen’s womens auxiliary having a craft fair with cookie walk(still need to make fudge and butter cookies and help set up on Friday). Three River Yarnies our fiber group is having a table as well with the proceeds going to the auxiliary. In addition to growing and processing fiber I also make all-natural bath and body products. So I’ve been getting all that stuff around for the craft fair because I’ve had very little time to knit stuff up for the table. The hubs has already made plans to go hunting and spending time with his fire department buddies. I do hope we will be able to get some family time in as well as time for us both to reconnect. He will have to leave on the 30th again.
As for the christmas knitting I’ve had a change of plan for Grandad’s christmas socks. I love the colors and they way they are playing out but he is a very traditional man and he wouldn’t like the pooling colors. He’s been asking for my canned applesauce so I will send him a few jars for christmas. Since I already started the socks in a 3 by 1 rib, I think I will make some funky cables and give them to the hubs for christmas. I started the MIL socks that have to be mailed out. I dyed this colorway myself after I found out what her favorite colors are I hope she likes them.
I tried to get pics of the animals today but they were a bit uncooperative. The goats were not too camera shy though.
All-natural bath and body items for the craft fair
Serena the shy cashmere goat.
Gabby the loud and a hoover vacumn when it comes to food.
I will try to get the alpacas when they are not so shy.
I’ve been working on all my christmas knitting. I have 4 items that need to be mailed out. Two are finished the third one is started. I’ve also been working on the loom weaving a rug.
Mom's House Socks
I’m planning on finishing up the dyeing notebook soon only 3 colors left to do. My girls are coming over this afternoon to help me pick wool and card batts for the store later.
I’ve been checking out a few other blogs and found the Yarn Harlot’s new finished shawl to be gorgeous. Almost makes me want to attempt a huge lace project. hmmm maybe not yet.
I thought it would be good to tell a bit about myself for my first post. I’m a mom, a wife, a farmer, and love all things fibery. I started rescuing fiber animals almost 2 yrs ago. I was just rescuing them to give them forever homes and for my own fiber needs. At one point I realized (when I looked in the barn and counted 21 angora rabbits, 3 alpacas, and 4 cashmere goats). The animals needed to start pitching in for their keep. So I started “The Fiber of My Being.” I always knew it was in “the fiber of my being” to rescue animals.
Some of topics I would like to cover in this blog are animal care, fiber processing(washing, dyeing, combing, carding), spinning, knitting, crochet, and weaving techniques. Some of these things I have been doing for years others are fairly new to me and I am still in the learning process.
Here are a few pictures of the farm.
I couldn’t resist adding a cute baby bunny pic.