Saturday, October 29, 2011

Product tester

I was trying to get a few pictures of new mugs for etsy listings when I had a helper arrive on the scene...
I guess calling them 'sheep mugs' really does have a double meaning.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Zig and Henry

It's quite a chore to get a good picture of these guys.. and as you can see, I still have some work to do! (since the best picture i could get has a wire running thru it) But this is Zig (left) and Henry - twin brothers, both sporting their summer fleeces.

Zig really is a calm and gentle ram. When the others want to butt and bully around, he is just off to the side. (Him and Joe.. neither one likes to get involved in disputes) I told Zig he looked a little mean in the pose, and for him to just let his personality shine thru....

Then I got this....

No.. that's not quite that either.. Zig is really sweet, but these pictures just don't describe him well. Maybe it's because he doesn't smile much.

Henry on the other hand, well.. this picture fits him.

These boys have the thickest, richest thel coat. (the undercoat) Their wool last year, as yearlings, made such nice rovings, that i'm looking forward to seeing how the wool from them works up this year!

I'm hoping, that with all the thel they produce, to separate some of the thel from the tog (the outer coat of wool) and felt just the thel to see how that will work up.

I made a cobweb felted scarf a few days ago from last years fleece (Ziggy's) and as far as the experimenting is going here, this is my favorite yet. I am still working on the scarves - learning what works.. what doesn't. This one needs to be felted more. I'm finding that with the layers being so thin, it takes a lot longer to felt than if they were solid, thicker layers.

This scarf took less than 1.5 ounces. It is light, yet, when wrapped around my neck, (or the neck of a headless form) it's a nice shade of warm.
And hey- the dyes I ordered just came in! I am really excited to try handpainting the scarves.. yet, I have promised myself I won't get the dyes out until things get a little more caught up around here! One thing (well...30) at a time.. dyes will put me over the limit, but it's great motivation to knock a few other things out of the to do category.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Here's a fairly recent photo of our new ram, Val. He, much like Leroy doesn't mind having his picture taken. Several weeks ago, I was making a poster for the wool festival to advertise icelandic sheep in my booth and I had Val in mind - he was so patient allowing me to take a lot of photos, and he seemed to pose for each picture!

We'll be using Val with the majority of the ewes this year. He is a young ram (from this spring) yet he seems to be up for the job. When we put him in with the girls, he went up and introduced himself to them all. I hope his recent shearing hasn't effected his confidence. I'm hoping the girls haven't laughed at him - he looks so much different without his wool. He's still beautiful, but he is looking more like a lamb than he did with all the wool. (some of the older girls might feel a little funny about it?)

I suppose we will assign someone the job of clean-up ram later in the year, (something i need to be thinking about) just in case some of the girls think he's too young.


Leroy, Whatcha gonna do with all that wool? (rather, what am I going to do with all your wool?)

I am somewhat of a "collector of rams" - We seemed to have an abundance of ram lambs born here the first two years and I didn't send any of them away, so here we are. They're not any trouble though- we keep them in a separate pasture than the ewes, and they just hang out producing fiber.

As you can see, he's somewhat proud, and likes to have his picture taken. When all the other sheep are busy with heads on the ground, Leroy notices the camera and he will stand still with a pose because he knows my camera takes a minute to focus!

If only they were all this easy to get photos of! Our new ram Val is much like Leroy with the camera, and then there's Lambie that loves to have her picture taken, but the rest? For the most part, not so much

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cobweb Felting

We had a great time at the Kentucky Wool Festival this year. In the sheep & wool tent, we each demonstrate a fiber related skill - from carding, to spinning, knitting, weaving, and much more. My demonstration was wet felting. I have so much to learn about wet felting, but the basics of it are really simple: Wool + Soapy Water + Agitation = felt. I was motivated to try new projects while at the wool festival, so I made a little goal to experiment more with purses, and scarves using the wet felting technique.

I was particulary inspired by a small sample of merino that I wet felted at the festival. It felted with such thin layers and draped so nicely. I wanted to try this with our icelandic lamb roving. (after all, we get a good deal on icelandic wool.. a little grass, little hay in exchange for the wool, and not to mention, we have a good deal of it - especially now that it's shearing time!)

This is what came from that experiment -

This scarf was made by layering very thin layers of roving and felting using soap and water. The wool was from a moorit badgerface lamb. The scarf draped nicely, like I had hoped and was soft to the touch. There were a few places on the scarf that were very thin -almost holes, so I went on-line to research scarf making and was surprised to learn that this style of felting actually has it's own name- Cobweb Felting. It is intended to be very thin, sometimes with some holes even!

I am looking forward to felting more scarves using this method, and have ordered some dyes to experiment with hand dyeing the scarves also after they are made. There are just so many things that you can make with wool (and other natural fibers) and so many different techniques to try!