Sunday, September 17, 2017

More Jacobs Fleeces

I washed fleece from sheep #13 this week.  It is a huge fleece and is more like a fleece and a half!
This fleece is a lovely black under those brown tips, and once it is washed it is wonderfully soft.

I went on an adventure today, last night I learned that the 40 fleeces that I had already purchased from the Shepherd were going to be coming through Knoxville today, and could I please meet them at our favorite rendezvous, the Cracker Barrel, of course I could!

I took the little red pick-up and boy was I glad I did!  There are probably not many of you that actually knows first hand what 40 fleeces looks like.  Well I am here to tell you that it is a lot of fleeces!

The back of the little red truck was really full!

The passenger side of the little red truck was full!

And now the corner of the Studio is really really full!  I had to fold up the Hearthside loom and move it into the other Studio room to get all these in here.

The fleeces on the right side of this pile are first clip fleeces so they are about 1/2 the size of the full sized fleeces.  I managed a peek at a few of these but on the whole, I purchased these because I was so pleased with the fleeces I had already received.  My plan is to make rugs with the 7 fleeces I have already washed and dried, so that I can at least have  a couple of rugs done for our 2 Fall shows.  Why do I always get these good ideas so close to show time!

Anyway, I know that Karin might want a couple of fleeces and I will ask the other spinners that I know if they are interested in a first clip fleece at a good price, but I plan to keep all the full sized fleeces for now, until I see how this rug project progresses.  Oh, and the Shepherd says that she will have around 30 fleeces next year!

Until next time, Happy Fleece Prepping!!!!!  Tina

Friday, September 8, 2017

Jacobs fleece #31

Jacobs fleece #31 should be dry, but I like to make sure the fleeces are bone dry before I bag them up.  I don't want to take any chances that mould might develop before I can finish the processing.

I happen to have on hand a couple of Jacobs fleeces that I had processed early last year to spin.  I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to try out my project idea.

I am glad I did!  I learned a lot about working with these fleeces.  They are a different breed than the fleece rug I wove before, the fiber needs a little more help as I weave to keep in the roving form.  So I made some adjustments.

I also found that even though I thought I had plenty of roving, I did not.  The finished rug is about 3/4 of the size I thought it was going to be.  I weighed the finished rug and did some calculations and I estimated that I will need approximately 1 1/2 lbs of roving to make a rug 30x45 inches.  Then I weighed the rug I made that size out of the Museum fleeces, and found that it was exactly 1 1/2 lbs!


Here is the rug made out of the Museum fleeces, you can see why I am so excited by the colorful Jacobs fleece rug.  It is going to take a lot of processing, but I am so happy with the results that I think it will be well worth the work.

  Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

The girls are getting along pretty well!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Olga 21

Olga 21 was the next fleece I washed, and it is a beautifully soft fleece with grey undertones throughout.  I am sorely tempted to spin some of these fleeces instead of weaving them as roving, but that would defeat the whole purpose of buying so many at once!

When I pulled the bag of fleece for yesterdays wash up, I did a double take.  The bag said #7-15, and I thought wait a minute, I have seen that number before!  I went and checked the bags of clean fleece and there it was, #7-15!  I then pulled  up the photos from the previous fleeces and compared to the fleece laid out before me, and sure enough, I have 2 years of fleece from the same sheep.

(I think I could pic that sheep out from a line-up now.)

Since it takes 2 fleeces to make a rug, I am thinking about making  a rug that is all #7-15,  what a treat!

4 more fleeces to wash, then the real fun will begin, until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Monday, September 4, 2017


I was minding my own business this morning, sipping my coffee, getting ready for a full day, when I heard an unusual noise.  I know all the noises that happen around my house and this noise was certainly not a normal noise.  It was like a kitten was yowling and eating and making biscuits with it's paws all at once!  I looked out the porch door and sure enough there was a kitten gobbling up the food in the cat food dish as fast as it could and yowling all the time!  To say that I was surprised is an understatement.

Soon after that Dear One walked in the front door and I mentioned that there was a kitten on the porch eating and yowling!  He said that he knew that cause he had brought it!!!!!!  Evidently this kitten had followed him along the woods on his run  as he was heading out and then as he was coming back it started following him again.  He scooped it up and brought it home, depositing it on the porch before he came in the front door.

It took awhile before she had eaten her fill, but once she did she found the first soft chair and claimed it.

I wish I had taken pictures of this little kitten claiming the food as all hers when my grown cat "Mouse" showed up.  She arched her back and made it very clear that she was serious.  Much to my surprise, Mouse gave her a lot of space and didn't bother her all day.

Once the belly was full it was time to sleep.........

A couple of hours later, she woke up and ate some more, went out to use the facilities and then she insisted that I take a rest too!

We stayed like that about 20 minutes, then I put her on the chair and resumed my labors.

She tried the other chair too.

After lunch some of the grandkids came over to check out the new addition and the kitten found out that a box is really nice to sleep in as well.

I expect that eating and sleeping will be the name of the game for the next couple of days, and I bet that the kitten and Mouse will be the best of friend before long.

Until next time, Happy Purring, Tina

Saturday, September 2, 2017

More Jacobs fleeces

Here are the first 2 fleeces I washed on Monday evening.  I was so excited that I forgot to keep track of the identifying numbers on the bags, so I have named them A first clip and B first clip.  ( I know original,  I may see if I can track down that information, I remember that one of them had an actual name.)

The 2 fleeces in these pictures are washed, so I am not sure how the markings on the actual sheep might be.  I am keeping track now, and I am actually doing a document on the computer to make note of color markings and hand (softness to crispness rating)!  I want to put the identifying names and numbers on the rugs as I go, that is always a good selling point.

Olga 21 is in the soak right now, I will post about her in a couple of days.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chain Plied yarn and Jacobs Fleeces

I got around to plying the Merino/Silk/Bamboo tapestry yarn that I had spun from the "Hobbledehoy" fiber braids.  I decided to chain ply the singles to keep from mixing up the colors too much.  I would ply a little and then look at the bobbin, and oooh and aaaah!

Chain plying gives such a satisfyingly round yarn.

I used the "Woolee Winder" on my Hansen, it makes plying a joy!  No stopping to switch hooks on the flyer!

This yarn has all the best qualities of the three ingredients.  The drape of the silk and bamboo and the ease of spinning that the Merino adds.

I have not washed this skein yet and I am not at all sure that it will be used in Tapestry as it is, but it might.  I will spin the next braid differently, and compare the two.

I have split the next braid, "Stuffed Tiger" (lovely butterscotch oranges and browns) according to color and I will spin that as a gradient.  If I like this approach better for tapestry, I may just order a new braid of the "Bejeweled" and have a re-do.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an add for some Jacobs Sheep, and the shepherd happened to mention that there were fleeces available.  I contacted her and to make a long story short, I bought 11 fleeces and my friend Karin bought 5.  As part of the bargain, I am going to make a fleece rug and some yarn (from a first clip) for the shepherd.  I may even see if she wants me to weave her a scarf from that yarn.

I was so excited that I forgot to take pictures of the exchange, and even of the first 2 fleeces that I washed that day.  But I have come to my senses and I took a couple of pictures of the 2 fleeces I am working on today.

First up today is a "first clip".  This one is mostly white and the number on the bag was #14.  (I forgot to keep track of the name or number of the first two fleeces, but they were also first clip.)

I split this fleece in half and put each half in a large lingerie bag.  Then I put them to soak in hot soapy water a couple of times, after that there were a couple of rinses and ecco fatto, it is clean and ready to be laid out to dry.

I split each half fleece between 2 of these sweater drying racks that I have picked up over the last couple of years.  They are perfect for this kind of thing.

(This spring I dried fleeces on the back porch tables, but I found that my little black cat loves to sleep among the fleeces so much and that she leaves behind her little black hairs, and they are not very easy to get out!)

Next up is #3, a full grown sheep this time, so I split this fleece in quarters and went about the same process.  Right now as I write this we are on the second wash and soon this one will be drying as well.

I have taken the time to label the fleeces today, and I plan to do that for the rest of them, too bad I missed those first two.

I want you to see the crimp on this #3, isn't it beautiful!  Most of these fleeces will become fleece rugs to sell at the upcoming fall shows,  (I will probably spin the 3 "first clips" because they are so soft) it takes 2 good sized fleeces to make a rug  30x45 inches, which is what I am doing right now.

I can see many more fleece adventures in my future, heavens, I may have to reopen my Etsy shop!

Until next week, Happy Weaving, Tina

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Spinning Merino / Silk / Bamboo

I have begun to spin the beautiful braids of fiber that I picked up from the "Hobbledehoy" booth last month.  The blend in these braids is Merino, silk, and bamboo, I think it is 50/25/25 but I will check on that and edit with a correction.

My tentative goal is to spin a color palette for tapestry.  I am not sure exactly how it will turn out, but I love to spin fine yarn with delicious blends in beautiful colors.  My "work" is cut out for me.

This is "Bejeweled",  for this first braid I simply split it down the middle lengthwise and I have been spinning with the intention of plying the 2 bobbins, but the more I read about tapestry the more I see "bundles" of  singles being used for color blending and texture effects.  I need to do a lot more research, but it would surely solve the problem of muddying the colors in a 2ply.

The shine on this blend is truly gorgeous!  Here is the first dark blue patch.

I took this to show my daughter how the yarn looked plied back on itself.  I have never spun with bamboo in any blend before, and I am really enjoying it.  It is slippery like the silk is, and the merino gives it just enough grabbiness to make it a little easier to spin.

Here are some more colors on the first bobbin, which is finished.  I have started the second bobbin, but I had to pack away the spinner when company came with small children and I have yet to get it back out.  (I have been playing with the tapestry loom!)  I think I will get the spinner back out this afternoon so that I can spin while we watch our baseball games or sometimes old "West Wing" episodes.  (It has been long enough since we last watched it, to be enjoyable to watch it again.)

In the meantime, I may leave this "Bejeweled" as singles for awhile to give myself time to improve my tapestry knowledge and skills.

The next braid I spin,  I will see if I can break the braid apart into color families and spin those separately, and leave those as singles as well.  If I make myself a PVC niddy-noddy I can block and dry the singles on the noddy as I go so that the yarn will be ready to use when I am ready to weave.   I'm not sure which one I am going to choose yet, but I am leaning towards the orange/ butterscotch braid, the top braid in the first picture, I have a tapestry cartoon drawn and those colors may come in handy soon!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina