Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The picture was taken yesterday while the sun was out. Today is cloudy and darker, glad I got my camera out when I did.

Today is the third day of snow. And I hear we are only at the beginning of the next big storm. The animals are remaining in the barns and won't even venture out unless I walk the pasture first and make a path for them. I don't remember in 32 years seeing this much snow. We already have over our normal amount and have lots of winter left. I'm almost out of energy logs (big presto-type logs) so tomorrow I will venture out and try to find some. I bought 3 cords of good firewood last year but sold the stove I had, now the new stove is too small for the wood. Oh well.

I've been playing with getting the new warp on the loom. Its taking me longer than I thought it would, but I keep getting interrupted by lunch / naps / feeding animals and people. I can't wait to weave a couple inches to see how it will look with the taupe warp I bought with it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I received the new painted warp from Margaret yesterday. Wow! The colors are incredibly vibrant and sunny. I've got it about half warped on the Ashford and can't wait to warp the rest today. Maybe I can even get started weaving a few pics. I'm putting a new picture of the Leicester Longwool / Mohair scarf here. I finished the fringe yesterday. That's my least favorite part, but its satisfying because I know that's the end and I can start another project.

Since today is my birthday maybe I have an excuse to stay indoors all day and play. We are going to have a big snow storm this evening but I think we have everything done outside that needed doing. The snowblower, as usual, was broken after that last big storm. I finally fixed it yesterday. It keeps breaking shear pins that keep the auger blades turning. I think we probably get a little piece of gravel in the works and it grinds to a halt. I had six or eight of the bolts and only have two left, so I better be more careful. The way the ice builds up is probably a problem also.

I got a new computer game from my daughter so now we have something else to play with. We enjoy the same things a lot of the time. She is so much fun to be around. I've missed having her home. She's working on a new business venture she can do here on the farm so this spring I'm sure she will keep a lot busier than she is now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I finally finished my woolen scarf I wove on the Herald Loom some friends gave me. It is a loose woven 10-dent / 10 ppi, longwool leicester / mohair blend. I skipped two dents every 10 and used a spacer to do the same for the weft. Very fuzzy. But when I washed it, it ironed it pretty flat so it's not too much. The yarn was so wonderfully soft and fluffy while spinning, but when I finally got it woven, it seemed so scratchy. So, wet-finishing is always the fun part to see the beautiful difference when its all done. I really like it. I'm not sure what exactly I will do with it yet. Probably just keep it to sell this summer. Pricing is always the hard part for me. I usually end up giving them away to friends and family as gifts.

The Herald Loom was a gift from some dear friends. Marilyn and Ed had purchased it second hand and Ed refinished it. It is so beautiful. What a work-horse. Its still missing some parts, like whatever allows the front and back beams to move simultaneously, but I had so much fun using it that those missing pieces are something that will be nice to have but not necessary right now. I don't think they have made Herald's now for around 20+ years, so finding anyone that is familiar with them has been hard.

Most of my weaving is done on my first loom, an Ashford 4-harness 36". The heddles are texsolv and I had never used steel heddles before the Herald. I have learned a great lesson. Never never use handspun fuzzy yarn with steel heddles as they can be abrasive on the fibers. I have never had a broken warp thread, but this time I had 10 broken ones! The Herald is so much heavier and bigger than the Ashford, I think it would be great on rugs or something heavier than my little scarf. I also did the perle-cotton log-cabin scarf on the Herald and it came out fine, so it must just be the handspun.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's still colder than necessary, as far as I'm concerned. We've had below 0 now for several nights and I worry about all my little animals. They sleep in the two barns, but it's brutal. The coyotes aren't even coming by for a visit. They usually do and then wait outside my bedroom window until they are all assembled. At that point, they all howl at the same time just to scare me. If I were a cat, I would be stuck to the ceiling by my claws.

I adopted a rescue Great Pyrenees last summer named Dolly. She is the most wonderful dog. She lives with the goats and they all think they are family. She barks whenever she hears or smells something unknown, so everyone over in the pasture feels safe. I have seen her running and leaping to get the big black crows that love to search the pasture for food. That's quite a sight to see a 110 pound huge white dog so nimble. I would hate to have her chase me!

I have ordered another handpainted warp from Heritage Yarns this morning. I just love Margaret's colors and they go on my looms so easily. This one is a shorter scarf than I usually weave. I have been weaving the longer, tencel (I LOVE THOSE) scarves. I did one in perle cotton that turned out so nice. The log cabin pattern was fun, I hadn't done that before.

If I get my act together this morning, I plan to head up to Newport to the Create center. We don't call our group a guild, but same idea. The ladies are all so nice and I like taking my 'stuff' there. There's always someone who can answer any question. I'm off to bundle up and head out to feed everyone before they start calling me.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Baby it's cold outside

Saturday morning it started snowing. Great big flakes. We've had snow most of the winter but this morning we really got it. Then after watching the beautiful white stuff come down most of the day, the wind started up in the early evening. By midnight I thought the wind was going to take the roof off the house. Sunday dawned sunny and bright but the wind continued. No more snow but the drifts closed off my gates to the outside world. Fortunately a neighbor came by and stopped to help dig me out. It is so beautiful now, cold this morning around 0 degrees, but quiet and sunny. All the animals are so happy to be out into the clean air. They hate wind, you know. I think today will be a good day to try spinning the alpaca. Oso always enjoys the snow.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

I have just started spinning my first crop of cashmere, pygora and alpaca harvested in 2007. I am spinning the cashmere unblended. It is so beautiful and soft. No wonder its so expensive! Working with the pygora is a learning experience for me as it flies around the room. I think I need to spritz it with a little water next time. I have blended it on my carder with some BFL in the hopes that it will hold together a little better. I haven't had the time to try the alpaca yet. All my fiber babies are around a year old, so their fiber is very soft. I never had the micron count done but I'm sure it would be very low. Here is a picture of Oso Negro (Black Bear), Diego right after he was sheared, and the two little pygoras Lover Boy and Toby.