Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Chloe's Sweater
Well, I finished Chloe's sweater and am not at all pleased with it. I used the weight of yarn and needles called for in the pattern but when I put it on her you could see her coat ( she's red and white ) right thru the yarn!!! This is not going to keep this pup warm when it gets cold, sooooooooooo .
I decided to make her another sweater. As I was shopping in my stash - I found some super bulky weight bright red acrylic yarn with bits of orange,yellow,green,blue and white mixed in ( will definitely have to wear my sunglasses when she's outside in the sun and snow with this sweater on ). It has a nice fuzzy halo around it and is soft. Of course, Chloe had to come and help pick it out ( and I had to grab her before she took off like a shot with some of my Shetland yarn, she wanted her sweater made out of THAT - yes, she has good taste but it ain't gonna happen in her lifetime that she gets a sweater made out of Shetland wool ). She did finally, after some discussion, settle on the above mentioned red yarn and I ( of course, WITH her help ) started knitting it.
Chloe thinks whenever I sit down to knit on her sweater that SHE has to put her head in my lap on every 2 - 3 minutes poke her nose up thru the knitting to see how it's going,. And heaven forbid should I have to leave the sweater in the basket to go answer the phone or do anything else, because she has it on the floor rolling in it with her feet up in the air ( I suppose this means she likes it, but it sure is annoying ).
Her sweater should be done next week and I'll post a picture of it on the demon dog child. She does wear the original out to play in the mud ( talk about a swamp-rat ) but it's too big for her, so I made this one smaller and it should fit better. She is learning that she has to put her sweater on before she goes outside and it has reduced the amount of mud she drags in ( in fact, the sweater, after only ONE trip outside to show the ducks what she got, could stand on it's own!!! ), so that will be her " play " sweater and the new one will be worn when she goes someplace ( shopping for dog toys and sheep feed, to the vet's, or visiting ).
Well,I don't remember where I left her sweater and she's quiet so I need to see if she has found it again - talk about a busy girl.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Well, I pulled all of the stash that I could find and did an inventory and skein count and have finally regained consciousness. I counted 131,count them again, 131 skeins of acrylic ( I decided NOT to add the small amount of cotton, silk, and wool to my stash - so I'll have something to work towards next year ) in the stash. I called a friend and she asked me if I'd be willing to help out her guild ( I had visions of hauling this load to her house, but no such luck ) and, since I can knit fairly fast, would I be willing to make caps and blankies for premature babies for them. Seeing a way to get rid of the yarn and do something good at the same time, I stood up and shouted " YES, I'LL DO IT !!! " So, I also decided to make some really soft watch caps as chemo caps and give them to the medical oncologist who took care of my mom when she had breast cancer so she can give them to her patients in my mom's name ( I've been looking for something to do for her since she was fantastic with my mom and I think this will do the trick ).
So, now that all that's settled and the yarn has been cataloged and the patterns for the baby blankies have been chosen, all I have to do is knit myself silly and have ALL this done by Easter!!! Oh, well, it needs to be done, so watch the smoke fly from my needles - dogs beware, MOM's knitting tonight!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Well,I got to looking, this afternoon, at my stash of yarn and came up with the conclusion I need to do something with it, it's getting out of hand. So, while I was reading Wendy Knits' blog, I decided to do what she and a friend of hers are going to do - they are going to knit from their stash and not buy any yarn ( unless it's needed to finish an item in progress ) until Sept. 1 and then they are going to buy more yarn.
What I plan on doing is not buy any more yarn until my stash is almost gone ( hopefully by the end of 2007, if not before ) and then start to work on cleaning and spinning the bags of wool from the sheep into tons of wonderful Shetland yarns - natural and dyed colors. I may buy the occassional yarn that I don't have ( i.e., alpaca, camel, yak, silk ) but I'm going to restrict myself to the natural fibers unless someone requests something done in acrylic or fancy glitzy yarns. I have all this wool looking at me and I'm not doing anything with it but letting it sit and that's crazy.
So, as of January 1,2007, I will not be buying any more yarn until my stash is depleted. Good thing I can knit fairly fast. It should be an interesting year.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This is what I woke up to this morning. It's about 1 - 2 inches of powdery snow out back and less out front with the wind howling through the trees as if it were March instead of December.

Chloe and Stylle went out and Chloe proceeded to slide off the deck - I don't think she likes the snow because she was trying to walk without it touching her feet ( nothing like some comic relief in the morning ).

The sheep aren't real happy about the snow but they can get out and graze some.

It's supposed to be in the mid to upper 40's by Saturday so this should be gone. I haven't seen or heard from the kennel dogs today - knowing Maggie and Rosie they've threatened Vinnie and Catcher NOT to move from the doghouses so they ( the girls ) don't get cold. At least I have the dog houses facing with the back of the houses to the wind. If I remember right, the girls get in the back of the doghouses and make the boys sleep across the doorway to keep the cold out. Whoever said labs aren't smart haven't talked to my girls lately. Want to guess WHO runs the doghouses?

This is the start of Chloe's sweater she asked for. It's made out of 100% acrylic ( there is NO way I'm gonna make a sweater for this girl out of wool with as dirty and muddy as she gets ). It's knit on size US 10 needles at about 3.7 sts / inch ( whatever 0.7 stitch is ) in a 3-to-1 knit rib for the bottom and the collar of the sweater and then size US 11 for the main part in stockinette. The pattern calls for sleeves all the way down to her ankles but will end up being midway between her elbow and knee ( again considering the mud factor with her ). It's a bulky weight yarn and should keep her warm and knit up fast. Now to convince Chloe to leave me alone long enough to finish the darn thing ( she thinks that she has to " help " me knit her sweater - but HER idea of helping and mine are not the same ).

This hat was knit as a surprize Christmas present for a friend of mine and , as soon as I get the pattern written, will be for sale as a kit. So watch the side bar for the kit.

She was definitely not expecting it as I did it at the last minute and mailed it last Thursday. It took about 3 hours to knit and came out pretty well, even if I do say so myself.

The picture isn't the greatest but it was dark the day I took this and had to improvise a way to light it so it could be seen.

It's made out of acrylic and can be machine washed. It has a soft fuzzy hand and is very comfortable to wear. The colorway is called " diamond " and is a very pale bluish white with flecks of red/green/yellow and blue scattered through it, so it can be worn with any color of coat and not clash ( which was a good thing since I didn't know what color her coat was and I really didn't want to ask and start an avalanch of questions ).

I designed it myself from another hat I made for me a couple years ago when I was playing around with some left over yarn I had in my stash. Actually, I needed a new hat to wear out to feed the sheep because my original wool hat was starting to look a little ratty ( yes , I do still wear it ) and had the extra yarn and found my needles and whipped up the original hat. The yarn I used for it was Lion Brand Thick and Quick in the wheat colorway on size 10.5 needles. Talk about a warm hat - it's so warm that you break out into a sweat wearing it on a cold day. May have to write up that pattern too.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"Dear MOM

I have been a good girl ( WELL, for the most part ) and I haven't chewed up anything ( unless you consider the Wal-Mart knock offs that I took the strap off for you because it looked uncomfortable ) and I was wondering if you , with ALL your knitting talent, could you please make me a sweater to wear when I go outside to play???

I went out with Stylle yesterday and came back in soooo cold that you couldn't see my beautiful spots!!! It took quite a while to warm up and then I found out Stylle ( who NEVER gets cold - she has a real nice heavy winter coat she grows every year ) was lying next to you on the sofa under the quilt, and I was freezing my spots off. Is that fair???

Please, MOM, make me a nice warn snuggly sweater to wear. I promise I'll be good and not tear up things while you sleep on the weekends. I'M SOOOOO COLD. Love, Chloe."

Now, how could anyone refuse a request like that? OK, Chloe, I'll see what I can find and make you a sweater. - MOM.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sunrise on Thanksgiving Day 2006.

This is the first holiday, since my mom died in 2000 from breast cancer, that I feel like celebrating. Most of the time since she died, I would just work or do anything so I didn't have to think about how lonely it was without her.

Any way, I have made some of my favorite homemade bread and this morning , I've already cranked up the oven and fixed the sweet potatoes and will be fixing the bird a little later. Chloe, Stylle, and I will be feasting this afternoon in high fashion. If no one else wants our company, we have each other.

We will be watching the football game later this afternoon as I spin some wool and the girls sleep on the sofa and then we'll watch our usual Thursday night shows.

Don't know if I'll be celebrating Christmas yet or not, will have to take it one day at a time. But, I do feel better about the holidays now that I will be celebrating Thanksgiving again. I guess the mourning process is running on schedule.

It's so nice to start to feel good about things again.

Friday, November 17, 2006

This is the newest sweater on the needles. I started last night by casting on 125 stitches on a size US 6 needle and did 1.5 inches of 1x1 ribbing and then changed to a size US 8 needle and will do plain stockingette stitching until the back is done. I want to show off the yarn - it's a 70% 30% soft acrylic/ soft cotton marled yarn that has an extremely soft hand and is very nice to knit. This sweater will be a raglan shoulder affair ( that later I can make and put other elements on it ,i.e. intarsia or varied textural stitches ) . It's more like a big soft well-worn sweatshirt than a sweater - the kind you want to cuddle in when it's cold. This picture appears a little fuzzy but it's the yarn - it kinda has a very small halo but kinda doesn't. Will post more as I get it done.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I decided the other day , that, since I do a lot of knitting , I should start my own business, offering knit items for the family and home and also include hand-dyed and hand-painted rovings and yarns. So, in the next few weeks, as I get things made to sell, I will be posting pictures of them on this blog. I thought about starting another blog just for the business but decided that I could incorporate everything into this one ( and save me the headache of runing 2 blogs with a lot of the same posts ).
The new business will be called " Knits 4 Ewe " and will include hand-knits for the family and home along with hand-dyed / hand-painted roving ( Shetland mainly, but maybe some other breeds, also ) and some hand-spun yarns. There may be some other fibers other than wool ( i.e., alpaca, camel, silk, cotton, acrylic, etc. ) to go along with the rest of the articles offered. I will be formulating a brochure to be sent out to those interested in the items offered. So, stay tuned and check us out frequently to see what's up. Look at the side bar to find out what's going on at Knits 4 Ewe.

A look out the back door to the pasture. It was in the upper 60's yesterday and is supposed to be in the upper 60's to low 70's today but drop about 20 degrees tomorrow. If this ain't the weirdest weather for November, I don't know what it is. Makes you wonder what this winter will be like - I've already told them at work that if I can get out of the driveway, I'll be in but if I can't then I'll see them in the spring after the thaw. They think I'm kidding - if the roads are bad there is no way I'm going to try to drive the interstate to work - did that last year to another hospital - and almost got killed after taking 2 1/2 hours to make a 50 minute drive. No job is worth that.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Well, it ain't pretty but it runs. I got the new truck - it's new to me - this morning. It's a 1985 Ford F-150 pickup with a new engine, starter, tires, and A/C. It runs a little rough at slower speeds but does fine on highway speeds. It also has a hitch and " holes " along the top rail of the bed so poles can be put in them and an enclosure can be made to haul ... oh, I don't know ... sheep!!! Now I don't have to hire someone to haul things for me, I can do it myself. It may be an old truck, but IT'S A TRUCK!!! We will be learning each other during the next few days so everyone watch out. I'm a happy camper now.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Just some early morning pictures off the back deck over looking the pasture. Looks like it could be nasty, but 45 minutes after these pictures were taken, the sun was shining and it was starting to warm up.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This is Baron, a moorit Perendale wether. He's a big sweetie. He LOVES cookies and will stand and give the most pitiful begging look ever for a cookie ( too bad he never gets any attention or cookies ). Can we say spoiled rotten.

This black ewe is Wen. She gave me the spotted ram lamb this year and has produced very nice colored moorits in the past. She has also produced 1 set of triplets and is an excellent mom. The white ewe behind Wen is Brooke. She had a nice black girl this past spring but was unable to deliver her and the lamb had to be put down to be delivered. Brooke makes some of the softest wool ( outside of her mom ) of any sheep I have.

This pretty girl is Candi, a grey katmollet and is the spitting image of her father Underhill Ferguson. She also carries spots and produced her first set of spotted twin girls this spring.

And here he is ... the one ... the only ... Snowy, the big white spot. The only color this guy has on him is light black eye make-up and small black spots in his ears. He was neutered this summer due to being related to the rest of the girls in the flock ( and I didn't want any inbreeding to happen ). He has a nice soft solid white fleece, and if he ( along with the black and spotted ram lambs, after they are neutered ) to a spinning flock with Bandit's moorit wether, he will stay here for wool production.
And, I can't forget the clean-up crew, of 12 hard-working, bug-chasing, water-splashing, dog-teasing blue Swedish ducks. These guys are the after dinner entertainment. If they're is anything to get into ( a water bucket that's almost full ) they are there. I can't count how many times I've had to fish a duck out of a 2/3 full 5-gal water bucket because it decided it needed to take a bath in the bucket and, after the bath , found out it couldn't get out. Sometimes I wonder about the intelligence of these guys but they do earn their keep in that I do not have a tick problem now and they will got to where the sheep are fed and clean up what the sheep missed.

And, now, for some of the " older " woolies at the farm.

This is TJ, a silver border Leicester cross wether, who thinks it's HIS job to protect mom from any and all new rams. As you can see, he doesn't miss too many meals - and talk about a sweet tooth!!!

This is Lacie,( in the middle pic ) an unregistered Shetland ewe. She didn't have any babies last year but has been visiting with Ditto already. Her first baby was a grey/ white yuglet/ flecket ewe ( grey and white spotted ) named Bandit. And last year, Bandit made her a grandmother of a nice little moorit wether with a white cap. Lacie will help you feed by putting her head on the back of your thigh and gently push you along - she DOES like her food.

In this picture is Mollie ( left center ) a musket katmollet ewe who carries spots ( she's the mother of Snowy - the BIG white spot ),a black ram lamb ( to her left ) and a spotted ram lamb ( to her right ). The spotted ram lamb is out of Wen and is the most colorful baby Wen has produced to date. The black ram lamb is Pekin's boy and has Peke's voice ( for some reason at least one of Peke's babies will sound like her ). And that's Pekin herself on the right upper corner of this picture. She has produced some of the loudest colored babies for me since she's been here and she's a VERY protective mom.

Here is another girl from Stephen Rouse's flock in MI - this is Sheltering Pines Branwyn, a light moorit ewe. She is starting to get friendly but is still a little hesitant about taking a cookie from my hand. She is a lighter version of my Maddie ( a darker more hot cocoa moorit ).

This is a mother/ daughter pic of Sara ( on the left ) and Sheltering Pines Kalliope on the right. When Gail brought them down she felt that Kalliope was a emsket ( charcoal/pewter to the non-Shetland folks out there ) and Stephen says she carries the mioget modifyer, so breeding her to Ditto should be interesting.
This is Sheltering Pines Markella, a very nice black ewe. It took everything I had to get her away from Gail. This girl has a beautiful crimpy fleece and good conformation and is becoming friendly also.


Thought you might like to see some of the old and " new " woolies here on the farm and what better time to do this than at feeding time .... so,


This handsome fellow ( in the center of the above picture ) is the new flock sire and he hails from west central IN and his name is Underhill Bandito ( aka Ditto, as I already have a " Bandit " ). He is a fawn katmogut that carries the modifyer gene and Gail says I shoud get some interesting babies from him and my girls.

Next we have Sheltering Pines June Bug modeling the feed of the day. June is a black ewe that has a sweet tooth and likes to have her chin and entire neck scratched. I'm hoping for some solid black babies from her.

This little girl Stephen let me name and here it is: this is Sheltering Pines Moonlight Serenade ( aka Sara ). She has started to talk to me at feeding time and does have a fairly nice voice ( for a sheep ).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

This is another roving done with a little different mix of the same dyes but it looks like a forrest in person ( the camera makes it look more orangy but it has more of a darker green to it ).
This is the third sample of dyeing I did that day . In person, this looks kind of like the sky looks at dusk with all the deep purples,reds,oranges, and blues mixed together.
these 2 rovings haven't been spun into yarn yet but they are next to go onto the wheel. They should look great when done.

I have been busy trying my hand ( again ) at dyeing wool. I found a box of generic wool th eother day and some dye that I had bought from Ebay and thought I'd mix the 2 together and see what happened. Here, I have collectd all the toys needed to dye the wool.

In the green bowl, below, is the measured wool in it's water bath waiting to be dyed.

Here are the dyes I used - cherry red, emerald green, yellow, dark orange, sky blue, and violet. The dyes are in the squirt bottles ( or quart containers ) where they are mixed with the acid and ready to be added to the wet wool.

This is what they wool looked like once I added the dye to it and before I put it into the oven for 35 minutes to " bake " and set the dye.
Here is the finished roving from th efirst batch of dyeing. The colors remind me of autumn leaves.

Well, it's 27 degrees outside and when I let the girls out this is what it looked like, so I ran back in and put on some warm clothes and went out to take some pictures of the " frost on the woolies ".

This picture is looking down towards the woods with the sun starting to shine throughthe tree tops. To the left of the picture, under the dark tree ,are some woolies.

Here they come with Baron, my moorit Perendale in the lead - probably thinks he's gonna get some cookies if he gets to me first ahead of the girls. He has SUCH a sweet tooth.

This is Baron up close and personal. Ain't he a cutie?!!! Here, he's showing you the frost on his back ( he's in the bottom picture ).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I finally drug myself to the orthopod the other day so he could tell me what was wrong with my left hand. About 2-3 weeks ago, I was sitting at the computer and just turned my head to the left and felt a pulling sensation in the back of my left armpit ( no pain at all ) and then developed a tingling in my left elbow and thumb, index, and long fingers. Sometimes, I get a tingle on the back of my left forearm that feels like an itch but not. I figured I had pinched a nerve in my back and would probably need surgery ( not the thing you want to think about when you've just started a new job ) to fix it.
The orthopod took my history of what had happened and said he thought I had carpal tunnel in my left hand ( whew! ) and went to turn my hands palm side up and they didn't turn too far - he didn't like this and asked if I'd had any type of injury to my wrists ( my left wrist will only turn parallel to my upper arm while my right wrist will turn my hand almost completely palm up ), so I had another set of xrays done ( the 1st set was of my left forearm and elbow ). He looked at the xrays and said I had carpal tunnel but nothing bad enough for surgery, just wear a cockup splint for a while - he said the nerve was irritated but it didn't know where so it was tingling from my elbow to my fingertips. At least, I didn't do much damage - he said I had sprained my back earlier this year when I carried a 50 lb block of salt to the sheep and had used my left arm differently and so, when I turned my head that day it pulled part of the injured muscle and cause the nerve to act up in my hand.
So, now I get to wear this lovely cream colord splint til my hands gets better - around 3-4 weeks. Oh well, it could have been a lot worse.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Well, Chloe is at it again. Because I have to go to work tonight ( I work 7p-7a in a hospital ), I told Chloe that I didn't want her to wake me up this morning ( Friday ) until at least 8:30 or 9 am. So, I'm sleeping away and I get the urge to wake up - it's light outside and the sun is shining through the bathroom window. Wonder what time it is because Chloe hasn't come in to see if Stylle and I am awake, so I get out of bed and check the alarm clock and just about pass out. It's 9am !!! When Chloe hears me up she comes bouncing in barking that she has to go potty.
Now, I know this pup is smart but come on ... this is just toooo much, even for her. I'm afraid to see what she's going to do next.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Well, I had to break down and turn on the space heaters in the living room/kitchen and in my bedroom this morning - it was a tad bit nippy. The temperature out side was 34 when I let the girls outside around 8 am and the inside temp was 59, but Willie, the cockatiel, was all puffed up complaining about being cold at the top of his lungs ( it wasn't pretty ). So the heaters are on - the one in the bedroom just take the chill off the room making it good for sleeping ( don't like to sleep in a very warm room, namely under 3 quilts ) and the one in the living room is turned up higher to bring the temp up more. The weather servce on tv is calling for possible snow tonight into Fri morning. No use in complaining about it as there's nothing anyone can do to stop it ( and besides, you don't want to piss Mother Nature off because her revenge it horrible ).
The sheep are content with the cooler weather, actually when it gets cooler they have a tendency to get " cold and stupid " and bounce ( literally ) allover the place - from my youngest babies to my oldest ewes. They are hilarious to watch when it starts to get colder - you wouldn't think that sheep could have soo much fun, but they do.
Am planning on doing some dying of roving this afternoon. I found a new way to dye on the 'Net yesterday by using the oven. I have some generic roving that I bought quite a while ago and am going to experiment with it ( after I get back from buynig sheep feed ) before I try it out on my Shetland roving ( if I'm going to screw it up then I want to do it on generic wool and not my Shetland - which I use to make things to sell ). Will take pix of the whole process and post it later.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Well, my baby puppy, Chloe, is a year old today. Ain't she cute?! ( Ok, in this picture she's 10 months old, but you get the idea. ) Looks real sweet and innocent, doesn't she?! Well, looks can be deceiving

This monster is too smart for her own good. Usually, I only have to tell her something about 2-3 times and she knows it ( either that or she got me twisted around enough to believe she knows things ). If I really want to get on Stylle"s nerves ( my beautiful very pale yellow Lab girl ), I will tell Chloe to go tell Stylle that she wants to talk to Chloe and I'll be damned if that pup doesn't go up to Stylle and stare into her face like she's repeating what I just told her to do. This pup is scary. Now I've raised several breeds of dogs and 1 other breed of hound ( Dachshund, to be exact ) and this coonhound pup is as intelligent as or more so than any Dachshund I've ever met.

She will sit and look so sweet and innocent and then the next minute it's Katie bar the door because Chloe is off and running.

Her latest thing is to give puppy hugs. What she does is to get up on the sofa next to me ( as close as possible - forget about breathing for a while ) and then she will put her head ACROSS my chest and lean into me. She does this at least once a day, but what really got me was she started doing this when DeeDee was so sick and even more after DeeDee passed. It's almost like it's her way of making me understand that she loves me. Of course, after she gives puppy hugs she's off like a light and into something.

She has kept things jumping around here since she walked, or rather was carried, in the door last November and she took control and hasn't given it up yet. She got the labs up and moving and got me to chase her ( namely when she has some of my knitting in her mouth ) !!! She has been a joy and a pain in the ass but I wouldn't trade her for any other dog on the face of the Earth. She's a definite mamma's girl and, believe it or not, Chloe loves to be dressed up in hats and coats and sweaters and such. She just amazes me every day as to what she'll do next ( just don't tell her I said so - she already thinks she's the greatest thing on 4 feet ).

But, that's my girl!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tranquil picture of the sun coming through the trees on the east side of the back. Looks very peaceful.

Here are some of the woolies coming up to see if I have any goodies for them just because I'm out on the back deck. Can we say " spoiled sheep".

This is what I saw out the back door when I let Stylle and Chloe back in from their morning visit to the great outdoors. This is looking towards the east though the fog that 30 minutes before was just coming up over the hill - here it is about 125 feet from the backdoor. Thought it looked neat.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

It's been quite a while since my last post because things have been nuts around here.
Labor Day weekend, I went to the big coonhound dog show up in Richmond,IN, and had a great time. Saw lots of coonhounds and the breeders I want to buy from next spring ( I plan on having a coonhound kennel along with my lab kennel ).
Came home after the show to find out my oldest lab - DeeDee - was very sick. She wasn't able to get up on her feet and was having trouble keeping food and water down. This went on for about 4 days and then suddenly on the Thursday after Labor Day, she was up walking around and wanting to go outside. This didn't last long because she went downhill the next day. By 9/19, she wasn't able to eat or drink and could barely scoot around to change position. I had to make the hard decision to have her put down. The vet came out after office hours and, with Stylle, Chloe, and the rest of the kennel dogs close by, DeeDee was put down very peacefully. The dogs barked and howled during this time and while I took her to her last resting place. After I had finished burying her, Chloe placed a tennis ball on the edge of her grave. It was a nice tribute ( even tho Chloe picked the ball up after I left DeeDee's grave ).
The girls ( Stylle and Chloe ) have finally started to eat and play again - I didn't even realize that they weren't doing this as much during DeeDee's last days but now they seem like they are almost back to normal. They have also put tributes to DeeDee on their own websites.
Maybe things will start to get better. I finally got off orientation from Deaconess after 3 weeks of being treated like a brand new grad ( somewhat insulting after 20 years of work ), and will be starting on night shift next weekend.
Will try to post more often since it looks lie things have started to settle down. Do need to post new pics of the new sheep that came after DeeDee died.
Need to go see what Chloe is into as she's really quiet.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Yesterday, Ferguson and Rebel were sent to market. It was hard to send Ferguson because he was my original flock sire and produced very nice babies for me but I only had 2 ewes he could safely be bred to as everyone else was either a daughter or granddaughter of his. I will miss him and I know the ewes will too. Rebel is another subject. He had hit me 1 time too many and even tried to get me yesterday, so he was haltered and placed outside the pen until the driver got there. I had planned on taking all the babies to market, along with Fergie and Rebel and a couple of adult ewes that were not going to be used in the breeding program again, but was only able to catch 5 sheep ( but they totalled 395 pounds ). The guy at the stockyards said if they were heavier I would get paid more. I keep telling him that Shetlands don't get heavy like the BIG sheep ( Suffolk,Montadale,Hamps ) but he just looked at me. He said that he was at the state fair on Thursday but didn't see any Shetlands and I told him to come back on Sunday ( at the earliest ) and they will be coming in because we had the national assoc coming in for the annual meeting and show and there would be a lot of Shetlands there then. Hopefully, he will come by then and see and LEARN more about these little sheep.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This is a close up of the scarf that I knitted for the AGM in Indy next week. There was a small ripple in the border after it was blocked, but it's not noticeable if it's worn. It's hand-spun from 100% Shetland lambswool and hand-knit from a pattern I found on a calendar about knit items a year ago. It is soft to the touch and doesn't itch at all. The color is natural, which is a sort of cream color - even though the ewe who gave this wool was white, her fleece turned out to be this color after it was cleaned and spun into yarn. This wool and yarn was a joy to work with.

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's with a heavy heart that I must sell my flock sire of the past 5 years. Underhill Ferguson ( S11776 ) is being put up for sale. The primary reason is because my ewes are directly related back to him ( i.e., his daughters and granddaughters ) and I'm concerned that if he's bred to them there can be some dire consequences develop in the resulting lambs. I have talked to Gail about this and she agrees that I should try to sell him first and if that doesn't work then he will have to go to market. I'd much rather keep him but he wouldn't tolerate not being able to breed his ewes in the fall. He has produced some nice lambs and I will be keeping Candi ( grey kat mollett ) , Maddie ( moorit ) , Mollie ( musket ), Lacie ( grey ) and Bandit ( grey/white yuglet/flecket who carries moorit ). It will be sad around he for a while but Gail offered to lease me a black ram ( that carries the modifier ) and then Ditto ( who also carries the modifyer ) will be coming to take Fergie's spot as flock sire. Fergie will be missed terribly as he's become a good friend and provider to the flock.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Recently, a fellow Shetland sheep breeder in Minnesota had a fire and lost their entire 2006 hay crop and their pole barn. The Shetland sheep breeders across this great country have pulled together to form an auction to help these people - they are having a lamb auction and are selling fiber articles and yarn and rovings on ebay to help fed these sheep this winter. We have donated some very nice bright white kid mohair roving ( we don't have any Shetland roving available at this time ) to the cause. They have made almost $ 1000 at the time of this posting and should make a lot more. It makes you feel good, that in a time of anonymus killings and violence and the indifference found across this nation, that a group of sheep breeders can come together and form an auction and raise money to help their own ( some of whom have never met these people who were affected by the fire ) and are willing to give and give and give. It's times like this that make me proud to be an American and a farmer on top of that.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

This unlikely looking piece of knitting is a bias knit scarf made out of 100% Shetland lamb's wool from one of my ewes. The pattern came from one of the 365 knitting pattern calendars ( don't remember the exact name of the calendar ) that was published for 2005. I knit this scarf as a door prize for the NASSA AGM to be held at the Indiana State Fair next month. It won't look like this - it needs to be blocked first, which I will be doing later today and it will look a lot better than it does now. The color is sort of a cream / white and is the natural color of this ewe's fleece ( it wasn't nor will it be dyed - I want it to be in it's natural color ). Will post this scarf again AFTER it's blocked to be able to show the difference in before and after.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Not much going on with the sheep as it's just too hot for them to be moving around right now. It's supposed to be in the mid 90's today with the humidity in the upper 70's. All they want to do is lie under the trees in the woods and hope for a breeze. Can't say I blame them - the a/c is having a hard time keeping the house cool,too. Have been spinning some of Wen's ( Lt. Acres Ceridwen ) fleece I had processed at Ohio Valley Natural Fibers - it's like trying to spin a cloud. I plan to make either a sweater or shawl out of the yarn from her fleece. It's a black wool with some lighter areas ( at least on her - not sure if she's a shala or just getting light from age but the light color starts at her butt and goes forward. Will have to take a picture to the AGM next month and let Stephen look at it. ) making it almost a very dark grey with black overtones and is very soft. But can only spin early in the morning or late at night ( after 10 pm ) because the house is cool at those times otherwise, it's too hot to even think about having anything to do with wool. The weather on one of the tv channels is calling for temps in the upper 80's by Friday with some rain - hopefully it will get here ( nothing like hoping for a cool wave of the 80's, namely after it's been in the 90's for almost a week ). I may start a rain dance with the dogs and sheep to see if we can't get someting started.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

This is my blog about things that are going on on the farm, what the sheep are doing, and what I'm doing with their wool - spinning it into yarn and what I'm knitting with it. There may be some ramblings from time to time but I will try to keep it to a minimum.
I have been raising Shetland sheep for the last 5 years and have 12 Shetlands, 2 border Leicesters and 1 Perendale that I have sheared every spring , around lambing time, and , after having it processed at a fiber mill, spin it into beautiful soft wool yarn and knit it into sweaters, shawls, mittens, afghans, coats, and whatever someone may want to wear. Most people who say they are allergic to wool have been able to wear my Shetland wool items because it doesn't cause them to itch.
Don't forget to drop by frequently to see what might be going on with the Shetlands.