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Real Progress

October 8, 2012

Late last night I finally bit the bullet and put 4 of my patterns up on Ravelry. Look for Majora Acres if you’re interested. It was very exciting that not 10 minutes later I had my first “fave”. No sales yet, but I’m excited none the less. Hopefully this will give me the push I need to get the shawl patterns completed and up too. I’ve had lots of requests for a couple of them when I’ve worn the shawls at fiber shows. I’m naming all my patterns after mountains and waterways here in Oregon. There are 2 cowl patterns (Tumalo Creek and Crooked River), the Siskyous scarf and Paulina mittens. I’ve sold copies of the patterns at shows, but this is my first foray into online sales of patterns.

I also got a very nice note from someone who has a local tie, and she is encouraging me with my plan to put my sheep up for “adoption”. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. Being a farmer is hard work, and not cheap either. I think that, since I do have a very endangered breed and a lot of folks out there love the idea of having sheep but can’t at this point in their lives, we can help each other out. I need to take some really good pictures of each of the sheep separately and iron out a few details, but then I will be putting my sheep out there for the world to love.

The little girls spent a couple of days cleaning up where the hay pile goes and are now penned out behind the pasture in an area that has never been grazed (and hasn’t been mowed in about 3 years). They all got a little more practice being haltered and led. Maggie is a pro now, walking right next to me. The others are not quite so impressed with my plans, especially Milly. She pulled back as I was slipping the others back into the pen this morning and was LOOSE! It didn’t last long; I managed to get behind her and encourage her to join her sisters in the pen. When I caught the end of the lead rope, you would have thought I was the big bad wolf! She did her best to escape, but I sat down in the grass and held on while she tried jumping over and into me. I tried scratching her, looking for her sweet spot, but she wasn’t having any of that nonsense. It did give me a chance to really feel her fleece though, and I do have to say I am really impressed. It is incredibly soft, and I am looking forward to shearing all these babies as soon as possible.

The little boys are not real happy with me. In order to stay here, they all needed wethered. For those of you that don’t know, that means castrated. Wethers make better fiber, since they don’t have the seasonal hormonal surges that the ewes and rams do. Also, they tend to be less temperamental (those hormonal surges again). I still have to do Manny. He apparently took the judge’s comments to heart and he is too big to do with my bander. I am borrowing a larger one later this week when I return the borrowed ram and bring the goat girls home from their honeymoon. Hopefully at least one of them is pregnant. I could see if I can find someone to ultrasound them in a month or so, but I’m not sure it’s worth the money. Either they are or they aren’t, and if they aren’t there really won’t be anything I can do about it until next fall. It will be nice to have them home again.

As a reward for finishing the Monster Socks, I started a sweater for myself. The yarn is from 2 of my ewes, Eartha and her twin Etta. I had it spun up several years ago by a friend who had started her own mill (BelTine Farm). I worked up a sample, working up several different stitch patterns but finally settled on simple stockinette. I’m about half way through the body already. It will be a light weight sweater, which is exactly what I want. I’m kicking around an idea for something a bit heavier when this one is done.



Oh, and I planted a bunch of strawberry plants I got from my mom yesterday. Hopefully the weather will cooperate so that they can get well rooted before it gets nasty. Guess I have been a bit busy after all.

Black Sheep Weekend

June 26, 2012

I guess it’s good to be busy. Keeps me out of the bars at night, hee hee!

Wednesday evening I came over to the valley to take Kid the Younger and his fiancee to the airport early Thursday morning. They are off to Cleveland for a couple of weeks. I also kitty-napped his cat to come spend the summer with me. While they are gone I am taking advantage of their house to be able to sleep in an actual bed instead of the van, which is what I normally do during Black Sheep.

Ah, Black Sheep. I love this show. I missed it last year because of my shoulder surgery. I didn’t bring sheep, but I did help with showing. I handled this Image(2nd place Romeldale ram lamb) and this Image(1st place Romeldale ewe lamb, and also Reserve Champion). They and 1 other lamb also won the Romeldale Young Flock, which meant they got to come back in the ring at the end of the day for the big trophy. They didn’t win, but they were pulled into the middle of the ring for serious consideration which was  a big deal. The ewe lamb went home with my friend Correy, the ram lamb went home with my friend Jan, so my budget was saved from depletion. He was so funny because at one point I moved my hand from under his chin and his head fell, because he had fallen asleep in my hand! They are both from Reflection Farm in Eaton, Washington. 

Judging the Spinner’s Lead was a hoot. The entries get better and better. My breed Association has been asked (and agreed) to take over management of the Lead, and now that I’ve experienced it from both sides I have some ideas on some changes that I think will make it run a little smoother. I will talk them over with the lady who was the other judge to make sure that I’m not missing something. As a “thank you” for helping out, I was given a copy of “New England Knits”, and there are a couple of things in it that are in my knitting queue already.

The other fun part of the weekend was hooking a new spinner. She was watching me spin on my wheel, and we got to talking. I showed her my Golding spindle and how it worked. Pretty soon she wanders off to look at the vendor booths, then comes back to ask if I’ll look at some drop spindles with her. She now owns a Jenkins Swan turkish spindle and lots of roving, and when I showed her what to do turns out she’s a natural spinner! She was spinning lace weight from the get-go! ImageThis picture is when she had been spinning for all of 10 minutes! I told her it was all about getting the right teacher. She had to teach a knitting class Sunday afternoon, but we got together afterwards to answer a couple of questions, and she gifted me 2 of her patterns as a thank you.

And what was I spinning all weekend you might ask? ImageThat’s one of my Blue Skies batts (2/3 Romeldale, 1/3 rayon). Two ounces worked into 416 yards of laceweight yarn. I started the 2nd batt last night, hoping to finish all 3 before the Tour de Fleece starts. I’m thinking of working it into a lace shawl during the Ravelympics.

I’m staying in the valley until tomorrow, since I’ll be picking up turkeys and chicks from the hatchery in the morning. I’m getting 10 poults (I’ve already pre-sold 4 of them) and 50 chicks. I went with what the hatchery calls their “Fryer Pan Special”, all cockerels, instead of the Cornish Cross, which I find grow faster than I can deal with them. I can handle processing a few birds at a time, which should work out just fine. Need to start seriously looking for a freezer so that I have someplace to put them all! Mom lets me keep stuff in hers, but that means I have to plan ahead when I want something.

One more day to relax, then back to the grind!