Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lately

 Buford and Kiki spent some time snuggling on the couch.

 The Easter Bunny came!  (am I late posting, or what)
 I had a birthday and the kids made me a nice banner and card.

 David and I built a set of steps for our deck.

Buford found a yummy treat.  He found a dried out tail that fell off a lamb.  He had fun playing with it until mean old mom took it away.
 Devin's peach tree is blooming and so pretty!
 The cover crop in the garden is growing like crazy.  I planted it over the asparagus bed last fall, then realized I can't see if asparagus are coming up or not!   So I've been pulling it out and feeding it to the animals.  They love it!





 Some bird has tried to make a nest in the chicken coop roof.
 And a Carolina Wren made a nest in the sheep shelter. She has 6 or 7 eggs in there!

The sheep mowed the front yard this weekend.  They did a pretty good job.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Porch Posts




























We finally, finally finished painting the pillars on the porch.  What seemed like an easy job turned into a pretty difficult one.  There were so many layers of old paint on those pillars, and we had to use several methods to try to clean them off.  A combo of paint stripper, sand paper, paint scrapers, and some sort of drill attachment with a metal brush.   It finally worked, and we got it as smooth as possible before we repainted.  Then we re-caulked the seams and put 3 coats of paint on the pillars.  It looks much better!

Next up we'd like to repaint the porch floor (where it's blue) and replace the light.  Oh, and I'd like to either replace the storm door or at least paint it white.  Baby steps!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

My First Navajo Ply

I spun my first najavo plied yarn the other day, and wanted to share pictures.  I found some really lovely alpaca fiber in my stash, and it has such pretty colors I wanted to try to keep them separate.  Navajo plying, or chain plying, is a way to take a single (single strand of yarn) and ply it back on itself to create a 3 ply yarn.  The standard way of plying would put 2 singles (or more) together, and you'd end up with a barber pole effect with the colors.  Navajo plying gives you a 3 ply with gradual color changes.  

I tried separating by color...white, blue, and tan.
















































I had a little bit of trouble with my singles wanting to kink up on themselves, so there are a few little pigtails like in the picture below.
















Now I need to wind it into a hank and wash it, then decide what to knit with it!

A friend sent me this video, by Sarah Anderson.  She has a very calm, gentle way of plying and it her video makes it easy to understand and learn.  I just picked up one of her books at the library, called The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs, and I think this would be a great one to own.  I've only looked through it briefly, but I can see there are so many great pictures and descriptions.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Shearing Day

Friday was shearing day!  I love shearing day.  It's just exciting and even though I've seen sheep sheared hundreds of times, I still love watching.   I used to shear my sheep myself, but lately I've learned it's better to spend the money to have them done than to stress out my bad back.  

I had to keep the sheep in the barn overnight before shearing, because we got some rain and wet sheep are no good for shearing.  Right before the shearer came, I put them in a jug so they'd be easy to catch.  It's not polite to keep your shearer waiting while you run around after loose sheep.  
















The shearing itself didn't take long at all.  
















And then the girls and their lambs went back outside.  The lambs always get confused when they don't recognize their moms.  After a while they all got it sorted out.  

































Then I skirted the fleeces. I don't bother keeping the Southdown fleeces, since they're typically very short.  I do keep Barley and Bean's fleeces though. They're my Romney/Southdown girls, and they have pretty decent natural colored fleeces.

Here is Barley's fleece layed out for skirting (removing the nasty bits, like around the neck and legs).
















Barley's fleece has pretty decent crimp (wave) I think.  I think I've got several years' worth of fleeces of hers.  I'm still planning on processing them myself, unless I find a decent mill where I can send them.  That'd be much faster....
































Bean's fleece seems pretty decent too.
































I better get busy washing, carding, and spinning!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spinning Practice

I've been trying to spin more to get more practice at it, and I found this lovely alpaca fiber in my stash that I had forgotten about.  I wish I had a "before" picture.

I separated the colors...the blue and the tan, each mixed with some white.  I would like to try to ply them (spin them together, to make a 2-ply yarn) and see what I end up with! I'm hoping for a really pretty stripey yarn.  It was a lot of fun to spin, and seemed to be very easy compared to the last wool I spun.



This is the wool yarn I spun before I spun the alpaca.  It was harder to draft evenly, and you can see the unevenness in the singles (each strand before it is plied is a single).  I still like it...it has character. :-)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy Birthday Devin!

 Devin is 12 today!   We had a small family party for him over the weekend.  The kids decorated. They made a great banner!


















They blew up balloons too.
















And Devin requested finger foods for his birthday meal.  We had a veggie tray, fruit tray, and cheese/pepperoni/cracker tray, plus pigs in a blanket.  It was a great choice for a birthday meal!
















He wanted strawberry shortcake for dessert.  We made a pound cake with this recipe we happened to find on Youtube.  It is THE BEST pound cake I've ever eaten in my entire life!  You know it's going to be good when it has so much butter, sugar, and heavy cream!   I cannot get over how good it is...if you like pound cake, you'll have to try that recipe!
































Grandpop got some snuggles in with Elmer.  And check out that lovely face Kylee is making.  :-)
















Devin got a new bike!  This one will hopefully be big enough to last him for several years.  He was excited about it, and rode it around the yard even though it was really cold out!
















Next year he'll be a teenager!!  I can't believe how fast time is flying by!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Knitting by the Sea 2015

A few weeks ago, I attended my first ever knitting retreat.  I was very honored to be able to teach a needle felting class there, as well.  

The retreat was held at Hampton Inn & Suites in Corolla, NC.  The hotel was great.



















My sister attended the retreat with me, but we weren't the only family members there.  Our Aunt Linda is a member of Tidewater Knitting Guild, which hosted the retreat.  She's in the background below, I think pretending to not notice our silly sister-selfie.
























Saturday morning I taught my Needle Felting 101 class.  I made kits for each class member, and brought a sample of some of the felted things I've created.



It was so much fun getting a chance to teach needle felting! 

Later that day, the vendors set up so the retreat members could do some shopping.  I was also there vending, so my sister helped me set up the Purl & June table.

It was fun having a helper there, and it made vending so much easier!   


Sunday morning I woke up pretty early and managed to get a few pictures of the sunrise.  It was so beautiful.
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Then Becky and I took a class on thrummed knitting, which is when you knit with little bits of roving, which make for a very warm finished product!  It was pretty easy to pick up, and I really enjoyed the demo.
It was a very fun weekend, and I would love to go to another retreat!  The weekend was filled with family and fiber...can't think of a better way to spend  weekend!

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