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Baymule

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Ha! Somehow I missed your post last time around. I definitely have a room mostly full with fiber-y stuff.

I’m a spinner and knitter. I own 4 different wheels. Due to a knee issue, the only one I’m using currently is my little (but very versatile) e-spinner, the Electric Eel 6.0 from Dreaming Robots - EEW 6.0.

My preferred projects are “start to finish”. I shear my sheep, process the wool (I have 2 drum carders and a couple sets of combs), and then spin and knit. My Shetland wool is my favorite to work with.

My most recent project was a lace weight hap (square shawl). I started it last September and finished it a couple weeks ago. It’s almost 5’x5’ and weighs only 250g (less than 9oz). I could have finished it much sooner, but I’m busy and easily distracted. The wool came from my Butthead Shetland ram.








That is art work! Beautifully done, you are very talented.
 

Baymule

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Shearing is not that hard. The equipment is expensive. You need a sheep shearing head on a big clipper and lots of blades in various sizes. You use 2 blades on the clipper to shear and the blades dull about every 3 sheep. The blades cost $10 each to have sharpened (last time we did it about 6 years ago). So every 3-4 sheep you are paying $20 in blade sharpening costs. The wool doesn't dull the blades but because the wool is full of lanolin the fleece gathers all kinds of dirt in it and the dirt dulls the blades. Oh, and you also need blade wash and blade cooler spray to lube the blades. And be careful when taking off the whole fleece since those blades will take off a teat or castrate your ram by accident.

Processing is harder than shearing. You have to make a carding table which is basically a large table with a screen on it that allows the bits of straw and foliage to fall through as you pick them out of the fleece. Getting the fleece ready for processing takes time. THEN you have to wash the fleece with dish soap to cut the grease. If the water is too cold the lanolin won't come out and the fleece stays greasy, too hot and you felt your wool. Much easier to send it for processing which is very expensive! But easier and it comes back nicely carded into batts ready for spinning.


Spinning wheels come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Some are easier to use and some are harder and you won't know which is which until you have bought a few. $$$$$ They are also large items that will need to find a large space in your house. That won't be a problem since you will need a room just for all the batts of wool which really do take up a lot of space. The spinning wheel can fit in a corner of that room. If you fall in love with spinning (some people do) you will probably have several wheels anyway, so just figure on a room just for the batts, yarn, and wheels.

Spinning is not as easy as you would think. DH was much better than I was. My yarn was very lumpy. After sighing in exasperation over my bad spinning my teacher kindly referred to it as "art wool". Spinning also takes a long time to spin enough yarn to actually make something. And the problem with wool yarn is that it is - well, wool - which has to be washed in cold water and can't go in the dryer. Think about that expensive wool sweater my sister borrowed without my permission and washed in hot water. :somad No, let's not think about that.

Once you have the yarn, you may want to dye it. Many spinners will tell you about "natural" dyes from leaves, berries, etc. They will insist that these natural plant dyes are the only way to go. They will go on and on about the wonderful colors that can be obtained from weeds, berries, bugs (not kidding here) and insist that this is the best thing to use. This is just a way to make you feel inferior since the colors from natural plant dyes are ugly. Imagine a pretty color of paint and then dump some brown paint into it. Those are the colors you get with "natural plant dyes". In addition, these "natural plant dye" fanatics will insist you will go out in fields and try to gather the stuff yourself. These "natural weeds, berries etc. are only to be obtained miles from the road in a large field covered with stickers and thorns. If you decide to use commercial dyes, you will not be a bona fide "natural" wool spinner. Instead, you will be a pariah among the wool spinning crowd.

Once you finally have your yarn (in a year or two), you have to either weave, knit or crochet something with it. If you weave you need a great big contraption called a loom. $$$ For this loom you will need to add a room to your house. The benefit of the loom is that you can weave cloth which you then can sew into garments. And you will need the extra space in this "loom room" for more yarn and wool.

If you decide against weaving, you need to get knitting needles or crochet hooks. And learn to use them. They come in all sizes and you will have to know what size you need. In addition there are other things like sizing gauges, things that look like safety pins to mark certain spots where you change stitches, and stuff that is unrecognizable. Don't worry though, there are lots of knitting patterns - all of which say stuff like 35kn, 4p, 23tsk 4ko, etc. These patterns are incomprehensible to anyone who has not got a degree in knitting. I can knit and crochet. Sadly, my crochet turns into a bowl so I can only make dolly hats. I can do 4 stitches in knitting, knitting on, knit, purl, and knit off. I can make blankets, slippers, and I learned to use 4 needles and make socks. I can only make tube socks since I never learned to turn the heels. I made DH a pair of socks, but they were so small that his toes would barely fit in the top. I gave them to my youngest daughter who is only 100 lbs. Then I made much larger ones for DH. They fit and he was properly appreciative, but he hid them somewhere so he didn't have to wear them.

I promised my family that I would make them all something for Christmas but they took my knitting bag and I didn't find it for several years. They gave it back when I had to knit baby blankets for the newest infants. However, now that I have knitted a blankie for all my grandchildren including the 14 year old boy who was polite but confused to be gifted a baby blanket, I am knitting smaller baby blankets to donate to the abused women's home. I find knitting to be very calming, so I knit my way to Texas and back several times a year. Yarn has become expensive though.

To end this story, I sold my Dorsets (whose wool spun very well) and bought White Dorpers. We love lamb meat.

All of THIS!!!!
 

purplequeenvt

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Do you sell any of the projects like that, that you make? I am blown away at the quality of it.

I don’t usually sell my stuff. I’m a slow crafter and I worry that making items to sell would take the fun out of the job. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t sell something if someone asked. I usually do 1 big project like this every year or 2. I do other smaller projects in between.
 

SA Farm

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I don’t usually sell my stuff. I’m a slow crafter and I worry that making items to sell would take the fun out of the job. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t sell something if someone asked. I usually do 1 big project like this every year or 2. I do other smaller projects in between.
That shawl is absolutely gorgeous 😍 I’m definitely not that talented!
I feel the same way about selling my art—be it my books or my wool stuff, I’m just afraid it’ll ruin the fun of it for me. Though I definitely wouldn’t mind a little income 😋 I think about selling some of my stuff all the time, but have yet to do it.

I picked up a Louet Junior drum carder and gave it a test drive. Made 4 little batts of cotton candy wool lol
This is the first one I did and had to put it through again to make it prettier.
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The 4 but I forgot to turn the flash on 🤦‍♀️ You can see the colour in the little sliver of sunshine 😂
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The storage bin they’re on is one of two that I bought for keeping my stuff safe and out of the way since it was definitely starting to take over!

In other news, I’m hoping the majority of my hay will be delivered this week. DH went out and got me a bunch of pallets to store my hay on. Thinking to put them together into something of a mini hay barn with some t-posts and tarp. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m also planning to finally order a ram marking harness and a few crayons since I found a fairly local supplier of said items that should be able to get them to me before October.
Other than the hay, this week will mostly be inside and wool stuff since it’s a little on the hot side for me again. Next week I can get back outdoors 😊
 

SA Farm

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Hay has arrived! 6 beautiful round Timothy/alfalfa bales all ready to be man-handled onto the pallets for storage. DH and I got two into position tonight, but the rest will have to wait until tomorrow to get put away. I have the tarps, t-posts, and cement blocks ready to be put into place, so it shouldn’t take long to get it finished up.
I’m still planning to get some more hay and a bit of straw next month just to be sure I have plenty.

I finally got around to calling and placing the order for my ram harness and crayons. I’m interested to see how quickly the girls get marked and who, if any, get remarked. I got two colours of crayons, so I should have a good idea of what’s up. They only had blue and green, so I hope they show up okay on the brown and grey rumps 😋 I’m also interested to see what difference knowing actual due dates will make for me management-wise.

I’m getting really tired of moving the boys around the back brush area. Lifting a kennel 4+feet into the air to get over the bushes is starting to wear on me. DH was going to weed whack it and has been putting dents in the bigger bushes with his chainsaw, but the whacker’s been in the shop, so we’re out of luck for a lot of the small-mid-sized ones until it’s fixed. I’m working the boys towards a nicer area right now. It’s also a bit closer to the house, so it’ll hopefully give me a nice break. I’m also hoping it’ll last until the whacker is ready.

I can’t believe it’s the end of August already! DH and I have to get some grass seed and fix up the yard where the sheep have grazed for the last 3 years and haven’t allowed things to go to seed other than weeds around the perimeter. I’d also like enough to spread in the back area once the bushes are out of the way.

Alright, time to stop thinking about all the work I need to do and just be happy for all the good that’s getting done. Hay is here, progress is being made all over the place, animals are happy and healthy. Lots to be grateful for 😊
 

Ridgetop

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That shawl is gorgeous! Is that crochet, knitted, or what? It looks like bobbin lace. I would put it under glass over colored velvet to show it off and hang it on a wall, maybe hang it over a headboard. Beautiful work! Knowing you made it all from scratch is really something. That will be a family heirloom for your children to fight over!

I had about 10 giant tubs of processed wool batts that I gave away to a friend whose daughter wanted to try spinning. It was nice Dorset wool, which spins great, not as soft as the fine wool breeds, but very good all the same, and durable. Since we had ours processed, the "local" processor (3.5 hours drive away) has stopped doing processing for any wool except her own. Probably due to incorrect cleaning of the raw fleeces by customers. I had so many fleeces that I just pulled off the dirty parts but some people packaged up the poopy bits in the fleeces for the processor. :tongue No wonder she stopped taking outside fleeces.

We lost interest in spinning since our main interest is in breeding for meat and conformation. Our Dorpers are great that way. And no worries about keeping wool clean.
 

SA Farm

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DS has an obsession with eggs. He has a book where you have to find and count them and combining that with having chickens has created a bit of a monster 😂
He loves going into the coop to get the eggs. He then loves to do one of many things: hit them together, feed them to the dog (who very much appreciates this option), put them in a bucket of water, throw them at the cats, OR proudly bring them inside to put in cartons.
I never know which one he’s going to choose, so it’s a daily adventure for both of us 😂 I’m also convinced that he will soon discover other options to add to the list—a prospect that is both terrifying and highly amusing to me.

Today is rainy, so we’re staying inside for the most part. Time to catch up on some housework (dishes and laundry mostly) and perhaps I’ll play with some wool while DS and DH nap.
I actually really need to dye some of the wool I’ve been picking through so I can play with my carder some more 😁

Did anyone else notice that post 1,000 on this thread was on page 100? I just realized and thought that’s pretty cool 😎
 

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