An Entry and a Class: CHT part 2

So I’m back to remember that I also entered one more item in the member’s exhibit not to be judged. So what did I spend that time on?

I used my own Gulf Coast sheep wool and crocheted a sweater from AUSTENtatious Crochet by Melissa Horozewski. I decided to give a shot at the Becoming Jane Sweater. Now once again it was me doing this and it didn’t all come out close to what the picture is like. Hmmm… What is up? Well, like I just said, it was me doing it. But despite not getting the neckline right or that the top of the shoulders don’t cup up like they are supposed to, It really isn’t that bad.

After I finished the crocheting, I decided to try dyeing this contraption of a sweater that I am really going to need to loose some weight to wear. I settled on ice dyeing with Rit Dyes. Something I could get easily enough and give this a try. Oh dear me oh my!! Now don’t ask me to demonstrate or tell how this is done. I did learn how not to do it. And the next time (if such were to happen), I do know a lot of things to do differently. But all in all, I still created a dyed sweater. In actuality, I like the back of it better than the front. The front took most of the dye and the back was just more scattery. But the front is growing on me. It is not at all as I thought I was going to create but something not to be thrown away either.

Now on to one class I took. my first class was on needle felting. I figured we would be doing something small, about 4″x4″, in the space of time that we had in class. Figured though to have some fun and learn. But boy was I wrong. We were suppose to bring pictures and ideas for what we wanted to create. I had two very different ideas but after talking to the teacher, I settled on trying to recreate a picture of Heavenfield up on Hadrian’s Wall. Mark and I spent an anniversary trip up on the wall and stayed at a B&B on a sheep farm right next door to this field. (Side note the farm house and buildings had been built out of stone from the wall.)

In this field in 633 or 634 there was a battle between Oswald of Bernicia and Cadwalon ap Dadfan of Gwynedd. An important in Northumbria history and English history. Today there is a wood cross at the road and back up in the field the St. Oswald’s Church.

Now this came out pretty good and notice it isn’t a 4″x4″. The teacher, Karla Herre, had a “felting loom”. We got to make large pieces on backing she already had made. We created our pictures on front in layers. Then ran it through the felting loom. Then added more and hand needle felted bits in so that they would stay in place when going through the mega needles machine. It was a lot of fun and I still have some things I’m going to do with it. The church could use some help especially. But the sky could use a bit more help and the cross has issues not noticed in this picture. Is the picture like that photograph. Not totally. The cross is at the road so not in the field as it looks here. But I also added some red flowers for a little punch of color and no such thing in reality.

So I have been working on fiber of late and need to get some more things done but with so many irons in the fire to keep using or maybe so many balls in the air to keep up there, I will have to see. Right now I really need to clean up my room and space. Like I really need to. So should I get on it or back at one of those irons?

Categories: dyeing, Fiber, Fiber Arts, Gulf Coast Sheep | Leave a comment

Two entries into CHT Conference 2021

So this year I have been away from home for three days having fun, and so extroverting that when I got hom, I had to crash about two days to revive. But it was great to be back out and see what others had done and fiddle with things in classes.

The biggest part of this update is that the projects I had going were for the conference so I didn’t post about them before now but as it is history, here we go.

So I have this sheep pattern to spin and crochet to make a Gulf Coast Sheep. Sounds simple and should be fun. Right? Oh dear. I didn’t factor in that I would be the one doing this. And also that I’ve lived both sides of the Pond and no longer can keep crochet stitches straight. Yes, I have English and American books and patterns and yes, we both call the stitches by different names. Not completely different. Just one name off up or down. So a single crochet in American is a double crochet in English. Right? Yikes! See my troubles. I look them up each time and still get them wrong. I think part of the trouble is that once you learn of this and have to deal with it, the English version seems more natural to me. Though I think I know where each get the way they name them, I still make multiple troubles for myself with them.

So I have now spun and crocheted this sheep and finally realized the reason he isn’t acting right is that I am doing the wrong stitch. I need to come down one and then he will be about half the size and should then actually stand up on his own. But do you want to know when I figured this out?

So I start a second one and hope that it is better. Double check things. Alas, he doesn’t stand up either. It was when I was just about done with him, that I really realized that I had used the wrong stitch to crochet both sheep. Oh dear me, oh my!! I did do better with him and he is stuffed better than sheep one, but he still won’t stand on his own. Though those big heads don’t help. Now for the reason he must stand up.

I was on the board of Contemporary Handweavers of Texas and it was suggested to add a category in the Members Exhibit where you could enter an item or two or three and it wouldn’t be part of what was judged. It would be just there for show. Now I don’t make anything that could remotely come to competition and look like it should be there. So in the discussion, I pushed the idea as great for people like me. So in the end I really did need to put things in the show. So my sheep did need to stand. How did I manage it the night before?

He ended up standing beside a “barbed wire” fence of which part of what made the barbed wire also went around the top of two legs to hold him up. Still a sad looking thing, but he now was standing and little less embarrassing. Actually if he was better made and proportioned, he’d be downright cute.

Both sheep are made with my own sheep’s wool that I spun. The first with the brown, I dyed the wool and the second sheep, with black accents, is made from either Caleb or Joshua’s black wool. The white is just whoever’s. But if I were to guess I think I had some of John’s wool beside me and used it.

I also entered a woven piece in the Member’s Exhibit. Again it is with my own sheep’s wool, but this I had sent out to be spun. So I feel I cheated a bit, but weaving goes so much faster than spinning, and I wouldn’t presume that I could spin warp at all. I had a modified Log Cabin pattern that I wanted to try out and so decided to do it on the absolutely worse yarn you could. I have done this type of pattern with well defined yarn and like sharp lines alas this wasn’t that. I also needed two colors so dyeing came into play here as well. Alas, again, it was me. I loved the color that I dyed it and did two batches and ended up with space dyed yarn. Ok?! We can make this work. I always make something work whatever the trouble. If I didn’t, would I make anything?

So here it is. Do you see any kind of Log Cabin pattern hiding? If you look really close, you can just make out what is suppose to be happening in there. But the boxes are not defined at all. I did make a second one of these that came out better. Now I didn’t change a thing in the warp, but it shows up some lovely lines crosswise, but the vertical boxes are not visible. But here you can see them trying to show. Hmm…. I have no idea what is happening. Actually I may have one idea. But if you go back an entry here, you can remember with me what it took to get this warp on the loom to begin with as I had made a few errors in setting it up. And forgetting some cardinal rules. Too much time since I had warped the table loom. And with two colors. Should review such things before starting.

With a bit of fortitude I did enter these two to just be seen in the exhibit. I will next add my third entry to the exhibit and then my one item I made while at the conference. Not perfect (I do like perfect) but not bad either. I see, I still need to work on it and will, but want to see it here first as a reminder to myself of how it came home with me.

Also on to new things. Actually, I’m really wanting to try Woolfred in the correct size. Again. Am I crazy? Yes, few would argue that on any level. But I think I will tackle him again. I can find something to do with three crocheted sheep can’t I?

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep, Spinning, Weaving | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

2021 Lambs

Have you ever had a day to hate technology? Those days one would so be better be off with the old technology of thousands of years and work with wool. I had basically finished this post when WordPress decided to snafu it. So here’s to starting over and hopefully this shorter post will be better than the last one. More days to remember in this journey of memories.

So after last years bumper crop of lambs, I went for a controlled group and only put in four older ewes with Simon the Tanner. Out of those four girls, I now have 6 wonderful lambs.

Jonathan and David joined us first. Miriam has given me five boys with two sets of twins. She does know how to raise boys. Jonathan is more of a people lamb, while David is rather shy. Jonathan loves the camera, and when he sees one, will come right over to get his picture taken. David will stand back and watch before ever trusting anyone. And it looks like both of them will have inherited their papa and grandpa’s horns. They should go wide, big, and beautiful.

Rhoda arrived next with little fanfare. Just was here when you went out the next time. Of course her mama, Ruth, is a trooper so no worries. She played alone a bit as the boys were quite happy to just be themselves but now is part of their play.

Almost got to see these two born. Went out to find Rachel with just a nose and a tiny hoof sticking out. Went to get my bag and came back and Huldah was on the ground with a thick bag which she and mama about had off. So helped her get cleared and then debated if there would be another. Went on with work. Came back a short bit later, and brother was standing there all cleaned up and ready for life. His name is Josiah. They are a cute pair, and I hope that Huldah takes after her Grandma in more than looks but also with an awesome fleece. I think Josiah is also going to have his daddy’s and grandad’s horns one day. Little nubs there.

Finally, Abby still wanted to be the last to lamb and so she got her wish. But she was only a couple days, rather than several weeks, later than Huldah and Josiah. She is a sweet shy girl with a grumpy face per how her eyes and mouth sit. With our generally dreary skies this year (which doesn’t mean rain often) it is hard to get a nice sunny picture at the times I’m out there but this was early evening with a westering sun through the trees. She does always seems to have a stern look. Her eyes shading has something to do with it and once in awhile I will get a picture where she actually looks like she’s smiling.

Now on the farm site I do have more about these sweethearts so you can check them under What’s Happening on the Farm. You will also find more on the 2021 Spring Lambs page.

And I do plan to be posting here soon with finished projects. I have three in the works and need to finish all sooner rather than later. So here is to doing that this month. So pleasant journeys to all.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

My Own GC Sheep Wool

So I had some of my own Gulf Coast sheep’s wool washed and sent to a fiber mill to be spun into yarn. Some is a larger size for crochet and some a thinner for weaving. Ok, any guesses that I don’t deal with the terminology well for yarn sizes outside of the normal weaving sizes. The terms for crochet and knit don’t make any sense to me so they don’t stick in this brain. But anyway, I received skeins and cones back. So have started using it.

So I started with beginning a crochet top from AUSTINtatious Crochet. This book has crochet projects that are inspired by Jane Austin and the Regency period. Below, I finally got smart and took the skeins to my work room and wound balls with the ball winder to make it easier. But you can guess that my first skein and ball was a bit of a mess till I hit on a way to wind it off my water and arm.

I have the front of that top half done. Fairly close to what it is suppose to look like. Yep, I’m making it so it isn’t perfect by any stretch of one’s imagination.

But then I decided to weave some on the table loom. I have a disclaimer here. I haven’t woven anything that wasn’t sectional warping in at least five and half years as my table loom was in parts when we got it after the move. After so much time, I finally looked at it. It wasn’t as bad as it looked and now is one complete machine again. Alas, that wasn’t the end of the troubles of this project.

Did I mention it has been awhile since I have warped anything not sectional? I thought it would be simple to do, but being me, it became complicated.

I also picked a not so simple warp for relearning front to back. So again, what one saw in this room in this process would have driven real weavers insane. If not crawling to their own sweet rooms and petting their looms and promising to never have such confusion touch them. Ha!

But let’s back up a bit. I have had a copy of a modified log cabin pattern floating around for ages. I love log cabin and this one I’ve wanted to try for too long to not decide to start it with this project. For good or bad.

So I wound some warp and then dyed it so I could have my two colors. In the end, remember this was me doing this, the yarn ended up space dyed. Ok, we can still work with this. But I did forget to wind enough for the weft as well. I was in a just warp mindset and so got the warp all set, but now must pause in this whole process to dye some weft and hopefully get it similar to the first dye. Oh, yeah, any bets that is going to happen?

But now to warp the loom that I forgot I can’t do in the manner of a sectional. But hey, we will still probably make a mess of it anyway – so onward. I took my two colors and threaded the reed and heddles with the two colors coming from their own batches. Intertwining, I imagined the mess that was being created that would take forever to wind on – and that only if I didn’t end up cutting it short in a tangled mess. But, thankfully, this is only 8 epi (ends per inch), so not a detailed hundreds of threads to work with.

Amazingly what you see above didn’t end up such the crazy time consuming mess that I imagined. All those threads made it to where I sent them, and I managed to get the whole warp wound on without cutting anything, pulling anything too much, or any massive tight tangles. Happy dance! If you can’t guess, no one will be asking me to teach any one how to warp a table loom any time soon, but I can get it done when everything is all wrong. I might add it is only about 5 yards long. Happy sight from the top with it all ready to start weaving – hopefully. There were only two crossed threads. The rest was all in order. Another Happy Dance time!

So today I started weaving. It is working! It is a bit springy but we are able to work with that. It is an odd log cabin pattern with its space dyed yarn. Can I convince anyone that I did that on purpose? Or should I just tell people that no matter what, something can be created out of anything. You can play with the pattern with your eye as it isn’t quite obvious.

So now to go dye some more yarn. Hmmm… If you looked close at two pictures above, you will notice what I did not in the moment – the reason that this ended up space dyed. One of those after thoughts of – good grief, you should know better. But I need to do it again. So maybe the woven bit above is just the practice run as the rest will be too different. Or it will all blend together. So more to experiment with. I’m liking it and hope that it will come out well in the end, and that I will be able to create out of it what I thought in the beginning. Or once again manage to make it work in some way.

Categories: dyeing, Fiber, Gulf Coast Sheep, Weaving | Tags: | 2 Comments

Learning to Spin

So it has been awhile. More than awhile. And though there are projects in all sorts of stages of work, nothing to add to my memories yet. One in particular will make it here, but the first try was a fair disaster. Or maybe not a disaster but not a success either. But the second try is in progress.

So today I was looking for some lace to use to fix a net that I use to clean out the sheep’s water troughs. And in that search, I found some of my first spun yarn. I may be a bit discouraged at what is happening right now in fiber around here, but compared to these little balls, it is of the most grandiose perfection. Ha!

Babies and More Babies

So let’s remember where we’ve come from.

I read near the beginning of my fiber journey to save those first depressing bits so that you could see where you’ve come from down the line. I also saw a simple project to do with that first yarn to make it useful but you could see what you’ve done easily. A wrist distaff. So here is some of my first spindle spun yarn. I have always loved this little thing. It is my almost first hand spun on a spindle. The first was red.

As spinning does take a little bit of practice. Or a long bit of practice. I was finding it hard to feel I was getting anywhere with it at all. But then Connie gave me a bit of this pink batt. Not a lot but something to play with. That was the first time I felt like I had found something I could spin. I could become somewhat proficient at this craft, maybe, after all. I do like batts still today.

So, my first yarn spun on a wheel here in Texas was not a spectacular success. Does it hold together? Yes. Is it in some form of yarn? Yes. But is it very usable? Not for anything nice. But having heard to keep track of those first bits so that you can see where you came from, I can say I shouldn’t be too sad at what is happening on the wheel right now. Nothing near this lumpy bumpy or big or weird or whatever one would call such a ball. So progress.

But I didn’t stay with just wool. I must admit this early ball of yarn is impressive looking to me and it was llama that I drum carded and spindle spun. Compared to the others before, I think I may be getting better at this craft after all.

One last one here. I had spun cotton as well in the beginning. I find this note rather interesting. It states that it is green heritage cotton. Alas it has been a few years or more and is distinctly looking tanish brown. Also I seem to have take my Turkish spindle and used it as a supported spindle to spin it. Still a bit lumpy bumpy but not looking too bad.

So a good look back and maybe I’ll get back to my work I’m doing now and get it logged in here sooner than later.

Categories: Fiber, Spinning | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Lovely Fiber, Yarn, shawl Done

So a project that should have been done many moons ago is finally finished.

I won a door prize at a Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference that then sat for a bit. Maybe longer than a bit. I started spinning it and loved it – Who wouldn’t. Just look at that label.

RedFish DyeWorks is a great company with luscious silk and silk blend fibers. A vendor booth you live in for some time but then if you have to count your pennies, you do need to walk away with just the experience of having touched some of their offerings. But this particular year, I had the privilege of walking out of the conference with 4 oz. of silk and baby camel. Wow! What does one say? I was speechless. I did go back and buy a small bit from them as a thank you. Nothing near this expensive or nice, but I did pay back a thank you.

So what does one do when they get home with what seems like a million bucks? Leave it to sit for a bit. Not quite used to something that slippery and soft and totally slick. I did finally spin it all up during a trip to my folks. So next question – what to make of it? What shape, size, length, width? I did finally decide on something to go at the top of a dress I have that is rather plain. So some simple shawl to go around the shoulders sounded good.

After looking at some ideas, I ended up just taking a pattern from a book and started creating. I got to crocheting and modified my idea which went through more than a few variations. I was going to add other yarn to it, but in the end just finished it up with what I had and let it shine on its own. My starting idea was a bit grander than the amount of yarn I had, but for what is there, I think it came out to be something quite simple and nice.

So here I have my small simple shawl. It just comes around the shoulders and then can tie in front. I had just enough yarn left that I created a bit of a button look where they would meet. Actually, I was just fiddling with the idea of making a flower, but well it was me doing it, and it has a very distinct button look with funky loopy bits in the center.

I will say, if I wasn’t mostly done with this much at the time that I decided that I wouldn’t add other yarn to it for a bigger piece, I would have made it a bit longer and thinner. Alas, I think this is still nice and works quite well.

I’ll have to wear this and the dress Sunday and see how it actually looks together. My farm work attire doesn’t quite do it justice. I am quite happy with it. If I spun thinner, it would have gone farther, but actually some of this is some fine thin spinning for my part. I am happy.

Categories: Fiber, Spinning | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Good and The Bad

Life is moving along here. Texas summer heat and humidity is here in spades, and boy, does one sweat when out doing chores. But it is a good time all the same.

I did sell three more sheep. Two of this years lambs and a year old ewe. So I have sold 6 sheep so far and need to sell some more. So hopefully will find some more people who want to fall down this rabbit hole and love them or else someone who has small acreage and would love a couple of wethers to take care of the mowing needs. Sheep do love to mow your yard for you.

I’ve been working on my Copperplate and Spencerian penmanship. Now when you start from where I am in handwriting this is a long slog, but I’m quite enjoying it and am getting better. Or so I keep telling myself.

Next, the judge in our county finally joined everyone else on the bandwagon of people having to wear masks when in any business in the county. Yikes! I hate masks. I don’t have full breathing as it is and to hinder it further would be just wrong. I did manage to make me a version of one that Mark has where it is like a cowl around the neck then you just pull it up over your nose. That worked well last night for work as I could quickly pull it up and down and could still breath with air from underneath as it was not tight at the bottom. At least I had it easier than others at work who never did get comfortable wearing one and breathing.

But really, worse than having to wear a mask came yesterday. Sweet little Elizabeth broke her leg sometime since last I was out there. It was heartbreaking to see her. But we got her fixed up and she is doing well today. Thankfully. It isn’t slowing her up too much now. I tell more of this story on the Bent Oak Site. So yeah, that is worse than having to wear a mask now if I go out to town. And no I wasn’t the only one getting as much done in town as they could before 12 noon yesterday when it went in play.

So this is just a quick recap. I do need to record some real craft or work here beyond sheep. So must get back to busy. I do have a project going that needs to be finished. Maybe I’ll get to it sooner than later.

But to close here is a picture from a couple weeks ago of three babies (I call all my sheep my babies) enjoying there afternoon ruminations a bit much. I got a short video of their jaws just a working on what they had eaten that morning. So cute and who is enjoying it more than the lamb behind Miriam. It is a girl and Miriam had twin boys so not hers. I am thinking it just might be Elizabeth. That white face is the clue. She really looks like she should have been Sarah’s daughter as Sarah has always stayed so white in face and legs compared to any of the others.

Categories: Gulf Coast Sheep | Tags: | Leave a comment

What is a Wether?

So you love animals and you want lots of sheep and lambs. But once you head down this road you realize what you have heard is really true. What do you do with all the boys that are born? Yes, it seems that in the human world many want their sons though they don’t begrudge their daughters. But in the animal world it is the other way around. We want girls as they are more useful. Boys on the other hand are problems.

Do you know what it is like to have four intact rams trying to vie for King of the Mountain or Top of the Totem Pole? Not very good spot to be caught in the middle. Ask me how I know. So most boys end up going to freezer camp, whatever the farm animal.

But what if you don’t want to send them all to freezer camp? Sheep boys have an added benefit – they produce wool. So if I want to keep the boys for their wool, but I don’t want all the wild male testosterone flowing and running rampant in the pasture, what do I do?

I am going to go into more detail about this on the farm blog. So if you are interested in what happens to these boys and why they may be the perfect fit for you, you may go to the longer blog What is a Wether? on my Bent Oak Farm site. See many more pictures. Read about my wethers. What they are. What they are wonderful for.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Dyeing, Felting, Sewing

So, have I been quiet and still all this time that I am not posting reminders of my doings? Actually, no but it seems hard to find interest in memories that aren’t that exciting. But here goes with a couple of things that have happened.

So I took some of my wool that I had sent off and did a quick Kool-aid dye to it. Well, not really Kool-aid, I picked the cheaper brands but picked ones high in blue dye tones.

This is a project though that is not working out as envisioned. I have woven the two colors alternating weft and the white for warp. Then I went to felt it and it did somewhat, but I guess I didn’t rinse them very well as some of the color went walk about. So then put in other pieces to cover it and discovered that my felting needles that are old need replaced. I actually broke them. Oops. Probably my fault. So back to felting it as a big flat piece. Alas, it isn’t going as wonderfully as I had hoped and I doubt I use it as intended. I may just have a “thing” when I’m done. But will say, as with all disasters, you do learn and in trying this again, I know what I’d do differently. There are no pictures of its current state.

One job I started a bit ago but finally finished was a skirt with 96 squares in it. I saw the pattern for this skirt on Heidi’s Youtube Channel at Rain Country. She came up with this skirt and has shared how she does it but it is for personal use as she does sell these on her Etsy store and they go fast.

I had some blue jean skirts that all had holes in them. So decided to save the good fabric of them in this skirt. So I cut many and many a square out of skirts. Not as easy as she makes it look in the video when just using plain simple cotton yardage or sheets. In the beginning, I was careful not to cut over seams but later squares I cut right over the seams. The advantage there was that I got more squares out of a skirt. But still by the end I didn’t have enough. So it was off to the stash and I found a dark blue cotton that I could get four squares from and then a couple brown plaids that would work. The number I ended up with each fabric came out so well, that I could have a pattern with them around the bottom. Then it was fold over for a gathered waistband and found a tie out of a gathered skirt that was well past its prime.

I will have to say that I do love the skirt. Being out of denim, it is rather heavy but I do tend to like that. It would be wonderful done out of light cotton fabric for summer and would go faster than what I did here. But all in all, I wear it often as it is so quick and easy to put on.

And Dinah would like to wish you all a lovely day. Remember you can follow the farm website for more lamb photos. We have wool, lambs, and sheep for sale at this time. Check out Bent Oak Farm.

Categories: dyeing, Fiber, Sewing, sheep | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

One More Surprise

So Abby marches to her own drummer. Like she doesn’t do anything like the rest. That may be the wrong way to put it, or at least very exaggerated. But despite others thinking that spring lambing was over, I knew that the girl that didn’t have her lamb till a full month after everyone else last year was finished – hadn’t had a lamb. She didn’t look very fat, but well, I still wasn’t going to be surprised.

So Sunday morning after the last lamb was about 22 days ago, I go out and Abby presents me with this sweet little one. Was I surprised? Not really. Although I was not specifically going out to check and see if she was to ever have a lamb this year.

This is always a joy to see new little ones. How quickly we forget how little they are when newborns. She has made Judah look huge all of a sudden.

One note to add here. I have a longer post on Hadassah on my new site I started for Bent Oak Farm. I will be posting most all animal happenings over there. So if you are interested in the sheep and want to continue following them, you can go to www.bentoakfarm.wordpress.com and sign up to receive emails on them there. There is a static first page at that site so if you want to see the blog roll, it is under What’s Happening on the Farm tab. I hope to do better at posting there as I really need to sell some sheep and wool, as well as just share them more. This site will then be more of what it was intended to be when I started it – my journey in fiber and history. I do have projects going and need to post to my memories of working on them.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep | Tags: | Leave a comment

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