Posts Tagged With: Wool

New Toy

So what is a girl to do that loves playing with fiber? She gets new toys now and again… even if she really has all the basics covered. Really. I mean do we all need one of everything out there? Well, in this case finding a solution that was relatively cheap, or at least cheaper, was a blessing.

So we all know I have sheep and love my babies. But when it comes to cleaning wool yourself? Well, can I say there are things that rank higher on my fun meter. It has been quite the chore to clean John’s fleece. And despite many times over it to pick out stuff and then buckets of water. … Well, it is still not great for carding and spinning. So hence, one does need a new toy. Right? One that will make that bit of the job easier. Right?

So in a search, rather by accident, do you think that God doesn’t bring things across your YouTube watch that is just what one needs? I was on YouTube checking out my regulars when a gal was unboxing her new wool picker. So I stopped to watch. Actually just a bit of it as once I got the idea, I went looking myself. And after a few days of talking to my husband, I also went and bought what she had.

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Who thinks it looks like a coffin?

So I ordered a box wool picker for less than half of what the nice swing ones cost. When my husband first saw it his comment was, “That looks easy to make.” Well, it does to me as well for someone good with a hammer and putting in nails crooked. I have seen plans for them but alas when I ask my husband about this or that, he reminds me of all he has on his plate. So no, I didn’t ask if he would make one for me. But here it is. One nice thing about it to me is that it doesn’t take up the vertical space a swing one does. Although it is longer.

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Taking the protective cover off and leaving the handle and top working section on.

Now all that this box contains is space on either end of nails aimed in different directions. On the handle top there are nails also facing down back and forth inside. They brush across the top of each other quite closely.

Now why did I deem that I needed this tool?

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The result of many washes.

 

So can you imagine trying to card the wool above? Can I just say it isn’t the easiest thing on God’s green earth. Not the toughest by any long mark, but still not fun or easy to get a smooth yarn from. So hence my desire for a better tool.

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The “in” end.

So you take a clump of wool and place it in the “in” end. Now in the above picture, I put too much in and after one pass took half of it out. A bit of a learning curve at how much to put in. A hint – less is better. But you just put a clump of wool in one end then move the top with the handle back and forth and it pulls it through the nails and deposits it in the out end.

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What a difference several passes make!

So after several passes through, what had seemed like hard masses or wool were becoming cloud puffs. What had fit in a small basket, now needed a much bigger space to rest in.

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What a comparison!

So the puff cloud against its former self. This was looking quite doable now and didn’t take that long to create the puff. It pulled the fibers apart and spread it out into an easily viewed mass that was so easy to then spread on hand cards and processed to “brush” it smooth and roll up.

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For as often as I washed that wool, see all the bits that still came out of it.

I must admit that for all the hand picking and washing I did with this fleece, I was rather surprised at the amount of vm that still came out of it in the bottom of the picker. It still did a job of getting more out of this wool than I was able already to get out.

And was the cost and work worth it? Could I actually spin this wool half decently?

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My first spindle now started.

Well, I would have to say yes. This was so much easier to card and then spin. I’m not a perfect spinner with that perfectly smooth all even thread, but I was not disappointed with how this was looking when I spun my first rolag of wool from the picked mass. Now to stay ahead of the picking as it does take up so much more room as clouds than as mashed convoluted wool.

So yes, girls need new toys now and again.

 

 

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Categories: Fiber, Spinning | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Bent Oak Flock

I have not reported to myself in awhile. Not that anything has not been happening around here. But the biggest news, I want to record here and remember. I am collecting Gulf Coast Native sheep. We are up to eleven now.

I wrote about James and John joining us here on the farm.They weren’t named yet and that took some time to find the right names, but a friend suggested the Apostles as a naming scheme and as the bottle babies were twins, I decided that James and John would work great. The day they arrived how tiny and helpless they were.

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James & John on the ride home. So tiny.

Then came the call of another orphan baby girl. Of course, we would jump in the truck and head to Bryan (an hour away) at 9pm on a Sunday night to pick her up. She was without a mother probably most of the day and didn’t have anything to eat. So warm bottle in the truck, we headed out and went and picked up my little precious one. My sweetheart. My heartbeat. My warm hug, My warm kiss. My …. In case, you can’t guess I love my Sarah. I named her Sarah in hopes that she will one day be the mother of a little nation of lambs.

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Sarah’s first night. She got to stay in the house as it as cold out.

Then I found two more boys to add the farm. Mark went to pick them up one day and brought them back getting home just after dark. They were not sure they were happy at all with a new home and new people. Especially, not being around people too much. But they soon made friends with James and John and since they came together they became Peter and Andrew.

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Peter, Andrew, James, and John

So we were up to five lambs and Mark was out checking on lambs ready to go to new homes. He was bitten by the bug. Now I was already in line to get more from where the orphans all came, but Mark decided we needed twelve. Who was I to argue? So not long after we were headed to another farm to pick out four girls to bring back. That was an adventure of running my hand through lots of wooly backs and picking the softest ones. Yes, my husband may be thinking leg of lamb sounds good but his wife though loving lamb as well was mainly thinking in terms of wool. So four more girls came home with us. They were named continuing on from Sarah to Isaac and Jacob’s wives. Then added Hannah in for good measure.

I might add that at this point, he also made a cage to fit in the back of the truck for hauling lambs and about anything else that will fit.

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Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Hannah in back

Exciting we were up to nine lambs now. Then, it was finally a good day to go and pick up two more girls from the farm where I got the bottle babies from. So east we headed again and what lovely girls we picked up. They are the oldest of all we have as they were born in December so larger, more self assured, and just downright lovely to look upon. Alas though, this must be becoming too common as I do not have a first day picture of them. Why didn’t I?

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Naomi and Ruth. Really thought I had great pictures of them but must go try again.

So now there are eleven and one more to come. We have a ram reserved until he is weaned. Then one more trip to pick up a baby and we will be set … for now. They are so much fun. “They” say chickens are the gateway animal to a farm, and though I do love my chickens would affirm that statement, lambs are the heartbeat of my farm. I still love my eggs but oh, to sit out with lambs is a far greater joy.

I did just check and do not have a picture of all eleven together. Guess it is time to head out again with the camera. Aren’t we thankful for digital cameras today. I’d hate to know how much film I would be using up right now or how many awesome shots I would have missed by not just snapping all the time.

I am working on good pictures of each one for the sole purpose of learning their individual characteristics so that when someone asks who is who, I don’t have to check ear tags to remember. Not all have them have tags, but boy I am glad the ones that do have them. Thankfully, they are the ones that look the most alike.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

A Diversion

So I have this Monk’s Belt on the inkle loom. I am hating it. I don’t enjoy weaving it. I am trying to make myself just take it off and start over. Hasn’t happened yet. I so hate wasting yarn. It is bad enough to add loom waste to my big jar, but to just cut off so much which will be totally useless is hard to do. I am trying to at least use up the weft on the shuttle and then say I will cut it of. But as much as I’m not touching it, I probably should just chuck it.

But a diversion today. we finally took our anniversary trip a month late. First date we could get tickets for the train ride from Georgetown to Burnet with the Austin Steam Train Association. Actually, I think it was good that we had to wait this long as the bluebonnets have pretty much faded away and so it is not so crowded and they don’t need so many cars for all the people.

Waiting in Georgetown to board

Waiting in Georgetown to board

We got tickets for the adults only Rippling Stream. It was the last car of the train and you could only be in it if you had a ticket for that car. So no through traffic. We of course could walk through the others and up to the concession car near the front. Though with our tickets came some treats and drinks in our car.

A view of our car in Burnet

A view of our car in Burnet

The third window above was where our wonderfully comfortable seats and table were. It was for three people but only us two were at it. Mark got to stretch out. We could even stand off the back as we traveled which was a lot of fun.

On the back of our car, Rippling Stream, watching the track go away from us.

On the back of our car, Rippling Stream, watching the track pass away into the distance.

But the fibery part of our trip was a surprise. By the courthouse was what they called History Square. It had a town clock in the middle and a maze around the bottom. It laid out the history of Burnet County. You followed the trail and could read the history points and end up at the center by the clock.

HIstory Plaza

History Plaza

I of course had to run the maze reading as I went. I told Mark that it was fun. His comment while also watching the other kids was that it looked like kids did enjoy it. I of course said “Of course we do.” Now I did find two interesting blocks in the history.

Bertram wool and mohair production 1918

Bertram wool and mohair production 1918

Bertram cotton production 1928

Bertram cotton production 1928

These two blocks show what once was out on the pastures and in the fields around these parts. Wool, mohair, and cotton once reigned in Burnet County.

Had a great day and trip. Would love to do it again.

Categories: Fiber | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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