Shearing makes me happy. Though my fleeces go to new homes, I tend to keep at least a part of each one for myself. This past week included a trip to Zeilingers Mill in Frankenmuth to deliver fleeces to be processed for customers and some for myself this year (including a special blend being created in partnership with Take Heart Farm...watch for it later this spring!) It is a very good feeling to have mill employees who see fleece of all kinds all day long ooohh and ahhh over your fleeces (grin)
Here is a peek at a few favorites. First is Violet, who is always in great demand! Her fleece is on its way again to Alabama (and you saw the shawl knit from her yarn in a previous post)
Then this first fleece from a yearling, Cherie:
When testing (sampling) this fleece, I fell in love with it! Luckily, so has the new owner who has already written happily to me from Missouri! Incidentally, Cherie is Violet's granddaughter!
And finally this is from my ram, Autry.
His 2006 fleece will go to Ohio in the form of roving, and his 2007 fleece will go to New York along with another silver fleece. He is homebred and our first lamb crop by him are all very plush! We will have some good fleeces from his offspring that remain in the flock!
When I say I test or sample a fleece, I mean my own personal quality control for my product - the fiber my sheep produce! Before I sell a fleece and after skirting heavily, I wash a few ounces of the fiber, then either comb or card it and spin and then knit some for myself. That way, I have a pretty good idea of what the fiber is going to do and I can confidently represent it to my customers. I used to keep about a pound of each fleece for myself, but this year with 27 fleeces to deal with...I didn't need that many pounds - LOL! I guarantee my fibers to be as represented - and I have never had a fleece returned for a refund!
Now a bit of spinning....remember the roving blend I wrote about a while back, Stone Soup? It is a surprisingly NICE roving, a big soup pot mixture of fibers! I had time to spin just a small skein, and am now even happier with it! I had intended to dye this and use it for our upcoming Rug Braiding Workshop with Letty Klein, but I will definately keep some of it to spin, too! Here is the skein along with the roving. It has real shine, that is not just camera flash!
Just a simple 2-ply, about a DK weight. One thing I have really noticed since I have been away from my spinning basically all winter - my plying is really inconsistent! And I was always soooo proud of my plying skills! Definately need to log some hours at the wheel(s)!
Finally, progress on the Roza's Socks, designed by Grumperina in the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits. Just like Jaywalkers, I love this pattern for the simplicity with a twist...just enough to make a fun knit, that looks great! Tomorrow night, our Monday night sock knitting group is going to start this sock as a knit-a-long. We should all have our magazines purchased by now and a yarn in mind. I love the colors of this Regia yarn that I am using and don't think the multi takes away from the pattern at all. I do think a self striping yarn would detract, don't you? Anyway, I hope you can see the colors well in the first picture, and maybe more detail in the second:
I am just finishing the toe and then will have the second sock to do. I did go up to a size 1 needle, and also just did plain stockinette on the foot and I am happy with that.