Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cupie Doll yarn and scarf

Lots of stuff going on around the farm that I would love to post about, but until I find the time I at least want to share with you some spinning and knitting content (a girl has got to have some quiet spinning/knitting time, right?)

I have always admired the beautiful fibery creations from fellow Michigander CJ Kopec of CJ Kopec Creations. When I stumbled upon a Ravelry group dedicated to spinning something special that CJ creates each month, I had to give it a whirl ;) I bought on of the May offerings, Cupie Doll - a Corriedale fiber, how could I resist? LOL....

The fiber arrived and it was drop-dead of those jaw-dropping fibers that spinners just dream about! I loved the color of the roving when I received it, just loved it and CJ’s preparation is flawless! However, as is often the case for me, once I started spinning it I didn’t like the yarn colors as much as I did while it was still in the batt (does anyone else find this? Love the roving, hate the resulting yarn or hate the roving but love the yarn once it is spun?). And I didn’t find this to be the softest Corriedale - I am pretty spoiled by my own flocks fiber, lol! So while my original plan was a laceweight, I found the resulting yarn to dull and to harsh for my planned project. Okay, I thought, I will spin a sportweight, 3-ply - Navajo plying to preserve the colors. Sigh, still didn’t like it and wouldn’t have gotten much yardage (I was thinking socks or mittens at this point) since I had only purchased 4 ounces.

My next thought was a thick and thin single. Ah-ha! Beautiful! Preserved the lovely colors CJ had created and had a much softer feel to the yarn. I spun the full amount and started knitting a swatch directly from the bobbin (something I often do with my singles yarns) Ugh…I had a scarf planned, but STILL didn’t like the looks! I left the spun yarn sitting on the bobbin next to my “knitting” chair and I don’t know why, but I happened to catch sight of some coppery colored thread I had purchased for plying with something else that lay in my spinning basket. My mind started working, I started plying and …at last, success! At least I am happy with it ;D

The details: Barely drafted the roving, spun on my old faithful Louet S17 on the larger whorl (5:1 I believe). Plied with metallic copper colored sewing thread. I held the thread directly in front of the orifice in my right hand and the fiber at anywhere from a 45 degree angle to a 90 degree angle in my left hand to get the effect I wanted. I ended up with a little more yardage than I first counted…there is closer to 400 yards.

I created a long, skinny scarf from my finished yarn using the pattern One Skein-A-Stole by Katja Jordan (a very fun pattern by the way!) The pattern has you cast on 55 sts for a stole, but I cast on just 15 stitches to create the skinny scarf I wanted. I would like to do something to the ends of the scarf to give it a more “finished” look, and I have a bit of yarn left. Don’t want fringe, but possibly beads? Wish I would have done that to start with ;) Also, if I make this pattern again, I believe I will knit a few stitches at the beginning and end of the row to give the edges a more “polished” look…they are a little raggedy looking with this thick and thin, boucle-like yarn.

I won't be able to participate in the June spin-a-long, but I certainly plan on more of CJ's fiber in my future...I can't recommend her product and her customer service enough!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sheep and Pastures

Our bottle lamb, Francie, is doing well and growing, though she is still smaller than the other lambs her age. She nibbles at grass and eats soft hay and drinks water just like the other sheep.

She still has her bottle of milk replacer, but the feedings are farther apart. It was very hard for me to let her begin sleeping in the big barn (that first night I kept waking up wondering if I should go and get her!) She has her own pen, adjoing the pen for the main flock. Whenever I go to the barn, she gets to come out and help me with chores and other jobs. Just a few days ago, she helped me move the ewes and their lambs to new pasture. Here she is, looking things over:

We have been blessed this spring with good rains and weather, the pastures are doing well and the sheep were anxious to get to fresh grass. This is Amanda and her twins (by the way, this is the only white lamb this year out of the thirty five we have!) hurrying to check it out:

Desi's more colorful ewe lamb, below, decides this looks interesting:

(Isn't she a pretty lamb? I know she looks like she belongs in a flock of Jacob sheep, LOL, but she is all Corriedale, sired by our new ram Eli)

It wasn't long before the entire flock joined in and was spread out across the field, enjoying a good meal:

Francie and I were pretty tired after all of our hard work that day, but we were satisfied with a job well done and a happy flock of sheep ;D

Spring Magnolias

"God, give us eyes to see the beauty of spring,
And to behold Your majesty in every living thing.
And may we see in lacy leaves and every budding flower,
The hand that rules the universe with gentleness and power" ~ Helen Steiner Rice

(Photos of the magnolia tree in the back yard of our farm...such beauty and oh! the fragrance! It is heavenly)