Thursday, December 05, 2013


I couldn't remember if I'd ever shared a photo of "Jinger", one of our moorit (chestnut red) ewes.  Her sire is an Australian Bond sheep, her mother a natural colored Corriedale.  She is timid, but sweet, rather nervous and I think because of that she doesn't carry a lot of weight.  I have her in a very small breeding group so she doesn't have to compete for feed, plus they are getting some extra.  

I'll post the rest of my Wovember accomplishments (or lack of!) when I have a bit more time.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tagging and Flushing, it's a sheep thing!

This month for Wovember we're focusing on wool, right?  Well for those of us lucky enough to be in the business or hobby of raising wooly creatures (and we do mean sheep here!) focusing on wool includes focusing on the care and management of our flock.  We breed our Corriedale sheep and so part of the flock care is doing our best to ensure breeding success.  While the sheep do most of the work, lol, its our job to give them good care.

Lambs enjoying sunshine and green grass

Since my husbands disability and with our children grown and moved away on their own, I do a the majority of the sheep work myself.  This makes us look at how we do things around the farm differently, especially with the sheep.  Now, you might be surprised to learn that I've never cared much for lambing time and there might even come a day where I just keep a few fiber and pasture grazing animals without lambing - we'll see.  But for now we do have a breeding flock and one thing that makes my life easier is to schedule breeding time so lambs are born later in the coming year.  We don't need show lambs and we don't have to be quite so concerned about having lambs big enough for butchering at a certain time.  So we plan to have lambs born late April or early May, when spring grass is coming on well (hopefully) and the weather is milder...partly for the newborn lambs but mostly for the shepherd who may have to go to the barn in the middle of the night!

It's an established practice, about 2 to 3 weeks before turning the rams (breeding males) in with the ewes (breeding females) to "flush" the ewes.  In a shepherds world, "flushing" ewes means to start increasing their nutrition.  That may mean supplementing their diet with grain, but it's better if you can do this with good pasture.  It's ideal to have them "on the gain" for approximately 30 days, with the ram going in towards the end of that time.

Turning ewes into fall pasture for flushing.  The shaggy ewe in the foreground of the photo is my oldest sheep, who will not be bred this year but I do want to give her the extra feed for a few weeks.  Then she'll go in with the ewe lambs and get more special care over the winter.
Tagging, in the sheep breeding world, is not a childhood game but a yucky job of cleaning up the back end of a sheep if they need it.  By the time breeding season rolls around our girls have grown quite a bit of wool and often times when we put them on the fresh grass for flushing, as described above, they may have loose manure for a few days and well - you can picture what this might look like!  This year we had a few like this so I get the fun job of pulling on my gloves and getting out the sharp scissors to cut away the "tags" of manure around the girlie parts of the sheep ;)  You can also imagine this is a rather ticklish thing for those girls but luckily I have an expert sheep handler with my daughter helping me out by holding them steady.

So now we have healthy, cleaned up ewes...the days are shorter and the nights are cold...I've moved the rams to a pen where they can see and smell the ewes but aren't in with them...yet.  That day should come some time this week.

Henry wonders "is it time yet?"

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Wool Washing, Part 2

Now we're on to STEP 2: WASHING  , but before we proceed please be sure you have read Step 1 here (especially the disclaimer that this is how I do it, in my own home, taking my own chances with the entire procedure.  How it works for you is entirely your responsibility and I make no claims or guarantee of your success)

First wash
First of all, you want your wash water VERY hot ~ to hot to put your hand in comfortably ~ mine is 160 degrees.  (NOTE  If needed,  you can boil water on the stove and add to your tub to increase the temp. You can also fill a large stock pot with water; bring to the boil; shut the water off; add the soap then fleece; cover and let soak right on the stove.  I find this works well for mohair. The hard part to this is lifting the heavy pot when it comes time to change water!) Anyway, fill your container with this hot water and then be generous with the soap (use enough to color the water) Do not swish the soap around, you don't want lots of extra bubbles, just good soap and hot water.  Cover your container somehow to help hold the heat in and then let the fleece soak in there for maybe 10 to 15 minutes (don't allow the water to cool much)  Drain the water away, take your wool out and repeat this process (filling the container with hot water, then soap, then wool).  You will probably need at least two, maybe three, washes.  In this case, Daniel's fleece required two wash cycles.

Second wash
Now comes STEP 3:  RINSING  No matter how many wash cycles I have put the wool through, I always do at least two rinses.  Sometimes there are more rinses than washes, just to get all of the soap out!  The first rinse water is as hot as the wash water and has a generous "glug" of white vinegar.  I do have a water softener, but it just seems to help cut the soap to use the vinegar (maybe that is just my imagination though)  Anyway, into the hot water and vinegar goes the fleece to soak for about 10 minutes.  Drain, remove fleece, refill container with hot water (no vinegar this time) and rinse again without agitation for 10 minutes or so.  Repeat if you are still getting soap bubbles in your rinse water.  Please do not ever add hair conditioner or softener to your wool!!!  I don't know of any fiber mill that will take wool that has been "conditioned" without re-washing it.  Wool is NOT hair!

Daniel's clean fleece, fresh out of the rinse
STEP 4:  I like to remove the excess water as much as I can.  If the fleece is in my washing machine, I spin it out with no water - I have an older machine that allows me to do this.  For small batches, you can dedicate an old salad spinner to spinning wool ;)  Now you will lay the clean fiber out somewhere to air dry.  Its hard to wait, but you want it to be completely dry before you start processing it.   You will notice that although the tips of this fleece remain slightly discolored (see the photo above), it looks nothing like the dirty tipped fiber it started out to be!  It might be important to mention that because this fleece was coated, although it is dirty (sweat, lanolin, dirt and mud) it is NOT full of vm and chaff, so is relatively easy to get clean.

Now, remember that dirty fleece we started with (above)?  See how beautiful it is now (below)?

What a joy and a pleasure, with very little effort!  Especially if you are experimenting with only a few ounces at a time.  Here we have this lovely lambs fleece, ready to prepare to spin - in this case, Daniel's very fine Corriedale wool is destined for the wool combs and then on to spinning.  I hope these few tips of a simple way to wash a fleece will help someone out, and if you experiment with just those few ounces if it gets ruined or doesn't turn out you won't have lost an entire fleece trying.  I'd love to hear how it turns out for you if you do try, or if you have any questions I'd be happy to try and answer them.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Wool Washing, Part 1

When we used to have an active webpage, I had this article about how I wash our Corriedale wool.  It was a popular page, and I still get asked a lot about washing wool, so I thought I would try to recreate it here on the blog rather than rewriting the whole thing (so the photos you see are from 2008!)  Procedure for me is still the same and because I'm washing some wool right now for my Wovember project, I think its a perfect time to share!


This first photo is of a raw lamb fleece belonging to DANIEL, a coated Corriedale wether (yes,he WAS coated even though the tips of his fleece are very dirty). Lamb fleeces are my most requested item and I charge a premium for it (after all, a sheep onlyhas one lamb fleece in its lifetime!) But lamb fleeces can be a challange...they are usually dirtier, even though the lamb is coated from about 3 months on.  And they are generally very fine and can be delicate.  But what a reward at the end!.  Anyway, I wash all Corriedale fleeces the same...I just chose a lamb fleece for this example so that you can see how it goes from grungy to sparkling.

For this demonstration, I'm washing just a few ounces of fleece in a sink.  If I'm washing an entire fleece, I do it in my washing machine, a few pounds at a time, filling the tub first with the water, adding the fiber, then spinning the excess dirty water out WITHOUT agitating or running water on the fiber.  I remove the wet fiber, refill the washtub, replace the fleece and start the process over again.  This works for me and has for several years, but I will NOT recommend that you put wool in your washing machine as this could cause problems.  To be safe, you could fill a dish pan or bucket outside in your yard, follow the steps below and wash your fleece that way.  Only you can decide for your own situation.  I am just going to share with you how I get my wool clean ;)  Lets get started....

STEP 1: COLD WATER SOAK  Fill your basin or container with cold water, no soap.  Lay the fleece in the water, pushing it down gently if you need to.  I generally leave it to soak for about 10 - 20  minutes.  You can see what the water looks like in the photo above.  Remember, this water contains NO SOAP and is COLD!  I read this tip from someone who raised Merino sheep many years ago (I wish I could remember who to give credit to, but I can't)  To me, this makes a huge difference to the cleanliness of my lanolin laden, fine wooled Corriedale sheep.

Compare the picture to the left, which is the fiber that has been soaked in cold water only, and the picture below, which is the unwashed fiber...can you believe what a difference just a cold water bath has done?  It has loosened things up, removed a lot of the sweat and it seems to me it gets the fleece ready for the next step....the real wash!  See the dish soap in the picture?  That is the brand I prefer, though many recommend the blue dish soap or even a horse shampoo.  I like this one, it works well for me.  I never use the horse shampoo many mention...we didn't use it on our horses when we raised them because we could never get it rinsed well!  Human shampoo or pet shampoo is worthless for washing wool, in my experience and opinion. I have used Shaklee liquid soap with some success.

So now we've given the wool a cold soak, gently lifted it out of that cold water and even given it a gentle squeeze, and set it aside while we drain away the greasy cold water.  Tomorrow I'll show you the next step in my wool washing procedure - I hope you'll come back!  Maybe this picture of Daniel the lambs sweet face will entice you?

Sunday, November 03, 2013


I'm so excited about Wovember!  Wovember?!?  What could this mean?  Take a look here, to learn more and then come back and join along or follow along with my wool focus for the month, won't you?

My wool focus for the month will be exactly what I wrote about in my last post ~ Corriedale ;)  And I'm going to try my best to post here often during this month about the sheep and the wool. 

If you're on Ravelry, be sure to check out the Wovember group there as well!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Crazy For Corriedale

We love our Corriedale sheep - any of you that knows me, knows this to be a fact.  I was  asked one time to give a presentation about them and then asked if I could find enough to say to fill a forty five minute time which I replied "Only forty five minutes?!?"  Once I get started talking about them, its rather hard to shut me up I'm afraid ;)

I like to think my sheep appreciate me, too, although its probably just the treats I share with them or the chin scratches ~

"Pleaaaase give me more cookies!"
I love everything about this breed of sheep, and have since my Mom brought home that first Corriedale bottle lamb and made him a little pen in my room (that was about 42 years ago, by the way).  Now I have a flock of my own, around twenty of them!

I love the wool ~

I love the yarn (hand spun and all from our flock) ~

I love the lambs (and their mamas) ~

I love seeing others discover the joys of everything Corriedale.  I love hearing from spinning and knitting icons that Corriedale is their "go-to" fleece and yarn.  Imagine my excitement to learn of a well-loved, well respected knitter/spinner/pattern writer/teacher who has also fallen under the spell of Corriedale (at least the yarn part of them) and launch a line of 100% Corriedale yarn!  One of my favorites, Anne Hanson of Knitspot fame debuted a yarn she's called Confection - a deliciously appropriate name!  You can read about it here.  Doesn't she say lovely things about my favorite breed?  Thank you Anne, for bringing more interest to this often overlooked breed!  ETA:  Oops, just wanted to clarify that the Corriedale wool for Anne's yarn did NOT come from my small flock!   I'm just excited to see her highlighting the breed ;)

There are so many Knitspot patterns that will be terrific for Corriedale yarn.  Here's a swatch I did for Anne's Whitfield Jacket a while back, millspun on the left and handspun on the right.  I never did make the sweater but it would have been lovely if I had!

Another exciting thing is seeing others begin their journey with the past few weeks we have sent three small starter flocks to new farms and look forward to watching them be developed.  And if I haven't rambled on about them long enough and you want to read more about why we raise them, you can do so here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

As Summer Slipped By

Just a few shots of summer, as she began to slip away ~  

Kentucky Wonder Beans planted by little gardeners and their flag displayed:

I don't plant many red and white flowers, but these petunias have been showstoppers this year:

 A new Rose of Sharon, and two sedums - stars of the late summer garden:

A closer look, including a honeybee in the sedum:

The first Aster to blossom, along with a late blooming Phlox.  Look at the buds on that aster!

Geraniums and Impatiens:

The back forty of the property, looking south towards the house:

And finally, one of the few sunflowers of many planted this year that survived the onslaught of rabbits and woodchucks to bloom wildly around the farm...this single stalk had twenty-two blossoms all at once!

The flower beds around the farm are winding down, but the trees are stepping it up to put on the show that begins our Autumn season....are you seeing the change of colors where you're at?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Michigan Blueberry Season

Blueberries and knitting with my morning coffee ~ and cool enough to need a shawl around the shoulders!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Unscheduled detour

Things in the spinning and knitting department come to a screeching halt as second cutting hay making begins - just as the temperatures soar over 90 degrees and a heat index over 100...the humidity is making it difficult for the hay to cure (dry) properly.  And its dangerous for people to be working out in it.  And now it looks like rain (which we also need!)  So no yarn progress today, or until hay is in the barn and we recover from the stress, LOL!  ETA:  But while you're waiting for my sock/yarn updates, please stop over at my friend Susan's blog and see what a wonderful job she's done with her spinning and knitting!!!

 This is how things looked on Sunday morning (cutting the hay started on Saturday)  The "boss" and I ate our breakfast and shared our coffee on the back porch, admiring the field and studying Ephesians.  I think Bill was explaining something to me in this picture (he didn't know I was behind him with the  camera!)

Hopefully when I next check in, there will be square bales in the barn...

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Next Step, Yarn Sampling!

Alright, if we're ever going to get these socks knitted I better get back to work, right?  I still have a fleece preparation blog post I want to get done in July!

If you remember from our last sock spinning post, we had two one ounce samples of our Corriedale-Alpaca roving.  I spun the first and did a Navajo 3-ply (sometimes called chain-plying), you see that pictured to the left here.  A nice, round, plump and still squishy yarn!  I'm not sure if it shows in the photo but the sheen of this fiber is amazing!  I threw in the light grey Corriedale-Angora yarn just to see the contrast.

The next one ounce sample I did as a 2-ply.  Although I really liked the looks of it, when I began knitting the sample I could quickly feel the difference and my preference was the 3-ply.  Even my husband could see and feel the difference in the two swatches of fabric.  I was finishing up my 2-ply swatch so I could show it to you side by side with the 3-ply, when it occurred to me to try going down a needle size on the 2-ply yarn before I made my final decision, and I'm glad I did!  I was most happy with the 2-ply yarn and size 1 needles.

 Please excuse the sloppy samples in the picture above - I really should have dampened them down (wet blocked) to get them to lay better and they would show the stitch detail and size difference more (the edges are curling, so I'm not sure how clear this will be)  For both samples, I cast on 21 stitches.  Measuring just across the center stockinette portion of the samples I came up with 7 to 71/2 stitches to the inch on the size 1 needles.  I wish I could tell you how many yards I spun in each sample and I DID have that information written down...but now cannot find it!  Ugh...

So anyway, now comes the decision making process.  I like the firmness of the 3-ply yarn.  Experience and common sense tells me that the 3-ply is going to wear better for socks than the 2-ply, its sturdier.  Its softer and "cushier" on the feet.  It will also be very warm, and it will felt quite easily, just from wear.  If I knit the 2-ply on the size 1 needles, I'll still have a good firm fabric though not quite as dense and heavy.  They will probably fit nicer inside of shoes and for me, with my knitting tension, I'll have a bit more stretch to the leg of the sock.  There is probably a more technical way of describing this and there are sock knitting experts out there who have written books and articles to explain this all better than I am - LOL - I'm just sharing with you my rambling thought process, to show you how this spinning-knitting shepherdess comes to making sock yarn and socks!  I'd also like you to see that what it all comes down to is personal preference, personal knitting and spinning styles and most of all what makes you happy especially if you are making these socks for yourself.  Another thing to consider - the 2-ply will take less time to spin, and require less roving to the the same number of yards.

Now another possibility, something I've done numerous times in the past, is to spin both a 3-ply and a 2-ply yarn.  Knit the sock foot with the 3-ply and the leg with the 2-ply.  As spinners, we're able to adjust our spinning and get a 3-ply and a 2-ply that are approximately the same "size" aren't we?

So, what would you chose at this point?  While we decide, I'll leave you with a picture of Yarn On A Plate - I had to take a few minutes to spin up some wildly colored rolags I received as a gift.  So pretty and when I finished the little sample, I twisted it together with more of the Corriedale-Alpaca - see them below, and I'll meet you back here next time!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nothing To Show

Well, "tomorrow" has come and gone and I'm afraid there is no sock update....illness has hit the farm, in the house and in the barn.  Sick people, sick sheep, broken down tractor and temperatures that have decided to hit July numbers a few days early all combine with some small but ongoing house repairs and fix-ups to make for unproductive days for wife-mom-grandma-farmer-shepherd-gardner!!!  Truthfully, they seem unproductive but just getting through them is a huge blessing ;)

Will you all hang in there with me till the next sock post?  Till then I'll leave you with a peek at what's blooming, so heavenly, beside our back porch ~

 That's Valerian.  And the Lavender, oh my!!!  Such a delight...this photo is from last year but it looks much the same today.

 See you soon!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

From A Sheep To A Sock, Next Part

(First I want to reply to the comments left for the last post and say thank you for leaving them!  To my friend Susan, on a day like I've had today I think I could easily be persuaded to trade in the farm!  And Emily, so nice to hear from you and yes, I would be happy to share how I prepare a fleece from start to finish at home for sock spinning - maybe that could be a "July Series"?  Jody, your spinning is so lovely I think you could surely teach me a thing or two!!! How fine did you spin Elizabeth's 3-ply?  As much as I love a long wavy fleece (like Francie's) for socks, a tightly crimped fleece makes a wonderful sock yarn, too, just different ;)  And Joanne you would love this roving - its much darker than the photo shows but it has so much shine (don't you think Susan?)  And the pillow is one of a vintage set I got at the Maple Valley Farm Shop a month or so ago!)

The next step for me in spinning for sock yarn is to find a comfy spot to do my sample spin.  If you're lucky enough to have a back porch that looks out across the garden, farm and sheep pasture for inspiration that's truly a joy!  A helpful farm cat companion is another plus.  So I finish the supper dishes, pour a cup of coffee and settle down on the porch.

I have three spinning wheels, but I still go back so often to my old standby Louet S17.  My Mom, who is gone now, painted the sheep on it for me and I love it.  I can spin from lace to bulky with little effort.  In this case, you might notice the grey wool already on the bobbin.  That's because I find it helpful for spinning a finer single on the Louet if the bobbin is partially full.  I'm only going to be spinning a one ounce sample so have plenty of room here.  Remember the pictures of the two samples from the last post, one ounce each?  I'll spin one to make a 2-ply sample and one to do a 3-ply.  My default spin seems to be a light sportweight.

In this photo, I've pulled a little of the single back from the bobbin and let it twist back on itself to give me an idea of how my 2-ply will look.  Notice the helpful companion cat is not impressed, nor has she moved much from the last shot!  I might mention here that for this small amount, I'll spin the full ounce onto the bobbin, let it sit at least overnight then I'll wind it off into a center pull ball and ply it from that.  I like the results I get from plying from a center pull ball.  I'm not sure if its mechanically correct or not, but that works for me (in small amounts)  Larger amounts tangle to much, so I would use two bobbins and ply together onto a third.

Tomorrow I'll show you pictures of the finished 2-ply yarn and the sample swatch I knit.  And if I can find the notes I was so careful to make I'll be able to tell you how many yards I got from each sample - ugh - where did those notes go?!?


Thursday, June 20, 2013

How To Go From A Sheep To A Sock...

A "How-To" post of sorts ;)

I love to make socks, I know I've shared that here before (though recently mittens have been my main focus).  To my way of thinking, there's no sock like a real wool sock and so it  starts for me with a sheep and a fleece.  In this case a lovely little black ewe named Isobel who has a very long staple length and a slightly more open crimp to her fleece than most of our Corriedales, long but very silky - just the kind I like for making hard wearing sock yarn!  She comes from the old Verlee line of Corriedale sheep in our flock and I love their wool.  Both Isobel and her sister (who's called "Sister", hehe) had such long fleeces that we sheared them at seven months old.
A head shot of Isobel above and another from this spring
So I have this lamb fleece, black - well, really more of a dark black cherry-cola color - that I'm planning to keep for myself and make my favorite blend for spinning sock yarn of 70% Corriedale wool and 30% alpaca.  I teach a class on spinning for sock yarn and I love showing and sharing how well this blend works for socks, but of course in the end its a matter of personal preference for both the spinner and the sock-wearer!  When I need alpaca fiber, I always go for the best and that comes from the farm of my friend and neighbor Maple at North Star Alpacas.  But this time, a call from a long-distance fiber friend changed the intent for Isobel's fleece!

My friend Susan emailed asking if I had a black or very dark fleece.  She knew it was a long shot because it wasn't shearing time, but it just so happened that we'd shorn those two ewe lambs and I had Isobel's fleece along with another kept back for myself from spring shearing (that was Hilda's fleece, but that's another fiber story - LOL!)  Susan had some alpaca from a farm local to her and she wanted to create a blend for spinning socks.  So even though these were fleeces I'd intended to keep, there's always more for me growing down in the barn and off the samples went to New England for sampling.

Fast forward a short time, a few emails and finally a phone call with a proposal - would I be interested in going together with my (Isobel's) wool and Susan's alpaca and sharing the resulting roving?  Sure I would!!!  So that is how our Friendship Roving came to be and a plan was hatched to do a long-distance spin-a-long and knit-a-long for a new pair of socks.  The alpaca came to Michigan and joined the Corriedale wool for a trip to Zeilingers Mill to be washed and processed.  (A note here ~ quite often when making socks I wash and comb the fleece myself, that really makes a nice fiber to spin.  But for larger quantities like we were doing here, I took advantage of the spring special at Z's and let them do it all!)

I meant for this to be just one long post about sheep to socks, but as usual I'm getting a bit long-winded and also I've been just to busy to sit by the computer for very long, so I'm going to break this up a bit for you...above you see two one-ounce balls of the roving ready for me to do a test-spin and sample for my socks.  I know it looks brown but that's just my camera, its really very dark ;)  In my next post, I'll share a bit more of my method/process for sock spinning.  I hope you'll come back for more!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Didn't Get All The Weeds

I did not have a very productive weekend.  After a crazy, hectic week I was looking forward to spending a few days around the farm not having anyone else's schedule to keep or look after - no place I had to be but home and no one to look after but Bill and me (well and the livestock).  Kids are all safely home from long-distance travels (thank you, God!); the weather was predicted to be cool but sunny and oh my, did I have plans for the work I was going to get done!  But that all quickly crumbled (as it often does in "my" life) and folks, I'm here to tell 'ya that I was soon reminded that the old sinful nature is still hanging around, no matter how long you've been a Christian - sometimes buried deep, but its there!

You know, sin isn't always the thing we know to be mindful of - I didn't steal or lie or murder or any of that.  But I was selfish, bitter, ungrateful and unkind.  To tell you the truth I had a major, 
feeling- sorry-for-myself meltdown!  UGH!!!  And then I cried and was miserable the rest of the day for how contrary I had been ;(  Oh sure, there were legitimate worldly reasons for my behavior - but our Lord expects better than that, it should be behind me by now, but I found out it isn't.  And I can say I'm sorry to those affected by my outbursts, but the sting of the words and actions are still there.

I snapped the photo above with an entirely different thought in my see one of my smallest flower beds in the process of being weeded.  I'm behind in the work and the weeds are getting away from me.  You see the piles of weeds in the photo but you might also see that I'm only about a third of the way done...this picture came to mind while I was having some prayer and coffee time this morning.  What does it make you think of?  It reminds me that it takes daily, constant vigil and time with God to keep the weeds from taking over and choking the life out of us.  Sometimes you get large blocks of time when you can be down on your knees with hands, feet and all in the mud working to take care of things.  Sometimes you only have a passing moment when you see something ugly starting to sprout but you can still reach in and snip it off before it takes hold.  The only requirement is the willingness to do the spiritual work with your eyes and heart on God.

I've still got work to do....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Flowers And Finds

I love this time of year, when I can fill the house with flowers of all kinds from God's garden!  Armloads of lilacs, branches of fragrant apple blossoms and pinkish peach blooms.  Tiny little bouquets of glorious lily-of-the-valley with pretty purple sweet violets from the yard.  I try to tuck these precious gifts into every room of the house - bedrooms and bathrooms, too!

Another great thing about this time of year?  That flea markets and farm shops are open again!  In the picture to the right are my newest and possibly favorite "finds" of all times ~ perfectly perfect vintage pillows (a pair of them!) and incredibly, a dressmakers form, just as "chic" as she can be!  I've been looking for one forever and where do you suppose I finally found her?  Here, at SHOP The Maple Cottage!!!  I really couldn't believe my luck that my friend Angela had this perfect item sitting on the porch of the "shop" when I visited last week.  And the pillows?  An absolute bonus!  If you are in Michigan anywhere near the farm, you really should make it a destination stop.

Notice the lovely "skirt" that my new find is wearing?  And the lovely brooch, holding it in place?  Do you recognize it from my last post?  Yes, that is the shawlette and pin my friend Susan sent to me!  A perfect cover-up for a skinny mannequin, LOL!  Or my chubby shoulders ;)

More flowers on the fireplace

I hope that wherever you are, you have some flowers nearby that you can enjoy.  It won't be long before the heat and humidity of summer has us drooping, but for now the fresh fragrance of spring here in Michigan is a joy and a blessing.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sisters of the Fleece

Fibery friends are some of the very best!

Over the years I've met some wonderful people through our sheep and wool, and many times they become treasured friends.  That is truly the case with my friend in New England who has been spinning and knitting with Serenity Farms Corriedale for over a year now.  Recently we joined forces to create a special roving from two of my Corriedale lamb fleeces and some of her local alpaca.  We're beginning a long-distance spin-a-long with a current goal of making socks.  How fun is that?

On Monday, a package arrived in my mail box and I was thrilled to open it and find this wonderful surprise - a little shoulder shawl spun and knit by my friend for me!!!  The yarn is made from Serenity Farms Elizabeth, a rich espresso brown ewe with very fine fleece.  And isn't the vintage pin perfect along with the shawlette?!? I absolutely adore receiving gifts made for me from my own wool, it's one of my favorite treats.

We've nicknamed our new roving "Sisters of the Fleece" and it is a true New England-Midwest creation.  While we can't actually visit in person as we sit and spin away, we are enjoying each others company in spirit... what a blessing!