Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Help! I'm Dyeing (and picking and carding and sorting) my Wool

These are the Bluefaced Leicester/Tencel blend batts I decided to dye yesterday.  I love the tencel addition, it gives the BFL fiber even more luster.

For the past few days I've been going through my washed natural colored Bluefaced Leicester fleeces picking out the curliest, most lustrous locks for an order.  They looked so good I decided to make up several  1 ounce bags for future sales.

As long as I was at it, I dyed some grey Bluefaced leicester in the microwave too...
I like that! I want to do more. So now I need more dye and time to pick and sort through my white BFL fleeces too.  I'll package the locks and send the rest off to be processed into roving or batts.

These dyed BFL/Tencel batts will be used for cobweb scarves. I've found the blend spins up into a very lustrous, springy yarn.

In sheep-related news, the mules have left the premises! The photo above includes a BFL who wouldn't leave the catch pen, of course we didn't let her go with the mules. :-)  The mules will have a wonderful home with a new shepherdess who lives only a few miles from me. They will be used for market lamb production, just as they should be. It feels SO good for me to find them a good home instead of sending them off the the auction and not knowing what their fate would be. They are such beautiful ewes - Peppy will join them next weekend for breeding.

And Shachah continues to be a wonderful addition to our place. The ewes are accepting him pretty well now. My husband is really liking him, too. As you can see in the photo above, he likes to lounge in the ewes' hoop house now. The other day I got to see him in action.  The wind was blowing hard and the ewes were grazing the falling leaves to the north of the hoop house where Shachah was snoozing away. I was a little disappointed to see him sleeping and them off grazing, but as I watched, the wind blew down a small tree near the ewes. The noise and the falling tree sent the whole flock running back toward the barn.  Before I knew it, Shachah was right there, sauntering about, sniffing the air, looking around.  He was perfectly calm and seeing that no danger was present he simply laid down where the ewes had been grazing. Slowly they ventured back to the vicinity and started grazing again. :-)
He barks at night, sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little. The other night a fox was bugging him. And last night it was the coyotes way off by the river. Stan went out and called his name and he quieted right down.
I was told today that it's best for us to acknowledge his barking since he is an only dog. That will give him a feeling of having some back up so he won't have to bark as long. Those LGDs really are smart!
He never barks at the neighbors' little dog, he's great with our cats and our chickens.  Who could ask for more?


  1. The tencel/BFL batts look beautiful. You have motivated me to try some blending.

  2. Becky...nice blue batts and other wooly stuff. It's fun to go through washed wool and plan new projects.

  3. The fiber is beautiful and the dog report is wonderful! SO glad you got him....

  4. Your batts are beautiful! I love the softness of the color. I got my new dyes today and will dye next week. Thanks for the inspiration! And I am so glad for you and your LGD. He is fitting right in.

  5. Becky I love your hoop shelter! Did you make it? It looks like it's made with cattle panels. I could do that on my farm too! I would love to know what the tarp type of covering you have on it is. I have used tarps in various places here before but they always seem to get shredded in no time. Did you get a special kind?

  6. Thanks ladies, I really want to do more blending and dyeing. There's so much to do with wool!

    Claire, I did a post on how to make the hoop houses in October, 2008.
    Here's a link:
    I'll also edit this post and include a hyperlink on the word hoop house. Cattle panel hoop houses are really inexpensive shelters to make and they hold up well to snow and wind. When we made the last two in summer of 2008 we used heavy duty tarps purchased at FleetFarm. They are still in good condition for this winter. The Shetland geese do the most damage, they love to pick at any loose strings or fibers. Of course when the tarps wear out you can just replace them.

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Lambs on the Way! And chicks, poults and ducklings.

Well, we will have some lambs after all. And they're due right when I'll be out of town teaching up at North House. It was a cold a...