Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall and the Midwest Farm and Fiber Festival

The class at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival went well. The fleeces look beautiful!
Sorry I didn't get all the class participants in this photo, some had to leave before it was taken, but I love all the colors and textures represented. Thanks so much to all the ladies for helping out with the tables and clean up.

We had a great space in the milking parlor for the class this year. It was complete with plenty of hot water and floor drains.

Sid and I brought a trailer full of sheep with us to Jefferson.
It was sad to see my Bluefaced Leicester ewes River Oaks Leta and Ruby go, but I'm glad they will be in a breeding flock. I'm also happy that Mystery's little Teeswater/Shetland ram lamb found a good home, he's such a sweetheart. I love the fiber of the Teeswater/Shetland crosses. It's not the long Teeswater-type locks, but it's very soft and I'm finding it spins into a beautiful, springy lustrous yarn.
Speaking of yarn, I was happy to get first place on this 8 oz. skein of natural colored Bluefaced Leicester 2 ply that I spun over the summer at the Isle Farmer's Market. I entered it at the last minute, but so glad I did!

There's always so much to do at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival. I took a Batik Silk scarf class on Saturday morning. I hadn't had time to come up with a design before class, so I winged it with this turtle motif inspired by the baby turtle we found in our driveway the day before we left for Jefferson. I'm excited to keep going with the wax resist technique on silk!

Now it's time to get ready for my booth at the Midwest Farm and Fiber Festival coming up on October 22 at the Isanti County Fairgrounds in Cambridge, MN.

I've been going through all my fiber and shipped out 33 pounds of washed fiber for felting batts, combed top, and roving. I still have a bit more to ship out, but I felt pretty good about having the studio almost devoid of fleeces. Then I had 13 of my Teeswater cross sheep sheared the other day.

Fall fleeces are cleaner than spring fleeces and I have several nice lamb fleeces in the group. I still need to skirt them and decide which ones will be for sale. The heaviest ones are the Teeswater/BFL/Wensleydales and the Teeswater/Bluefaced Leicester/Finns. The Teeswater/BFL/Finns are my favorite, they're so long, soft and lustrous.

Yesterday we said goodbye to Jester, my Teeswater ram, Lucky and Gulliver. Kind of an emotional day. But I'm glad to get my numbers down with several shorn ram lambs scheduled to move on after I grain feed them for a few weeks. Two ewes will be heading out early next month.

I have reaffirmed my decision not to breed any ewes this fall after being rammed pretty hard by Jester. It took two weeks to get over that hit and I'm not getting any younger. That hit and my trip Shetland next spring just seemed to say it's time to skip breeding. I'm looking forward to having more time to work with my fleeces and fiber art rather than lambing, weaning, vaccinating, etc. But I will miss having lambs, it will be the first spring since 2001 without any lambs.
On a brighter note, I found this iris blooming the other day. It was quite a surprise, but I see another one is budding too. I'm going to mark them and see if they flower twice next year. I didn't know there are types of iris that are double bloomers.






Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival 2016

Teeswater/BFL raw felted fleece.
We're getting ready to head over to Jefferson, WI for the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend. I'm teaching a raw felted fleece class there on Sunday, Sept. 11. I bought some new equipment so we shouldn't have any issues with lack of hot water and the ability to spin dry the fleeces after they are fulled.
New 10L portable hot water heater - connects to a hose for instant hot water.
I also got a new Mega Spinner from Laundry Alternative. It holds a lot more than the one I've used for several years now.



If anyone is interested in my old Laundry Alternative spin dryer, it works just fine, but the plastic disk that you place on top of the wet items is broken. I'm asking $45 for it and I can deliver it to WSWF this weekend. These units are really great for spinning out felt artwork, yarn, roving, fleece, locks, and yes, even laundry. :-)
Jester the Teeswater ram was the first one checked and his temp was perfectly normal.
I had the vet out yesterday afternoon for health papers on the sheep I am planning to bring to WSWF.  Unfortunately, it was so hot and humid almost all the sheep were running high temps. Their temperatures just got hotter as the afternoon wore on. So the vet will return tomorrow to recheck their temps in the morning. Yikes, these are going to be some expensive health papers!

I am planning to bring 10 sheep -- if they all fit in the horse trailer. As for ewes, I will bring two registered BFLs  (already spoken for), two beautiful Teeswater cross yearling ewes, and a 2016 Teeswater cross ewe lamb. 
Ewe pen. #158 in upper left.
Ruby's ewe lamb, #158. She's 50% BFL and 47% Teeswater
#158's fleece
For rams, I'm planning to bring Jester and four of his 2016 ram lambs.
 The fleeces on all the Teeswater crosses are fabulous! If you're a spinner or felter and looking to add to your fiber flock, be sure to stop by my pens in the Stock Exchange at the festival this weekend.
Close up of Teeswater/BFL locks on a raw felted fleece
Sid is getting the horse trailer roadworthy today and I'm dyeing cotton gauze for the fleece class. Busy, busy, busy!

I hope to see lots of old and new friends at Jefferson this weekend!