Sunday, March 31, 2019

Preparing for Classes, RIP RP, and Hay Nets


I've been working a small project for an introduction to felting class tomorrow in Minneapolis. I want to use wool from my own flock, so I picked this beautiful black shetland combed top. I don't have much left since I've sold all but two of my Shetlands -- and they aren't black. Anyway, this little tablet pouch only took 3/4 ounce of combed top.

I added some pieces of felt from a rug I cut up and some scraps of Margilan silk. I think this felt would make some beautiful scarves or even a jacket.

So today it's back to the drawing board, I think I will switch to Shetland Mule and Teeswater cross top. I want more stability for a felted tablet pouch or hot pad or coasters.



I'm teaching a new class at Shepherd's Harvest, knitting with longwool locks.
It's only a 3 hour class, no water or towels or plastic bags involved in making this wooly locks scarf, boa, cowl or cuffs. I will be washing up lots of  my Teeswater cross locks so I'll have plenty on hand. Registration starts April 1st.


I'm also teaching the felted fleece class in August in Minneapolis at the American Swedish Institute.  I'm hoping for good weather, we'll be working out in their beautiful courtyard for the wet portion of the class.
I'm pretty sure there are still openings in my classes in Hanover, PA in June and September too. Sherry Tenney is taking registrations on Etsy for those. Last year's class was so much fun and Sherry's selection of the raw fleeces was fabulous!
My felted fleece class at North House Folk School is full but they are taking names for the waiting list. I also teach occasional classes in my home studio by appointment, just shoot me an email and we can talk about it.

We said goodbye to  our dear Richard Parker last week. He lived a long life for a cat diagnosed with Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. He was the fearless defender of our realm.

Okay, now for a sheep photo,look at those sweet little Gotland faces.
I've skirted all 33 of my fleeces this year and even washed 4 or them already. I will be making lots of felt pelts from my own flock thanks to using HayChix hay nets this year. I have to feed hay year round because we are in the woods here, not much pasture. My fleeces were noticeably cleaner this year. I use the big round nets and the small nets for feeding small squares and flakes. Love them! 


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Spring can't be far off

We have a broody hen...

the sheep are sheared...

and it's St. Patrick's Day! We're heading to our friends' winery to meet with other spinners and knitters. Then we're off to celebrate at another friend's house.
We've had lots of snow and cold, but the temps are rising and the snow is melting.

Time to start some tomatoes from the seeds we saved. I always plant Brandywines and some nice little round Roma tomatoes that we got from the Amish a few years ago.

I am loving the Gotland cross lambs' fleeces. I skirted all 18 of them over the last two days. Several lambs managed to felt themselves up around the shoulders, but there's still enough for me to make some small felt pelts.


My classes at North House Folk School went well. The Cobweb Felt class was fun, we had plenty of time to complete our projects and clean up.

The Skinfeller class I took with Karen Aakre turned out to be a godsend.
My ninety-year-old dad suddenly started going downhill fast the weeks before the class. He had a bit of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty furnace, but we knew it was more than that. They sent him home where he lives alone with only a wood stove for heat (because he couldn't use the faulty furnace). It was very stressful for us kids trying to make sure he was okay. We got him admitted to Continuing care the day before I left for Grand Marais. Sid was going to come with me, but our furnace started acting up and my farm sitter's car broke down, so I ended up going alone. I had a beautiful hotel room overlooking Lake Superior.
I kept in touch with my family and the care facility over the weekend, but it was quite stressful. Anyway, Skinnfell is like Ukranian egg decorating in that the motifs are meant to tell a message, the symbols should represent the people who are receiving the skinnfell.
So for my project, I lucked out and got a very long-stapled. light brown, Norwegian Spael sheepskin.

I gave it a bridal edging and chose the woodblocks with symbols to represent my family.
The eight-pointed stars were my mom and dad, the eight hearts around the starts represent us eight kids, and the doves represent our grandparents.  I put my mom and dad's surnames on the edges with dots representing them and their siblings. I wanted to stick with a single color, brown. I was thrilled with it. I was able to stop by the care center on my way home and show my dad. It was the last time I was really able to communicate with him. I'm so glad I stopped! He liked it, the next day, he was so out of it to respond to much at all. He passed away in the early hours of Feb. 21. I am the executor of his estate so I have my work cut out for me for a while.

And now I am working on patterns for the new class I'll be teaching at Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival over Mother's Day weekend. It's a knitting with longwool locks class. Lord knows I have lots of longwool locks!

Twins for Smokey, hay for winter, peafowl, and classes

Sure enough, Smokey had her twins while I was teaching up in Grand Marais. They are already a month old and still very black. She deliv...