Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tools of the Trade

I am using my drum carder this morning to process more wool.  I washed the wool during the summer months when the weather was nice.  Once it is washed it stores nicely until I am ready to card and play with it.  The drum carder's sign that reads, "use caution..." is definitely for real!  After two years of using this sweet piece of equipment, I have the utmost respect for all of its sharp edges.

 The long box with nails is called a wool picker.  Wicked looking, hmmm?  I run my wool through this prior to using the carder.  It helps loosen up the fibers and also gets rid of any leftover vm (vegetable matter)

The dryer balls below are ready to go into the washer for the second time.  I "double dip" my balls, meaning I wash once and dry, add more wool and wash and dry again.  This helps the balls keep their original size although there may still be a minimal amount of shrinkage over time.

I love the softness of the fleece and no matter how many times I go through the entire process from sheep to finished product it still seems like magic to me!  Click on any of the pictures to enlarge, thanks for looking and feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A few of my favorite things

I am a collector.  I have a collection of silver plate, driftwood and sea glass and paper and plastic. Once I collected mugs.  There was an entire wall of mugs in my kitchen. Unfortunately, I married a man who thought he could carry them off to work, break them, lose them and do God knows what with them.  Slowly I got rid of my collection of mugs and him (but that's another story).  Oh and did I mention stamps?  Yes, I have lots and lots of stamps!  I also have a very substantial collection of buttons.


If I were asked tomorrow to give up my collections in order of importance, my buttons would be the very last to go.  They literally map my life and the very basic act of clothing myself and my family.  I have carted around a jar of buttons since I was eighteen and now that collection is many many jars of buttons. You can click on pictures to enlarge.

When my daughter was young I sewed her clothes and it was a joy to do so.  One of my fondest memories is sewing at the kitchen table and Katie playing with the buttons.  She would spend hours sorting the buttons, by color, by size, by whatever game she was playing at the time.  It makes my heart feel good to think of her playing with the buttons.


Their origin is as diversified as my life has been and I can look at a particular button and remember what it had been attached to and when (most of the time).  When placing used buttons in my jar it always felt like money in the bank.  Many of the buttons were given to me and are obviously older than I am,  such as the mother of pearl buttons shown below. 


 Currently I am making and selling mittens made from old sweaters,  which is my little contribution to sustainability, etc.  The process takes about an hour per pair of mittens, however, the final touch is a button attached to each cuff.  This is where I get bogged down. Every Time.   This my collection, right?  Each time I tell myself, "I'm just going to find the right color and move on." Ha.  The above pair of mittens and hat have buttons from a dress I bought at a thrift shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1984.  See what I mean?

Usually, I place my vintage wash bowl full of buttons on my lap and start. sifting.  and.  sifting.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few of my favorite things.  I have. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Caught in the trough!

I was in the process of putting out more hay yesterday and this is what I found.  Pippin in the trough.  The big sheep were leaving in disgust.  They will not eat the dirty hay that pippin has jumped on, pooped on, etc.
As fat as she is I am surprised she could jump up there, but these little lambs have built in springs in their legs.  :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sweet new sheep

Our latest addition to my flock, two baby ewes and the mama.  They are a cross of southdown babydoll and part shetland.  The babies were born in May and had not been separated from their mother so when I went to look at them I knew I could not bear to break up this little family.  I brought all three home with me and I am so glad I did!  They are very tame which suits me fine because my flock is so small and I love the contact.  Having tame sheep with a large herd might become annoying at feeding time!   Already the mama loves to have her neck rubbed every evening. 

This is Merry.  Of the two babies, she looks most like a southdown babydoll, with her rounded face.

My daughter came to vist shortly after I brought them home.  I had to separate them from the others because Lady was not playing nice with them, butting them, chasing the mama, cornering her and being very mean.  They are now all living happily together.

 Keeping with my hobbit theme, obsession, love, whatever, I have named the babies Merry and Pippin and the mama Belladonna (Took) Baggins who as you know married Balbo Baggins and was the mother of Bilbo Baggins.  :)  Bella had an amateur haircut before she came to me but she is a beautiful russet color and I cannot wait to play with her wool.

Looking up is Pippin.  Notice her face is thinner than Merry's.

Because Babydoll fleece is not the best for wet felting, I am hoping that the shetland in these sheep will counter that.  If not, I still have the cute factor which is most important to me.