Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Temperature Roller Coaster

The middle of April was very mild for Michigan, temps in the 60's and 70. However the 25th was forecast with thunderstorms, high winds and dropping temperatures. The tulips here were in full bloom, I was sure the winds and hard rains would ruin them so took a picture to enjoy them l0nger.

I thought the cooler weather would be good for Holland, Michigan's Tulip Festival which begins in a week. Holland was a Netherlands settlement and the city continues to celebrate it's great Dutch heritage by having a week long festival with street washing, klompen dancers, parades and activities at the windmill that was actually brought across the ocean.

Next surprise by Mother Nature was to have the temperature at 8 am this morning at 29 degrees. I hope that won't cause problems for the fruit orchards all around us. Now we have forecast for 50 to 60's again next week with rain. Since we didn't get the rain last weekend, we do need it. This weekend will also be the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, I so miss not being a tourist.

Monday, April 21, 2008

After Shearing

Friday was "Shearing Day", such a good feeling for the ewes and for us. You can see #400 in the right hand corner after her coat was removed. Her ''before" picture is at the bottom of that column. I detect a bit of a smile in the after shearing picture, don't you?

Our Merino Rambouillet sheep are shorn once a year. You can see more pictures of a typical shearing if you click on this days title 'After Shearing'. As soon as the wool is shorn from the sheep, it is then called a fleece, the fine wool holds together so well that the entire fleece can be flung like a blanket onto the skirting table. Our skirting table is shown in the 3rd picture on the website. It isn't fancy, just a cattle panel framed with some lumber sitting on 2 saw horses big enough for the full fleece to be spread out evenly with the cut side down. The open squares of the cattle panel allow any 2nd cuts (wool that is cut short by the shearer) to fall onto a tarp laid on the floor.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hand Dyed Yarn

The beautiful weather brought thoughts of flowers to mind so it was easy to choose the latest colors to dye.

The first is called Daffodil, most of our daffodils are in bloom now. I love that bouncy little yellow and gold head swaying in the spring breezes.

This is a close up of the colorway in the worsted weight skeins. You can see the full view on our website page

The second colorway is named Sweet Pea. Actually these flowers don't bloom till summer.

Sweet Peas are an old vine type flower that some dislike because of the vining. Sometimes you even see them in the country road ditches.

The blossom begins with a dark pink, almost maroon to bright pink. As the blossom ages, it fades to a light pink to white. There is a faint fragance to the flowers, that is one of the things I like about it plus they stay in bloom a long time.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I am excited to have a new line of knitting patterns, the company name is Kalamazoo Knits. The reason I am excited is Kalamazoo, Michigan is only 40 miles from our farm - and where we lived "before farm". A group of women published their original knitting designs; the patterns are well written on heavy cardstock, the styles are creative and the projects are perfect for quick, small projects for yourself or gifts.

The patterns include socks, mittens, hats, a really neat 'knit then felt' bag that I think would make a great knitting bag and (my first project of their designs) a shoulder wrap. More great news about the patterns, they are all knit with circular needles!!

This is the photo on "The Anne Shoulder Wrap" pattern, Erica, the distributor, is modeling it.

I will post a photo of my wrap later. First I need to choose the colors I want to use and oh, yes... finish the Magic Loop socks. I still like the Magic Loop technique but I lost my place in the pattern and skipped the whole instep so had to frog it back to the heel.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring and new grass

How fresh is the air, the green of new grass and daffodil sprouts, it makes everything feel all right with the world. Obviously, spring is my favorite season; I love to walk around the yard to see what new things are pushing through the earth and try to see what or where I can add another perennial.

The sheep were even more ready to see new green on the ground. Because of the excessive snows we had this winter our pasture area is still a little too damp for them to roam very far but they will push out a little further each day. Today, they were just trying to figure out what I was doing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy April Fools Day

Appropriately, I will be going in to speak. The Lambswool Limited Yarn has been so popular, all of the lambswool that our spinner put up in hanks/skeins is gone. Some of this yarn was put on cones to be used for hand dyed yarn but already part of that yarn has been wound off the cones into skeins and found its way to the shop, now guess I will do the rest.

The lambswool yarn has certainly lived up to expectations. it is so soft and white. It does pill with the first washing, that is understandable with the shorter and extra fine baby fibers, however it has worn very well. The first item I knit with it was the Lazy Moebius. I have worn that alot in the shop because it allows full arm movement and won't fall off. Wearing anything in the shop is a good test of durability.