Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oxen-powered Carding Mill, a rare view of bygone era

The American Sheep Industry Newsletter this week included the above title: Oxen-powered Carding Mill, a rare view of bygone era It is reprinted from

"The oxen-powered New Salem carding mill is all set to operate once again for the visitors who want to get a rare glimpse of how mills functioned before industrialization took over. President Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site is a reconstruction of a carding mill that existed in 1830s, where Abraham Lincoln lived for six years. This site is now managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Spectators can take a look of this once-in-a-lifetime event on only three Saturdays, June 28, July 5 and July 19. The whole ambience will take the visitors back in history. The demonstrators will be present at the site to explain the entire process of how raw wool was transformed into usable fiber. The spectators will be able to watch oxen walking on a large wheel to power a huge wooden shaft, which in turn helps the carding mill and the double carder machine inside to move. As sheared wool is pushed into the machine, a series of carding rollers straighten out the fibers. After this process, wool can be spun and woven into garment.
New Salem is the only functioning oxen-powered mill in the United States and one of the three in the world."

Already one opportunity to see this is past and I don't think I can make either of the other two dates but thought anyone in the area interested in fiber would love to know about this.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Recent Rains & Floods

It appears the recent rains that caused so much flooding nearly all over the midwest is past and those poor people who had their homes and businesses nearly ruined can try to get back to a life again. We were blessed at Marr Haven, there were several floods and road washouts in Michigan but the closest to us was about 20 miles. Our land is quite sandy with no large rivers nearby so although we had some of the torrential rains,none of it caused damage.

In fact, quite the contrary, the 5 acre pasture that the horses are usually rotated to by now, grew so much grass that my DH decided to mow and bale it. He thought it might make 15 bales and at the price of everything now, that would be worth the time, gas and effort. Well he got 30 nice bales. The horses will be happier this winter, although they wondered why they couldn't have it now.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Knitting E-Patterns Available

I am really excited about a new venture with designer and good friend, Suzanne Pufpaff. I will now have her knitting patterns available for sale that you can download and print for yourself. This will not only save shipping charges to you but also get the pattern to you obviously, a lot faster.

Right now there are only two of her patterns on the website for download; a Sweater Shawl and her latest design, a knitted Swirl Skirt, which is shown here. Both were created with handspun yarn and can also be knit with sport weight commercial yarn.

I am not sure how quickly we will have all of her patterns ready for download, we both still have to take care of animals and run our businesses but I will try and keep you updated.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Recent Hand Dyed Yarn

I finished these 2 colors a week ago but just got them labeled and on the website today. The name of the first, Limeade, tells you what I was thinking about. We were working on our vegetable garden which we cover with plastic and it gets hot out there even though the air temp is only in the 70's.

The second colorway is also summer oriented, I call it Sand 'N Sea. It will certainly be awhile before we can make the short trip to the 'big lake' (Lake Michigan is about 20 miles west of the farm) and be in the water. My husband has been on top of the water already this season - fishing. Yesterday the temps were teasing for the water lovers, up to 80+ degrees, but today is overcast, cool with a breeze in the 60's.

You can see pictures of the full skeins on the webpage My knitting is taking a backseat right now with the yarn dyeing. I have a custom order that must be finished first. The Kalamzoo Knits wrap is laying beside my favorite chair, patiently waiting.