Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bad Hair Cut

I sheared my first sheep today with the help of many people.

A new friend who had two babydoll sheep now has four as her supposed infertile male, Bobby, is apparently not infertile. They did not know that the ewe, Emma, was expecting and were rather surprised one day to see two little lambs in the pen.

The twins (one black and one white) are now two weeks old and just a cute as all get out.

But my friend and her husband have come to realize that these sheep are quite a bit bigger than they thought and know that the fenced part of the pasture they thought was large enough really isn't so they are selling all four of them with a top dollar set of electric shears for just $1200. Included in that price are the two fleeces from Emma and Bobby.

Now, as to the quality of that fleece I can speak with intimate knowledge. It is soft, has a lovely hand and while it has some lanolin is not overly greasy and washes up nicely. It does have more VM it than it should as we forgot to put down a tarp on which to work.

The reason I know this is because I went over this morning to help with the shearing. I was a helper in the shearing of Larry and Curly the lincolns from last fall. I sort of figured that I would be doing similar help by holding a couple of legs or putting fleece into bags or such. But, as we got started (none of us has previously handled electric shears) and poor Bobby got nicked and started to bleed, his owner did not have the heart to proceed for fear of hurting him further.

Me, being the bossy sort, just moved in and took over the clippers and buzzed my way along. It took an hour and a half. The fleece is a mess and is probably good only for felting (well, parts of it are going to spin nicely, but you will have to pick out the billions of second cuts.). Bobby was nicked about four or five times all told.

And when the deed was done we could nothing but laugh at the poor fellow for I really did a hack job. I completely missed one hind leg.

We were all completely exhausted and decided our best bet was to come back and deal with Emma on another day. So we have set Thursday after work as round two in this saga.

But here are pictures. The full fleeced sheep is Emma is at the top and you can see the black lamb catching a quick snack. The other pictures are of poor Bobby. I love the one in which Ed is petting him for he is looking at me like he's afraid I will come at him again... but doesn't he look cute? He looks all the world like a large sheep dog and not a sheep himself.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

An ugly rug?

A dear friend who shall remain nameless in this case, brought me a very large baby-poo colored sweater knit in super bulky yarn. He did not like it. He said the color wrong for him and he didn't like the pattern (which was a cowl neck).
Now my friend is a large fellow and the sweater fit him. But he was right in that the pale yellow with odd brown hairs throughout made him look rather ill. The neck was completely wrong for him -- he would look far better in a V-neck. He said the sweater had been hand-knit for him by a friend of his wife and he had worn it from time to time when he needed a sweater but really wished something else could be done with it. I think he was hoping I could dye the yarn and reknit it into a nicer style for him.
Well, I unraveled the thing and got a large paper grocery bag filled with balls of yarn. Some of the balls are soccer ball sized. We burn tested the yarn and discovered it was acrylic. I really am not fond of acrylic yarn for knitting. But I certainly appreciate it's affordability.
The bag of yellow super bulky yarn sat in my fiber room for nearly six months.
Then I got the loom.
Well, one thing the loom is making me realize is that I really don't have much room for a large stash. I need to use up the stuff that I have.
Since I'm a new weaver, I'm figuring I will probably make many mistakes at first and hate the thought of using "good" yarn (high dollar or particularly loved) yarn on items which might find their way to the trashcan anyway.
My first warp was dedicated to using up some of the brown/neutral odd bits of homespun stuff that I had lying around. (See last blog entry)
I thought about using up some of the collection of odd purples/pink/mauves and whites that I have sitting in a basket waiting for inspiration. (And I think I got one, but on a loom, you can really only do one thing at a time, so it will be my next project.)
But everytime I went digging into the stash for ideas, I had to move that bag of baby-poo yarn. I got tired of moving it around. I studied it a bit. I did a little cardboard sampler and made a mug rug. It looked pretty good.
It had the right thickness. It wasn't too stiff and it was actually kind of nice to pet.
So I decided to make a rug.
I wound off enough cotton rug warp to make a 52" long 24" wide rug from this yellow yarn. I planned to weave it and give it back to my friend. I'm about 8 inches into it and actually finding I like the way it's looking. And I've barely made a dent in the bag. I might actually get two rugs out of it if I put on a second warp later.
I saw my friend yesterday and told him what I was doing with his old sweater. He just laughed. I hope he likes the finished project for there is really no where in my house for this color.