Monday, January 31, 2011

January 22nd Visit with the Shepherds at Orchid Patch/Andes Alive

A beautiful ride in southern Worcester County brought our Guild members to the Orchid Patch/Andes Alive homestead. Alpacas, llamas, Peruvian Hairless Dogs, exotic birds and a tropical plant-filled greenhouse awaited our visit. Ellen and Mike toured us through the sights and sounds, and warmed us with their wood stove and wonderful hospitality. I am definitely in love with llamas. What's more, the shepherds plan to bring Blue Faced Leicesters to the menagerie. I volunteered to help with llama shearing this year if I'm needed. What excitement!

Weekend in Punta Gorda, FL

Snowstorms be damned!

Thanks to DirectAir, a Family Ties flight gave me save passage for a weekend visit with Mom far from the maddening winter weather at home. What's more, I managed to combine Florida creek kayaking with sightings of fiber animals. Who knew?!

Lovely llama along the creek bed.

Not sheep, but impressive and very shy.

Barbadoes Sheep (?) . . . I can only guess, but looks like what I found on Sheep 101.

Definitely not a fiber animal type, but very LARGE.

Lady Kayakers

Magnificent flora.

Friday, January 21, 2011

More Snow

This week has been amazingly wintry. Good for staying in the studio. And so, much accomplished. Washing, sorting, putting projects together, weighing hanks with my new food scale from Culinary Underground, organizing binders of patterns and research materials, all the while enjoying the company of peaceful dogs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I (heart) etsy

Worked for the past two days on uploading new images to my etsy store. It's very exciting to see the work posted in this very public forum. I relive the experience of being out on the shoots and hanging with the animals. Haven't done any real cold weather outings yet, although I have sheep-in-snow images as a goal for this year. Somehow bundling up while still having fingers exposed enough to operate the camera hasn't enticed me sufficiently to give it a go. Maybe there's still hope.

So, on a very chilly day like this one I make do with perusing through file after file and making selections such as these above. Many uploaded today were from Heifer Project International/Overlook Farm in Rutland MA, just 20 minutes from my home. It is such a resource, and each year provides new faces for me to see.


Had a nice breakfast at The Friendly Toast in Portsmouth with my dear Sara yesterday. Some laughs, some tears, and comfort food on a chilly but sunny day. She has interesting plans for the Babydoll Southdown flock at The Salty Ewe Farm this year, and it is great fun to share thoughts and ideas and encouragement.
Last year's mother and child duet.

Peeking into the sheep barn at The Salty Ewe.

Olde English Babydoll Southdown roving I have spun.

A little pee stop.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Washing Wool

Swore I wouldn't get the soap and buckets out during the winter, but I have five assorted fleeces or partial fleeces -- all dirty fibers -- to transform into clean play stuffs, and just don't think I can wait until the springtime! Cotswold, Ramboullet, llama, CVM, and Blue Faced Leicester all sitting on the floor and begging for attention. Started some yesterday and will keep up with small batches as much as possible this weekend. Really wishing for a local mill to take them away and turn them around back to me ASAP, but that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

Surprisingly, the little guy Igby shows no interest in the fleeces, in spite of his nasty fecal habit tendencies.

Jeric, however, periodically likes to shove his nose into a pile of fluff, sniff, and sometimes rub his head in the fibers. Yes, this is the guy who will roll in deer or some other wild creatures poo when found out on a stroll.

Tomorrow is NOFA/Mass' Winter Conference and Guild members Betsy and Lisa will present a workshop on carding and spinning. I'm missing it, but so glad that our wool world is making inroads at NOFA.

Last weekend we learned to use a hackle, and I made carded batts, at Chris' home during our Saturday Guild meeting. I loved blending my hand washed, hand dyed with natural dyes, assorted fleece fibers into unique fiber "roll ups."

Now, looking to my LARGE collection of handspun to put some projects together for  the future.

And, hoping to get some sheep in snow photos together soon, taking advantage of the 16  or so  inches we had fall this week.

Full time fiber fun.