Thursday, April 30, 2015

Around the farm in Spring

With spring, sheep are shorn and then the wool is washed and dyed. The water to the red barn is back on again.
As lambs are born, I have to evaluate who I can keep. I have way too many animals right now for the pastures, so it is time to let a few go. I have two East Friesians, several Merino rams, Shetland ewes and some Shetland Merino crosses. All are going to be sheared Monday and Tuesday after the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Any that are not sold will go to the sale barn. This is not a fire sale, so be prepared to pay what they are worth. If you can't afford them, you will certainly not be able to feed them over winter.

Toggle is growing quickly. He has already doubled in size since I took this picture two weeks ago. He likes to follow the cats.
With spring, all sorts of critters are showing up around the farm. This turtle is not as old as the one I saw last year. So ugly, but wise old eyes. Marc dug a hole so he/she could get under the fence to the pond.

It is not really all that hot, but the animals are all heading for shade now. They will love their haircuts next week!

I am looking forward to the MDSWF this weekend. It is local for me and a chance to catch up with friends. Hope lots of you stop by to say hello.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

It is warming up!

 I am now working down in the barn creating my favorite type of batts. They are somewhat rustic because I am grabbing all sorts of fibers. There is some vm in them, so they will be priced lower than my usual. I am seriously tempted to wet felt this one. Above is how it looked while the carder was actually running. Below is how it looked when I stopped the carder.

 This is the same batt taken off the carder and folded so you can see both sides. The left is the top color that you can see on the carder. The right side is what went onto the carder first. I rarely do batts that are all one color. This is the Patrick Green Elsa carder. I love to create batts on it, because it holds a lot of fiber. I do get tired of some colors as I card which is why there are always two sides. Felted it is always a surprise and spun it has a Monet/impressionistic look.
 I am currently spinning the pinkish color of the locks above. I just spun a gradient skein of yarn using it and some natural colored moorit Merino. I have just started a freeform yarn in those colors. So tempted to knit or weave it. I have been adding some new surprises in the yarns. Those who are going to Stitches South this coming weekend will get first looks.
 This picture has already been on my Facebook, page as have the last two photos. You can follow or like me - either as Kathy Withers or uniquedesignsbykathy to keep up daily with events on the farm. Follow both, if you really want to know. I am not always sure where my photos will end up. I love the shot of the kids playing in the water trough. It was empty since that water had frozen the night before. I had to haul buckets out to them.
 This is our bottle baby. He will be four weeks old tomorrow and has gone from 2 to 8 pounds. I have named him Toggle, since he has a switch - he is either running around and dancing or immediately asleep when I put him in his box. I have been taking him down to the play area during the warm part of the day, so he can see other goats. He is definitely too small and maybe stupid? to leave in the barnyard full time.
A view of the farm from one of the pastures. So glad that the animals are finally out of barns most of the time and doing more than eat my earnings!

Still shearing when Marc is available. So glad to have someone coming the weekend of the MD Sheep and Wool Festival who will do the Merinos and as many of the Shetlands as he has time for. I will be in the Dog Run area where I was last year. Come hang out and do stop to say hello.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Yarn Styles

 I have been busy spinning feathered yarns and the singles to go with them in preparation for upcoming shows. I will be packing my shop up tomorrow and heading out to Sanford, NC, for their annual fiber festival. I am indoors this year, so weather will not be an issue.
 I have added a few freeform yarns to my inventory. They will all be new to NC since all of the ones I had before are long gone.
 Some of my favorite yarns are the beaded ones. This yarn is closer to black than the charcoal that you see here.
 One of my most recent lambs' tails.
 I am trying to list more rovings on my etsy shop:
I spun two elastic yarns from the roving above. Both are slightly differently colored since the roving is variegated.
I raise my own fiber and my yarns would not be so unique without the animals. i love blending the different types together to get texture. This ram was huge and is a Merino Shetland cross. I just sheared one of the Shetland Merino crosses and the fleeces are gorgeous. Not quiet as fine as the Merino by itself, but awesome since it does not have to be spun up lace weight, which is what my pure Merinos seem to want to do.

My farm shop will be closed till the first week in June. You can find me at shows or through etsy. All of my most recent yarns are there as well as quite a few rovings and most of my patterns. Enjoy browsing!