October 23rd, 2017
Well a lot more lessons have been learned over the last week or so and more beautiful yarn has been created! Today I pulled the first plyed skein of BFL off the spinner. This is 100% BFL from a local breeder just a bit up the road from me. I plyed a beautiful gray with white. The picture doesn't do justice to the feel. Oh my! A limited quantity of this small batch yarn will go up on the site Friday evening.
Along the way I of course made mistakes and learned. Two big lessons that will hopefully stick with me. One, keep the machine clean. Don't get me wrong, I do a lot of cleaning, but sometimes the smallest little area with a build up of oil and dirt on the spinner can cause all sorts of problems. Second, really double check my twist and go with what my gut and hands are liking. If the machine is not responding the way you want, run thru a series of questions first about if the machine is as clean and set up as it should be (if not, that is all my fault!). Do that twice, and then if all looks good start making adjustments to twist and draft.
In addition to this new yarn, I also received a picture of the yarn being dyed by Kristin of Blue Savannah. You all get a sneak peak here. It is the same yarn as the denim blue and natural light gray. I am in love!!!
A couple quick comments about the farm. Our new ISA chickens are busting out big eggs everyday. They are small hens with a docile personality. I'm really liking them!
The other, the ram lambs are loving their new space and got there just in the knick of time as one of them has started rutting. Basically this means he is ready to make some sheep love with some pretty ewes. His behavior has changed with him being much more stand-offish to me and much more dominant with his brother. And for the first time I even saw some air-humping (sorry for that rather distasteful phrase, lol)! He makes all sorts of crazy faces and as soon as I walk up he instigates head butting with his brother. Oh boys I wasn't planning on breeding them this early so I guess they will have to just tough it out this round.
Thanks for following and fiber on!....
Merino on the spinner
A lot has been going on in the mill which is why not a lot has been going on here. So now I'll catch you up...
First, merino on the spinner. I decided to make this a personal challenge and see if I could get to a 3-ply fingering weight. This is more challenging because each single yarn must be spun thinner and with the right twist, too tight the yarn will feel less luscious and too loose the yarn will break. True to form merino, a very fine wool, added its own challenge to the mix. Getting the lead from the bobbin to attach to the roving proved a challenge. As you can see by the pictures, the floor by the spinner got more full of discarded wool as the day went on. Remember I am very much learning as I go and this was no exception. So after several times of the yarn breaking once I would get the bobbin going, my handspinner brain finally clicked...aaah, you aren't putting enough twist in the yarn so it is breaking. Why it sometimes takes so long to figure this out, I'm not sure? And I certainly hope that as I progress at this my brain will go thru a checklist of possibilities. I'm sure it will as it already does a million times more than when I first started spinning. At any rate, once I figured it out we were rolling and I managed to do what I had hoped but have yet been able to do...just let the spinner run! 800 yards of 6 single strand yarns smooth as butter. I did have 2 breaks, the machine stops spinning when it senses that, no big deal on this day. I was able to reattach the yarns without a big kerfluffle. Wahoo!!! They plyed up like a dream and I am thrilled with the outcome. They are soft and beautiful with plenty of life left in them.
In addition our new yarn tags came in this week. A picture of them is posted. Love!!!
And finally today on the farm we moved the ram lambs. They are down the road at the beautiful old original homestead that our street is named after. They are next to the new chickens that also came home to the farm this week. ISA (breed) chickens that are laying very large eggs like champions. The hens here at the house are mid-molting (shedding all their feathers and taking a break from laying to regenerate) so it is nice to still be getting some eggs from the new ladies. The plus side is that fresh from the chicken eggs are good for about 6 months, so we tend to backstock for the winter as best we can. Farm fresh eggs are the best!!!
I'll be putting yarn up on the website for sale this Saturday, but for you all, it will likely be up Friday night and Saturday morning before I announce the shop update, so get it while you can!
Thanks for reading!
October 12th, 2017
We've returned from my brother's wedding in Virginia. It was a wonderful time being with family and what great weather we had! And I got some good knitting time in during our travels!
Prior to leaving, I finished up another batch of romney/alpaca/silk yarn in a very light gray. I sent some of it out to be dyed by Kristin of Blue Savannah and while I was away Kathy of Despondent Dyes (she has her dye studio in the back of the mill) dyed up some of it. I've included pics. This batch gave me more of a headache on the spinner. I think it new I had a deadline! I had a fair amount of cockling which basically is when the yarn is spun into what looks like slubs. In reality that part of the yarn can be pulled out by hand and it appears as normal yarn again, but by hand doesn't quite work in this situation. The romney wool was a pretty long staple length which meant I had a bit of a learning curve. So I ended up getting lots of learning in about how much control this fiber did or didn't want on the spinner. In addition I also had yarn fly off the side of the skeinwinder, get caught up on the conewinder, wind up in the pin-drafter, etc.... It was one of those weeks and while I kept telling myself "you are learning a lot of valuable lessons," what I was feeling was like, if I had superhuman strength I would have picked up each machine and thrown it out into the street. Lol!!! Instead I would stomp my feet, take a few deep breaths and realized it was definitely time for a vacation!
Given all of the week's frustrations I was more than ready to be back at the mill! I've been prepping the next batch of yarn which is a beautiful stark white merino grown out in Eastern Oregon. It's been carded, pin-drafted and is sitting on the spinner waiting to become yarn tomorrow. I'll get some pics of it up this weekend. Fingers crossed I have less of a headache!
All on the farm is well in the meantime. The ram lambs moved into their temporary pasture as they were starting to sniff out the alpaca ladies a little too much the last couple weeks. We will likely sterilize one of the boys, but have been waiting to see which one was going to have better horns, fiber and personality for the job. I think we've decided on our darker boy, but we'll give it a couple more weeks. He definitely is starting to look less like a lamb and more like a ram as his horns come in bigger and thicker and his nose is starting to block out a bit. Hopefully they will move into their permanent pasture next week. It's a very nice space although I will have a little separation anxiety as it is down the road about half a mile. Hahaha!
My posts should become more frequent again now that I am back on a schedule and focused on vending at Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle which is only 3 weeks away. Aaaahhh! If you are in the area, check out the website, there are some pretty impressive teachers and vendors alike. I hope I'm not too far out of my element. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty intimidated by this event.
Thanks for reading and fiber happy!
October 08th, 2017
I am Kim Biegler, the owner and operator of Ewethful Fiber Farm & Mill, along with my husband Mitch - my steadfast supporter, enabler, grass seed farmer, maintenance guy and all around love of my life! Visit the Mill's website for more about us and well, to shop for fiber of course! ewethfulfiberfarm.com