Friday, October 2, 2015

Shawls and Bags

My posts are still lagging behind the weaving that I'm doing.  Actually that's not such a bad thing.  In fact it's far better than  blogging more and weaving less!

Dorset loom on left and Baby Wolf loom on right
In this somewhat odd photo there's a new project on my little Dorset loom.  Right next to it is my Baby Wolf.  I took this photo because without giving it too much thought I positioned the Dorset within spitting distance because I find the new Wolf Trap so useful.  For anyone not familiar with this piece of equipment, it is the little hammock-like shelf attached to the breast beam of the Baby Wolf.  In this photo it's holding several items that I'm using on the neighboring loom!  I particularly like how much easier weaving with two or more shuttles is with the Wolf Trap in place.

Prayer Shawl yarns

I think I mentioned one or two posts ago that I'd be including items here that I weave with fibers other than wool.  Here's one.  I am a member of what is called the Prayer Shawl Ministry at my church.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept of prayer shawls, you will find more information here.  One requirement of prayer shawls is that they be machine washable and dry-able.  This eliminates the use of many beautiful fibers.  The need to keep material costs down (I'm already donating an awful lot of my time!) eliminates purchasing lovely wash and dry yarns.  I try to make do with donated yarn and those bought at thrift shops etc.  Lots of acrylic.

Prayer Shawl; fringe not yet trimmed

This one starts with a warp of pale green Softball Cotton.  For the weft I tried two acrylics: a marly green Lion Brand Homespun, a yarn that is used by many knitters and crocheters.  It's actually difficult to knit and crochet with: terrible to frog.  It's great for weaving!  The second yarn, chosen for value contrast, is Moda Dea Metro.  I'd like to do another one in other colors soon because I think this one worked out nicely.  Next time I'll reduce the EPI from 10 to 8 to create a more drape-y effect.

Meadow Muffins yarn

Presently I have a warp of my Meadow Muffins sock yarn on the loom in variegated yellow-orange-pink.  I'm weaving a series of little drawstring bags based on one that I saw in Fabrics That Go Bump.  the weft is the same as the warp with strategic shots of novelty yarn or hand-spun to create a honeycomb effect.  Love these colors!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

More Color-and-Weave

On the loom; the colors are not as accurate here as they are in the photos below.

Just a quick post with my most recent completed project, a small evening bag which will be submitted for a Guild exhibit at the local hospital.  I needed to do this in a hurry and hadn't yet investigated how to line bags like these so this one is unlined.  I found the draft in An Introduction to Multishaft Weaving by Kathryn Wertenberger.  

This draft requires eight shafts and two shuttles.  A very easy pattern to weave; once the rhythm is established it's a breeze. I used my usual sock yarn, dyed in chartreuse and magenta, and wove it on my Baby Wolf loom.  Nothing pale about this piece!

Monday, September 7, 2015

I Hope You Weren't Holding Your Breath...

A good year for our apple tree.  We never spray, yet some years the apples aren't wormy!

In the last year I've restructured operations around here, modifying several times. I needed to bring things more into line with the fact that I must stop hurting myself while doing farm tasks and dedicate more time to weaving.  The lovely Pygora goats went to several farms.  Although I do miss them, re-homing them eliminated the constant need for two pastures (one for does, one for the buck) and shelters in addition to the quarters for my sheep.  At this point my livestock consists of three elderly sheep.  I'm able to provide enough grazing with minimum use of the portable electronet fencing.  The electronet has never been kind to my right rotator cuff.

In the meantime, I wanted to get myself to a point with my weaving where I would no longer feel obligated to refer to myself as a Perpetual Beginner.  Basic skills need sharpening such as warping, reading drafts, and creating a quality woven fabric based on what I have in my mind.  I am constantly confronted in weaving by what I call Rude Awakenings.  This happens when I learn something the hard way.  My results aren't what I was expecting or hoping for because I have too many gaps in my knowledge; my reach exceeds my grasp by too many yards.  Examples include embarking on a project with a new weave structure without sampling first.  This could be prevented by cookbook-style weaving... in other words, duplicating a project in a weaving journal with the exact same warp and weft yarns and the same weave structure. With rare exceptions, this doesn't seem to be something I can interest myself in doing.

As a result my blog will be changing.  There will be less posts about sheep, or about yarns or roving for sale. Posts will focus more on current weaving projects, including those that aren't even woven from animal fiber!

That said, I'll laterally arabesque  over to the most recent work.  I've had increasing interest over the last few months in Color-and-Weave.  In her recently-published book, Next Steps in Weaving, Pattie Graver writes: 
Color-and-Weave is not a type of weave structure.  Instead, it describes a pattern that develops through repeating sequences of dark and light warp ends in both the warp and weft.  The design or pattern you see in the cloth is the result of the color alternations interacting with the weave structure.

Several things came together.  First, in the early spring I was offered the opportunity to take a course at Hill Institute called Sewing with Handwoven Fabric which will begin later this month.  The finished item will be a vest.  Lots or work... and I really want to use fabric that will make this endeavor worthwhile.  

Second, in an effort to weave more fabric that doesn't just look like mud when the warp and weft intersect...such as this...

 I had been reading a number of sources about Color-and-Weave.  

Third, a sub group of my weaving guild started a color study group this spring.  I decided that my project for this group would be a Color-and-Weave sampler, woven from the yarn that I intend to use for the fabric I'll be using my sewing class.  I warped and threaded my loom with an alternating dark and light warp and tried several different treadle tie-ups and treadling sequences, based on an eight harness eight point twill on page 115 of Color-and-Weave by Margaret and Thomas Windernecht.


The sample enabled me to make an informed choice when it came to which pattern I would weave for my vest project.  No Rude Awakenings!

I have an abundant supply (more than three hundred pounds originally), un-dyed, of this yarn.  It's sock yarn, 85% wool and 15% nylon, 1700 ypp.  I had it commercially spun here in Massachusetts from wool that I had collected from local sheep including my own.  I've been hand-dyeing it and offering it for sale for a number of years; currently it's available for knitters who like to do lots of color work in small one ounce cakes called Meadow Muffins.  It is stocked by Sheep and Shawl, a lovely small yarn store here in Western Massachusetts.

Meadow Muffins (center) at Sheep and Shawl

At left is the fabric in progress on the loom.

The photo below shows the fabric after fulling and pressing.

I'm very pleased with this fabric.  The colors will coordinate with just about anything.  The pattern isn't so large that it looks... goofy... but not so small that it is mousy like the beige and white fabric above.  I have high hopes!

There's more to say, but I think I've gone on long enough for one day.  More posts soon.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Registered Pygora Buck and Companion For Sale

I have had some health issues which make it difficult to take good care of my livestock.  At this point they and I will benefit by finding a new home for them.  These are fiber goats; that means that even if you have no interest in using their fiber they will need to be shorn occasionally.  There are lots of other reasons to love these goats: their beauty, their entertainment value,  their manageable size, and their skill at keeping vegetation at bay. These goats love to munch on multiflora rose, bittersweet, poison ivy, and knotweed (bamboo).  Please note that the goats were shorn in June so their fleeces in the photos below are just beginning to have length and will be far more beautiful in a couple of months. 
Most of the goats have sold; my registered buck, Peppercorn and his pal are still available.

Here are the individuals:

Hawks Mountain Ranch Peppercorn  SOLD
Buck, Registration # 10-24M
Born 3/30/10
Color: Brown Agouti
Fleece: light brown B

Peppercorn has been a great buck.  He has a lovely fleece which he of course passes on to his offspring.  He is friendly and shows no agression whatsoever.  He's been a very easy buck to manage.

A Very Nice Boy
High % Boer Goat Wether
Born 2006

Somehow I never came up with a name that stuck for this guy.  He is Peppercorn's companion and is a very sweet guy.  He will not be sold before the others.

Sojourner Design 02  SOLD
Born 5/27/14
Fleece: Probably Brown B

Sire: Peppercorn
Dam: Lily

Hawks Mountain Ranch Lily  SOLD
Doe, Registration # 10-82F
Born 3/26/10
Color: Light Grey Agouti
Fleece: White B

Lily has the finest fleece of my does.  Yes, that's her chowing down happily on some Japanese knotweed!  She is a good mother and an easy-keeping goat.  She singled her first year and twinned her second and third years.

Sojourner Design 01 SOLD
Born 5/27/14
Color: Probably White
Fleece: Probably White B

This little girl is looking like she will be a beautiful doe with white ringlets.

Hawks Mountain Ranch Diane's Tina  SOLD
Doe, Registration # 10-81F
Born 3/25/14
Color: Light Grey Agouti
Fleece: Light Caramel A

Tina is the friendliest of the does.  When in full fleece she has lovely light grey ringlets; her fiber is ideal for dolls hair and beards embellishments in felt-making.  Tina singled her first year and twinned her second and third years.

Hawks Mountain Ranch Diane's Tulip SOLD
Doe, Registration # 10-83F
Born 4/13/10
Color: Light Grey Agouti
Fleece: Light Caramel A

Tulip singled her first year, twinned her second year and was not bred this year.  Again, helping keep the knotweed under control.

I would like to sell this herd together as a breeding herd.  Here are some alternatives:

The herd could be split into two smaller breeding herds with the buckling sold along with some non-related does.

I believe that the prices listed are fair but would listen to serious offers.

One or both bucks could be castrated at buyer's expense.

Please contact me here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Throw from Local Wool for a Holiday Gift

Baaay State Blanket for sale
I'll mail it to your gift recipient!
The perfect gift; who doesn't need another throw to toss over a chair or to add a little more warmth on the bed on a cold winter night.  And the wool that was used to fashion these throws was shorn from Massachusetts sheep, including my own.  The wool was spun into yarn in a mill in central Massachusetts and woven in this state too.
An easy solution for gift giving

These throws are 60" by 45", have rounded corners and neat edges finished with a blanket stitch of the same wool.  They are brushed to raise a nice soft nap.  I've participated in similar blanket projects in the past; the design, softness and quality of this throw is by far my favorite.

All natural colors
You may pick up your throw by arrangement at my home in Florence; the price is $80.00 plus tax.  But here's the exciting part: for an additional $15.00 I will package and ship the throw anywhere in the United States... and your gift dilemma for that special someone will be solved.  If mailed to a location within Massachusetts, sales tax will apply.

All that blur in the foreground is soft nap!

If these prices are a little out of your budget I also have scarves, 60" long and 11" wide, woven from the same yarns in the same pattern and edge finished with a blanket stitch.  Just my opinion, but I think these are most suitable for men.  I like my scarves to be long and drapy so I can wrap them around my neck a few times in big lazy loops.  These scarves are more suitable for crossing once under a coat.  They'll do a great job of keeping a man's neck and chest warm.  Again, just my opinion!  These scarves are priced at $15.00 at my home in Florence, and if you'd like me to mail one for you the total is $25.00.

I've made it easy for you!
Finally, you can use your credit card to purchase your throw or scarf!

Please email me if you would like to order a throw or scarf.  Remove the space after the @ when you paste my address in to your message, and put Gift Order in your subject line.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pygora Kids and Grass

The grazing season is in full swing and the kids are enjoying it immensely!  My buck and wether have surprised me this season by keeping the stinging nettles to which they have access trimmed down.  This is a first and I wish all my critters did that!

Tina's kids

Tulip's kids

The four bucklings are now four wethers (they are neutered); the sites where they had been disbudded (horn buds removed) have healed over nicely.

I have updated the Pygora page a little, including pricing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pygora Kids Update

Lots of information about the kids and their parents has been added to the Pygora Goats for Sale Page.  There's still more to add: I want to say more about my herd in general, and to add helpful information about Pygora fiber and what the individual micron counts mean.

I always miss the best photo opportunities, but here's a keeper from this morning:

Kids and Tina 04-10-13