My husband and I do not usually give each other gifts at Christmas. We tend to plan for and get what we need as the year goes along.
Last October I invested in some really wonderful pigeons for John to add to his loft. So he decided that he wanted to do something special for me. I have two Jensen spinning wheels, a 30″ production wheel, as well as a Tina II smaller wheel. (I take the Tina with me everywhere, and of course the big wheel stays home for other projects). For a number of years now I have wanted to get some fast whorls for the wheels as I have been spinning a greater variety of fibers recently, and some of them are finer, necessitating faster spinning speeds.
Getting a high speed kit was not as simple as ordering one online because of the age of the wheels. I was able to email and speak with both Jerry and his lovely wife Audrey on a number of occasions, and we finally got a plan together. I received the parts last week and am now in the process of oiling them before I get to try them out. But I am close!
So this holiday was a little different than most, but it’s been a good one. I am psyched to get going with my new Jensen whorls. I have a stash of some cashmere, silk, and some combination fibers that I am dying to try out.
I need to put some WoodBeams on the parts next, and after buffing I will be able to give it a go. Maybe as soon as this weekend :*) More to come on that!
I love that we are spending the majority of the year with Daylight Savings. I will never get more accomplished in the mornings than feeding the sheep and goats, getting cleaned up and getting to work by 7 a.m. But with more light in the afternoons, it gives so much more daytime to work with!
To get the weekend festivities started, I took a spinning class yesterday down at Maine Fiberarts in Topsham. Linda Clutterbuck was teaching a class on refining spinning technique. Just being out and about was wonderful on a day like yesterday, which was sunny and mild. The big windows in the old building flooded the room with light, and not only was it wonderful to be learning some new things, but it was nice to spend the time with other fiber folk. A few from our Salt Bay Treadlers group were there and it was a fantastic day. Linda is a great teacher and I learned some things that I will be happy to apply to my spinning. It was kind of a head buster, but it all makes sense and is more than useful. (Ratios of twists per inch in single spun and then plied yarns). It all makes a lot of sense and even if I don’t measure my angles of twist and bumps per inch in the plied yarn obsessively, it gives me another way to check to see if I am getting the yarn that I am looking for. Very satisfying!
Another crazy hot and humid week has come and gone. They are promising us that tomorrow will be cooler and less humid. The air is already feeling much more comfortable! I have been catching up on some farm stuff, moving sheep and moving cattle panels and all sorts of things up at the house. Every time I am down in the field I forget to take my camera, so I can’t show off the happy ewes. Trying to do too many things at once to catch up from putting too much off during the school year!
In between some of the heavier work I have been washing some fleece that I want to process myself. I had held back a hoggett fleece from one of my favorite keeper ewes, Esther. (A hoggett fleece is the first full year fleece from a sheep). Esther is one of the yearlings that I chose to keep as a replacement ewe this year. Her mother, Norma, was the first ewe that we bought when we started with sheep. She has been a consistently great ewe. She has had twins every year since we first bred her. Never needed any help with anything, just quietly had her lambs and took care of them well. We knew that 2010 would be her last lambing and she had two ewe lambs, both silver-saddled and blue. One was teeny tiny and the other was a giant by comparison. Esther is the larger of the two and I knew that I would keep her if she grew well. She is as sweet and mild-mannered as her mama was and she has a fantastic fleece. Blue-silver, darker grey and brown/black around the edges. So I am hoping to spin it up and possibly card it with some mohair. I would love to get enough yarn from it to knit a cardigan for myself, but we will see. This weekend I am joining some spinner friends for a weekend retreat at Sugarloaf (a ski resort). I am really looking forward to the time away. Hoping to totally decompress and regenerate some little grey cells :*)
To that end, I also took some time to rejuvenate one of my favorite spinning wheels, my Jensen Tina II. I didn’t take it totally apart, but enough to clean it with some Murphy’s oil soap and then I tried a new product, WoodBeams wood treatment by the online business Goodies Unlimited. It has some beeswax and a lot of essential oils in it and I like the finish on the wheel. I probably should do the treatment again soon, as this wheel was pretty dried out and under-tended for the last 3 years or so. But she is beautiful again! And she will accompany me for the weekend away. I am really looking forward to this trip. Not just for getting away, but also because I have never been to that area in Maine. I am not a skier; my husband and I have stayed in the area of Sunday River near Bethel, Maine on the NH border, but we have never been to the Carrabassett Valley. Yippee! New sights to see and some wonderful friends to spend some time with. I hope that I remember to take the camera!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!