Monday, July 25, 2011

two months, really?

It has been two months since I posted?  Really?  Well, actually, I can believe it!

When we left off, we were anxiously awaiting shearing season and the promise of fresh fleeces.  We had spent months running old fleeces and assumed that fresh fleeces would behave better.  I thought lovingly back to my days as a sheep farmer, my favorite spinning day being shearing day.  The fleeces were so beautiful, the lanolin wonderfully warm and the spinning excellent with no prior washing and even no carding. 

But in SW PA, as well as many other places, it rained for the last half of May.  Rain and shearing do not really go together.  And spinning wet fiber, well....eeewww.  Since alpaca has no lanolin in it, the thrill of spinning straight from shearing is wasted.

We assumed wrong, by the by.  Fresh fleeces did not bring "the salad days" we were hoping.  in fact, it just brought a new slew of issues.  Issues we thought were so bad we brought in a consultant.  Then, having found that the consultant set us back even farther, we finally got ourselves back on track.  Sigh.

We are on track and doing well now.  Liz at Fiber4Ewe keeps telling me the first year is miserable and that it will get better.  Well, we are now into the 7th month of year one and hoping things get less and less miserable as we go. 

Summer is summer.  The kids have lots they want to do, only to realize their chauffer is busy.  Mom is working 10-12-14 hour days trying to get caught up.  They have been very useful though - they do incoming weights, skirt fleeces and tumble them so the adults can take over with the washing.  They also are great at tending the plyer and skeining. 

Alliey is working out well.  She is at the pin drafter most of the time.  This is not what we originally intended but, what is.  Given the temperatures lately, none of us has looked good enough for photos so there isn;t one of her yet.  That and Brigid went away for three weeks and took her camera with her! 

I am off to teach Beginning Weaving at the Augusta Heritage Festival next week in Elkins WV.  If you are not familiar with this, it is 5 one week long theme weeks in music, dancing and crafts.  It is held on the campus of Davis and Elkins College and is a great time!  I went for the first time in 1997, then missed a few years.  The girls and I have gone something like 6 of the last 7 years and this is my third year teaching.  My mom is going for her second year.  Our week has two themes - Bluegrass and Swing Week.  The music is beyond phenomenal and the dancing is fabulous.  We have camp buddies we hang with every year and it is nice.  If you are interested in attending (classes begin after the 4th of July and run through the 2nd week of August) check them out at .  

While I am away, Craig and Alliey will be holding down the fort, focusing on rug yarn, rovings and felt.  Oh, the new needle felter is here!  I just would love a good chance to play around with it!