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Minnesota, United States

31.5.17

In the meantime...

I sold the Weaving Wednesday project from the last post, finished warping Hank (the floor loom), volunteered to run a station at the. Star Wars themed Cub Spring Fling last weekend, finished knitting Ben's moose sweater (ends are woven in and pieces are blocking), and I have to prep for my demo at Shepherd's Harvest Festival for Saturday.  The weather warmed up and it should be a nice Mother's Day weekend.  Ben's birthday is coming up and the sweater should be finished in time, which makes me very happy and I know he'll love it.  I managed to find some buttons that match nicely, although they aren't made of antler.  If I can find some nice antler buttons the others can be replaced.

15.05.2017 The weekend was warm and sunny.  I drove to Lake Elmo early on Saturday to help Linda before her felted slipper class at Shepherd's Harvest Festival.  My spinning demo was fun.  I love seeing old friends as well as showing others the fun of carding together bits and bobs of color bits with white and a bit of gray wool and then spindle spinning.  After the demo it was time to walk around.  There  were lots of new vendors, most of which had commercial products and hand made goods.  Nice items to look at, but nothing I was interested to purchase.  The focus of the festival has shifted a bit in twenty years.  My favorite button-maker was there and I bought some lovely lilac wood buttons with purple in the wood grain.  Most of my time was spent in the Anoka Fiber Works booth spinning and chatting with passers-by.  After picking up the fleece from Andrea and taking it to the car, there were sheep and goats in the barn to visit and even two yaks were grazing outside.

The moose sweater was finished in time for Ben's birthday on Mother's Day, which makes the day even more special.  We had ribs with fixings and then an ice cream cake.  I'd ordered a small cake, but  when Jim picked it up it was a large cake...we'll be chipping away at it for awhile when Ben visits because it's too big for his freezer.  Ben brought a lovely bouquet of roses and doughnuts (from Andi and Ben).



05.31.2017 I believe it's time to finish and post.  Since the last installment, we filled the shallow hole in the back yard with twelve yards of dirt, eight yards of fill (containing large dirt clods and rocks) and four yards of black dirt.  Friday was a long day until Ben came after work and helped finish the four yards.  Jim sent this information to me about the weight of the dirt:  Topsoil's weight can vary greatly due to moisture content. In the dryness of the summer, the weight of a cubic yard of soil can drop down to around 1700 pounds, while in the spring when soil is damper, one cubic yard may weigh well over one ton.  Did I really need to know that?

This is what four yards of dirt looks like.  

This is the eight yards of fill.  My job was to rake and roll after each wheelbarrow was dumped.  Jim filled the roller with more water toward the end of the fill and it was a bit too heavy for me, so I continued to rake.  
I brought home a lamb's fleece from Black Cat Farmstead.  Ben the black sheep is a mixed breed of Shetland, Icelandic, and Gotland.  I pulled out a bit of the fleece and washed it.  I didn't think I wanted to card it, so I used Mary's wool combs.  The result was so nice and I ordered a set of combs right away.  I learned how to use them years ago as a new spinner.  The locks are loaded onto the comb with the cut side toward the handle on the pad, and then with a comb in each hand, the wool is combed by grabbing a little bit with each pass so the fiber can be pulled through the diz into roving fluffs.  I dug out some clean white wool from the stash and practiced.  Now I have to scour the fleece.  The process of fleece to yarn is slow and enjoyable.

Valkyrie fine wool combs (I call them the Freddy Krugers)

The combed wool makes for smooth spinning

Deb from Old Man Wool Farm/Ewespun Fiber Mill made up some lovely spinning fiber called Mocha Dream, which is ⅓ Romeldale wool, ⅓ alpaca (both locally grown), and ⅓ camel down.  It is a dream to spindle spin.  She had a spun sample and knitted sample at Shepherd's Harvest and it was just too beautiful to resist.  I should have enough for a hat or mittens.  Each hank is about 55-yards of yarn.  

From roving to finished yarn