Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Reading List

I thought I would write out my current reading list:

All Flesh Is Grass by Gene Logsdon
Small-Scale Grain Raising by Gene Logsdon
Handspinning - Teach Yourself Visually by Judith Mackenzie McCuin
My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers
My Bible, particularly Proverbs, Psalms, and Philippeans
Katherine and I are reading The Portable Greek Historians for our humanities class.

I'm also listening to a weekly class by Victoria Botkin about biblical womanhood.

I lurk mostly on these Yahoo groups when I have time:
fiber traditions
spinning community
colored angora goats
angora goats the northern way
water buffalo
mule sheep (blue faced leicester crosses)
nutmeg notes
patriarch wives
above rubies

Spinal Column Radio
Lainie Sips: A Tea Podcast

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patty's Day Socks

I have a sweet daughter-in-law, Nicole, who was born on St. Patrick's Day. We have a silly tradition at our house of green pancakes and syrup on St. Patrick's Day, and Nicole usually shows up to enjoy them with us. Sometimes she and Kellen even come for corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and Irish soda bread for dinner.

So this year I was trying to figure out a good birthday present for her. I've been knitting my way through Cat Bordhi's "New Pathways for Sock Knitters", and I found a pattern for some ankle socks with sort of a Irish sweater look that I thought would be perfect. I also found that I already had enough green Alpaca yarn to make them. So here is the result. They knit up so cute. Can't wait to give them to her!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Spinning My Own Yarn

I've been a knitter since I was expecting my first child. My SPU friend Marti taught me. Over the years I have knitted mostly for my kids, but I also have knitted a few sweaters for me, and many more socks. Socks and baby sweaters knit up fast, and can keep my attention. I have always loved textile arts, but find less time for the tedious, slower projects and soon they are out of sight and out of mind. Knitting somehow has always fit into my busy suburban life.

With our plans to move to the midwest when our house sells, I have been researching all the things I will need to know to have a spinner's flock and other livestock/poultry for raising more of our own food. I have read lots of books on the subject of grass fed livestock, raising sheep, pastured poultry, raising Angora goats, value-added products, marketing farm products, etc. One of the first things I did when considering these things, was make a list of all the products I thought our family could market managably. I got on at least seven yahoo groups that discuss animal husbandry for the specific animals that interested me, as well as three on the subject of fiber arts, and spinning wool. I know I would love to knit with my own sheep/mohair, but I also have rugs in mind. Not weaving rugs, but hooking them...with yarn. I had seen some, and they really appealed to me, and intrigued me as a unique product that my children would enjoy dying and packaging into kits with our own wool.

So I have gotten the spinning bug after realizing that if I am going to market wool to others, I had better know what I have, and how it spins. I also wanted to have a better idea of what breed to raise for this. I took a spinning class with two friends in November and determined to buy a wheel of my own. I attended the Madrona Fiber Arts retreat last month and asked lots of people about their wheels, to help me make a better decision before buying one. My grandfather had left me a wonderful cash gift that I had determined to spend on something special, and this was to be it. After trying out different wheels, and learning about all their attributes, I settled on a single treadle, castle style, double drive wheel. Now that may not mean anything to you, but that narrowed down my choices. Quite a milestone. Heidi at the Artful Ewe in Pt. Gamble, my local (sort of) wool/spinning store told me that she had a used wheel that fit my description, a Shacht Matchless. So after a bit of a personal crisis, I finally got over to her store two weekends ago to try it out. She offered to let me bring it home, supplied me with wool, and off I went! Oh, what fun I had, creating my first full bobbin of homespun yarn! So Saturday I went back, paid for my wheel, and Heidi graciously poured herself out to help me ply, wash and whack my first skein of yarn. Now it is ready to knit, or rug hook with. So, it may take me a while, working backward toward my goal of being a shephardess, but in the meantime I am learning some of the skills I will need for my new life. The biggest bonus? Into the shop walked the former owner of my wheel, a wonderful Titus 2 older woman that I know. What a surprise for both of us. Thank you Susan!