Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Happy Sheeple & Weaving

The lambs have doubled their birthweights now, and are nearing 30 lbs. Moms are keeping up with their milk needs, and we’re trying to keep up with the Moms’ nutritional needs by giving them extra grain. It’s a bit of a balancing act, trying to get enough food in them without giving them “bloat”, which, in sheep can be a real problem (like fatal). All is going well, and although last night Pebbles looked distended, she’s fine today.

I’ve had a bit of time for weaving lately so thought I’d show you what I’m doing. I can’t take any credit for the design, as it came out of The Best of Weavers THICK & THIN. While the design was originally intended to be a rug, it’ll be tote bags. Don’t know how many yet. The pattern suggested putting on a long warp to allow for experimentation with color/design. The thing about rag weaving that I am not horribly fond of is that the fabric strips don’t stay on a ski shuttle all that well. I end up just scootching the strips through by hand. I can’t seem to get a rhythm like I do with regular weaving. But on the other hand, the weft shots are wider, being that I’m alternating 8/4 rug warp with 1/2” wide cut strips of cotton fabric. Timewise, it probably comes out about even.

The photo here shows the warp, sett at 24 ends per inch, 8/4 cotton rug warp. The idea is that part of the weaving is warp-faced, and part weft-faced, so the colors of both the warp & weft show at different times, depending on which sheds are used. When I get tired of doing squares & rectangles, I may just get random & see what happens!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
Old Shaker Hymn

This has been running through my mind lately, as I think about where we've come in the last year. We've left the busyness, traffic & noise of the city, and are now settled in our hobby farm just outside of town. We now have, instead of just two cats, also seven sheep for fiber animals. We have a flock of homing pigeons which we hadn't planned on. . . but they're beautiful & we enjoy them. We have, instead of a 66-foot-wide city lot on a busy street, almost 5 acres, with peace & quiet for the most part. We don't have the lake. . . but truly, we don't miss the jet-ski traffic, or capsizing canoes full of teenage revelers. Instead we've got a spectacular, serene view of Mount Baker. Neighbors are friendly & helpful. And I have plenty of space to enjoy my fibery pursuits, including those that walk around in our pasture. We are "in a place just right".

I hope that in the new year, we will all "come round right". In that, I mean as a country, too. I don't generally say much regarding politics on this blog, but I am making a little exception today. I am praying for wiser voters, and wiser leadership in the election to come. Don't hesitate, all of you, to ask questions of our leadership, and of our candidates. Look beyond image, and see the realities of priorities, and not just stated beliefs, but deeds. I will stop now, before I go into rant mode.

At the end of the year, a friend of mine plies up all the odds & ends of leftover singles into whatever it turns out to be. I thought this was an excellent idea, so here's my skein. Maybe enough for a small shawl or scarf. I left some of my silk bits for later.

The sheep are doing great! Our three wee ones were shivering from the cold, so I made them little coats of some leftover polar fleece. The two coats I had bought were small wayyyy too fast. The sheep are growing like little weeds, gaining nearly a pound a day, just on milk from their Mommies. The Mommies, by the way, are ravenous and we try to slip them some extra grain to keep up with their increased nutritional needs. All seem to be happy and are getting along well.

In the pasture, there is an ongoing fascination with the turd bucket, which is beyond me, but then, I'm not a sheep. They also like playing "king of the mountain" which, at this point, is just a few blocks stacked by the barn. We hope to make a "real" mountain for them to play on, as soon as we prepare for the new barn.

The new barn. . . well. . . we're still awaiting the permit. We've had a wetlands delineation done, and I understand will need to do some mitigation to compensate for encroaching on the buffer zone by a few feet. The farm plan is done. We're just waiting. . .