Finnsheep Fleeces

We’ve had a wonderful year with lots of healthy lambs born in the late spring. Eighteen ewes, forty nine lambs equaled one busy barn full of cuteness!

Annabelle and her lambs
Sweet little faces!

We have lots of fleeces coming up for sale, as shearing has begun! Finnsheep wool is a handspinner’s dream and excellent for felting.

Loungin
Soft beautiful lamb fleeces for sale

If you would like a fleece we have many to choose from. We will have them listed in our shop or on Facebook. You can also contact us directly.

Avocado Dye

When I found out that one of my favourite foods produces one of my favourite colours, I was up and gathering all the bits I needed as soon as I could get to it! This gorgeous dusty rose, comes from using avocado skins and pits!

I used the skins off three avocados, their pits chopped and an additional three pits I had saved aside to plant, this project took precedence to that for the time being! So a side note, if you wish, save all of your skins and pits in a small bag in the freezer, as you eat the avocados until you’re ready to use them. Place all the avocado skins and pits in a pot of water, more than enough to cover. I used approximately 1.5 litres. Simmer on a low temperature, careful not to scorch. I left my pot on for just over an hour, then covered it and left it until the next day when I would be ready to dye. I think giving the pot that time to sit may help saturate the colour, though I’m not certain if it does.

The next day, using a sieve, I removed all of the solids from the dye pot.

Look at this beautiful colour, I’m still so impressed that avocados do that!

I placed the sieved dye back into my dye pot. Before dyeing the yarn of your choice, it must be soaked and thoroughly wet. I used a wee skein of chain plied alpaca and two skeins of Icelandic handspun. The Icelandic is a bit on the tan side. I had some wonderful squishy skiens of white handspun Finnsheep wool, but I was apprehensive to use it because I didn’t have enough dye to do it all and am saving it for a project. So maybe next time when I get some more avocados eaten.

Your yarn should be good and saturated with water. Leave it to soak for at least ten minutes, I left mine for about thirty. Squeeze the water out and place the yarn in the cold dye pot. The dye should cover the yarn. Mine was pretty close, so I added about 1 cup of water. Be careful not to add too much fresh water, or if you have to just be aware it will dilute the colour some.

Keep your element on low. You do not want your pot to boil, that is quite important! Let it simmer on low for a good hour. Then turn the element off and let the pot sit. I let mine sit until the next day. The great thing about using this dye is there is no need for a mordant, avocados are high in tannins so the dye sticks well on it’s own. (Amazing!)

The next day, I removed the skeins, rinsed in cold water and hung the skeins to dry. My heart sang. I just LOVE this colour!

Using a Distaff

Ever wish for a third hand to keep your fibre supply tidy while using your spindle? If so, a distaff could be your new best friend. You can load a distaff with a large supply of fibre, be it rovings or batts.

Here are both finger and a wrist distaffs.

The way you can load either distaff with roving, is to begin by holding some of the fibre in place, and wrapping it around and around the distaff in a figure 8 fashion or by spiraling top to bottom then back again. It can be done tightly if you hope to load lots of fibre or less if that is what you want, it will become a personal preference.

To dress a ring distaff with a batt, you can first attach a piece of ribbon, to the distaff.

(Or use a piece of yarn, cotton thread, or twine, ribbons are just pretty!)

Then roll your batt to fit around the distaff, folding the batt over on itself to fit is ok. Wind your ribbon around the batt and tie.

The procedure is the same for a wrist distaff, attach a ribbon if you like, and tie the batt on. We sell wrist distaffs that come with leather lacing. The two single laces to tie it onto your wrist, the chained leather lace to wrap around your fibre supply.

Your wrist distaff is something you can feel free to personalize in any way you wish! Weave some beautiful strapping, braid some of your handspun, the choice is yours. No matter what you decide, the whole point is to find what works best for you and with practice, your distaff will be a handy tool you will wonder how you ever spun on without it!

Happy Spinning!

Making Felted Bars of Soap

Besides function, the greatness of having a washcloth and soap in one, or the sheer joy seeing a cute little decorated bar of soap might bring every time you wash your hands, I have felted my soap to save it. Save it you might ask? From what? My beasties. Every single one of them have turned out to be soap destroyers at a young age. They are good for the most part in taking care of their things and do not seek to destruct on a usual basis. But soap? When you are two years old, in our home, it stands no chance. Little hands soak it and squeeze it and pull it until it is nothing but a pile of bits. This irks me immensely! It clogs the drain. It just drives me nuts collecting little scraps to lather with too. I’ve done the soap in a nylon thing, crocheted a cute little bag. It’s helped but each still had annoying issues.

So I have turned to this in attempt to not only beautify the sink side, but also for sanity. And it’s fun to make! 🙂

You will need,

-wool roving or batt

-a bar of soap

-nylon stocking

-a dish of boiling water

-bubble wrap and tape to secure it to your work surface, I used some duct tape.

-rubber gloves if you wish

-if you happen to have a washboard or some other corrugated something to use in place of bubble wrap, that may even be better!

First step is to set up. You’ll want to tape your bubble wrap to your work surface. Put on a kettle of water and have a dish for the boiling water ready.

The fun part now is to wrap your soap. I have put together a very simple batt, mostly white Finn sheep wool with a few flecks of colour. This is where you can insert your imagination and the possibilities go on and on. I am excited for the next time I get a chance to do this, I plan on bright colours and neat designs.

Take your wool and wrap your soap! You will want to be sure your soap is completely covered. Also that it is on evenly and not thin in one place, bulky in another. Be sure your edges are covered nicely. It may felt better if wrapped across the bar and then perpendicularly.

Once you are satisfied with your wrapping, place bar into the toe of the nylon sock.

Pour your boiling water into your dish, and carefully dip the bar of soap a few times, jostle it a bit then remove it from the water. Shake it off a tad, then start rubbing it on your bubble wrap. Continue to do so, all sides, for about five to ten minutes in total. I dipped the soap back into the hot water a few times during the process.

After all that time felting, you can remove your bar from the nylon. Sometimes it will stick a bit but just pull and it will let go of the nylon no problem.

Take a clean towel and dry off your felted bar. If it looks like it needs some extra felting anywhere, just continue to rub on the bubble wrap. Your wool should be tight on the bar, it should not be able to be pinched up or slide around at all. To give it an extra bit of security, you can give it a few thwacks, wrapped in the towel on a counter top or table. You want to take care that it hits the surface flat sided so you don’t make any dents in your bar.

When you finished with the felting, dry the bar off by squeezing gently in a towel and set them in the sun to dry, or on a drying rack.

Ta-da!

Beautiful, functional bars of soap!

Alpacalypse!

We had a wonderful surprise last week when my daughter ran home to say, “Mom! A baby alpaca outside!” Finally the moment we have all been waiting for, and weren’t entirely sure would come.

When we bought our little herd of alpacas 13 months ago, we were told that they wouldn’t likely get pregnant as they had been bred in the past numerous times and never have any had a cria. Alpacas being the oddball creatures they are have various unique features and traits, one of which is not showing their pregnancy. Our alpaca mother, Cocoa Puff near the end finally looked a wee bit wider but really nothing that provided certainty of her condition. It was mostly noticing she looked uncomfortable which gave us a shining hope she was indeed going to have a cria.

She had this handsome little boy, no problems at all. Soon enough he was up on his gangly, adorable legs, nursing and taking in his surroundings.

He is sooooooo soft! Like really, unlike anything I’ve touched before.

The funny thing about Alpacalypse, Al for short, is his mother is all brown and his father also. Yet for some reason, he too was born with a white hat, like five out of six of our newest born lambs. The white had club has many members this summer.

We are not sure if any of our other alpacas are pregnant, but I sure hope at least one more may be. We may train this little guy as a pack alpaca and bring him on our hikes in the woods some day.