Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ancient Sheep for Modern Spinners

So excited a picture of my Navajo Churro Rams is in Interweave press spinning daily blog
  This Navajo-Churro sheep has two clear signs of ancient genes: a dual coat and luxurious horns. Photo by Arlene Vasquez.

It doesn’t sound very nice to call something “primitive.” Personally, I think of cave dwellers, rough tools, and uncomfortable fabrics. But when it comes to sheep, primitive can mean something pretty wonderful.

What are primitive breeds? As Judith MacKenzie explains in her video, Three Bags Full: How to select, prepare, and spin a great fleece, primitive sheep breeds have traits that date back to before the Bronze Age--traits that were perfect for a time when even simple tools were scarce and fleeces were literally processed by hand.

You see, as wonderful as the “improved” sheep breeds are--and they are! White and uniform and voluminous and easy to shear!--they could not have been shorn before the advent of metal wool shears, and their creamy white color would have become pretty monotonous. A sheep that has a roo (a natural break in the fleece for shedding), many colors, and several different coats would be ever so much more useful as a desert-island fleece.

  How many colors can you find in this flock of Jacob sheep? Photo by Robin Lynde of Meridian Jacobs.
So why are primitive breeds good for the modern spinner? We may not roo our sheep as our ancestors did, but the stunningly rich colors of primitive sheep can be separated and blended in small batches for dramatic and interesting yarns that become even lovelier when dyed. The bright white prized by the wool industry for perfect uniformity across thousands of pounds of wool is less important when you plan to sink your hands into a few pounds of a single fleece and make it sing.

If you were using one machine to process those thousands of pounds of wool, it would be a problem to process long hairy bits and short fine bits and locks that combine more than one kind of fiber. But Judith demonstrates how to sort a fleece to make almost every part of these diverse fleeces count, from the soft, fine wool used in Shetland shawls to the long tog (outer coat) of Icelandic sheep. With combs, cards, or even your own two hands, you can learn to make many beautiful yarns from a single fleece.

My heart still goes pitter-pat at the superfine Merino fleece in my stash, but if you had to choose just one fleece, Judith makes a pretty good case for choosing a primitive breed.

What’s your desert-island fleece?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Farm work in Fall

These are now Pictures, will try to keep taking pictures so you can see progress
 This is 10 years old and time for new fencing and ECT..........
2 years ago I had my stroke and haven't done much, ARGHHH ,ok I doing fine lots of life changes, decided its time to make changes for the better as I love to watch the sheep, It really calms me to spend time with them, They don't question, judge, or feel sorry for you just so calm and serene.
Love it love it.........OK back to the real story.....do to some kind donations I will be able to fix a few things, that are old and broken.
Last Year winds took some HUGE TREES down: Where?????????? On My Sheep barn of course!!!!!!!!!!! and fencing.
The boys salvaged most of the wood for me to make another one.
The pictures above and continuing are as is now

 VIEW from front of house
 New sheep shed being built

A look at inside

Anthony and Sammy dog
heading out back to take down old fencing
So overgrown
And these are the baby's in the rain wanting a new shelter,2 white Border Leicester lambs and my Natural colored Lincoln Lamb, OH YEAH lets not forget the Angora Goat..

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rug Hookers Guide to the YARNIVERSE! by Judy Taylor

Our Black Welsh Mountian sheep pictures are in a new book by Judy Taylor
its called
Rug Hookers Guide to the YARNIVERSE!
Page 63 is pictures ~ 2nd page credits me spelt my name wrong Aileen instead of Arlene  its still me & exciting
and a thank you letter
Here is some pict of it

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Trip to Capitola by the sea

On the Beach in Capitola our hotel in background

My Scarf I knitted in greens

Scarf in REDS

Beautiful Bakery we stopped at on our way out

Mosaic tables inside


The Venetian hotel we stayed atThe Venetian itself is in the Mediterranean style with hand-carved doors thematic of Venice, Italy

     The Capitola Venetian is an all-suite, boutique hotel on the beach in Capitola Village, five miles south of Santa Cruz and forty miles north of Monterrey. A fabulous lodging.
            Capitola Village has repeatedly been voted one of the best spots on the California coast, a town where you walk everywhere: to shops, art galleries, restaurants and coffee houses, right there at the waterfront. This is a old photo of it

Friday, November 4, 2011

Northern Lights behind Oregon's Mt. Hood

And here is a shot of the Northern Lights behind Oregon's Mt. Hood
It was as unexpected as it was incredible. A solar storm struck Earth's atmosphere Monday night, unleashing an intense display of the Northern Lights that some say the likes haven't been seen in several years.

According to Spaceweather.com, the Northern Lights were reported in more than half of the states in the U.S., not only including the Northwest, but some southern states such as Arizona, Texas and Alabama!
The streak of light you see in the photo was an Orionid Meteor, part of the ongoing meteor shower as well!
Around here,  the results were spectacular.