New Hampshire Sheep and Wool is just around the corner and we’ll be debuting some new yarn lines. We’ve spent the winter and early spring working on a number of really great yarns. Those of you coming to NH this weekend will get the first look. First up is our line of Natural Colored yarns.
Beautiful Natural Colored Lamb’s Wool in deep dark chocolate brown, light taupe gray brown, heathery charcoal gray and bright white. Sheared just a month ago and spun into a fresh, springy 2 ply yarn. Also coming along for the ride are two colors of a 50% first clip kid 50% lamb’s wool blend. These are incredibly soft and supple yarns. Pictures really do not do them justice.
These yarns are Complete Farm Products meaning that they are produced completely on our farm from the growing of the fiber to the skeining and labeling of the yarn. We’ll be posting photos of some other new yarn lines later this week. In the meantime, it’s back to packing for the show!
Today we washed fiber, and dyed fiber and spun fiber. All good things. Some of today’s washed fiber became this beautiful plum color destined for roving at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival in a few weeks.
Another batch of fiber was dyed this very spring-y tones of green.
We’re also spinning a new 100% lamb’s wool yarn in two ply. Exceptionally soft. Great loft. Wonderful spring. It will remain a natural white and be skeined in 3 ounce 200 yard lengths making it suitable for DK or light worsted projects.
Tomorrow we’ll finish up the spin on this yarn, skein, label and pack it away for NH !
The spring harvest of sheep’s wool has started and we are more than pleased with the wonderful wool our sheep have been growing for the past year ! To date 100 ewes, ewe lambs and ram lambs have been sheared, their beautiful covered fleeces skirted and stashed away in our wool room. New friends Mariepaule and Arturo gave us a helping hand with the shearing joined by our shearer Jeff and farms workers Margot and Gleb. Now our task is to sort through our wool and decide which fleeces to use for our own yarn and roving and which to offer for sale. The first show of the season will be here soon — The Chancellor’s Sheep and Wool Showcase at Clermont in April. We’ll have a number of our natural colored and white wool fleeces for sale as well yarn, roving and other Complete Farm Products™.
Spinners tell us our roving is a delight to spin. Kid mohair and Cormo combined are the reason. Soft and silky. Our multicolored rovings are dyed in the wool, then carded to produce fiber that glides through your fingers with ease. See all of our roving colors at our first show of the year, The Chancellor’s Sheep and Wool Showcase, Saturday April 21st at Clermont State Park.
We’ve been spending a lot of time this summer trying to catch-up with fiber processing. While the unusually wet weather has put the kabosh on outside farm work, the cooler temperatures make for a good opportunity to get a jump on getting things ready for the fall fiber shows. This is a batch of kid mohair that I’ve dyed in anticipation of a roving colorway. Roving kind of takes on the colors of the fiber that comes out of the dye pot in our mill. It seems that no matter what color I “plan” on, the fiber takes up different color components of the dye bath at different rates. This is actually a good thing for me because it provides endless possibilities for combining color. It makes many colorways unrepeatable though making it all the more important for us to encourage customers to get the quantity they need at the time they are purchasing roving ( or yarn for that matter. ) This is one of the many pluses, but also one of the minuses ( for some ) of small batch dying.
Yesterday we sorted through a bunch of our ewes. Now that kidding is winding down, its time to get ready for lambs. We have 22 bred Cormo and Cormo Cross ewes – we think. The Cormo Crosses are our Natural Colored Fine Wool sheep. So, starting next week, we’ll be shearing some sheep as we prepare for lambing. We like to get the fleece sheared before the ewes lamb — for one thing it allows the lambs to find a teat with ease and for another it keeps the fleece from getting contaminated from the birthing process. We also have the remainder of our goats to shear as well – yearling does and bucks, adult does and bucks. So in the next few weeks we need to harvest the fleece off of about 100 animals. As we shear, we do a “rough skirt”. That means we remove as much of the undesirable parts of the fleece as possible before putting the fleece into a bag. Undesirable parts include; any fleece with manure stuck to it ( these are called “tags” ), any fleece discolored by urine ( called “stain” ) , any parts with a lot of vegetable matter ( VM , the handspinners nightmare in fine wool ). We also separate the wool from the underside of the sheep’s body – the “belly wool” – and bag that separately. This wool can be very different from the rest of the fleece. Sometimes it is shorter in length, sometimes the crimp is different and sometimes it is of a different “fineness”. Most of our sheep are covered which keeps a large percentage of the fleece very clean and free from debris. This fleece is then carefully re-skirted, bagged and offered for sale. Some of our fleeces – the really special ones – are kept and entered into competition at some of the local fairs. There is nothing more beautiful than a pristinely clean, freshly sheared fleece. This year, the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Growers Association, a local sheep breeder’s association to which we belong, is having a Spring Fleece sale. It will be held on Saturday May 16 at the Elmendorf Inn in Red Hook, NY at 10:00AM. We’ll be participating with some of these beautiful fleeces. See you there?