There are so many times in ones life when your level of excitement about something actually makes you feel like a kid. A renewed youthful feeling. I’ve been feeling that was a lot since the first of the year. Today, though, has taken the prize!
I had my first meeting with my fiber processor about creating Breeze Hill Farms’ first yarn line. After spending hours “developing” blends using only natural colors and seeing a sampling of the end result – yep, I feel like a kid and yes, we are ready for this.
It is amazing how beautiful a pile of natural colored wool and alpaca can become when transformed into the perfect rovings and yarn. I took photos but I’m not sharing yet. You must be patient. I’m pretty sure you will agree it was worth the wait.
Several months ago, I had posted information about fiber blends that I had on the list to offer this year and I’ve been asked by several, who had expressed interest, where are the samples? That’s an excellent question! The fiber is sitting on my front porch waiting for UPS to pick it up to send to the processor. In all of the craziness with Mom’s illness, general farm stuff..I forgot to pack up the fiber and send it. This forgetting thing, no doubt, comes with age!
For those who didn’t see or hear what my plans are..here we go. We have approximately 100 Alpaca fleeces (20 of which are black and will not be included in this) in every color available in natural alpaca, 30 sheep fleeces in colors ranging from dark blue silver to white, a fairly large amount of Mohair and a little bit of Cashmere. I have taken 3/4 of all of these fibers and am having them blended and/or variegated, carded into roving, and 3/4 of that spun into yarn (dk weight). I’ve done a bit of this on the drum carder, it’s absolutely beautiful..not sharing a photo because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I’ve even spun up some and taken it a step further and over dyed a little bit of it. All I can say is “Oh My!”.
If you want to get on the waiting list for samples, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add you to the list. According to the processor, we’ve got about a 2 month wait, so by the time it comes in, I get the samples out and you place your orders..it’ll be a great time of year to start thinking about Christmas projects.
This has been a burning question for days now. Every time we turn on the news, we see reports about flooding..every time we look out our door, we see flooding. There has to be a point where enough is enough. Our pastures are on the way to lush and green but any grass growth that happens to be under the taller stuff is rotting. Our garden spot is standing in water, not because the drainage is bad but because there is so much water it has no where to go. The sheep and goats are both looking for elevated surfaces to stand on..s.o.p. for a goat but sheep are typically ground dwellers.
On the plus side though, all of this moisture is making for an absolutely beautiful Spring. The herbs are growing by leaps and anything that could bloom, is blooming. There are many new Irises showing this year that we’ve never seen before..can’t wait to see what colors they are. For years we have only had one or two little Lilly of The Valley pop up and bloom. The year I’ve counted 68 individual plants coming up. So from the floral garden standpoint..the rains (and snows) have created a beautiful display.
Talked to my shearer yesterday and we’re scheduled for shearing in two weeks. I know my girls will be happy when that’s done. Two of my smaller (more Romney) girls were actually walking on their side fleece, so this weekend I trimmed up their sides..the fleeces are really nice. I still think that I’m going to do a “pool it all together” processing this year. Since the Alpaca fleeces that I have are so plentiful and our girls fleeces are looking so great, a blended fiber will be nice and something very different. The end result should give me a lot of fiber to dye, over-dye and leave natural, so keep a look out for those to be listed around May or June. I have several people on a waiting list to get samples and if any of our readers are interested in samples too, just email me or leave a comment. When they’re ready, I’ll email you to get your address.
While on the subject of fleeces, all of my little goat crosses (Angora x Alpine) blew their fleeces almost a month early. I wasn’t able to salvage any of it. The fleece that they produce is the equivalent of Cashmere with the luster of Mohair. It’s really pretty, takes dye very well and I love to blend it with my white sheep wool..but not this year.
Soap update..it’s curing nicely and I should be getting it out to my customers very soon. I have cut back on the variety of fragrances for the time being (until I get orders caught up) and am going to start a Garden Collection of fragrances later in the season. I am still experiencing a hold up on the lotions and butters but hope to get started on those soon.
It’s the time of year when we are starting to get excited about shearing the sheep and combing the goats. Just take a look at the fleeces on these girls. The other day I pulled on a few of their coats and found staple lengths to average 7 inches. That actually included the 2 Icelandics that were shorn in November.
We’ve decided this year to make a few changes in what the end products will be. Last year we tried our hand at a Fiber CSA, that did really well locally but not so great through the website. So, this year we are going to dump all fleece together and have it processed; 1/4 roving and 3/4 yarns. No doubt much of it will be dyed (since I’m “Jonesing” to dye!). What I should end up with is a blend of Sheep wool, Cashmere, Mohair and Alpaca. My business partner with the Alpaca’s figures we’ve got 148 fleeces this time. In the 15 + years that I have raised fiber producing animals, I have never done anything like this, so I’ve decided to start now making up samples. If any of you think you’d like to try a sample either of roving or yarn email me at email@example.com and when they are done I’ll send them out to you.
I had to share the photo I received from one of our customers. She had purchased this Alpaca yarn from us and made these gloriously warm mittens.
Don’t ya just love it when you have the opportunity to see the end result of a yarn that you’ve produced! With all of the snow and cold weather they are calling for here this weekend..these will be a welcome addition to her winter wardrobe.
I’m out of here to go buy bread & milk, cinder blocks, a clothes dyer heating element, drain cleaner and a zillion other things. Also, delivering an emergency order of soap to Gather and making a trip to the bank..jingle all the way!!