A New Yarn

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.

I love my super cool yarn from Breeze Hill Farm!

I love my super cool yarn from Breeze Hill Farm!

It’s Been A Long Time Again!

It’s coming down to the end of Spring around here. Let me update you on what has been going on at the farm.

Early Spring brought us the joys of lamb and kid births. So many little ones making it exciting and a little confusing too. We almost lost one of our ewes at lambing. Seems her little (gigantic) lamb didn’t want to come out easily and then we discovered she had been physically exhausted to the point that she gave up. We are very happy to say, she is doing fantastic now and so is “Wil” her lamb.

Then there was “Bella”! She was not really a surprise but I had miscalculated her due date of arrival. She and her Mom “Barga” are doing very well. The breeding that produced her was very accidental, which has now led to a 3/4 Angora x 1/4 Alpine Dairy kid. Her fiber is glorious!

We had a broody hen hatch 13 eggs and have 12, 3 month old chicks now.

We have since hatched another 11 chicks which are growing strong..and to our surprise, some of them are actually HENS!

The most exciting addition we’ve made to the farm this Spring are our Coturnix Quail. With the chickens, ducks and now quail we are rapidly becoming an “Egg Farm”.

These quail are actually mature and laying eggs within 8 weeks from their hatching and the health benefits from eating their eggs is amazing. There are now 36 of these little ones here and growing. This is the first week we’ve listed their eggs on our local co-op.

Aside from all of this we’ve just been working on the farm. Cleaning, growing, painting, sheep shearing and more.

Since the loss of Mom, I feel like I’ve been spending a lot of my time recreating pretty much my whole life (not just the farm). I am devoting much more of my time to the sheep and working again with fiber. We are working on a Virginia Grown/USA Grown organic yarn line as well as a line of naturally dyed yarns. Both of these projects are slow moving as it is quite expensive to have all of the fiber processed and natural dying can also be very expensive. Another thing I am doing is participating in special events to share (and sell) our fibers grown here on the farm.

Wow, I’m tired just writing! Until next time…

What Happened To The Fiber Samples??

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 breezehillfarm@verizon.net 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.

Ready to “Dye”

In between taking care of Mom and having a lot of windshield time, I have been playing in the dye studio. For some reason I seem to by stuck in the 70’s as far as colors..way too many neutrals and naturals. So I attempted to add some zing to the silver gray fleeces I had to work with. Now keep in mind you will have to picture this because I broke my digi camera this morning, so there are no photos!

I have blended this silver gray wool with about an 1/8 mohair and dyed it a rich Raspberry. The plan is to spin it up and then ply it with a single ply of natural gray. The test spinning that I did produced a gorgeous very soft, loose spun yarn that I could easily see a jacket made out of it. More specifically, a boiled wool jacket. Now that I have stopped dying my own hair (hehe) I find myself wanting to blend more colors that go with gray..this one does it beautifully!

The next dye job that I’ve put a lot of effort into is using a Royal Blue, again, with this silver gray fleece. For this I did things a bit different. I used 1/2 of the wool and then blended separately mohair, alpaca and cashmere. I over dyed the wool in Royal and then dyed the 3 blended fibers, blend all of the fibers and hated it! So, it was back to the drawing board. I spun the the over dyed into a single and the blended into a single and plyed those together..yuck! I gave a lot of consideration to dying the whole mess black, then I thought about the “chafe” wool that I had saved off of the same silver gray sheep. I took the “chafe” and over dyed it in a Salmon color. Once it was dry, I went after it with scissors and chopped it into a dense dust. I went ahead and blended all of the fibers together and as I spun it up, I tossed little bits of the Salmon/silver over dye into it. Perfect!! Not only did it make a beautiful yarn but it now has texture too. Since I am apparently limited in my originality right now..I see another boiled wool jacket. Possibly, a Mother/Daughter set because I’ve done about 3 pounds of it. We’ll see.

Just a quick update on my Mother. She is still loosing ground with her health but on an up note, we moved her to a Skilled Nursing Home/Rehab on Wednesday. The plan is to try and get her weight back and get her legs working again. Even though, right now, she thinks this is the beginning of the end for her, I am optimistic that this was a good choice. The place where she is has 50+ years experience in rehabilitation work with a tremendous success rate. We just have to get her head, heart and body in the right frame of mind if this is going to work..that’s the really hard part. I told her that kidding season will be underway soon and that I am depending on her to help me as she does every year..she just smiled and said the girls were going to have to get use to her not being there. That was my que to give her a big hug and come home.

Everyone have a wonderful weekend.

This is my entry for Fiber Arts Friday and updates too.