Pru Morrison Nov 24, 2001-March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014 was a sad day for Charlie and I.

We had to let our friend Pru go home.

She had developed a tumor that was cancerous and in a location that was difficult if not impossible to operate on or for her to recover without extreme pain.  We made the decision to let her have the last of her life without heroics that would only make her more uncomfortable and not help her.  We got about 6 months more with her after that diagnosis.

Charlie and Pru at 4 weeks old

I remember when I first saw Pru she was 6 days old and a squirmy black little rat looking thing.  Charlie was off shore and didn’t know about her.  I saw the entire litter and had pick but she was the one.

Pru Morrison

However, since she was supposed to be Charlie’s dog when I took him out to Black Hills in Peterhead to see the litter at 4 weeks old I didn’t tell him which one was HIS. He looked the entire litter over and chose the same one that I had.  Pru couldn’t go home at only 4 weeks but she did follow us out into the cold rainy dark night because even than she wanted to go with us.  We did go back and get her at 8 weeks and we have over 12 years with her.

Pru was insane for a good football and would head butt the ball back and forth with Charlie.  She went nuts running from window to window when the kids played footie in the streets and Charlie almost never was able to watch a Football match in peace because Pru was very vocal in her opinions on the game.  More than once as a pup under six months old, she was red carded from playing by the vet as she kept injuring herself playing with the big girls.

Pru pregnant with the pups enjoying the sun

Pru also loved a double cheese burger.  both the plastic squeaky kind and a yummy let’s go through the drive thru kind.

Pru only had one little of pups  with 8 healthy babies.  We ended up keeping 3 of them so her daughters lost their dog mom and football team mate as well.  The four of them were an unbeatable team against us slow two legged humans.

Pru won a few ribbons at our local dog show in Scotland, mostly doing tricks as she was very much into showing off.

A very favorite pass time was lying in front of the fire on a dog bed or a sheep skin rug.  I remember when Charlie would squat down to build and light the coal fire at our house in Scotland, Pru always came up between his legs to stick her nose almost into the fire and help.  She about set herself and Charlie on fire many time.

Pru is the only one of our dogs that ran off the key in Peterhead, Scotland falling 20+ feet into the North Sea because she was so focused on chasing a sea gull in the dark.  One of the guys on the bridge heard the splash and got the spot light out.  We were able to see her in the water and the waves and she finally swam to a pontoon and climbed up.  One of the guys from the ship climbed down the ladder and dragged her up by her collar.  I had to take her home and blow dry her and give her oatmeal and warm milk.  She thought she was in heaven.  The vet looked her over the next day and said she was totally fine and that she was the second dog that had done that just that week.  That was how Pru earned her nickname “Splash”.  Thanks to Mike and Lee and the other guys that night rescuing the daft critter.

Pru was born in Peterhead, Scotland.  She flew to Michigan, drove out to Colorado, lived on the mountain for 7 years, drove back to Michigan and played in the pond on our new ranch.  She is a well traveled border collie playing all over the world.  We will miss you Pru but now you can run and play with BJ and no more pain. :-)

on the sheep skin rug in front of her fire

Fibery Goodness Module Three Yarn

Mod 3 yarn. Hmmmm… What can I say? I was on a roll and spun up mod 2 and rolled right into Mod 3. Module 2 was about Trials and Tribulations but I swear Mod 3 should have been the trials and tribulations!!

Mod 3 Yarn Attempt 1 and 2

I was going for a gimp spiral yarn as on page 118 of the Spinners book of yarn designs by Sarah Anderson. Did I succeed? You tell me.

 

Same commercial prep combed top 15.5 micron merino. Pure white. Yarn on left is first attempt. Yarn on right second attempt.

 

I spun a super fine single. More fine than I have ever done in my life. Probably not terribly even and too much twist as I wasn’t even in the ballpark of comfort zone!! Spun a bobbin of single that was supposed to be twice as thick probably was more like 3-4 times. Had way too much twist in it. Bobbin wasn’t taking up properly. Thought it might be OK when I plied.

Mod 3 Yarn Attempt 1 and 2

Tried plying on my new CS2. Didn’t go well. Came off bobbin like a rubber band hung around the door knob and snapping back in your face!! That’s the left yarn. It seems like a cross between a super coil and a core spun and an angry rubber band. And it feel like I spun it out of a Brillo pad. Looks cool. Not even close to what I was going for.

 

Attempt 2: When my big single bobbin ran out, my thin single bobbin was still half there so went and spun up a new thick single with very little twist in it but again probably a whole lot more than just half bigger than thin one. Tried to keep it even. I plied on my CS2 again. Got half way through the 2 bobbins when I realized I was plying to the right the same way both singles had been spun. Crap!!! Cut the yarn and wound off bobbin back onto my left hand until I got to beginning. Had a lot there and being over energized it was tight as well as unruly. Thought if I just started it back at beginning and doubled plyed to left it would untwist the wrong bit and re twist it up right. It did. Sort of. Tangled it in knots. Had yarn everywhere. Had hubby waiting on me to do something but me not able to put ti down as it was a tangled mess on my left hand when trying to re ply and untangle with both hands at same time. I obviously didn’t think this one through!!! Eventually got it sorted. Than joined on with the last half of bobbins, join didn’t take the best so will have to be careful of that bit when I weave with it but got it going.

Mod 3 Yarn Attempt 1 and 2 Close Up

 

It is easy enough to do when you do it right from the start!!! I believe it is a nice soft relatively even medium weight spiral, but is it a gimp spiral???

 

I do love my second version even if it is not a gimp spiral yarn and may have a new best favorite yarn. Thoughts??

Fibery Goodness Module Two Yarn

My Module Two Yarn was a bit slow in completion.  I had a month of super heavy snow on almost a daily basis, sub zero temperatures and wind chills up to -25F, and doing all the chores on my own because Charlie was offshore.  I didn’t spin at all during that time he was gone.  Our Module Three Yarn came out around Valentine’s day and I had only a little of the spinning for Module Two completed.

Module 2 Classic Cable Yarn

 

 

I chose to spin a Classic Cable Yarn.  I had never spun a Cable yarn before so this was brand new territory for me.  I used the same fiber that I did for Module One.  15.5 Micron Merino commercially prepared in a combed top. Pure white with no added blings or extra fibers and natural with no dyes.  I will be spinning each module of this same fiber and prep so my focus is on the various yarn structures in the 7 yarns required for the course.

Module 2 Yarn close up

 

 

A Classic Cable yarn is constructed of 4 singles spun evenly.  I chose to spin the four singles to the Right.  I took 2 of the singles and plied them to the left to make a 2 ply yarn.  After that I took that 2 ply yarn and ran it through and plied it a second time to the left so that it was double over plied.  I took the remaining two singles and plied them to the left twice in the same manner.  This left me with 2 2 ply yarns over spun to the left.

Module 2 Yarn

 

I got to use my brand new Country Spinner 2 for the first time to cable those 2 2 ply yarns back together going to the right.  It was fun watching them POP into that cable as I spun along.  I set the twist by washing in a warm water with a bit of liquid soap and swished them around a little to felt them just a touch into their chain structure well.  They are soft and squishy and oh so much fun.

Fibery Goodness Module One Yarn

I got my Fibery Goodness Module One Yarn done quite a while ago but never managed to post it or photos up here.  I used a 15.5 micron combed top of white merino.  I have it for sale in the shop in 2, 4, 8 and 16 ounce lots.  I included a link above directly to the 8 ounce listing.  It was a pure dream to spin and I have not allowed myself to spin it until this course.

Mod 1 Yarn with twist set

 

I enjoyed it so much that I decided to spin all the modules using the same combed prepared top and see how it goes doing 7 different yarns with the same fiber and prep.  I am going out of my comfort zone on this particular course to spin with direction and precision and learn new techniques rather than spin my easy go to yarns.

 

 

Mod 1 Yarn with twist NOT set

Having said all that, the first module’s task was to spin your “go to yarn,” so I did.  For me that “go to yarn” is a 2 ply that has some thick and thin qualities but is mostly balanced.  I pre draft the combed top into manageable lengths and widths by separating the combed top.  I spin it in a short forward draw on my Majacraft Little Gem 1.  I don’t ply too heavily with my Country Spinner 2 and still managed to give it some woolen characteristics instead of it being a straight worsted yarn.  The prep is worsted and supposedly short forward draw is a worsted spinning technique but my yarn always comes out semi woolen.  I have no idea how I do it but there you go.

The resulting yarn is very soft, squishy and a joy to touch.  I think that I will be weaving a scarf, hat and maybe shawl for myself out of these module yarns as I no longer have anything that is pure white.  Everything I made from white fiber in the past has sold in the shop.

Yvonne Roedema of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

I have been planning this blog posting now for ages but time, weather and other assorted things got the best of me.  I know that this is long time in coming, Yvonne knows that, you however did not know this so sit back and enjoy this treat.  I am very excited to share this artist and these two wonderful felted creations with you.

Dress 2 closeup

Yvonne bought some of my 15.5 micron Merino from the Alba Ranch Shop Online.  I include a hand written note on the receipt always and usually ask  they send photos of what they create as I just love to see.  Sadly most buyers do not send photos of their creations.  Yvonne did. and WOW were they great.  I asked her if I could write about her two creations and show photos and she said yes.  The photographs were taken by Ky Von Burg, Yvonne’s youngest son.

The second dress was made with the same materials as Dress 1 but she used a small amount of colored stretched merino to create the subtle color at the front.

 

Dress 2

 

Back of Dress 2

Yvonne’s process of how she creates is similar in what I have seen and read about wet felting.  She does one thing that I had not seen personally before which was using a template from a well fitting dress.  Duh that just makes wonderful sense.  How smart she is!

For both dresses she used a bubble wrap template which she loosely based on a well fitting dress and then enlarged by 50 percent. She laid the wool top on the template very thinly, in all directions with some overhanging on the outsides. She then wet the wool with soapy lukewarm water and then laid the silk fabric on. Because the fabric is larger then the template it folds and crunches. She then turned it over and did the same. She folded the overhanging bits over to create a whole.

Closeup Dress 1

She started felting by putting some netting over the top and rubbing both sides. When it starts to felt, she starts rolling it. When it shrinks, she takes the template out, roll it more and finish off with extra felting where she wants to shape it more.  She probably used between 150 and 200 grams of wool top for each dress.

I think it is amazing that she created these beautiful dresses using such a small amount of fiber.  I, for some reason, thought felting like this took so much more fiber.  That may explain why my first attempt at a scarf created something that I use for a table runner on my grand piano!

Dress 1

The first dress was made using paj silk and the 15.5 micron merino wool top she bought from us. The dress was then eco printed with eucalyptus leaves.

 

You can visit Yvonne’s shop online and see more of her wonderful creations.