Iced Sangria Textured Lockspun Art Yarn

Iced Sangria Textured Lockspun Art Yarn

I created a new colorway of Textured Art Yarn for the shop. This is definitely a farm yarn as the beautiful chocolate Argentine llama fleece was grown here at Alba Ranch. I lockspun white mohair lockes into Sangria’s fleece and thread plyed it all with a fine laceweight alpaca boucle yarn. There is so much texture and softness.

Iced Sangria Textured Art Yarn
Drying outside

Sangria is an Argentine llama. There are less than 400 registered Argentine Llamas in the USA. Argentine llamas are very heavy fleeced llamas…she has tuffs from the tip of her ears all the way down to between her toes.

Sangria right before her annual haircut

The fiber is soft and uniform over her entire body. The first year I sheared her, I had 6.4 lbs of fleece to spin into yarn. That is a very serious haircut.

I hand shear the llamas each myself. I take my time and blow the fleece out prior to shearing. This makes for a nicer and cleaner fleece for spinning as well as removes a large portion of dirt and sand. Llamas adore rolling in sand which gets a lots of sand in their fleece. That sand, if not blown out before shearing, will dull the blades quickly.

CVM and BFL Lockspun Textured Art Yarn

CVM and BFL Lockspun Textured Art Yarn

Do you remember this CVM and BFL Lockspun Textured Art Yarn?

CVM and BFL Lockspun Art Yarn

Well that yarn is now this…..

CVM and BFL Lockspun Scarf
A Return to the Ashford Country Spinner 2

A Return to the Ashford Country Spinner 2

I have recently returned to my Ashford Country Spinner 2 wheel and decided to spin some rather fine singles on it.  I know that “they” say you can’t do that but I decided “they” were wrong.  It is a bobbin led wheel and as long as I take my time, I can put in enough twist and make a rather fine single.  I find when spinning on a slower bobbin led wheel as this, that the method of spinning is more important if you wish for a single that is thinner and not of bulky weight.

I carded up some art batts full of merino, silk, milk protein, Angelica, hand painted rovings, Cheviot and other various wools.  I blended these batts years ago with the thought to weave 3 different sweater coats.  I spun some of them at that time on the old Ashford Country Spinner and plied them up into a 2 ply.  Those yarns are waiting to be added to this yarn I am making.  Here is a photo of some of the art batts.  I thought they were just yummy.

Carded Art Batts

I have been using a modified backwards long draft.  By modified, I don’t take it up and way back with my shoulder and arm….that is way to painful.  I keep my elbow snug in to my waist, and instead bring the yarn out straight from the orifice, loop it 90 degrees around an index finger on my left hand and let the twist build up between that position and my right hand drafting backwards out to the side.

It is the best that I can ever hope to do for a backward long draft with the mechanics of my shoulder and neck.  It works and I can get going lickety split as well as I get such fine singles that if I am not careful they draft down to thread and break.  I have been seeing finer spinning out of me using this method in the last few months that I have ever produced in the last 12 years put together.  I know that I said I would NEVER spin fine…but I changed my mind…get over it.! bwhhaaaaa….

Ashford Country Spinner 2 full of yarn

“They” also said that you can put 2-2.2 pounds of fiber on that huge bobbin but again…..”they” were wrong.  I weighed my bobbin and it was 2.4 pds of fiber on it and it was NOT full.  I would need to buy a third bobbin if I plan to spin with the CS2 frequently, as winding that yarn of onto other bobbins to be able to ply it, is rather tedious.  I spiral plied some of the yarn with a mill spun fine 3 ply that I hand dyed…..about 1200 yards of that.  The rest of the yarn, I plied back with more of the same single to make a lovely 2 ply.  I didn’t necessarily ply that in a spiral like the other yarns and did end up with well over 450 yds of that as well.

 

I believe that I preferred the 2 ply to the 4 ply spiral.  I have a lot of this yarn that I spun up and plied into a 2 ply years ago on the regular Country Spinner.  That yarn is much thicker yarn but can still be combined with these yarns.  They were all meant for 1-3 woven jackets that I had planned.  I think I will still make a sweater coat jacket of some variety with these but I do not know if I will be weaving it.  To get the movement that I want and the feel that I want, I think I may use Tunisian Crochet instead.

 

Plied Yarns Hanging to Dry

Altogether, I did enjoy spinning on the Country Spinner 2 again as a regular wheel versus using it for a plying wheel or for art yarns.  I did lament that it was so slow at the top speed of 5:1 and wished it had a few speeds higher, but during this spinning marathon of several weeks I did realize that I truly do prefer a bobbin led wheel.  And I prefer a wheel with a large bobbin that I don’t have to stop and change out all the time.  I prefer not having to fiddle with Scotch tensioning and all sorts of other adjustments that just slow me down.

Goat Milking Machine and Antique Desk

Goat Milking Machine and Antique Desk

This weekend we finally got the milk machine put together.  I have been gathering photos, instructions, bits and pieces and all the various things we would need to do this.  There were a few problems with some of the bits so I had to go back to the hardware store several times to get ones that worked.

Hand made portable battery goat milk machine

But it is officially together and had suction on it just find inside.  Today I will be trying it outside to see how things go.  It achieves suction inside just against the palm of my hand so it will work with the teats.  I don’t know for certain if I need a smaller teat cup, so I have a couple of smaller ones ordered in case these are too big.  We used nylon washers and rubber washers on the underside of the lid so that there is NO big dollop of poxy crap that others have used and tote as “food safe” even though that horrid poxy is in the milk all the time.  We also don’t have any of the brass nuts inside either which the milk can corrode and cause toxic problems.

I stopped into a little antique shop last week, looking for an arm chair similar to the one that I used at A Sisters Act in Hart, MI on the UFO day.  I was spinning with my Majacraft Little Gem spinning wheel and liked the feel of the chair and position of my legs.  Recently, sitting on our couch even with the pillows and such behind my back to give me extra support and get me out of the back of the deep couch, has been causing pain.  After spinning for several hours at A Sisters Act, I thought to try to find a chair similar to the chair there.  It was one from the grandmother of the lady there brought over from Europe so there would be no buying that specific chair.

Birdseye Maple Antique Writing desk

I did not find a chair, but my eye was caught the instant I walked through the door by a lovely Birdseye Maple antique writing desk.  I went back later that day with Charlie to show him but they were already closed up for the day.  I did manage to find a phone number and talked with the shop owner and arranged a time to go see it the following day.  We were not sure going there but did come home with the desk.

Charlie had to fix the chains which had been put into new holes in the incorrect location so the fold down desk part wouldn’t sit properly.  He wood filled the current holes, fixed the old ones and a few days later attached the support chains correctly.  Cleaned up and ready to use.  We will need to find a new set of castors for it as the original ones are in the drawer but not in good shape at all.

Birdseye Maple Antique Writing Desk

I still haven’t found my chair, but the next time I am in Hart at A Sisters Act, I will stop and get a photo of it so that it will be easier to find one for my own spinning at home.