Friday, May 21, 2010
We just came back from the PAOBA show in York, and actually did pretty well. We placed in all but two categories. Now our attention turns to shearing day, which is this next Monday.
All the "critters" are suffering in the heat, so we've put on extra fans to cool them down. Try imagining wearing your warmest winter coat in 90 degree weather. We promised them all they can play in the sprinkler right after shearing.
So for "Open Barn", we'll have some of Jo's spinning friends over, and I'll be demonstrating hand weaving. Of course the Alpacas are the stars of the show. We're hoping to have our first baby arrive about that time. We'll be open Saturday and Sunday 5/29-30 from 10-4. We hope to see you there.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The loom will be coming along with us real soon too.
Here are jars of dye concentrate. The dye is added to salted hot water on the stove. The particular yarn we are using here is 60% alpaca, 40% Blue Faced Leicester (an English long wool rare breed sheep--the fleeces came from my friend Nancy Landis from Elizabethtown, PA). It's soft and rich with a satin sheen. It was spun for us at Worthington Acres Fiber Mill in Unityville, PA, so we have a 100% PA product, as our farm is a member of PA Preferred and we hope to produce as much in our state as possible, which helps support other small farms like us.
The white skein goes into the dye bath, comes to a boil, and simmers for 15 minutes. Then the vinegar is added and it simmers for another 25 minutes. I've been experimenting with dye recipes to get a reliable palate of colors that will work well year after year.
When the dye has been taken up by the fiber, it cools for a little and then is rinsed.
After rinsing to remove any leftover dye, it goes on our hi-tech drying racks. Sure, they look like deck furniture. Too bad I gave away the treadmill, that would work just as well!
It's a little time consuming, but well worth the effort!