Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lickity Split! Barba-Knit?

YouTube does it again.
Barbapapas popped into my mind the other day and the weird thing is [ok, the fact that Barbapapa came to mind is weird] of the 2 English episodes on YouTube one is about sheep shearing.....

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why YouTube Won't Let Me Sleep.

Three words people, "Vintage", "Sesame", "Street"!
here's a knitting sampling of what I mean, enjoy:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cleaning the Fleece....stinkin' fleece!

And I mean STINK--IEEEE!
In this post I tell my personal experience but also give info on how to clean fleece. Here are some resources I found useful: The Joy of Handspinning, Ask the Bellwether, and two Yahoo groups: Spin-List and Spindlers. To look at the photos with more detail just click on them.

Here it is in the backyard on a clean sheet before cleaning. I laid it out, best I could, just to get a look at it and see what I was up against. It was so dirty, full of hay and dust and who-knows-what-else which is all called "VM" - vegetable matter. The part I am picking up here is from the shoulders. You will notice that the back end looks cleaner and it is. I was surprised. I did have to pull of the poopie tuffs [which really isn't that bad because it is dry. I learned that these are called "tags"]. The shoulders have a lot of hay bits in them because they like to hang out with the horses. They stand under the horses' heads so while the horses are eating they drop hay bits on their back. The hay gets embedded all the way to the skin. When you pick the dirtiest parts off the fleece it is called "skirting " All this lingo is new to me.

I like this quote from
Amelia's blog [where I got a lot of good info]: "If you're lucky, the fleece is still sheep-shaped"........hahaha. If you have amateurs doing the shearing you're lucky to have a fleece that is still connected in places. I had trouble laying it out so the top was...on top. It was twisted in places. I felt lucky I could recognize the shoulders from the butt.
Here is what half of the fleece looked like before washing. It is in a Rubbermaid tub. It wasn't until I crammed it into my washing machine I realize what a gross job this was going to be. I first filled my washing machine with hot water [you need the hottest you can get. The hot water melts the lanolin, called the "grease", so there is no point to letting the fleece soak until the water cools off.] I put in a cap full of laundry soap. Next time I'll just use Joy or Dawn, cheaper. Then slowly pressed in half the fleece. NOTE: this is way to much to wash at once. More on that latter. Notice the dirt caught in the grooves of the tub. If I could just shake it all out. The moment the fleece hit the water my basement filled with the smell of barn...ya...crap #5. I just did the unthinkable. I brought the farm into my city life. It was disgusting. I got nervous.

Here it is after washing it twice and rinsing it twice. To wash it, leave the fleece in the hot water for 30-45 min. with the lid of the washing machine closed. MAKE SURE THE MACHINE IS TURNED OFF. YOU DO NOT WANT TO AGITATE THE FLEECE AT ANY TIME. Turn on the spin cycle to get most of the water out. Take the fleece out. Fill the machine again with hot water and wash again. Then repeat twice without soap to rinse. It might seem unfair to have taken the 'before' shot inside and the 'after' shot outside but it does help accent the difference in colour. This IS whiter but it is still full of VM! "Crap"!

So I decided to try again. I had spread the fleece out on a drying rack covered with a sheet. I thought maybe if I pull the fleece apart a little the dirt
would have a better chance of escaping.

So here I am, having so much fun! I took manageable pieces, shook them, pulled them, picked out stuff and shook them again. yay! At least it's nice outside.

I tried an experiment. I put some in a
colander and washed it in the kitchen sink. I took about 1/4 of the fleece and put it back in the washing machine. The smell was better but still yukky! The results: The bit in the sink came out looking the same as what was in the machine. The machine cleans a larger amount so I'll stick to the machine method.

The Results So Far: Here are the 3 stages side-by-side. On the left the bit that was washed, rinsed, picked and pulled, washed, rinsed again. In the middle the washed, rinsed, picked and pulled bit. On the right a piece of the half that hasn't been touched. I was surprised at the difference between the first two. It wasn't until I put them beside each other that I saw how much cleaner the fleece became with the extra washing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

knitting meme

I picked this up from Amelia of "Ask the Bellwether" . It has been bouncing around the knit blog-spear for a little more than a month. Amelia traced it back to "cosymakes" , I looked back farther to find the author: Rineke of "tingletangle" from Denmark. She created the knitting meme on April 6th in the same fashion of " the meme of books". I've never heard of it but it is an interesting excerise that I have decided to join in on.

In Rineke's words: this meme "is one with knitting techniques, habits, items, tools and materials. Not everything is there, but quite a lot. Mark with bold the things you have ever done, with italics, the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest."

Here's mine:

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with bananafiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffitti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies...)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone elses handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with selfpatterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I Sheared the Sheep......or not....

I went to shear the sheep. I meant to shear the sheep but didn't actually get to touch a sheep. Now before you feel sorry for me let me say after I watched my BIL do it I was not eagerly jumping in there.

BIL works on Ram with electric horse shears, Cherie holds the cord out of the way, DD2 watches, but where am I?

He started with the most desperate case, a 235 lb ram that had not been sheared in 2 years, poor thing. He looked like he was being choked by his own fleece. That is the way he recently came to BIL who keeps sheep for food, not fleece. He only shears them because it is humane to do so.

Who is that in the funky, painty pants and red sweat shirt standing by?

Even though he used the electric trimmers it still took about 20 mins. Why isn't there a professional doing this? There isn't one available. There used to be one in the area but he moved to New Zealand 2 years ago.

Oh ya, that's me.

Cherie could hardly wait to get the shears in her hand. BIL suggested not using the electric ones so we could get a longer fiber. This is the yearling. Her fleece is a lot cleaner than the rams.

Almost done. That is BIL holding her between his legs. Sheep cannot be on their side for too long. They have difficulty breathing in that position. BIL did manage to get the sheep in the proper shearing position , sitting up on their bums, but they didn't stay there. This is A LOT more difficult than it looks.

Cherie and BIL switched places to get the job done.

Hold on there sweety! Just a few more snips.

All Done! Back with baby.

Who's next? Actually we will be back in a week or two to finish the job. I promise I will be more proactive and get in there.

When all was said and done BIL fixed us a great supper of BBQ lamb chops and mutton steak. Thanks Cherie for pushing me into this learning experience. Maybe I should hold that thanks until I try cleaning the stinky fleece in the van. More to come .......anyone out there know how to clean a fleece? It's like talking to a wall.
It's official. I'm great at standing around while others work, but then you already knew that.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I can't believe what I am about to do!


Yes! I am going to my BIL on Sunday to shear his four sheep. I am excited and repulsed all at the same time. And no, I have never done this before. That's one of the sheep I'm going to shear.

Blame it on Cherie, my friend. She is my amazing knitting friend who knits mitts, socks, blankets....with NO pattern. And I'm not talking about simple, beginner patterns. Her mittens are beautiful with flared, intarsia cuffs. We have been saying for months we need to get together so she can show me how to dye wool.

Anyway, my DH mentioned to her one Sunday that his brother has sheep that need shearing. That's all she needed to hear. This something I would say I would like to do and then never get around to it. Not Cherie. She wants that fleece! She wants to clean it, card it, do whatever else needs to be done (we don't even know), dye it, weave it and, maybe, sell it. When I told her my BIL has the fleece from last year too she was exuberant!

"You are going to have wool coming out the yingyang!" I said. Her response?

"It's about time! My yingyang has been empty for a looong time!" Ah Cherie. She's so sweet.

Someone please help me! How do you shear a sheep? What do you do with the fleece once you have it? How do you clean it? Process it?

Who am I kidding. No one is going to be reading this that will be able to help me. In fact I would be surprised if anyone reads this at all.

Scream as loud as you like! No one is close by to hear your cries! CACKLE, CACKLE!


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Did a Little Painting...

Did a Little Painting...
Originally uploaded by knit_purr.
here's just a taste of what you will find in the following post "Tiny Knits"

Tiny knits

I've been cruisin' the knitting blogsphere the last couple of days and *wow* there are a lot of cool knitters out there.

yesterday we had the big glove. today's find:
TINY and I mean TINY

First you need tiny tools
then a little model pretty girl
not small enough, k

not cute enough,
now for

the whole blog is amazing. check out her tiny flickr
Knit one, Purr....too
i don't even know her name!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

and now for something completely different.....

except for the knitting content....
Look what I found! well, with the help of a blogging friend.... The Big Glove.

The page might take a bit of time to download but the pics are worth it.

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