Friday, July 20, 2012

New Stuff For Sale!

I finally pulled off an etsy shop update! Let's start with the yarn. Back in May, I managed to buy a really amazing fleece at the MD Sheep & Wool Fest.


It came from a Romeldale x sheep named Tofu. The "x" means that while the sheep is mostly Romeldale, it is crossbred rather than purebred ( I pronounce the "x" as "cross" when saying it aloud, so "Romeldale x" = "Romeldale cross"). This particular sheep was 37.5% Romeldale, 34.4% Romney, 12.5% Corriedale, 9.4% Border Leicester, and 6.2% Lincoln. Quite a mix! The many longwool breeds mixed in there made me nervous, since I definitely prefer a finer fleece, but based on feel and looks I probably would have guessed that this fleece was a fine corriedale or a rambouillet crossed with something with a longer staple length. It is REALLY nice. And unique - I've never worked with a fleece quite like this!

I washed, picked, carded and re-carded the wool before spinning it. This always seems to take forever to me since the spinning is my favorite part, but I also greatly enjoy having a big pile of finished batts sitting around.


Most of the batts are plain, but I blended some of the Romeldale x with dark brown CVM wool (CVM is the same breed as Romeldale, just a color variation) and some with 20% recycled soysilk. I started with a 7+ pound fleece, but after processing I ended up with about 4.5 pounds of batts. Then comes the dyeing - which also takes a while, at 16 colors per patchwork colorway! I write out detailed notes for myself before every batch that I dye. And finally, the first batch of finished yarns:

These yarns are up in the shop now, and there will be more coming in the next update or two. I also listed some merino x patchwork yarns and a handful of novelty yarns, like an extreme tailspun lock yarn and a corespun yarn with my pygora goats fiber.

I listed several of my fiber-animal themed small knitting project bags for the first time, one of the new products I mentioned in my last post. I've been sewing these since the beginning of this year and selling them at shows, and have made a few changes to my design. The changes are minor, mostly messing with the dimensions (they are all the same size, just with the width and height rearranged), but I decided to list my remaining bags at a reduced price so that I can start fresh with the next batch of bags I make. The price will go up by about $5 at the very least, since I'm using as much organic cotton fabric as possible, and I'm thinking of custom screenprinting my own fabric in the future. Here are two of the bags with a small turquoise GoKnit pouch for size comparison:

The Go Knit pouch is about 6" wide and 8" tall, and my bags vary but are about 5.5" wide and 9" tall on average, with a square bottom. They can easily hold a small project - I photographed most of them holding a half knit sock with two balls of yarn:

They are fully lined and can be reversed if you want, but really I think the fiber animal fabric on the outside is the best. I have two organic cotton sheep prints and one alpaca print fabric used on the bags in this update. Each bag is unique as the lining and accent fabrics are different. They are super useful, and can be used for things other than knitting - I've used mine to hold a spindle and fiber and embroidery projects.

They also have a carry strap, which can be hung around your wrist if you want to knit and walk, and close with a drawstring made of super strong paracord.

An important shipping note: for the first time in years, all items in this update have the option for international shipping! I finally figured out a way to allow me to ship international items both in a timely fashion and with partial tracking/insurance, so I'm testing it out. I may or may not continue to offer this in the future, but I've had many requests for this! Before I moved to the farm I shipped internationally all the time, since I could walk the packages to the post office daily.

Coming soon: super creamy goats milk soap, made with milk from my own little herd! Nigerian Dwarf goats have super rich milk, and my skin loves this moisturizing soap.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

farm update

The main reason I didn't breed most of my goats last fall was that we didn't have an unrelated buck and I couldn't find one I liked enough to buy. A buck is 50% of your herds genetics, so it pays to be picky. I finally bought my first adult buck this spring, a lovely amicable fellow with striking blue eyes.

Three of my girls stayed in the brand new buck pen with him for a month, and I'm pretty sure all three are pregnant. They should be over 2 months along now, almost to the halfway point, due Sept 30 - Oct 4. They are just starting to look rounder to me, and I'm hoping to be able to feel the babies by the end of this month.

I was so excited after breeding them that I made a quick kidding schedule. I'm already planning ahead for my fall breedings this year - I bought a second blue-eyed nigerian dwarf buckling to use in the fall, this handsome boy from Sunny Daze Farm:

He is mostly cream, but I think he has some pale gold moonspots. It's hard to tell since he could also just be dirty, but they should darken over time and become more visible. I'm going to try to breed the pygoras this fall as well. I should have a bunch of kids for sale in the spring, and a few for sale this fall. Lily's kids went to their new home last month. I was sad to see them go, but I'm glad they went together, and they're going to be pets for a family of excited kids.

                      Lily's babies

bye, babies!
I also have quite a few broody hens right now. I was planning on ordering chicks this summer, but I ended up letting them sit on their eggs and I now have 18 chicks! They are mostly heritage breed mutts, since I have a mixed flock, but they're all 50% barred rock and look like my rooster. I don't mind that they're not purebred, since all my chickens are good egg laying breeds.


It seems a little bit like magic, hatching chicks. If I have the time in the next few weeks, I'd like to try and build a separate area for a few broody hens so I can buy some rare breed eggs for them to sit on.

I've been working on a large batch of handspun yarns, and I will either have one huge update or two medium sized updates very soon. 

blurry yarnpile

I will post here either before or right after I update my shop, since there will be at least one new product available, possibly two.