This Week in Darwin

by Susan on April 24, 2014

When he stops being the cutest creature that ever lived, we’ll stop documenting every moment of his adorable life and posting them here, ok?10277675_10203334598543494_2557050032489332746_n

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Cindy, Darwin’s Nana, sent him this awesome trench coat so he can solve mysteries.

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2014 Share Update

by Susan on April 22, 2014

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As you know, our annual Shearing Party was held a couple of weeks ago. The party is always a good time, but the main purpose of it is to shear our flocks of Cormo and Colored sheep (plus a handful of Angora goats.)

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Now that we have all that glorious fleece off the animals and bagged up, it can start the process of becoming yarn, which will then become wonderful knitted garments made by you.

Here’s what happens next:

On May 2nd or 3rd, we will be dropping hundreds and hundreds of pounds of fleece off with our favorite American woolen mill at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. We always try to have the flocks shorn before MDS&W because I prefer handing the fleeces off personally to the people who will be milling over putting it in a box and shipping it to them. In additional to saving us around $1000 in shipping charges, passing the fleeces directly to the people who will be processing it gives me more confidence that our order will be handled properly. There are a lot of details that must be passed to the mill and I am always more confident that they know what my expectations are when I can check all the boxes right in front of them and discuss my order personally.

After the fleece reaches the mill, it will be scoured to remove all the dirt, vegetable matter and lanolin. Believe it our not, half the weight is usually lost in the washing process! It’s always a little disappointing to get the post-wash weight, even though I know what to expect.

The clean fleeces will then take their place in the line to be combed and spun. Our white fleeces and colored fleeces are processed separately, both from each other and from all the other wool coming in from other farms and ranches. (We only want yarn made from our own fleeces, naturally.) The white wool is generally processed fairly quickly, with a turn around time of three our four months. The colored wool takes a bit longer, as the mill has to shut down the equipment and clean everything before processing colored wool, and repeat the procedure afterwards.

Once the wool has been washed, carded, spun and hanked  it is shipped back to us for dyeing and shipping out to you. As you can see, there are many steps in the process to making yarn, and for a good part of that process, everything is out of our hands. That can be really frustrating for a control freak like myself, but I’ve learned to work with people I trust and check in with them frequently.

And while we’re waiting for our yarn to return, we can distract ourselves with LAMBING SEASON! Lots and lots of lambos should start arriving in just a couple of weeks. More on this let this week.

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Tell Me Something Good Tuesday!

by Susan on April 22, 2014

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Okay, y’all! You know the drill. Tell me something GOOD!

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Hot Pattern Alert!

by Susan on April 17, 2014

This week, I found two new indie patterns that use JMF’s Herriot yarn, and they are just too lovely not to share with y’all.

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The first is this jaw dropping afghan by my long-time friend Deb Boyken, The Paralleloghan

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You can find the pattern for this wonder on Ravelry. I’m calling this one “a giant cowl you can wrap up in and watch t.v.”.

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At the opposite end of the size spectrum is the Salt Creek Cowl by Cory Ellen Boberg.

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Herriot is so soft and warm– it’s perfect for wearing next to your skin. It’s sort of an afghan you can wear out of the house.

Have you come across any awesome patterns that use JMF yarns? Or maybe designed one yourself? We’d love to see them.

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This Week in Darwin

April 17, 2014

We are having a bit of a rough week here so I thought a few cheering pictures of Darwin were in order. Enjoy!

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It’s time to name some lambs, y’all!

April 14, 2014

  HOLY SMOKES! Lambing season is nearly upon us and it has completely snuck up on me this year. My dear friend Sarah VV reminded me this weekend that we haven’t come up with a naming convention of this year’s forthcoming lambs yet. Every year, we chose a category from whence the lamb names will […]

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Flarkin’s Blackberry Cabled Cardigan – Keeping track

April 14, 2014

One of the biggest challenges for me in knitting this sweater has been keeping track of where I am in the pattern.  The pattern for the Blackberry Cabled Cardigan is extremely well written and accommodates a variety of bust sizes.   The front and back body pieces have  a good deal of side and waist […]

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Introducing Darwin!

April 11, 2014

The other day, someone with whom I am Facebook friends reminded me that I haven’t posted anything about the newest member of our family yet on the blog. It seems completely impossible that I haven’t, but I guess things have been so nutso around here that it just completely slipped my mind. Meet Darwin, our […]

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Unexpected Garden Guests

April 10, 2014

Today the weather was beautiful, and we decided to take our learning outside. As in, I needed to take advantage of the weather and get some gardening done, and I needed some slave labor to help. The girls pulled weeds and collected rocks while I got out the hoe and pulled up all the grass […]

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Back to Regular Programming Soon!

April 9, 2014

First of all, thanks to so many of you who sent kind, thoughtful emails yesterday. Your words really helped me get through a tough day. Sometimes we forget that even bad situations are temporary. Thank you for reminding me. I am working my way through 6 months of emails and trying to make sure that […]

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