For those of you who know me or have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I always seem to end up with a "collection" of projects on the go. Probably because I get distracted by new and exciting crafts to learn and partially because I tend to think "Oh I'll just take a break and whip up this other project" Funny...they just seem to add up not get "whipped up".
Well, after a very productive weekend which included a trip to the fibre mill, spending some time with the boys, trying my hand at felting (those pictures will be posted soon), building new feeders for the boys and actually trying to get some spinning done, I did manage to finish one of those many crafting projects.
The Lighthouse baby blanket I have been making for a dear friend who is patiently waiting for the arrival of her first grandchild. Hopefully the perfect blanket for a new addition to a family who's heart and roots are firmly planted in Newfoundland.
I can't wait to see a picture of him all wrapped up in it!
So we finally got our boys sheared and our little farmhouse is completely overrun by fleece!! It's time to face facts...I would have to quit my job and eat meals in my spinning chair to even remotely have a chance to get all of this spun. I put an ad on a local online advertising site and then started searching online for other ideas of what I could create with all of this gorgeous fleece.
This is just this year's 'harvest'
Much to our surprise, our ad started getting responses about 20 minutes after it was posted and I have a lady coming by today for a visit with the boys and to pick what colours she wants turned into roving. Roving?? JADA Farms is going to need to find a fibre mill! And find one we did! We took our first load of fleece in yesterday.
I would like to thank Gail at Gateway Fibreworks for the tour she gave us yesterday. Gail was wonderful! While the boys' microns were being checked she showed us around the mill, explained the different things she did there and of course, as a fellow alpaca owner, had a long chat with us about these beautiful characters. And then I was left with absolutely no choice but to spend some time with her going through her shop and discussing different felting and dyeing techniques while Andy waited outside. Luckily for him the rain had stopped. I walked away with a wonderful little book, "The Knitter's Companion"
I placed an order with Gail to have all of Parnell and Tyrone's fleece from last year combined and turned into roving...I can hardly wait to see it! We also dropped off some seconds and thirds for Gail to add to her recycle co-op. She combines her own fleece with that given to her by other alpaca farms in order to get the minimum amount needed and sends it to be turned into cozy insoles. The insoles are then divided among the farms that donated fibre for the project. Now that's my idea of a recycling program!!!
I will be signing up for her workshops when I take up the next load of fleece to be processed.
The really interesting part of the day was getting the boys' micron counts checked. Unfortunately though, for Windsor, this resulted in the end of his reign as "King" of JADA Farms. He has been downgraded to "Prince". Why? Because although he has superb density, staple length and amazing crimp, he is already showing a not so great micron count at the tender age of 3. This doesn't mean he won't be getting bred...it just means that we have to find just the right girl for him. Sorry buddy...
So who is the new royalty around here? Believe it or not, that little black trouble maker of ours!!!
Yep, that's right...what Vincent lacks in density he more than makes up for with a beautiful staple length and an AMAZING average micron count of .....16!!! Actually, it's too bad Windsor wasn't a female because together he and Vincent truly have it all!!
After our drive up to the mill, which is in the middle of the Muskokas (an absolutely gorgeous piece of cottage country) we came home and I decided I better attempt to finish up a few projects. I am happy to say that the baby blanket I have been making is just getting the last row of the ruffled edge and it will be all finished! This leaves me with more time to play with fleece!
So last weekend everyone was finally scheduled, we had a small group of four people, no new cria were making an appearance at the breeders and the weather was on our side. Everything was a go....except all the sweat and damp in all that fleece. So after shearing Parnell and Usairus our breeder decided that we should load up the fans in the barn, get the air circulating on our sweaty boys and try again on Sunday.
Sunday afternoon came and everything seemed to be in our favour again....everything except the shears. We managed to get Usairus 'touched up' and get half of Tyrone done. Have you ever seen a half sheared alpaca??? Not a pretty site, no wonder Tyrone was not authorizing the release of any photos.
Monday morning the heat and humidity started to build, right along with my concern for our boys. Tuesday's forecast was even worse and we decided right there and then that if we didn't get the shearing done Monday after work that Andy was going to stay home Tuesday to stay with the boys, garden hose at the ready! Luckily the call came early Monday afternoon from the breeder and we were on for finishing up that night.
We started at about 4:30 pm, fans blowing on the boys, every barn door open for air circulation. We turned on the shears, made a couple of adjustments and....they slipped through all that fleece like a hot knife through butter!!! What a relief!!!
By 7:30 pm our boys were sheared and much more comfortable...
Humidity levels dropped a wee bit on Wednesday but we still had our typical summer Canadian heat. Then this morning we woke up to a chilly 10 degrees and no humidity at all!!! And we found our poor boys huddled in the barn looking at us as if to say...