Friday, December 30, 2011

Recommended Reading

A fellow Shetland breeder posted an article on his blog that I feel is worth reading. 
The information explains many of the reasons that I am raising the type of sheep and fleece that I do...
only the author expresses his ideas so much better than I could.  :)

A huge THANK YOU to Rich Johnson at
for writing such an elegant article.

and just incase the above link doesn't work, here is the complete url:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Felted Junco - Female

This evening I created a little brown mate for the male junco from yesterday.   It may not be clear in the photo, but the brown lines are actually thin wisps of moorit yarn. 

I used a completely different photograph to guide had more detail...which I think I tried too hard to represent.  I think the tail was more accurate on the male.  
Oh, well. I'm having so much fun.  :)

Felted Junco - Male

Needle felting is fast becoming one of my favorite crafts.
Last night I was stuck for inspiration when Clancy suggested a bird.  So I got out the field guide and settled on the male junco since it has a soft rounded shape without too many details.  It took me about two hours to make the bird and then the little nest with eggs.
Note of inaccuracy: male juncos do not incubate the eggs, only the females do.

The hardest part for me was getting the eyes to look realistic.  I'm not 100% pleased with them...but I decided to stop before I really messed them up.

In my opinion, this little felted bird looks the most realistic from the underside.  Unfortunately, I've seen a few juncos hit the window glass, or get offered up by the resident cat.

I had so much fun with this little bird, and I'll definitely try to do more.  I would like to get some black wire to make little feet in the future.

In the meantime, this little guy will have to snuggle into the nest I made for him.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Felted Flower

Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to make felt for the first time.  I had only a vague idea of how to do this based on some other blogs I had read.  And except for the wool, water, and soap, I didn't have any of the "supplies" that supposedly make the process easier.  Bubble wrap is somehow involved, but I substituted a strange crinkly cellophane from my wrapping paper stash.  Then there was the plastic trash sack spread out on the counter top.  And a bakers rack to lift the felt out of the water and dry it on.  As it turned out, most of the felting ended up happening in the sink, since it was a small batch....only one bat's worth of wool.

In the spirit of Red Green's "any tool can be the right tool" I forged ahead, trusting hot water and agitation to do most of the work.  And it did, though I could have "agitated" it all a bit longer, I think.  In the end I had an uneven sheet of loose felt about the size of a regular sheet of paper.  Hurray!

Because it was so thin and loose, the felt dried quickly.  So I grabbed the scissors and started cutting up flower petals.  Some needle felting and pale yarn accents was all it took to create this 7 inch diameter flower. 

My first attempt at a three-dimensional felted object isn't quite what I hoped it would be.  The gray lamb's wool wasn't blended well on the carder so it sort of resembles dryer lint.  And I had to bolster the wet-felting process a tad here and there with needle-felting.  But all in all, it was easy, quick, and fun....and it does actually resemble a flower.  :)

As I always tell folks that are curious about working with wool:  "Just go for it!"  Wool is incredibly forgiving.  The most inexperienced spinner can still make chunky-fun yarn that knits up wonderfully.  And needle-felting seems to be able to fix what a novice's wet-felting process lacks. 
I can't wait to try more projects with the lambs wool I harvested this fall!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bright Sunday

It is 43 degrees F outside today.  Unreal!  Hardly a trace of snow.  Not a typical December...but Clancy is  getting lots of outdoor work done.  Sort of the winter equivalent of "make hay while the sun shines."

Because it has just been too long since I've taken any sheep pictures, here are a few.  Sorry about the harsh lighting...

River Oaks Lana.

Lana's ewe lamb by LittleRedOak Ash: Penelope.  I still can't touch Pen.  But she is coming in much closer now, as long as other sheep are crowded around me.  I think this eweling is so beautiful and just drives me nuts that she is not tame yet.  I so want to get my hands on her fleece again.

The last two pictures are of Sian's twins by Ash.  They have scadder around their necks like their dam and grand-dam, Rachel, did.  None of the other lambs this year had it.  I don't mind it...though I wouldn't select for it.  When I get back into breeding again, I will see if aiming for finer fleece and/or the polled gene eliminates this trait.  I'm really hoping these two girls got some polled genetics from their sire.  Sian had horned genetics...but she had a non-fading fleece, a nice shape, good feet, and a hardiness about her that I liked.  I'm fond of my original Rachel these little sweety pies will hopefully carry that forward into a polled generation.