July 5, 2011

Road Trippin'; the interim

While in Oregon, I stayed with my friends at Morgan River Ranch. I showed up a few days before BSG in order to spend some time just hanging out with friends. We took morning walks with all the dogs; my one and their four. We had great, rambling discussions of just about anything and everything, but a lot about dogs. I admired the countryside, the friendly people and the quiet. In the afternoons we fed the cows their 'special' feed, goodness knows they've plenty of very good grazing pasture. I pet the barn cats and pestered the hens, just because they are so brazen I feel they ought to fear somebody. I watched some of the dogs taking herding training. I drank great coffee in the morning, and slept like a log at night. I mean, better than I've slept in most of my adult life. This happened the first time I went to visit too. I'm not sure why I sleep so well when I'm there, but I'm trying to think of ways to make myself indispensable at the ranch, just so I can sleep in that bed more often.

On my last full day at the ranch, we let my dog Shae practice moving the ducks around the training pen, and then late in the afternoon we let her practice with the sheep. You can see pictures and read more about Shae meeting the sheep at the Morgan River Ranch blog. I think it was pretty cool, and Shae looked like she was having the time of her life.

When Thursday rolled around, I went to the fairgrounds and set up my tent, but never ended up sleeping there. I just couldn't tear myself away from that bed. Late Friday morning I left my dog at the ranch, and headed back over to BSG. It was time to do some shopping. I stopped by the camp area to check in with my friends, they'd already done very well,  picking up some nice fleeces in the for sale area of the wool show. They were ready for lunch, and well, I was ready to shop so we went separate ways.

This could've ended in disaster. I'd not assigned myself a budget for shopping, and there was no one along to drag me away if the wool fumes over rode whatever judgement I was pretending to have. I headed straight to the wool show, to check out the for sale fleeces. I looked them all over, touched a few, considered a few, and then walked out with... nothing. There was no particular type of wool I was looking for, and I didn't see anything that I liked any better than what I already have here at home. Maybe because I'm trying to spin "intentionally", it just didn't make sense to buy a fleece without knowing what I wanted to do with it. I decided that maybe I'd buy a fleece once the "show" fleeces were offered for sale.

Have no fear! I did make some purchases. The first was a Jenkins Turkish spindle, made of marblewood. I've been wanting a Turkish spindle ever since I saw one on Boulderneigh's blog. I love the design and the wood.

After that, the order gets fuzzy, but I got a little bit of yak fluff;
a very fine cria (baby alpaca) fleece (a moment of madness, no doubt. I have plenty of alpaca);
2 ounces of flax roving, because I haven't tried that yet;
and 2 ounces of  hemp roving, I want to try spinning this too!

And that is it. No wool fleece, no braids of beautiful hand-dyed roving. No brilliantly colored silk caps. I already have plenty of that stuff here at home. Waiting for me to figure out what to do with it. This intentional spinning stuff is, at least somewhat, curtailing my spending. Weird.

But I also knew that once I returned home, I had new fiber processing tools waiting for me. Another way to prepare fleece for spinning. It looks like this;
A set of wool combs by Benjamin Green.
I very much like them. And what they do to the fleece. And I like using them, but boy howdy! Watch out for the pointy bits, they are sharp.

I especially like what happens to a fine, long staple Shetland fleece I got from Boulderneigh. I combed a few handfuls and pulled off the top (oh my gosh, I'm making top!) and spun it up, oh, it drafted out sooooo nice. And I forgot to take pictures. Oh well, I'll just have to make some more. Even though I didn't buy anymore wool, I still have plenty here to keep me busy.


  1. Is that a Swan/standard Turkish? Very pretty! I'm going to borrow some combs to process the fleeces of two of the three new sheep I have that came unsheared; I'm looking forward to seeing what it will do for those very fine, VM-filled fleeces.

  2. Yup, its a Swan. Can't remember the weight right now. I'm thinking I might need to adopt some smaller brothers and sisters to keep this one company...

  3. I highly recommend the Lark/Jay and the Aegean!