Naturally Dyed Yarn

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Posted 2/8/2009 6:44pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Lois Flook
Lois did marvelous work on her cabled scarf—beautiful knitting, soft & warm—she models it in the recent brrrr of Philadelphia.  Thanks for sending the picture; knitters love to see what can be done with yarn from the wool of the sheep.
Posted 2/6/2009 6:39pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Rams Sunset

Tonight the low will be 12°F and tomorrow the high will be 41°F; this looks to be the beginning of a warming trend.

Temperatures in the 50's consitute a heatwave for sheep in fleeceBut still, I want it warmer than it's been for them: we shear the flock March 2nd & 3rd; that's 24 days from today—the 10 day forecast is sunny days with temperatures in the 40's while nights will drop into the 30's—and we need dry shearing weather too; but this is unlikely in March which, if not the cruelest month,  is certainly the wettest.

Posted 2/5/2009 5:00pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Green Mountain Spinnery has spun three new weights of yarn from our wool that are now for sale at the stand in Union Square and here in the Merino: Undyed Yarn department of the Yarn Store, that will soon come in colors.



Sport Weight: 2 ply, 2 oz. skein, 185 yd.



 Bulky Weight: 1 ply, 4 oz. skein, 175 yd.



Lace Weight: 2 ply, 2 oz. skein, 260 yd.


Posted 2/2/2009 6:34am by Eugene Wyatt.
Yearling Rams
Nikon D700, 14-24 mm f /2.8
14 mm
1/200 sec at f /16
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Posted 2/1/2009 9:22pm by Eugene Wyatt.
When Saori asked for a "meelo," I apologetically handed her our broken mirror.  Her smile said nothing about bad luck so I guess this superstition is not transpacific.
She looks good in purple; I asked her to send me a photo of the hat she knits in Japan.
Again the temperature in Union Square didn't get above freezing and sales were off as they have been the past four Saturdays; I spoke to farmers who wondered if this slowdown was due to an unusually cold January or if we were feeling a new chill—the terror of recession—the fear of worse times ahead for New York. 
A sunny shopping Saturday in the 50's will tell us if our losses are from the weather or the economic downturn.  Either way I should replace that mirror.
Posted 1/29/2009 2:46pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Winter Dye Studio

I look at the yarn colors in the stand on Saturday afternoon to see what's been sold to determine what we'll dye the coming week.  We needed lime greens, teals and dark indigos. 
Dominique washed 16 lb. of yarn on Monday to mordant on Tuesday to dye on Wednesdaybut an ice storm brought freezing rainon Thursday the sun shone; it was a good day to dye and a good day to be a sheep. 
A 14-24 mm Nikon zoom lens at 19 mm distorts perspective: it appears that I'm standing several yards from Dominique but in reality the lens is less than 2 feet away from her  To use an ultra-wide angle lens properly you must not be shy about getting close to your subject.
Posted 1/28/2009 6:21pm by Eugene Wyatt.

2 ply Sport Weight

New Sport Weight

We are using a new spinnery.  Green Mountain Spinnery of Putney, Vermont has spun new weights and styles of yarn for us:

  • Sport Weight—2 ply, 1500 yd./lb.
  • Lace Weight—2 ply, 2100 yd./lb.
  • Bulky Weight—1 ply, 340 yd./lb.

These yarns spun at Green Mountain are strong and well finished.  The employee/owners handle consigned wool with care and take pride in the yarns they spin.  I am pleased they have spun a new and stronger version of our most popular yarn:

  • Double Twist Worsted Weight—1 ply, 1000 yd./lb.
This Saturday we will have the new, yet to be dyed, yarns at the stand in Union Square.  We will begin dyeing it at the farm this coming week with a new line of ecologically conscious dyes from Greener Shades, along with our natural colors from Earthues.
Here are some photos I took at the spinnery of the old machinery; much of it put into service here in New England in the early 20th century but since abandoned as scrap metal by the globalized spinning industry as it chased profits south to the Carolinas, then off-shore to mainland China; that is still in good use at Green Mountain.
  The Card
Spinning Frame
 The Spinning Frame
The Skeining Machine
Posted 1/26/2009 8:19pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Feeding Bales at Night
Hans Persoon bales hay here in the Summer.  Come Winter when the sheep must be fed, I meet him at the farm after his day job; my chore is to cut & remove the poly bale twine that holds the round bale together before he picks it up with the bale-hugger attachment of  his John Deere tractor and, like a large green ant, carries the 750 lb. bale of hay to the bunk feeder where he places it for the sheep.
Posted 1/22/2009 5:52am by Eugene Wyatt.

Today, January 22, 2009 marks the official launch of the International Year of Natural Fibres sponsored by the FAO, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. 

The goal is to emphasize the value of natural fibers for the environment and to  help sustain the incomes of the farmers who produce natural fiber in the world's green turn away from petroleum-based, synthetic fiber.

Posted 1/21/2009 8:04pm by Eugene Wyatt.
D700 Ewe

Just minutes before sunset, the temperature dropping as fast as the sun, ungloved and hand-holding a Nikon D700 mounted with a Nikon 70-200 mm zoom lens—the camera's aperture open wide to capture what was left of the daylight—I got my shot (but to get it with an f/stop of 2.8, I had to give up depth-of-field as you can readily see: the young ewe's eye is in focus while her nose is not) just before my fingers began to feel the pain of 19°F that sent me, stumbling back over the frozen sheep manure, to warm my hands in the truck by clasping them together  humbly, almost prayer-like, in the wondrous gift of heated air blowing from the defroster vent as I mindlessly counted breaths, head bowed, like a wayward monk waiting for zazen to be over, waiting for the pain to be gone; then brown-eyed Poem, whom I'd kept in the cab to not spook the sheep, gave me a sympathetic and heart-warming, wet-nosed kiss on the cheek making me forget my cold hands.

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