Loom With A View

I wrote two blog posts about setting up this show but then I moved on to other things. Now I’m getting to the show itself. I’m not thrilled with the photos I have taken at the Artery, but I am thrilled about the show and want to share it.

IMG_2919               As I said in one of the previous posts this theme started with the idea of using the old windows that were around here. As you enter the gallery you see the title and the Artist’s Statement. If you want to read that click here.

DSC_5142             This is the wall to the right…DSC_5144          …and these are some of the sheep.

DSC_5148                                                          More sheep.

DSC_5150   Continuing around the gallery there is this collection of photos. I used two of these six-pane windows to display photos and give a feel for the farm. These are not for sale because they are too rotten (people have asked) but some of the photos have been matted or framed and are for sale.

DSC_5157            This is the Solano Colors wall and the yarns are the 2017 locally grown yarns that are on my website. Don’t they take natural color beautifully? There are three examples of the natural dyestuffs–black walnuts, weeping willow leaves, and dried coreopsis flowers.

DSC_5161                                                                 If you look at the previous photo again you’ll see that the shawls and the yarn are hanging on what looks like bamboo. I decided to use the Arundo (an invasive species that grows on our north border and had big hollow stalks like bamboo) for hanging the pieces in the show. It was in keeping with the rest of the props (stuff found on the farm), I have an infinite supply of it, I could cut it to any size, and it is free. The perfect solution! Originally I had planned to use the Arundo for weaving, but I just didn’t get to it. On the morning I was to set up the show I got up early with a lot on my mind. I got out the loom that I had already warped for this and I wove this piece. It inspires me to do more because I think it is very cool.

DSC_5163                                                        Moving on around the room this is the next grouping. Those scarves were woven on a space-dyed warp that I dyed a few years ago and found in a box on the shelf. Do you see something hanging to the left?

DSC_5164                                                                  I wanted to do something interesting with the weeping willow branches after stripping the leaves for the dye pots. I tried weaving with them but I think I like this mobile best.

DSC_5106              The Sunflower wall is around the corner. These are rayon chenille scarves in the colors of the sunflower field that was Across the Road last summer. I didn’t just stick with the yellows and oranges of the flowers but included all the colors of the fields.DSC_5124                                                      Here is a closer view of the flower scarves.

DSC_5112                                                                  In addition to the window pane photo collage, I included this piece that is not for sale. I wove this years ago when we lived and worked on our family dairy.

DSC_5189                                                            This close-up includes my daughter carrying milk buckets, my sheep, and our pony.DSC_5131             Here is another farm photo collection.

IMG_2929            These ponchos and ruanas use the same yarns as the Solano Colors wall, but mostly in natural sheep colors. There are also a couple of handspun Jacob pieces here.

DSC_5138               Close up of a ruana.

DSC_5169             The display in the center of the room is really panels out of my sheep trailer. I used them to hang my blankets and some scarves.

IMG_2922           Here is an overall view of the room…

IMG_2939                      …and this is the table in the doorway when you come in.  The notebook is for visitors’ comments.  I’d love to see your comments as well.

 

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Shearing at the Timm Ranch

Yesterday was Shearing Day at the Timm Ranch, in the hills west of my place. We lucked out with weather because it rained last week and it’s raining now, but the rain stopped long enough for the sheep to dry out and to stay dry through shearing.  I have been using this wool for a few years now and I love it. I posted about last year’s yarn in this post and shearing in 2015 and about some of the weaving I did using the wool in 2014.

My goal was to skirt and sort  wool and to finish with 200 pounds because that is the amount that I need to send for processing. After last month’s experience at the Anderson Ranch shearing (which I thought I wrote a blog post about but I guess I missed) I realized that is easier said than done and I was concerned that I wouldn’t get enough sorted before shearing day was over and the crew packed up and left for the next job. An ulterior motive of skirting at the ranch is that: #1 The job is done and I don’t have all that work to do at home another day, and, #2 The crew will bale it for me which will much simplify shipping. Fortunately a few friends came along and helped out.

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We planned to arrive just after the crew had started shearing, but instead we followed their van into the ranch and it took awhile before shearing began. That left some time for photos. I was amused by the adornment to the top of the van. Take another look and you’ll realize that those are two different species represented there. Shearing crew with a sense of humor.

Sheep portraits:

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Tis is Bonnie, the 9-month old Border Collie who found delight in rolling in the piles of wool and draggin away what she could.

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I didn’t get this one’s name. There are three Border Collies, this Dalmatian and a guardian dog on the ranch.

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In previous years there were two shearers but only one this time. That made it easier for us to keep up with evaluating fleeces and skirting.Timm Ranch shearing 4-2017-15

My crew: Vicki, and two Farm Club members, Kathleen and Mary.

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This is some of the lovely wool we saw. Last year’s wool tested at 21.8 microns and I expect about the same of this. We were strict on the criteria for the wool we kept–no vegetable matter, no weak spots or breaks and good length. Every year a ranch’s wool clip can be impacted by weather. After several years of drought I think I saw the effects of a bit too much rain in some fleeces–the wool on the back seemed more fragile and shorter in some fleeces. But timing was right for shearing this year in terms of vegetable matter. We found a small amount of filaree seeds with their corkscrew-like ends but no foxtails or other stickers. Timm Ranch shearing 4-2017-21

Sheep after shearing.

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Lambs were outside the shearing pen waiting for their moms.

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Vicki caught a pair of twins that escaped and were looking for a way back to mom.

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Beautiful rooster that walked by.

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It was late in the day and we had skirted 197 pounds. We had fleeces piled up to look at, but then it was time to shear the rams.

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Those ram fleeces were gorgeous and put me over the top.

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The crew was baling the wool and we kept sorting.

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We stopped at 215 pounds…Timm Ranch shearing 4-2017-39

…and just in time for my wool to be baled. My bale is only 215 pounds instead of 400 which is what they usually bale, but having a bale will make shipping it much easier than if I had to cram all that wool into boxes. Now I just need to finish skirting and sorting all the Jacob wool so I can ship it all at once. What am I doing sitting here on the computer?

Dryer Ball Experiment

Turn massive amounts of fluffy wool into something smaller. That is my goal as I try to organize the workshop end of my shop so that I can get to my looms. I think there is a principle of physics in here somewhere.

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I have been making dryer balls to sell but it has been hit or miss. Sometimes they turn out great and other times they are not so good. What makes a good dryer ball? Firm instead of squishy. A sphere instead of strips of felted wool connected in random places. The success of a dryer ball has to do with the type of wool (breed of sheep) and the fiber preparation (carded or not). As I use up odds and ends of fiber I’m never sure if the end result will be worth the time and use of fiber so I decided to do some testing.

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This is the “before” showing 17 different wool types and/or preparations from wool that I drum carded wool to commercial top to pre-felted wool and breeds including Merino, Jacob, and Suffolk. I included a different color of yarn with fibers that I might need help to identify after felting.

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This photo shows the “after” in the same order as the “before” photo. The least successful here were the “white prefelt”and the Suffolk. You might not be able to tell from the photo, but they did not felt hard at all. The Merino/alpaca felted well, but the alpaca fibers poke out giving a hairy appearance. Some of the other balls have more “hairiness” depending on the amount of coarse fibers in the mix of wool.

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Another view of the same balls.

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This is the latest batch of balls that just need to be matched up and labeled. The white balls are mostly Merino and the gray balls are Jacob wool.

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You can purchase my dryer balls at the Artery, at my shop, or on the website.

The Latest from the Loom

In preparation for Fibershed’s Grow Your Jeans event I wove six shawls using locally grown Timm Ranch wool yarn.  DSC_0099 I showed photos of these before they were washed in this blog post. Quite a dramatic change.DSC_0107 With the exception of the second blanket the weft is all the same as the warp, but naturally dyed.  From left to right: Osage orange (exhaust), Jacob wool, osage orange, black walnut, pomegranate, not dyed. DSC_0120 One shawl will be worn in the fashion show and they will all be for sale at Grow Your Jeans.  After that they will be for sale  at the Fibershed Marketplace website and at the Artery in Davis.932-3, 932-1, 932-2More locally grown wool. These scarves are woven using Solano County Anderson Ranch wool.DSC_0143 Not locally gown, but one of my best sellers–chenille scarves. 911-1, 911-2You’ve seen this before but I hadn’t taken a photo with the magazine cover.DSC_0167Here’s is one of my photoshoot locations. Hard to find a smooth surface in the shade.