Founders May Fair at New Pond Farm in review

Harris Hawk

The 27th Founders Fair was a great success in celebrating spring and the new growing season. The sun was shining over the 102 acre property located at 101 Marchant Road West Redding, Connecticut 06896, 203-938-2117. There were little girls all dressed in pretty sundresses wearing crowns of May flowers in their hair. The boys were excited to see the animals and try their hand at all the activities.

Find out more about this wonderful day.

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Preppers: knitting bug-out bag essentials

True Preppers are people preparing for a catastrophic event, possibly even a doomsday scenerio. If this is all new to you, you have had your head too deeply into your knitting. Don’t worry, by the end of this article you will be prepared. You may not be prepared for the end of the world but, you will be prepared for an unexpected wait in a hospital waiting room, an evacuation due to flooding or even waiting for AAA to come fix a flat.

Cafe Press has a bumper sticker that says it all,”I am developing a post apocalyptic skill set”. The goal of a Prepper is self-sufficiency. Knitting today, spinning tomorrow. Maybe it is time to learn to spin. Then you would have no shortage of yarn to knit. You could trade some yarn back to the sheep farmer for more roving.

Continue reading Preppers – Knitting your way through an emergency – Hartford knitting

Hogett shearing

The shearers started early this morning. New Pond Farm had 5 hogett Romneys to shear and a couple of Icelandic sheep. A hogett is a sheep less than a year old and hasn’t been sheared yet.

A hogett’s fiber is soft and fine and is prized when making yarn. Much like human hair, as a babies hair grows into old age, it becomes coarser and a color change takes place. Romney sheep are sheared once a year.

Tillie, the Icelandic sheep was also sheared. Icelandic sheep are sheared twice a year.

 

Rotary Sheep

The art was created by Jean Luc Cornec and has been displayed in the Museum For Communications in Frankfurt Main, Germany.

I still have a few of those phones still in use at my house. They just keep on going.

Knitting examiner

Blue faced leicester

Blue faced leicester (pronounced lester) is one of the largest and most prolific of the British longwool breeds. This breed had its origin in Hexam in the UK, at the beginning of the 1900’s. The sheep is predominately white with lips and mouth predominately black.

A longwool breed has a staple length of 3-6″. They have a fairly fine fiber diameter of  24-28 microns. The fiber is dense. The result is a high quality luster yarn.

Fleece

 

The name blue faced come from the white hair on the black skin.

Knitting examiner

Why wool felts

Individual wool strands have an outer covering called a cuticle, resembling a shingle. While on the sheep they all line up base to tip (pointing away from the root). The cuticles are like barbs. It is when these fibers become entangled, interlocked by sudden change in water temperature, soap and friction that felting occurs. 

When the fiber is subjected to: hot water, the cuticles expand and open up; cold water contracts the cuticle. The lanolin (oil produced by the sheep) acts as the “hair conditioner” while the wool is still on the sheep and helps to prevent the tangles. The fact the cuticle on a sheep is so coarse combined with the fibers going in different directions, after being shorn, is what allows for the felting process to happen as easily as it does.  The cuticles tangle and this can be a good or bad thing, It all depends if you want it to felt.

Different sheep fibers felt more or less easily. If the wool has a lot of crimp to it, such as merino, it will felt more easily then a longhaired coarse sheep with less crimp.

You may have felted a woolen sweater by accident. Technically this type of felting is called fulling.  Once fulled it is better off used in a recycle project. When wool is fulled it can be cut with a scissors and not unravel. You can make a handbag, pillow, gloves, or as applique pieces on another project.

Felted handbag

 

Hartford-Knitting-Examiner

A Yarn about Wool – Childrens book review

A Yarn about Wool

A Yarn about Wool

 

“Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep – a Yarn about Wool” by Teri Sloat. The illustrator is Nadine Bernard Westcott.
This book was recommended by a 4 year old. She understood my yarn making process from having this book read to her. Her Mom calls it a “family favorite”. After having read it, I can see the appeal.

It’s spring at the Brown farm and that means sheep shearing time. He shears all seven of his sheep. Spring weather can be fickle, a mix of warm and cold days. So the cold gets his sheep shivering.

In the meantime, he takes the fleece over to Mr. Greene to wash, comb and card. The next step is to Mr. Peale’s for spinning. Mrs. Muller dyes the yarn. And Mr. Brown knits it. I can’t tell you the end, that would spoil it.

I liked the rhyme of the story and the illustrations were cute and colorful. I especially liked that the spinner was a man and that Farmer Brown knits.

This is a delightful way to introduce children to the process of yarn making. This can be read and reread with pleasure. Especially since children do ask for the same book to be repeated over and over.

Let me know what you thought of the book.

Knitting Nell