Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

As part of our 2010 cyber-reorganization, we are moving and consolidating our cyberhomes.  You can get to our website at http://www.fancyfibers.com or just http://fancyfibers.com.

Our Farm Blog is now on that site instead of in a separate place! 

Please continue to follow the news from the farm by going to our newly designed website (on a different hosting service), click on the latest blog post, and SUBSCRIBE!  There is an RSS feed link down at the bottom.  When I figure out how to add other feed readers, I’ll do that, too!

We hope you’ll check it out and watch our new site grow!


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It was another freezing, mud-sucking morning here on the farm when we ventured out this morning. (Note: Those of you tired of goat stories should skip to the bottom for a rabbit story.)

Ken had seen one of the goats limping, so we had to figure out the cause. Plus, in my optimism, hoping things would dry out some, I had neglected the hooves of the big pasture goats. It was time to see how many I could trim before my hands (or my shears) gave out. For the record, today it was the shears that gave out first!

And so the fun began…

We shook a feed bucket and out of the loafing shed they came, all but Breda, one of the older angoras, who was clearly limping. Ken snatched her up (it’s good to have animals that you can pick up if you have to) and brought her over. Yes, she had a nickle-sized gash on the side of one of her back legs just above the hoof. We had run out of Iodine, so we relied on a household favorite — Neosporin — and bandaged her leg.

Buddha and MudBud supervised the entire operation.

Interestingly enough, when I started trimming the hooves of the little angora doelings, MudBud growled at Buddha when he came around.  Those are MudBud’s doelings. They are the ones that curl up and sleep with him.  I guess he’s a little possessive about them!

Ken snatched Breda up again and carried her over the mud. She is now resting comfortably in the infirmary stall over in the main barn. 

In other farm news, that bit of brown fur sticking its head into Cassie’s feed container is Hercules! He is thriving, and continues to be adorable. He doesn’t need his own food container any more because he’s big enough to snatch a bite out of Mama’s! This morning we saw him checking out the water spigot also! He’s really good at watching and imitating Cassie!

This morning when we fed the rabbits, there was some evidence that Dudley and Squealer had ventured out of their cages at some point during the night.   Maybe by later today I’ll be able to pet them.

Finally, on a fiber note, I couldn’t sleep last night.  Wonder what this will turn out to be? Any ideas, anyone?

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Monday night was just loads of fun!  It was the night of the monthly meeting of the Dallas Handweavers & Spinners Guild. I made a special effort to go, not because I’m the membership chairperson, but because the Spinners were giving the program.  This group has some of the most experienced and most talented spinners around and I wanted to soak up every word they had to say!

After the business meeting, we all gathered around the spinners and their beautiful show-and-tell items.  Christina demonstrated spinning cotton on a charka.Yes I know the picture is blurry; she was spinning that little wheel around pretty fast!  Charkas are most often associated with Ghandi and the independence of India from British rule. An interesting charka tidbit was that the Indian people were forbidden from spinning. They got away with it because the charka folds up into a small box they could hide in plain sight on their bookcases!

Michelle (FiberLady) demonstrated spinning bamboo.  She has the most fabulous bamboo and bamboo blend yarns, as well as dyed and undyed bamboo fiber for sale!  She is the queen of bamboo for sure!

Phyllis, a Master Fiber Artist and all around Grand Dame of fibers, demonstrated spinning flax. She also explained the different kinds of linen (with fibers for everyone to show and feel, of course). She even brought cloth that her grandmother had woven in linen in Russia, a piece in the same pattern that her mother wove, and a piece in the same pattern that Phyllis wove!  They were all stunningly beautiful!

Michael Cook demonstrated how he twists 3 strands of silk together on a wheel with a 44:1 flyer.  Of course, he spins so fast we could only see it when he stopped! Michael is the king of silk in any form, from cocoon to thread to any other put up.  He was working on silk sewing thread at the moment, and had several samples of silk in its various stages of gumminess and ungumminess.  Simply put, there’s just nothing Michael doesn’t know about silk!

May demonstrated spinning a blend of alpaca and angora (the angora came from our Caramel of Fancy Fibers Farm!) that was stunningly soft, and Lynn demonstrated spinning on a drop spindle.  It was a wonderful night that clearly illustrated a broad range of spinning applications! There were also luscious handwoven and knitted items on display that had been created from handspun yarn.

We are fortunate in the Dallas area to have such a wealth of talent and such a variety of interesting people in the Dallas Handweavers & Spinners Guild.  I left the meeting inspired to spin, spin, and then spin some more!

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Today most of the bunnies had to vacate their barn so that my spinning friends could slog out to the farm and sit and spin (or knit, as the case may be). And I do mean SLOG.  All this snow that everybody was so crazy happy over, and the rain that was mixed in with it, turned our driveway into one big muddy slip and slide! Nevertheless, we moved ahead with the plan. I only rarely see these ladies during the school year, and it was my great honor to host the gathering today!

Ge’mar gave me a helping hand with setting up the craft fair tent and moving 4 sets of bunny cages outside.  I was a little afraid the wind might be a bit cold for them, especially the ones who had recently been plucked out or sheared, so we put up a couple of walls to block the breeze. We even rolled out the cardboard carpet to try to save a few shoes!  I felt a little like Sir Walter Raleigh, except I didn’t have near enough coat for all the puddles my friends were going to have to cross. 

A little strategic parking and the grass helped and, one way or the other, everyone made it through the muck and mire! Some had brought wheels and set to spinning. Kate brought a beautiful little spindle and was a marvel at spinning blue jean cotton on it.  I never really did get the hang of the spindle and admire people who can make it work correctly for them. Edie brought knitting, and Michelle came to watch and to try her hand at wheel spinning! 

Of course friends can’t gather without good food to nosh on, and today was no exception. We polished off a big pot of chili and all the fixins for lunch, and there were sweets and snacks as well.  We definitely gave my new Keurig coffee pot a good workout! 

Alas, eventually all good things come to an end, and it was time to tear down the streamers and pack up the band. Like the high school gym that, for one night, becomes the mystical site of the prom, once the kids go home, it must once again become the gym.  Ge’mar and I moved the bunnies back inside and folded up the tent.  By the time Mr. Berry made it home from work, there was only one small clue as to what had gone on … a very strange assembly of cardboard boxes and boards that, for some inexplicable reason, were laid out in a line down the driveway!

“Thank you” to my Wednesday spinning friends for coming out for the party! It was fun, and we’ll have to do it again sometime.  When its DRY!

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A Cold Day in….

It started off really nice today, although a bit overcast, but it didn’t take long to be come a cold day in the pasture!  The wind turned to the north and the temperature dropped 20 degrees in the time you could snap your fingers.  A bracing rain started and everybody except the guard dogs ran for shelter.  The guard dogs don’t mind the rain, actually, although they usually end up in the barn because all the other animals are.

When feeding time came, Ken bundled up in his felted hat and overalls (on top of his other clothes), grabbed the tin snips, and went out to feed and put out hay.  Bless his heart, I stayed in the warmth of the back doorway!  (That’s why these pictures are fuzzy!  My batteries are dead, again, in my “real” camera and I was using my iPhone.)

The animals were definitely ready for him.  He has quite a routine down, a certain order, certain pens for certain animals, and the animals pretty much march to his tune!

The alpacas eat while the dogs play

Sheep & Goats Waiting

In the meantime, I was inside with my Ashford Drum Carder on the breakfast bar lightly carding together some black alpaca (Gideon, from Jacob’s Reward 2008 harvest), some black Corriedale (from Terrific Fibers), and some of my own black-grey-white angora into soft batts. 

I feel the need for a cup of coffee and some time at my spinning wheel! 

Let’s see what sort of luscious fancy fiber I can spin up!

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Channeling Laurie

Laurie, one of my spinning friends, is the most out-of-the-box person I know.  In fact, Laurie is so out-of-the-box creative that I don’t think she’s ever IN the box!

Laurie came to spinning last week, spread a bed sheet over her lap and the floor, and started picking the vegetable matter and other unspinnable stuff out of a fleece. She casually remarked how much nicer it was to work on a fleece INSIDE in the air conditioning instead of OUTSIDE on the skirting table.

That thought came back to me tonite after I had done all the homework I could stand.  I grabbed an extra sheet, my bag of “Grace” fleece, and plopped down in the living room.  Grace was young when she was sheared, and I was only working on her blanket. Three and one-half hours later, I had a beautiful light fluffy fleece, ready to be washed!

Thanks, Laurie!

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All the fiber and a great bunch of fiber people came out to play on Memorial Day Saturday at FancyFibers! With an eye Skirting Tabletoward offering everyone an opportunity to play with fiber in multiple ways, we set up a Seating areaspinning and knitting area inside, a sit and visit area outside under the tent, put up the skirting table and drum carder, and set up the dye paraphenalia. We were ready for anything and it was a good thing!


 Nell AnnSpinners and knitters got comfortable in the living room and swapped introductions and stories. Nell Ann put us all to shame by effortlessly spinning 100% angora  yarn from Carter’s beautiful fur.  Her first time spinning angora!  

Peggy brought her bead knitting. She’s making a beautiful little purse. Honestly, I don’t know how Peggyshe even sees what she’s doing!



Sue and MichelleThere was more knitting…

                                                                                         And more spinning …Liz, May, and Nell Ann

  Ken grilled hot dogs and gave garden and chicken  tours …KenCathy and Maxine

While over at the drum carder, Cathy and Maxine were creating beautiful batts of fiber and sparkley angelina!

Amber had brought an alpaca fleece that we skirted and then walked over to the prep sink for a good wash and rinse.

Of course, everyone toured the bunny barn. Christine of Spinning Straw Into Gold gave the two Satins I bought from Spinolution Bee Wheelher a good once over while I nervously awaited her judgment. She was satisfied with their care and development, so I passed inspection! Whew! It’s can be nerve-wracking having more experienced rabbit breeders come visit! 

Christine also brought her SpinOlution Bee travel wheel with her.  I drooled – I’ll admit it! This wheel is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and folds into a very compact package weighing only 13 pounds! Christine is the Texas dealer for these wheels. Give her a call or send her an e-mail to find out more!

Although no one took me up on my offer to dye, there was plenty of  fiber fun!   If you don’t already get our newsletter, sign up to find out when we’re going to do it again this summer at the new place (with the addition of alpacas and goats!)  in Farmersville!  See you then!

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