Spin, Span, Spun

For me, the only thing more exciting than waiting for lambs to arrive is waiting for the arrival of freshly spun skeins and carded roving from the fiber mill. I picked up the first of my spring yarns at the spinnery this week. This yarn run has been in the queue at Green Mountain Spinnery since the end of last year. In February the newly shorn fleeces from my Cormo-cross yearlings joined my late autumn wool clip at the mill to produce boxes of glowing skeins (now stacked floor to ceiling in the studio).

For me, the timing is a bonus. Although I still have mountains of Cormo to skirt (I call the stack of wool bags in the studio Mount Cormo!) I can get started on readying product for my spring shows. For members of Sheep Shares, my new farm yarn & fiber club, this means your spring share may actually be on its way before my first lambs drop here at the farm.

Yarn upland wool & mohair natural

Here's a peek at the yarn along the way. Once I've skirted and boxed the fleeces from shearing day, I stuff as much wool as I can possibly fit into the back of my Toyota Highlander and truck it up to the spinnery in Putney, Vermont. At the mill, Dave Ritchie and I weigh the incoming fiber and discuss the plan of action for the yarn run.

Wool delivery

Days later, the fiber which has been washed and picked meets the carder.

Fiber hits the carder

Here are the spools of pencil roving being spun on the mill's vintage Whitin Spinning frame, circa 1948. It's a noisy process, but fun to watch. After spinning, the yarn spools are steamed to set the twist and then wound into skeins.

The work doesn't stop here. Now that I have the skeins in hand, I'll wash them again and add color in the dye studio. The next few weeks will be filled with dyeing and lambing.

Yarn on spinning frame

Here's a shot of Butch and Gypsy, which has nothing to do with the rest of this post. They just wanted to say hello. Lately, they've been naughty goats – so mean to the Border Leicesters. We ushered them into a side pen to keep them out of trouble, though I realize they are just suffering from a bad case of cabin fever. Can't wait for the snow to melt so that everyone can s-p-r-e-a-d  o-u-t.

Goat captives

Think Spring!

copyright 2009. Barbara Parry. All rights reserved.