Wonderfully Wooly Weekend

Yup, that’s my van. Yup, it’s full of wool. 13 bags of unknown poundage, but I am going to attempt to get a reasonable weight on it today. Lots of Romney cross goodness. My good friend Ellen and I took a ride to Hartfield Farm in Newport, NH for a quick visit and to buy them out of last years wool crop. I also walked away with some wonderful roving — 6lbs of natural white, and 3lbs of deep dark brown — and fresh farm meat and eggs! As Jessie has mentioned, I want to start taking some personal responsibility (as the budget allows) for where me food comes from, and I would much rather support a small farmer whose pigs live free and happy to wallow in the sun and mud until that fateful day, than some conglomerate whose pigs are stacked three high in cages and force fed crap and horomones until they weigh enough for slaughter. ICK. I can’t raise them myself, but I can sure buy from farms.
Back to the wool — I now need to find a mill. I really, really, really want to use someone local, and very definitely in New England. I’m not entirely sure which direction to go with the processing, either. I’m leaning toward sport weight yarn and some roving. I have silver fleece, white, and brown. Spinners — do you like to spin the dark brown roving? Am I better off having that processed all into yarn? I love natural colored yarn. The 3lbs of brown roving I purchased is already being spun on the bobbin and I can see a fabulous Aran knit out of this. It isn’t the softest fleece, but certainly not the roughest, and i am quite pleased with it. I think it will make a wonderful sturdy yarn. I’ll certainly give socks a go from it as well. And this is part of my quandry — I don’t mind hand-wash socks for myself. I take them in the shower with me to wash (I use shampoo), and hang them to dry. Are there those of you out there who will knit nice sturdy boot socks with a non-superwash yarn? In the event that not too many will, I thought a sport weight would still be good for sweaters. HELP! This is a new venture for me, but one I really hope to be successful and to do again and again, so any input is truly welcome.
Ellen and I had great fun exploring the farm, which abounded with free range chickens (7 roosters and their harems!), some expecting pygmy goats, and the wonderful sheep. Here is a pensively curious ewe…

and a sweet little ram named Cocoa (in the middle) that the farmer would love to keep, but she needs a non related ram for new lambs. Ellen commented that he would fit quite nicely in the van.
In knitting new, I did start the Sunflower dress for Grace, and I LOVE the look of this yarn, but I only have about 1 1/2 inches so far, so pictures can wait. Also, I have discovered that I am FAR behind in my Wicked knit-a-long with Diane; she has begun the body decreases and I am still at the armpits. who knows if I’ll catch up — I feel icky-nasty-sniffly sick today and was laid up all day yesterday. Didn’t even have the energy to lift the needles. Sad.
Oh well, off to the PO and to research more and more mills. Have a great day!!

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12 Responses to Wonderfully Wooly Weekend

  1. Kendra says:

    Holy wool!!!

  2. Nichole says:

    Oh I think its a sign… another Cocoa??!! 🙂
    Socks… I personally don’t mind hand washing my own and would love some local wool for nice warm, winter boot socks.
    Diane moved past you while you were waiting for her to catch up, lol?? I’m impressed! Go Diane!

  3. Cheryl says:

    For a mill, I highly recommend Friends Folly, up in Norris, Maine. They’re a great Mill and do a wonderful job. A lot of People like Still River Mill too, but I know they’re not cheap.

    Also, there’s the old standby, Bartlett Yarns (up in harmony, Maine). The Rices just bought it and are making some great changes. I think the quality of the yarns coming out of there will improve greatly.

  4. Julie says:

    Holy Sheep, Heather! That’s a lot of wool.

    Are you still planning to come up to The Yarn Sellar tomorrow night? Patti said you had mentioned it. It’d be great if you did 🙂

  5. Lora says:

    whoa! sheeps a’hoy!!!!!! Man that’s a full van girlie! Wish I could help you out on mills and such, but not being from here I am clueless…heck I couldn’t even help you if you were in KY!

  6. jessie says:

    For some reason, I thought your email said 13 POUNDS of wool rather than 13 fleeces. That much fiber does increase your buying power, so if I sounded a bit dismissive, forgive me!

    I had some plans to do up a ragg wool by doing one strand dark and one light. I think this would look great natural over overdyed. However, all I have is Romney cross as well, and while it’s a great fiber, esp. for socks, I was looking for something a bit better for next-to-skin wear.

    Haven’t found anything yet.

    Love the sheepy pictures.:-)

  7. Amanda1 says:

    Hi, Heather!

    I have only made one pair of socks out of “sock” yarn. All other pairs have been made out of worsted weight (which I prefer!). And, handwashing doesn’t matter in our house. Warmth is what does. So, I would definitely be a fan of heavier yarn!

    As far as mills, there were a few at the Sheep & Wool. Did you pick up a directory while you were there? I’m sure they were listed.

    I love reading about your farm endeavor!

  8. Nora says:

    OH. MY. GOD!!! Thank you so, so much! I’ll email you tonight (am at work now). Just wanted to say THANK YOU! And there’ll be something heading your way very soon. x

  9. Amy Boogie says:

    Now that really is a haul to be proud of. I second Friends Folly, They’re in Monmouth Maine (about 30 minutes from me) http://www.friendsfollyfarm.com/ I really like them and they have fantastic top for sale too! I think you need to come over and we’ll take a trip. Or if you make it to a festival they’re usually there and you can do the boring thing and drop off your fleece.

    I like to spin all kinds and colors of fleece so I might be the wrong person to ask. I have several fleeces waiting for me at Fiber Frolic in 3 weeks that i’ll be processing myself. Although if I get any more than that, I might be taking a trip to Friends Folly myself.

  10. SleepyEyes says:

    All I can say is….WHOA!

  11. Caroline says:

    Good for you for making the effort to shop locally and support the small farmer. I’ve thought of it for a long time but never turned the thought into action.

  12. YarnB says:

    I am up with insomnia!!

    What are you going to do with all of that! I know of some processing mills if you want to email me!

    I feel like I never hear from you. How have you been feeling?

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