Monday, January 28, 2008


Baby Nightshade below and to the right is what he looks like as of yesterday and he is almost 10 months old here.

This is our new ram. Meet NIGHT SHADE.

He is a tiny fellow. He is 3/4 Shetland and 1/4 Romney. Black as coal and it doesn't appear to have luster. Very long staples, and appears to be a single coat, but that remains to be seen for sure. He came from the flock of LaVonne Stuckey in Belgrade, Montana. We got him as soon as he was weaned and he started out with these tiny little spike horns you can see in the photo above. I expect him to have a long staples wool in the lower medium grade range. It has a good handle. I would love it if he would develop some luster. We think he bred the ewes this fall as there was a lot of commotion but some of the ewes laughed at his efforts
Next is IRISH FROST. She is a beauty and is a daughter of Priscilla by Donegal and so that makes her roughly 70% BFL and the rest Shetland. She is 10 months old now, and is shown standing behind her mother who is eating on the photo to the right. The small black one you see the behind all is a lamb.

Irish is another black English blue pattern like Priscilla but she is a suntipped black which means her black wool bleaches to a brown shade whereas her mother remained a charcoal black. She is long stapled with a semi luster, and is too young for a micron count, but her wool has a softer handle than her mother.
Below is a head profile of Irish Frost; she was born on a snowy St. Patrick's day

THIS IS FLEUR. She is a daughter of Cinnamon by Donegal, who was a BFL/shetland cross ram that we had for one season. She has the Shetland size but is larger than her mother and she is 2 years old. She has a bit of luster to her wool and appears to be completely single coated. Her wool is short and thick, and has a medium crimpiness, and good handle. Her micron count if 30. Her first baby was last year and she was a good mother. Her pretty face, and long back and luster came from her father. Her wool went into the BUNNIES OF JOY skeins I had spun up in 07 at 13 Mile Mill here in Montana.

This is a sheep called PRISCILLA.

She is from Judy Colvin's flock and she is 50/50 cross of Bluefaced Leicester/Shetland. She is about 5 years old, and makes maybe 2 and a half Cinnamons. She loves to eat. She is the "boss" ewe. She is friendly as well, but not as affectionate as Cin. Her wool I consider to be luster long wool. It is about 6-7" staple with a semi-luster and it is single coat with a loose crimp. Her micron count is 34. Her last years fleece is made into a charcoal gray roving. She does not "roo." She is a good mother and raises a bigger lamb
2008 photo of CINNAMON.

She was named for her reddish moorit color. She is a purebred Shetland from a dear friend and mentor who is now deceased. She is about nine years old this year. Her wool is very soft, and fine and there isn't a lot of it. On a good year she will give me 2 lbs as sheared, and after skiring and picking it might weight 1 1/2 lb. Her Micron count is 23. I consider her a single coat Shetland, but she has whisps of hair that stick above the rest so I guess those are the remnants of a double coat. She's fairy tiny around 55lbs as a fullgrown ewe. She is also a sweetheart and likes to be petted. She would love to be the "boss" sheep, but she is too small so no one pays attention to her. She used to single for several years, but in the past three years she has twinned. this past year, she again had twins but one was so big, that she could not deliver it unassisted, and by the time we got it out it was dead; the 2nd twin came fine and was a normal small one and is now bigger than she is.
This is our flock with the exception of the two lambs we are raising for meat after they get shorn. This is about all I can manage with our resources any more...but it is enough. If I had my druthers I would keep them all...but that is not practical.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I am hoping that I can get this to do what I want so I will just start out and see what happens.

First, after shearing, there is the fiber. This summer I entered some of it in a an wool compeition at the Eureka Fiber Festival in Eureka Montana, and this was the result. There were no guide lines issued as instructions so what I did was I took all the prime wool for a years duration from one rabbit, and put it in a clear plastic bag for display, and labeled it as required. I figured that by doing that the judge, or anyone else, could see how much prime wool was produced by one rabbit in one year, and could see and feel the texture, and color and crimp. This is the result in the picture above. It was fun....I wish that more fiber festivals has a competiton for angora fibers as well as their wool compeition.

This past year, I took 5 lbs of prime angora wool and took 10 lbs of unwashed white fleeces from my Bluefaced Leicester/shetland cross sheep and sent them off to 13 Mile Mill here in Montana for processing and spinning into 1 ply yarn of 1600 YPP. Since the wool needed washing, picking, and cardiing prior to blending it was reducded in volumne so that the blend came out about 60% wool and 40% angora. It is not as lacey looking as merino blend, but has more substance, but the hand is marvelous, and it is a great knitting yarn. It is also perfectly white.

I plied it it through my spinning wheel into a 2 play yarn... for the most majority. However, I also plied 1 skein of bombyx silk 5/1 with 1 ply of the angora-wool blend as far as that would go, and another skein of 8/1 bombyx with some more of the blend. I wanted the picture inserted here, but I see it went to the top. Fortunately the photos have text added so it can be identified.

The next picture is a close up of the 5/1 silk plied with the wool blend's just that the luster did not show up on the silk much but it is there.

Then there is a photo of complete skein of the blend and the 5/1 silk yarn. I took all of this and dyed it in rainbow fashion in bright colors and call this batch "SANTE FE" because of the colors remind me of the SW country. There are four color coodinated skeins but each one is different.

Next I did more single skeins of the blend in rainbow fashion in the microwave, and these two singles are the result. They are the blend 2 ply only without the silk ply.