Lil Miss has taken several photos of her growing garden and we wanted to share them with you to inspire you in your own gardening endeavors. If you are concerned that you are too late for a garden, don't be discouraged...there is always something you can do! There is still plenty of time to plant and plan for an abundant harvest. In the past, Mom has direct seeded zucchini plants in July and still gotten more produce then purchased starts planted in June. You can do it!
As the cold weather moves along we have been finding more ways to utilize the plethora of wool that seems to consistently grow each year. Weaving has been a long standing endeavor that seemed a bit daunting and we never seemed to get to. Last September, at the Schafer Meadows Fiber Festival, we were intrigued and inspired when Lil' Miss got to try it for herself and we realized how simple the process was. We attempted to make our own tri-loom, even breaking out the power tools, but didn't have the nail numbers accurately varied. Either side of the loom has one quantity of nails, while the bottom has a different. Through our first fumbled weaving attempts, we learned!
Yay! You can see the variables we encountered with our natural dyeing trials we first mentioned here. We used a beautiful Blue Faced Leicester (pronounced "Lester") and a lustrous Bombyx Silk we'd sourced from vendors in the past (Sorry, don't have the info. to share.) . We used vinegar with each of the dye baths, but also included a copper scrub pad as mordant with all but the 'Golden' Lichen batch. The herbs were harvest fresh from our property or the neighbor's (lichens) with no chemicals used in their growth...all except the Tumeric and onion peels - those were from Azure Standard.
Our experience only served to challenge our creativity and consider other plants on the property - and others to plant next year. We've been harvesting mosses and other lichens that the winds are bringing down and with further reading we're learning about the color potential of some of the bark and leaves on our property. Reading a biography of George Washington Carver only further stirs our imagination, considering every God-given color around us. If Mr. Carver could create dyes with peanuts, sweet potatoes and clays...we'll certainly enjoy the outcome of our many plant experiments.
Another pleasing outcome has been learning the herbal dyes leave a naturally sweet odor in the fiber. Like fresh air after a cleansing rain...
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting system through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune Him in. - George Washington Carver
Lil Miss has a couple of beautiful angora crosses she's willing to offer, for an excellent price, to the right homes.
Both females, these ladies are well mannered and offer the softest fiber blend of breeds.
If you'd like to learn more, leave a comment below (double check your email address) and we'll get back with you!
If you're looking for a way to learn several heritage skills that engage your mind and offer beautiful results, the Schafer Meadows Fiber Arts Festival is just the event to attend. So many willing hearts and hands eager to guide and teach a number of skills to adults and children alike.
'Lil Miss' created a beautiful pot holder while learning basic quilting; was thrilled to make her own mini shawl on a triangle loom; created a background for a future Glorious Beginnings sign with the wet felting class; took home her own mini back strap loom, and practiced her needle felting too!
She didn't participate in all the offerings either, there were paper crafting classes, blending boards for practicing, spinners available for help and support, other needle felting projects, several types of weaving set-ups...it's just a treat! All supplies were provided free of charge and the classes were staged multiple times through the duration of the event. This is the way gatherings should be!
One of the things important to complete before winter is cleaning and storing your wool. The first steps for wool processing are shearing it from the animal and once it's off, skirting or removing the filthiest parts of the wool from what you'll retain. This year we have over 20 lbs of alpaca fiber most from a friend that has asked us to clean, spin and knit/crochet into gifts for her family. Fiber prep from animals that enjoy rolling in the dirt and rustling through bushes can be a lengthy task and our first step is to remove as much of that dust, dirt, vegetation and second cuts (those shorter pieces that are accidentally cut twice and too short to use) from the fiber before we wash it.
We're prepping to demonstrate our spinning and share Angora rabbits again, at the August 1st Orting Farmer's Market, this Friday! We want to be sure to have our examples of what a few colorful batts can create, in various weights. The market begins at 3:00 pm, but we are asked to come at 4:00 pm, to find the perfect spot after vendors have settled in. We stay until closing at 7:00 and enjoy every minute we share! Please join us to see how we harvest fiber from our animals, dye with kitchen items, card fiber, spin and create with it~ it's Wooler to Wearable!
What it takes and what it makes...
We have been asked what quantity of yarn our fiber batts will make. My common response is that it depends on the thickness of your yarn and weight of your batt, and whether you are making a single or plied yarn. To further clarify, we thought it best to share a specific example.
We have been busy with several activities in our area meeting, greeting sharing and teaching eager ~new and old~ fiber (and rabbit) lovers. At our booths, quite a few ask us questions on the ins and outs of rearing fiber animals, their feeds, as well as the many and varied ways of working with their glorious fluff! Several are so eager to glean they ask to tour our homestead and get ideas for their own fiber pursuits. We love encouraging and supporting families in these endeavors and this is precisely why we take time to keep our humble website and work to be involved in several public venues...
We've had questions regarding accessories for angora care. Today, while grooming 'Coal' we thought it would be great to show what we use!
First we'll introduce 'Coal', he is a beautiful English Angora with a lot to offer. His coat is dense, fine fibered and he joined our rabbitry from a very colorful litter in northern Washington where his Dad took top local awards. He's fathered his first litter and we hope to have a colorful result.
We have been having more fun in the studio and combined our favorite variations of greens for another one-of-a-kind fiberlicious, cottony candy creation! 'Mossy Croak' Truly, we love the greens of the forest, ferns, nettles and such that surround us and this creative batt name seemed to jump on into the pictures.
We were pleased to share our spinning, weaving, crochet, knitting and angoras with our local community on Opening Day of the Orting Farmer's Market. It was fun to reconnect with people we haven't seen in years and meet others, including a few who were visiting from out of state!
Our primary goal is to raise happy, healthy rabbits abundantly producing the finest angora fiber that can be worn next-to-skin without the prickle associated with commercial (most often German) angora. Born May 6th, these beautiful angoras, from Lil Miss' German/Satin Angora, offer you the best of our desired traits. From Silver's healthy litter of 9, these rabbits are a wonderful blend of English, Satin and German angora offering high density of fine fiber on medium bodies that will not require the intense grooming of an English, nor the loads of feed that a German consumes! They'll be ready for new homes July 1st and there are several colors to choose from; fawn, torte, chestnut agouti, chinchilla, ermine, pearl... Consider all the potential for naturally beautiful garments and accessories!
We have a doe from another litter of the same breed crossing and now that she is wearing her senior coat, her density and softness surpass that of her dad - an English Angora. Her color depth and length of fiber is also better ~ she is a fantastic example of what you want to spin and wear and we're glad to offer you the same!
Look for Honey's photo shoot above.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
This is our journey.