Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sheep, Shearing, Shaving & Sadness

We had a beeeutiful day last week for shearing. It was sunny and warm (even a bit too warm once the sun started beating down on us.)

The sheep were really wooly after growing their fleeces all summer, fall, winter and into spring.

I catch the sheep in the barn while Farmer Anne grabs them at the door, wrestles them to ground and begins the shearing.

The mess-o-wool that's left behind is sorted, skirted (throwing the icky bits away) and either sent to the carding mill or I send it to Prince Edward Island where it's woven into super warm blankets.

Naked sheep, checking each other out. They don't recognize each other so they need to re-introduce
themselves. Hi, I'm Sparkleberry!

But soon after shearing, sadness has hit Dancing Leaf Farm again. My beautiful Brambles has moved on to higher pastures. She lived longer than most sheep, 19 years, and was good till the end. She took a bit longer to get up from the back pasture, but she never complained.

Being a Jacob, Brambles was spotted with four horns. Most people thought she was a goat. She was a bit skittish but finally learned to eat out of my hand. She stomped her legs at strangers, giving them a wary eye, but would be the first one to come for grain. I had her for 16 years and thought she would just go on forever. She had little skinny legs, fine boned and had the most beautiful face.
She looked awesome out in the field, with her spots and four horns. Her dark spots would bleach out to brown so she really was a tri-color. Good bye Brambles and thank you for bringing joy into my life. Say hi to Mocha!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gettin' Ready

The Countryside Artisans' Spring Studio Tour is nearly here (this weekend). I've been once again cranking things out, my creative juices flowing and my hands busy. I've been dying up some new Blue Faced Leicester roving. I know why this fiber is so popular now. It has a beautiful sheen to it and is sooooo soft.

A brand new colorway...Lobster Bisque, a blushy peach with a hint of pale yellow.

My new luscious yarn, 'Hapiness', a combination of 4 complementary yarns. Mohair, my hand dyed Tango, a novelty ribbon and 'Sparkle'. Each skein of yarn will come with a free shawl pattern and a fused glass brooch.
The brooches are fired in my little kiln in the studio. I first cut the glass...

and put decorative frit, stringers and dichroic glass on top.

My cute kiln has a heating platform just 4" x 4" so I can only do 4-6 brooches or 12 buttons at a time.

It heats up pretty fast though, about 20 minutes to get up to nearly 2000 degrees.

Yikes! That's hot! I wear thick leather gloves, lines with fleece while I handle the kiln at that temp.
The glass is a hot, molten blob. The cooling down takes much longer.

But soon they are cooled and ready for a pin back, label and for sale.

I purchased some new glass recently and was excited to see how the buttons would come out, due to the many colors in the glass. Well, I was pleased.

A new spring scarf, nuno felted on silk chiffon.

Hope you can make it out. I'll post more tomorrow to try to entice you.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

My Iris Eyes Are Smiling!

Since it refuses to be spring outdoors, I had to have spring indoors. A friend brought over these gorgeous iris last week. I've been playing with the new camera I got awhile back. It's my son's 'old' Canon EOS SLR camera. He upgraded and I upgraded from my point and shoot. I still take most of my shots with my little point and shoot, but I really do need to use the Canon more. I really like the bokeh effect so am experimenting with depth of field.

  The buds started so tight, and over the next few days, I watched them slowly open up. If we kept our house warmer (it's around 50 in the kitchen), they would open faster, but I can understand their hesitancy to expose themselves to the cold.

 And finally, a fully opened blossom. 
Make my day, iris!