May 31, 2009

Alpaca Fleece

Right, so I've decided that the sheep fleece is beyond my skills in terms of preparation, I 'combed' a small handful for 15 minutes the other night and only removed part of the vegetable matter. Other issue being I am unsure of the type of fleece and need to know for the show. So... I have bought some Merino & also English Leicester fleece so will try them, they are supposed to be clean and free of 'matter' so fingers crossed they are; I sent off my entry for the ASBA Show last week so need to get spinning :D

In the meantime I got some gorgeous brown alpaca fleece from the lovely Char in my knitting group. Here it is pre and post combing. It's lovley and soft and I am very much looking forward to trying it :)

Posted by Picasa

Anyone for bikkies?

Super easy, cheap recipe for about a bazillion biscuits :) We made this batch this afternoon.

250g butter, 1/2 cup sugar - cream together. Beat in 1/2 cup Condensed milk. Stir in 2 1/2 cups SR flour and some chocolate chips (or sultanas or smarties or whatever you wish). Roll teasposons of mixture into balls and press down slightly. Bake in 180C oven for 12 - 15 mins. Cool on racks.

Posted by Picasa

May 24, 2009

When I grow up..

We all have dreams and ambitions when we are kids; sometimes they come to fruition, other times not..

When I was in primary school I decided I wanted to work in a shop so that I could use a cash register.. My Grade three teacher told me that if she ever saw me working at a checkout that she'd drag me out by my hair! So I rethought my career path and decided that librarian was more to my style, so that I could stamp the books.. hahaha!

I went through a stage of wanting to be a jockey; I recall being bitterly disappointed when I measured myself next to the jockey statue on the Flemington lawn and found that I was too tall (I was about 10). My stepdad pointed out that it was not a life-size statue and that they were slightly taller than that in reality. The jockey idea never really stuck but as time passed it soon became apparent that horses were going to feature prominently in my life and eventually I did work in the racing industry for some time; I was a strapper/stablehand looking after the horses; I worked at Flemington and Caulfield and even Randwick in NSW over a few year period but eventually had to get a 'real' job. The hours and pay didn't appeal any longer; and neither did lifestyle.

Since then I've worked as a Spare Parts Interpreter, Warranty Clerk/Service Advisor, Admin/Logistics for a Sugar co, CSA/Analyst for an Energy co and am now an Energy Data Analyst for a Energy Management co (in between being a mum and a kinder board rep and so on!!). I love my job but y'know I'd STILL love to be a 'checkout chick' ;)

(This post was the 'challenge' on Blogged this week; it's an Australian blog-ring - check it out)
Posted by Picasa

May 21, 2009

Finally bought a Subaru :)

We've upgraded our 'silver car' and put deposit on this sporty little car. It's a 97 Subaru Impreza GX, it's AWD but no turbo.. Being such a rally household it's about time we bought a 'Suby' :) It drives beautifully and I can't wait to have it! We plan to pick it up on Saturday.

Posted by Picasa

May 19, 2009

Crimson Rosella Dye

This is the final result. There are some 'pinkish' tones to the red but overall it is OK. I am looking forward to Kraft Kolour getting back on their feet so that I can stock up on more dyes and play with more colours :))

Posted by Picasa

May 17, 2009

What's cooking??

I bought this steamer ages ago to use for dyeing. It was $29 at Aldi and is 3 'storey'. Tonight the boys went to bed early so I took advantage of the spare time to do some dyeing..

I have used Bendigo Luxury 10 ply and Landscape Dyes to create a Crimson Rosella inspired mix.. We have these gorgeous guys in our yard often and I love their bright splash of colour on an overcast day, so am planning on bright warm scarf or wrap with this wool to brighten up winter a little.

Posted by Picasa

May 16, 2009

Carding Brushes

I 'won' these from eBay as I figure the real thing will work better than a dog brush, hehehe..

This is the grey 'fleece' laid out on the floor.. When I lay out the white fleece it was in one piece, but this one is lots of pieces so am not sure if it is off one sheep or many.. It seems to be the same 'type'. There are lots of badly matted bits in it as well. The colours are nice though so hopefully can wash it up ok.

Posted by Picasa

Washing Day

I did a little bit of reading on washing fleeces on Ravelry and it seems many have good results with soaking the fleece in cold water before getting into the hot wash part.. So yesterday I filled a large tub/bucket with cold water and put the white fleec in overnight.

It was surprising how much dirt came out just from the soak..

We (because of course I had a helper ;) ) then washed it in two batches in hot water - two 'washes' and one rinse for each batch.

I then placed the fleece into lingerie bags to spin it out in the washing machine and it is now laid out to dry on a clothes horse outside.. I will move it into the shed to dry out of the weather, though. Once it is dry I imagine the fun begins - combing it to get rid of the grass/seeds/burs.. and there is right through the whole fleece.

Posted by Picasa

May 13, 2009

Operation fleece - mini update

I used a handful of the white fleece and practiced washing it tonight; using this method from the Knitting-And website. And wow - look at the difference!!

Posted by Picasa

Riding, a little left of centre; the Alexander Technique

So the fires took out my most recent riding spot.. We went out to Kinglake on the weekend and caught up with Steve and he is getting there slowly with rebuilding the fencing and so on but it will be a long time til the park is open to riders again. We're hoping to work with Steve to get some more riding income for him on the property but it will take a lot of work.

In the meantime I had been looking around 'home' for somewhere to ride and came across Studio Evolving which intrigued me and when I spoke with Marigold on the phone I connected with her straight away. Today I went for a 3 hour intro session into Alexander Technique & Riding.

Taken from their website: The Alexander Technique is a unique approach to the study of movement. It is a means of eliminating unnecessary tension while learning to move in an easier more effective way.

It was a great experience; first we spent time getting to know Tamino (the horse I worked with) using touch/massage/grooming; likewise he got to know me :) Then a brief run-down on the human skeletal/muscle system and how it all works together and conversely how one 'wrong' part can impact on others. We then spent an amusing 15 minutes teaching me to sit and stand (I kid you not!). Marigold showed me how I was tense and stiff in the way I 'normally' sit down and stand; and then guided me to a more neutral/natural way of doing so.

Next we headed back outdoors for a session on the wooded horse and then the real thing. It's going to take time to un-learn my habits on a horse after a lifetime of riding 'as I was taught' but already I can feel a difference.. I had Tam walking, turning and halting with just movement in the saddle and no rein pressure at all - amazing stuff, really. (and my boots and jeans were less clean when I had finished!)

Posted by Picasa

May 12, 2009

Baa Baa grey sheep.. the start of a project, feel free to follow along

Remember the Wool Show I was talking about? Well, the majority of woolcraft/spinning classes require you to work with fleece as opposed to carded 'tops' - which is pretty much all that I have worked with so far...

So today during my lunch break I visited a lovely spinner from my knitting group (the real term is stitch and bitch (SnB) but I have simplified it to cater for an almost 4 year old's understanding) and she very kindly allowed me to explore her fleece stash; I came away with two bags full :)

Here they are 'as is' - straight off the sheep. They've been in their bags for quite a while I'd say.
One grey/white varigated and one 'white'.
Before spinning they need washing and combing/carding. I will keep a pictorial of the progress as I am interested to see the process as it unfolds :)

Stay tuned for updates!

The lower two pics show the boy having a go at combing using the dogs' brush he loved it.

Posted by Picasa

May 5, 2009

Spinning wheel is out of hibernation

Given the hot, hot, hot summer we've had (not to mention the fires that consumed the whole month of February) my spinning wheel had been a bit neglected. In fact I do not think I'd used it since before Christmas until the other night.

I've been reading a bit about the Bendigo Sheep Show and it inspired me to get the wheel out again - a bit of a dust and an oil and it was good as new ;) My plan is to enter a 'piece' in the Woolcraft section of the show, although it's a bit daunting and I keep swinging between "I will" and "Maybe not".

This fibre is Masham which seems to be similar to Alpaca in it's (spun) appearance, it is quite 'hairy'. Very funky sheep, that is for sure :)

I am pleased with this attempt; I was concerned I would forget how to do it but this seems OK (so far!).

Posted by Picasa

Crisp,cold, foggy Yarra Valley mornings

Autumn and Spring are my favourite times of year; I love the clear, cold mornings (even when I need to break the ice on the dogs' water). This was the view the other day as the sun came up and melted the fog away.

Needless to say our wood heater has been getting a work out over the past week, and we've dug out scarves and beanies!
Posted by Picasa