Friday, March 30, 2012

Lambing, sun, chunky gloves and Karen's alpaca

No Tai Chi last Monday. An ewe decided to threaten delivering her lambs about 6 days before her due date, by going around nesting - staying apart from the flock in her special area of the paddock, being restless and pawing the ground - so had to stay around that morning. However, she took her time and didn't deliver the twins until evening.
Here she be:
This all looks very mangey in the dark photo but she is a shedding sheep i.e. I don't have to shear her so she doesn't look her best this time of year - in fact she is a star - very good mother who delivers and minds her twins each year with no assistance from me. By contrast, another ewe had triplets and this did require assistance from me. One of the lambs was not getting born so had to be extracted by me with some force and it turned out he had an imperforate anus (i.e. no ear hole, just a cul de sac) which led to a swollen belly making it very difficult for the ewe. Sadly, there is no reasonable treatment other than fairly major surgery for this condition so the little ram had to be put down humanely to avoid his suffering unnecessarily. After him came the third lamb and she was and is fine.
So by now just 5 of my little flock have had lambs in the nice weather - 4 with twins and one a single.

I finished off a pair of fingerless mitts made from some fairly coarse fiber I dyed and spun some time ago.
It seemed a bit weird having these winter warmers drying in the hot sun:

Also spent some time making a light spindle (with the help of OH) which I like a lot as it spins well when rolled on the leg but is very light.

Karen's Alpaca.
A very nice and generous lady who lived for some time in the west of Ireland returned to the US last year , leaving me with a great kitchen appliance (magimix) and a bag of black alpaca. The alpaca was the result of her combing or carding some fleece she got here in Ireland and I think she spun the longer fibers. Although there was much VM and neps and the fibers are short, I could see why she didn't want to discard these left-overs as it is exceptionally soft and silky. I wasn't sure what to do with it - so I drum carded it into a batt - but it still had lots of neps etc. I was going to blend or felt it but somehow found myself spinning it on the Ashford traveller - making a fairly thin single and then Navajo plying it into a bulky (8 - 9 wpi ) yarn.
 Ashford Traveller 12:1 ratio from drum carded batt and Navajo played
 Removed more neps as I spun.

3 oz.

Must out to the filed to see if there is any further lamb progress.


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