Archive

Monthly Archives: February 2014

It’s a day after my birthday, so it’s that time. The story that will be repeated for the ninth time.

288031441605_0_ALBTen years ago today, I bought a car and a crate, and drove down to Maryland to pick up my first dog ever. His name is Finn.

IMG_9746

I cannot believe that it has been ten years.

Ten years ago, I was running a business, was glued to the computer, and got a dog because I needed an excuse to go hiking.

Ten years ago, I lived in a different apartment. The one with many many steps.

Ten years ago, I was….ten years younger. And I had never had a dog.

What a difference 10 years makes. I no longer have a business, I go hiking and go do weird things (like hang with sheep) all the time, there is only one set of steps in my apartment that I can fall down (long story), and I have two dogs.

And my life is completely different.

Ten years ago, I would not have dreamed that I would be mucking it around sheep…or be in the vicinity of any sort of farm animal. Born in Tokyo, schooled in Boston, live in NYC after all. My very first lock-in inside a pen with sheep was because of Finn. I thought it would be a good idea to work sheep. That was a weird decision for someone who didn’t like to touch dirty things. The closest I ever wanted to come near sheep was….winding yarn. Now I have a sheep friend named Cambridge. And I voluntarily step into stalls. (Hint about the photo below — photo credit to Lee Langstaff — if you look beyond to the far stall, you will see a pair of prick ears. Finn’s ears.)

IMG_9884

Speaking of dirty, ten years ago, I had JUST gotten over the concept of having to pick up dog poop on the street. This simple act (well, simple NOW) held me back from getting a dog at least 3 years. Now, I’m like a Ninja with that dog poop bag. And eco-friendly too because I can stretch a single poop bag into encasing two dogs worth of poop.

Ten years ago, when I had a free weekend, I would hop a plane and go somewhere. Now, I load up my way-too-big-for-me-SUV (but it fits 2 big crates in the back!!) with dog beds, dog food, dog meds, dog treats, oh and some clothes for me and drive somewhere where the dogs can commune with nature. I no longer rock climb (dogs don’t belay), I don’t do crazy hikes (Finn is too old — and that’s my reason and I’m sticking with it), and more often than not, I’m driving down to Maryland to go see some sheep, Poodles and administer pain meds and anti-inflammatories when a certain 14 year old deaf dog takes off after a cat and tries to climb a tree….and ends up a little sore.

How things have changed.

Ten years ago, I never dreamt that a dog could teach me so much. I still stand by my belief that “A Dog Loves You Unconditionally” is a false statement. Because the real statement is, “A Dog Loves You Unconditionally…IFF You Earn It” (and yes, that is an “if and only if”). And Finn made me prove myself. I trained hard, I tried hard, I was firm with him when all I wanted to do was spoil him. But look what I got in return. I have a 14 year old sweetheart of a dog who will happily do anything for me. He is my best buddy. And I love him to bits and pieces.

IMG_9330

Happy happy adopt-a-versary, Finn. I’m so very glad you came into my life.

Cambridge. Remember her?

314422_168064710014149_1251301220_n

Born 1/27/13 at Shepherd’s Hey Farm (she’s #1305), sheared in November 2013 with me stalking her fleece since May 2013?

IMG_9619

And remember that I took the silvery bits of her fleece and spun that up into a lace weight yarn to make a bit of a shawl?

IMG_2505

Well, another part of her fleece met the spinning wheel. The dark grey bits.

IMG_0296

I spun the singles thicker, being very careful not to over twist the singles. This beautiful fleece has a staple length of 6″, and a nice crimp but not as tight a crimp as…say, a Cormo or Merino. And while I wanted to spin these singles worsted for a smooth and silky finish, I wanted the fibers to twisted together but not packed together so tightly that the garment resulting from this yarn would be wool-armor.

IMG_0291

The yarn is a DK-ish weight 2 ply yarn. I wanted to make a 3-season cardigan with this yarn, so while there was a voice in my head that was whispering that I ought to make a 3-ply yarn (I love round yarns!), I thought that I would get a better draping garment with a 2-ply yarn made from this fleece. And we all know that I am quite opinionated about my yarns 🙂

One would think that because Cambridge is mostly Romney that this yarn would be too “woolly”, or “not next to the skin soft”. We will see what happens when this yarn is knitted into a garment. Granted, this is no Qiviut, but I don’t think I’m going to have to wear 3 layers of turtlenecks before I can put on a Cambridge sweater. It is fantastic fleece — and the spinner who got her grubby little hands on the fleece (that would be me) may be improving bit by bit in her spinning skills.

IMG_0298

I will let the photos do the talking on the color of the finished yarn. Whatever words I come up with will not do it justice. But I love it that this fleece is a million different shades of grey (no, not 50), something that I think only nature can create.

IMG_0292

I have a pattern in mind. Norah Gaughn’s Kingscot. I think Cambridge would love being a swingy cardigan that I can wear every day.

Next chapter….Cambridge Meets the Knitting Needles.