Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Come visit us at Graham & Margaret's this weekend!

Whahaaaat? Party at Graham & Margaret's you say? Come on out and meet up with some gorgeous sheep, see Graham's working Border Collies in action and spinning demo by me.

Activities at Little Dale Farm are set for 2 to 4 pm, Saturday, October 2, 2010
(photo credit: Melony Howard, Milwaukee, WI)
Be sure to check the website for directions- you can find them (and more info) at or email me at !
(photo credit: Melony Howard, Milwaukee, WI)

North Country Cheviot, Scotch Mule Sheep and British Suffolk will all be at the party- come see some rare breed sheep. They are native to Graham & Margaret's homes in England and Scotland- and a treasure here in the USA. 

The fun is scheduled from 2 to 4 pm, Saturday October 2nd, 2010- don't miss out! The event is coordinated with Richland Center activities for the weekend- lots to do and visit- definitely a fun Saturday- hope to see you there! ;0) or email me at if you have questions!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The cart before the sheep???

REALLY???? Well, the sheep took a vote- EVERYone of the Ryan critter crew decided it was time to add a shopping cart to their website.... I have been avoiding doing so, mainly because I do not like big changes- and this is a BIG one! The sheep threatened to make me walk the plank if I did not co-operate, so in the interest of not getting fired, I caved.

Work is under way as we speak to install the shopping cart- our update will be a little delayed this week while I get this under control. Wish me luck! I thought MAYbe the sheep would/should help me get this computer work done? I asked and this is what followed:

Um, Mom, can't you see we are tired and busy having a good nap???
We caaannnn't hear you....
La la la......
Anyone INSIDE want to help me out? Libby - nope.
Noodle- definitely not.
SO, guess that's my answer huh? Better get back to work! Just wait til they all want treats right? I might have an entire box of Fruit Loops myself- hope they stocked up this week.... bwaaahahahahaha!
More info to follow just as soon as we have the website all set to go- until then you can shop and browse the website, the cart will not be visible yet.... Toodles!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun in the sun!

well, TODAY was fun in the sun anyway! You probably all know how much I dread taking pictures of yarn and finished items? Well, I finally listened to everyone and went outside. Wanted to have a place in my studio to take pictures but looks like I should have listened MUCH sooner! Still some things to work out but love it so far....

Our Aina's Fall 'Bendy' yarn- dyed by Aina, handspun by me as a wire corespun skein...
Night Owl knitting- our 'signature' Crazy Quilt yarn- handspun by me and knit at night- when I hardly ever sleep....
Gadzooks! Boa scarf created out of soft, bouncy Corriedale wool from a friend's happy flock of sheep! Ooh la la!
Rare British Suffolk wool from our friends happy flock of WI sheep. Hand dyed and spun here at our farm into a single ply yarn, sort of bouncy, a hint of shine and just too fun!

Our Marie's Merino x wool, she dyed it up and I spun it onto a wire core- perfect for embellishment, doll creations, jewelry making.... more fun from the sheeps!

NOW you all better look out, the sheep and I are on our way to taking much better photos- giddy up and yeeeeha! Hope you all have wonderfully fibery, creative plans this weekend? Send the sheep an email and let us know what you are up to- any time ok? Smooches from the sheep!  or
farm email:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A morning walk.....

I am so lucky to live the life I do- and here are just a few reasons why.....

Snowflake, a Romney retiree who arrived 2 weeks ago....

Simon- retired here two weeks ago with his Romney friends Snowflake, Violet, Olivia and April....

And Max- a sweet llama who came to live with us a few years ago when his owner's health prevented her from keeping him.

I am blessed to have all my amazing critters- we shared extra Fruit Loop treats to celebrate our day!
The sheep got greedy- extra meant an entire extra BOX of Fruit Loops? Really? Maybe that is why  Max looks so shocked??? tee hee

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Along came Brady....

Who is SO lucky I did not think of the name Tootsie before he was already Brady! A spring long ago found us helping our best friend on shearing day. The shearer was working away and along came a cute dark brown sheep- a yearling. This was supposed to be a group of girls you see- when this little cutie showed up for his haircut, finding a boy was quite a surprise! All neutered and masquerading as a girl?! Too funny and what an ingenius plan....

Long story short Brady ended up riding home with me- and 50 fleeces at the end of that day. He was a little on the wild side at first, but one day, he all of a sudden decided to be a lap sheep. He started eating Fruit Loops with the rest of the sheep and hanging about for hugs.

Brady has a beautiful fleece that has changed through the years to a very pretty, chocolate brown with silver threaded through. The locks average 3 to 4 inches long and he generally keeps his fleece very free of debris. The ends of the locks are of course cinnamon sun kissed because our sheep are happily romping outside year round with out jackets or coats (for now anyway!).
Brady's fleece is very medium to coarse in texture. When he sends his fleece to the mill for carding, he always picks out another fiber to soften it up. He does not try for next to the skin soft like Merino, just soft for hats, mittens and specially socks.

This yarn (not a great picture- too dark) is one Brady had me spin single ply- he blended it with pretty llama fiber from our friend Jen's happy flock. The yarn features really fun bounce- again, making it extra cool for socks....
And THIS is my sweet Brady now, all grown up into a big, happy sheep. He loves loves being hugged- and still thinks he is small enough to sit in my lap. On those days, I remind him how lucky he is not to be named 'Tootsie' after Dustin Hoffman's movie performance. He just giggles and calls me 'flat lap Sandyrella'..... gotta love it!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

My Chat Room!

Welcome to my chat room! ha! Well, should be my Chatter Room actually... This is my sweet Woolamina (aka Mina), my first ever sheep.

What does Mina have to do with a chat room you ask? The first time I had Mina sheared many years ago, people told me to just throw her beautiful fleece in the garbage???? Gasp. As usual, I did not follow directions and set out to learn to spin her fiber into beautiful things.
And along came a spinning wheel.... A very old spinning wheel that gave me fits while I tried to learn to spin on it. It took a month of constant practice (and lots of bad word saying) and I was ready to quit. BUT, since I already had my beautiful Mina, that would not do.
One day it finally clicked (after trying out a brand new wheel I borrowed). And I was off and spinning. In the beginning I tried to oil and polish this little wheel in hopes of reducing the noises it produced. It stubbornly held on to its chatter.
The it came to me- this little flax wheel from Russia, most likely over 100 years old, had seen many miles of spinning, many miles of travel to get to me. The many hands that touched this wheel had each left a story behind for the wheel to tell.
It is simply constructed, maybe from materials that were already available to the maker-maybe he did not have a lot of money to create a fancier wheel. Did he create this little wheel for his wife? Child? How many people became part of this wheel through a groove worn on each side of the flyer where so much fiber travelled from spinner's hand to bobbin? Where has this wheel travelled? Farm to farm to spin while someone wove fabric for clothes? Family gathering to family gathering? How many people helped create the permanent foot print worn gently into the treadle?

So my little wheel may be 'noisy' to some, but I like to call it the chatter of a wheel with a million stories to tell. A soothing chat at the end of a long day, a companion for nights of no sleep and a place to spin 'the bad out of me' when necessary.
Peace is being surrounded by quiet- with the chatter of a spining wheel. Becoming a part of the karma that is the soul of a very old, happy spinning wheel.