Fleece Buying Season

This is the peak of the fleece buying season for me.  Shearing is mainly over and if I don’t snap up the best fleeces now, they’ll be gone.  Sorting and blending the fleece happens throughout the year, so it helps that I’ve got plenty of cold, dark old barns to store it all.

I’ve bought a lot of Suri alpaca fleece this year which I’m going to blend with Blue faced Leicester wool.  The first batch of Blue Faced Leicester from my neighbour’s sister has been delivered, but we don’t collect the majority until later in the year.

Unlike most yarn producers, I buy my fleeces directly from the farmers and sort it myself.  The only exception to this is my Alpaca with Falklands Merino and Silk.  I just can’t source enough top quality British alpaca so I buy Peruvian alpaca tops (fibre which has been washed and combed into long untwisted, fat ropes ready for spinning).

Bags of fleece

 

 

More Events Confirmed

Woolfest was founded to provide a showcase and a celebration of the best of wool and wool crafts. The event is all about creativity and design with beautiful quality, amazing colours and skilled craftsmanship. It is also a great day out and was recognised in 2012 when Woolfest won the Cumbria Tourism Event of the Year Award. Woolfest 2016 will be on Fri 24 and Sat 25 June and we’ve pleased say that we will have a stand there again this year.

We’re also back again at Fibre-East in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.  The aim of Fibre-East is to celebrate the Best of British: the finest quality British wool made from the fleeces of British sheep reared by British farmers. This remains at the core of everything they do and everything they try to achieve.  They aim to enable the continuation of the crafts of hand spinning, knitting, dyeing, weaving, felting and crochet to name but a few. They do this by showcasing the very best of these crafts, by providing inspiration and advice when needed and their wide range of artisan producers offering any equipment and accessories you could wish for.

New Alpaca Sock Yarns

I was pretty low on alpaca sock yarns after all the shows I did before Christmas, so I’ve been madly dyeing and washing loads of hanks ready to photograph.  Finally the rain has stopped and the sun come out long enough for me to take some shots.  The new colours are all loaded on the website now, and here’s a selection for you to see.

The tweedy bits in our new Alpaca with Shetland DK

This summer I bought some beautiful, crimpy, fine Shetland fleece from a local farmer. I’ve blended some of the fawn coloured fleeces with white and light fawn alpaca fibre and just sent it off for spinning. This is going to be a woollen spun almond coloured DK yarn with coloured flecks. The tweedy effect is obtained by adding lots of coloured nepps (or small felted balls of wool) into the fibre as its being carded. I decided to dye my own colours and here they are!

If this works well, I’ve already got plans for the next batch and the colours I’m going to use.

The Tups in the field next to our cottage

We’ve got five Tups belonging to our neighbour in the field next to the farm yard. They are a bit of a mix of Suffolk, Texel etc, but my favorite is the Blue faced Leicester on the left. IMG_7632

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This photo shows his roman nose off nicely.

This summer, we’ve been collecting Blue faced Leicester wool from around the Yorkshire Dales, stretching across to Bowes in County Durham.  The wool from this tup is the only Lake District fleece we have got hold of so far, although I am trying to persuade my neighbour to breed more.