Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fleece Sale

On November 14th Melinda, Peggy and I traveled I-5 from Edmonds through the Skagit Valley to Burlington and our destination: Jonnasson's Farm for the annual fleece sale there.

The Skagit Valley
We didn't stop for Alpaca.
You would think we would have
but perhaps some other time.
We didn't stop for cider either.
A typical Skagit Barn.

The Jonnassons, along with 3 or 4 other sheep breeders, hold a fleece sale every year and the prices are quite reasonable. Inexpensive. Cheap, even. The goal for me was Dorset, as Sam, an amazing spinner and knitter in our NwRSA area 2010, had shown us her Flying Geese sweater (if that link doesn't work it's because you're not part of Ravelry. Get on that!) she made from what she called the filthiest little Dorset fleece and said it was a fabulous fiber, once it was cleaned and carded (or words to that effect.) Thanks for the lead, Sam!

I've been looking for Dorset roving ever since. It's not available. Not at Black Sheep, not at OFFF, not at Whidbey Spin-in, not at Madrona, all fiber conferences with large, if not huge, markets. So then I figured I'd have to find a fleece, since my search began prior to jumping in to the 'fresh off the sheep' part of spinning. No luck at any of the fiber conferences for fleece either, but then, finally, Gretchen at Gretchens Wool Mill gave us a lead to this fleece sale which the Hordyks of Sand Hill Farm are part of and and they raise Dorsets and would have some available, which we knew because we called to make sure. yea! We've been looking forward to this for a month.

The exit to Burlington and
to the North Cascades Highway.
North Cascades Highway is a worthwhile road trip
if it's not winter.
Although I suspected we did one,
I was assured that no U-Turns happened this trip.

The Jonnassons farm building
which housed the fleece sale.

There was fiber and fleece available,
dyed and natural.
Eileen Hordyk shows Peggy the crimp in
a brown Dorset/Rambouilett cross fleece.
Melinda weighing the pros and cons
between two brown Rambouilett/Dorset cross fleeces.
One was darker, a ram fleece and 7lbs;
the other was lighter, from a ewe and 6lbs.
We took the 6 pounder and
will have it washed before we split it three ways.
It was only $24.00.
Peggy bought some Mohair
The Dorset fleece.
This turned out to be the only one at the sale.
Of course I had to buy it ~ it was only $18.00. For 6 pounds.
After washing I should have at least 3 pounds,
enough to spin for a sweater.
6lbs of Dorset Ewe #1011
Like Sams, it was very filthy
but also very crimpy.
Eileen, who owns the ewe this fleece came from,
showed me how to remove the damaged tips before washing.
So when we arrived home I immediately worked with
a little of the fleece because why wait?
This is rinsed just once in hot water.
And here it is washed one time with Dawn and hot water.
Through the carder once.
Spun and 2-plied.
Not the best spinning job but I rushed it.
It's bouncy and cushy. This will be great!
And in closing,
some of the Jonnassons Fleece on the Hoof.

Apples in the Jonnassons front yard.
It is such an interesting tree that
I had to take a picture.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

And so it begins

This was only last March 15th

And this was last night, November 13th.

Eerily familiar.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Quotes from Robert H. Heinlein as published in "Friday" in 1982

What are the marks of a sick culture?

It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the country and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn't the whole population.

A very bad sign. Particularism. It was once considered a Spanish vice but any country can fall sick with it. Dominance of males over females seems to be one of the symptoms.

Before a revolution can take place, the population must lose faith in both the police and the courts.

High taxation is important and so is inflation of the currency and the ratio of the productive to those on the public payroll. But that's old hat; everybody knows that a country is on the skids when its income and outgo get out of balance and stay that way - even though there are always endless attempts to wish it way by legislation. But I started looking for little signs and what some call silly-season symptoms.

I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms: Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course - but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking way at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down. Oh, conscription and slavery and arbitrary compulsion of all sorts and imprisonment without bail and without speedy trial - but those things are obvious; all the histories list them.

I think you have missed the most alarming symptom of all. This one I shall tell you. But go back and search for it. Examine it. Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms as you have named... But a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.

This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength. Look for it.

--- a conversation with Friday and Dr. Baldwin in "Friday"