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.


Jody said...

Oh my...fleece heaven:)

twispofate said...

Great pictures, and what a fun road trip! I look forward to seeing both fleeces spun up. The cross sounds really interesting.

crookedneedles said...

What a great story told with words as if I'm talking with you and photos helping me feel I took the trip too! A joy to read!

vanessa said...

fleece heaven is right!

Naomi said...

So cool! Love that you are posting more regularly! I am enjoying it very much!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Was searching the knitting olympics site for handspun. Beautiful work and what a nice blog - I just keep scrolling down :-). I sure wish we had something like this fleece sale around here. Will be back.