Category Archives: Acacia Farms

Making my favourite yarn

For the last while I’ve been obsessed knitting lace shawls, tidying up my studio and finishing up spinning projects with really slippery fibres. With more space opened up in the studio from tidying up, I was inspired to get out the tools/machines and get some wool carded to make my favourite yarn. Wool, plain and simple.

What I have below is my carding board. It’s a great thing that allows me to quickly tease up the washed fibre and open up the locks. I got out some of white and some grey Romney from Acacia Farms.

I teased up some of the white wool and an equal amount of grey. The grey is quite dark so I like the effect of blending the grey with white, spinning a singles from that, and plying it with a singles of the unblended grey.

Here’s what this yarn will look like: each skein below is a double ply yarn. One singles is the blended grey, and the second singles is either dark grey (the one on the left) or white (the one on the right).

Here are some drum carded nests of blended fibre. Many more followed, nearly a full pound! Will hopefully get around to spinning this up over the weekend, and then dyeing the yarn. Will keep you posted.

Acacia Farm Half Mitts – complete

It was with great joy that I handed over to Jacqueline and Linda the six pairs of mitts I made from their fibre.  Here they all are.  All are hand spun, hand knit, and four of them are hand dyed.  Their reaction to these mitts made all of it worthwhile.

I haven’t really decided which one was my favourite, but these two below are in the running. The pattern for this one is Baby Fan Lace that I’ve used many, many times before. I love this pattern. It’s easy to do, easy to manipulate. I made this pair from a fingering weight I spun up of blended fibres. They were a light grey but I threw them into the dye pot at the last minute. And I am glad I did.

This is another pair that is in my favourite list. It’s just my standard mitten pattern instead of a ribbed cuff I made a 3 x 1 rib throughout. I love the way this yarn (made from the blending the dark grey and white fibre and then plying the blended fibre with a singles made of pure dark grey or white) behaves when over dyed with blue. It looks like denim.
 

The other day I noticed that my own pair of half-mitts is a little worse for wear.  Now that all the Christmas preparations are done, I can get into my studio and get started on a pair (or two) of these for myself.

Variations on a theme

I mentioned in an earlier post that I obtained some wool from Acacia Acres farms.  A dark grey romney named Ashley and a white romney named Ebony.

Over the weekend I did some blending.  I made a 50% – 50% blend of dark grey and white.  It makes a lovely light grey that I featured in that earlier post.  This time I spun a couple of full bobbins of the blended grey.  Next I spun a bobbin full of dark grey/Ashley and plied that with the lighter blended grey. Blended greys are on top and the dark grey/Ashley is in the lower bobbin.

The plied yarn from these singles, are the skein on the left.  The skein on the right is a two-ply of blended greys and white Ebony.

And the same photo with the flash on, you can see the barber polling a bit better in this photo.

I am really happy with this yarn — both skeins are going to be knit up into half-mitts.  Haven’t decided if I will do any dyeing with these yet.  But that’s a whole other variation on the theme.

Local fibre from Acacia Acres

At the Aldergrove Country Fair this July I met a sheep producer who runs Acacia Acres (sorry, no website yet) in south Langley. I knew her from the fleece sale last year as she and her fleeces cleaned up on most of the awards that year.  We got talking about fibre and knitting and such and over a few meetings we have struck up a deal where I make her and her family knitted items from her fibre, and she pays me for my work in her lovely fibre.  I get all the benefits of having sheep and lovely fibre, without having to raise the animals myself and neither of us has to fork out any cash.
So I came home from Acacia Acres with 10 pounds of washed fibre and 2 pounds of an assortment of unwashed fibres from 4 different sheep.  In exchange for this fibre I am going to make 6 pairs of 1/2 mitts and 3 x 3 inch knitted samples from the four different fleeces.
As I didn’t have to waste any time washing fibre, I got right to work as soon as I got home.  The wool in this picture is from the fleece of a very happy romney sheep called Ashley. Ashley’s fleece won the Grand Champion prize at the Lower Mainland Sheep Producers Association annual fleece sale this past September 22nd. The wool in this picture is from Ashley’s fleece from last year. Just as lovely, soft and wonderfully grey.  Here it is hand carded into rolags.  The staple on this fibre is about 3 inches long on average, so it’s a dream to hand card.  
What you are looking at is 86 g (3 ounces) and 144 m (165 yards) of fingering/sport weight yarn. Look at that steely grey colour and sheen on the yarn.  That’s what I love so much about romney, the sheen. 

From that skein I made these 1/2 mitts — with slightly less than an ounce left.  What’s left in is the ball on the right. The mitts are made on 3mm needles and 44 stitches. They are medium to large size for they are intended for a young man.  

In addition to five pounds of Ashely’s fleece,  I also got five pounds of washed fleece from Ebony. Ebony is a white romney and such a lovely white she is. Here is a close-up of a skein of double-ply Ebony. I drum carded the fibre this time.

It is such a luxury to get washed fibre to work with. Even though you still have to do the fibre preparation, at least I didn’t have to spend time washing up this volume of fibre.

This is another large skein of fingering/sport weight yarn. This one ended up being 100 grams (3.5 ounces) and 155 m (168 yds) of fibre. Here it is on the niddy-noddy.

This weekend I spent time exploring this fibre. I had already made two large fingering/sport weight skeins of yarn, so I was ready to try other yarns. Below are two skeins: the white one is a three-ply of the Ebony (71 g/ 2.5 oz and 61m/67yds). I would call this one a worsted weight yarn. The grey skein is a 50/50 blend of Ashely and Ebony, you can see how much lighter the grey is. To thoroughly blend it I drum carded it. I put very little twist into the singles and made them much thicker than the previous yarns. The result:  a light, lofty yarn.(107 g/3.75 oz and 103m/112 yds)

 Here is a photo of the whole family. Ashely, Ebony and the blend.

Now that I know how the wool will behave when being made into yarn, I am going to spend some time dyeing and blending the various colours.  It is so much fun to have this much wonderful fibre to play with.

Thanks Jacqueline and Linda!