I made my second skein of llama yarn yesterday, and this time it just flew. I’m spinning it finer, I think, as I get better. It is definitely more consistent. I did up two bobbins full without a single break in the yarn, and I think I’ve got the hang of the long draw now.
To see if I could tell the difference in plying the same direction as the yarn was spun and the opposite, I plied this one in the same direction. I had a harder time plying this way, and wasn’t able to get as much twist in the yarn as I had in the other direction. I’m not sure if that’s because I was going too fast, or the tension wasn’t set correctly on the Lazy Kate, or what. It was frustrating, though.
The one thing that is noticeable straight away is that it curled all up, and I had to weight it down to dry. I’ve seen and heard people doing that all the time, but I didn’t need to on my first skein. So that was interesting. I’ve seen other people use plastic jugs filled with water and things like that for weights, but I decided that actual hand weights would work out, and they seemed to. I guess I’ll really see the difference when I crochet up the two skeins, because now that it has dried, it doesn’t look particularly different than the first, except that it’s a finer yarn, but I think that’s due to my just getting better at spinning.
I took a break in the afternoon and helped Frank a little out on the sawmill, once I could hear he’d gotten the thing running again. That was fun, even in the snow and cold. I’m starting to fret about not having the chicken coop built already, so I was glad to see some progress going on that front.
I took a look at the poor neglected compost bins while I was out there. They’ve really collapsed down. A year ago, they were all almost to the top, and I’ve been making plans for spreading it all out as soon as I can work the piles. I think that they’ve been depleted pretty heavily from all the weeds that are growing there right now, sadly. But still, it’ll be better than nothing, and the whole garden missed a complete year of care, so will need all the help it can get.
We’ve got a big snow storm coming, so I tried to tidy up the tarps on the crap excuse for a shelter that the llamas still insist on using. (Why, girls, why won’t you go into the trailer?!) I’m very tempted to just remove it and see if that will force them into the trailer, but I’m afraid they are so stubborn that they’ll just freeze outside instead, the big brats.
While I was out there, I had to go into Leon’s pen to get to the back side, and he was just starved for attention, nuzzling up against me. Poor guy. I bet he really misses all his Sheltie girls. He’s still being an antisocial creep to Buster, and wants nothing to do with him. But I think we’ve made a mistake to have our two most social critters in the far pens. Both he and Minx really like to have our attention, and to be able to see what’s going on at all times. I spent some quality time petting him, and he seemed to enjoy it. He’s been so cranky lately that it was good to see.
Everyone else wanted pets and scratches as well. They all seem to be doing great. I really like the free-feed hay feeders. They all are so much more relaxed, and they don’t seem to be overeating. It was much warmer than it had been for weeks, and the hay consumption went correspondingly down, which was interesting to see. I seem to have Minx well contained again, too, finally.
We finally (finally!) got around to trying the cheese we got from Mike Kelley at Dancing Lamb Farms. It was so good! I’d been waiting to pair it with pears, as it’s a blue cheese, but we had a bunch of apples that Valerie brought up for the sheep, and took a few for ourselves. What a wonderful cheese it was. It’s sort of a combination of blue and a cheddar, which sounds strange, but works out really well. I’m very excited by it, actually. I knew you can make great cheese from sheep’s milk, but this one is really wonderful, so I have high hopes for our own cheese ventures. We are going to get a full tour when we go pick up our new sheep from her next month, and my first article for the ISBONA newsletter is going to be about her operation. I can’t wait! What a great cheese she makes.