Archive for the “Fibre Animals” Category

We finally got to the fleeces in the shed yesterday - there were some duds of course, as is to be expected, but there were some gems among the bags as well. None of the wool fleeces were worth keeping, except one lovely black crossbred:


I didn’t put any in my pile though because it’s really a little bit short.

The Alpaca fleeces were great. We don’t know much about them, but if they were given to the shearer then we can probably assume they are from guard animals. Yet a couple of them were as good as any Alpaca I’ve seen apart from cria fleeces. A big pile just may have found its way into my suitcase.

This was probably the best one:


A lovely caramel colour and beautifully soft. There was also a couple of white ones, and another light tan.


I took my bits from the neck, I’m pretty sure these animals had two years between shearing and the saddle was about 8 inches long! There were also a few lovely suri fleeces and I pinched a bit of that to bring home too.


After we finished drooling over fleece (and getting very dusty and grotty), we headed over to visit Serena, my new friend from spinning group. You know those people you meet where you suddenly feel like you’ve known each other for ever and talk for hours and hours… We had a fantastic afternoon talking about spinning, and music and teaching and sheep and eating chocolate cake!

We were also lucky enough to be able to visit some of their Merinos:



And more importantly, some freshly shorn fleeces:



The top one is from a new ram, and measures 13.5 microns. They’re very excited to see what his lambs turn out like this year. The second is another ram fleece (with Serena’s legs, yes, we’re all wearing shorts as it was about 35 degrees yesterday). I scored me a little pile of that one to bring home :-D


Serena and Mark are considering holding back a few of their fleeces for the handspinners’ market, if you’re interested drop me a line and I can let them know what sort of demand there is.

Today it’s a lot cooler thankfully, I’ve caught up on ravelry and emails, and my only problem now is how to get all this fleece home to London :-D

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After our rush to get the goats in under cover we were rewarded with lovely thunderstorms and 1/4 inch of rain on Saturday afternoon - very satisfying to know we didn’t run round and round the paddocks in vain. Luckily though, Sunday was bright and sunny again and not too hot, perfect weather for shearing.

I was up at the shed at 8.30am getting ready (ugh), shearers like their floors swept, and we had to make some room for the fleeces. Stephen and Anne arrived at about 9 and we got started.

A few goats at a time get put into the catching pen - it’s right next to the shearing floor and has a swing gate. The shearer goes into the pen and catches a goat (or sheep) and then backs out straight onto the floor in the correct position.


Shearing starts at the belly, traditionally this is swept aside and sold separately as sheep belly is usually shorter, but the goat bellies were nice and long and clean so we kept them together in a box for carding. Then the hind legs and rear end are done and this was discarded - all the dirty straggly bits.

Then the real business starts, and it’s fascinating to watch as the locks peel away from the skin in layer after layer. The shearer goes up one back leg, across the flank on that side, does all the topknot fiddly bits (horns are fun!) and then down the other flank. The good fleece all peels away in one big piece.


The nekkid goat gets sent out the door to a pen (only one went the wrong way and leapt around all over the shed before we caught her!) and the shearer catches the next one.


The shed hand (moi!) gathers up the fleece and takes it to the skirting table. There’s not much skirting to do, as we left behind most of the unwanted bits, but I had to check carefully for any second cuts and straggly bits that crept in.


The fleece is then rolled up in a pillowcase (you can see them behind me) and allocated to a pile depending on the quality. Even though the goats are all roughly the same age we had quite a lot of variation.


After 19 sweet little does, goat number 20 was rather more of a handful :-D


We didn’t put his fleece with the rest, it’s rather pungent smelling!

Goat number 21 wasn’t actually a goat:


…but his fleece is just as lovely. He gets shorn standing up, he’s far too dignified to sit down on his butt for a haircut. I don’t have a picture of him afterwards, but will get one in the next day or so.


The goats get shorn twice a year, this is their third clip and will probably be the best overall, although some of them had such fine fleece this time that the next one will probably also be excellent. Their next job is to have some babies for us - hence the smelly man pictured above :-D

The Mohair will be up for sale soon, washed and dyed in Mum’s Etsy shop and as whole fleeces as well. I’ll keep you posted.

Ciao! x

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Although there are defintely things I am missing from city life (including Neil, strangly enough) I really can’t claim that I’m not having fun up here on the farm! The weather has been good, lots of rain (which is good remember - we’re in drought here) and sunny and warm in between. It’s lovely to be able to wander around the garden picking stuff to eat straight off the bushes, and cook dinner each night using ingredients that for the most part have been grown within a 20km radius of us.

The paddocks are pretty green:


Very different to last year when all you could see was brown. The little kid in the picture is a bottle-fed one, he’s weaned now, but still runs up and down the fence wanting company and attention.

We went into town for spinning group this morning, and I made a new friend! There was a woman there about my age who has two little girls who are also learning to knit, sew and spin. We have all sorts of similar views on keeping traditions alive for our generation and the ones coming after. I’m hoping to pursue the acquaintance before I leave the area - Serena and her husband raise superfine Merinos :-D I met up with lots of other friends too, including Stella, who gave me all sorts of weaving tips last year when I was visiting.

Before the meeting ended we had to rush home as the sky was getting blacker and blacker. We’re shearing the angoras tomorrow and they can’t get rained on or the shearing would have to be put off. They followed us happily into the yards, but it took a bit of shooing to get them under cover. They settled down quitely  enough though eventually with some tree branches to nibble on. They won’t look nearly so cute tomorrow nekkid, hahaha!


It was kind of funny, Mum kept saying they’d come running as soon as they saw us, looking for the branches we carried. But we pretty much had to walk right up to them on the other side of the paddock, then suddenly they all rushed over. I’m thinking maybe they didn’t see us…


Perhaps a more frequent haircut would be a good idea.

And for some more cute:




Margie seems to have a fairly steady supply of cats about the place, it’s great as they keep all the mice etc away. Wish they’d do the same for the moths, all my knitting is in the freezer after a little scare yesterday. Ugh.

Back tomorrow with more pictures of (probably very offended) goats, and sorry, I still haven’t dug through the free fleeces in the shed and taken pics. But I will.

Ciao! x

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There is nothing so cute and exciting (I have decided) than a little goat (actually, newborn baby goats are about the cutest thing in the world but we’ll get to that later). These girls are less than a year old and just arrived (part of a flock of 19) at the farm.


One of them is mine :-D and will be called Daisy when mum has picked her out for me. There will be first fleece in August, and baby goats sometime next year (squee!)


ETA: Kathy Sue asked what kind of goats they are - they’re angoras, which means the fleece we get will be mohair. They’re a great fibre animal, being small and docile, and very prolific - a good return on your investment!

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Fibrey stuff that happened while I was away…

I didn’t get any actual weaving done but I did read all of Mum’s weaving books (and snuck a couple home with me) and spun up the warp for my first project.


It’s merino/silk blend from Wingham Woolwork and it’s spun to a fairly firm 2-ply. More on that later.

On my last day at the farm we went to the Field Days, which is kind of like a county fair but without the competitions - so lots of displays and people selling and demonstrating stuff. I fell in love with Supernova:


And begged for and subsequently brought home some of his fleece:

Supernova fleece

I also wept that there was no room in my suitcase for these:

Angora goats

But luckily, Mum has a whole farm and is going to buy a dozen or so Yay!

In other news, I got copies of Having Hope printed and will be selling them to people I bump into, and I might put them in a couple of shops. Alice may also be stocking them at Socktopus. I’ll keep you posted.


Wonderwool this weekend :-D

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We welcome the latest new arrival at Kurrajong Farm :-D


His name is Latte and he is 18 months old.


Here he is getting to know his room-mates.

Latte’s fleece is a lovely fawn colour and we know you want some, but we are planning on keeping it all for ourselves :-D

The lamb’s-wool, however, will be available after shearing in November. It is Border Leicester/Merino cross and promises to be gorgeous!

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