Friday, May 8, 2015
Learning is Experience.
Everything else is just information.
I have learned much on our homestead. When we moved here I knew absolutely nothing about raising livestock, baling hay, or processing wool.
We have spent many years pouring over books, blog post, and magazines, reading whatever we could on the subjects that interest us. There are great video tutorials which make a great visual for when you are trying to learn a new skill. We have had great friends/mentors who have been kind enough to disbud our goats, and then teach us how to do it. I have taken classes on how to handspin wool, knit scarves etc., from experienced teachers who are more than happy to teach others their craft.
I have learned that most skills, are not achieved over night and come from much trial and error and practice.
My first loaf of bread was a brick. My first handpun yarn, looked more like rope. My first knit scarf started out with 20 stitches per row but somehow ended up with an extra 9 stitches, my first attempt at milking a goat, there was more milk on me than in the milk pail. I could make a several page list...
You get the idea.
The last couple of days we have spent many hours in the mill, trying to turn these beautiful hand dyed green Border Leicester Locks into roving. Border Leicester is a little more difficult to process than Tunis or Corriedale, but we have done it. But this particular fleece, will not run through the carder properly. We know Border Leicester is a slippery wool, and sometimes we have to fudge with it to get a nice roving, but no amount of "fudging" was going to make a difference this time.
After multiple attempts, what we have deducted, is that the wool is too long for our carder.(some of the locks being 8 inches) It was a disappointment, as it was earmarked for selling. We also have more wool that is similar in length, that needs processed and we foresee the same problem. So back to the drawing board as to what to do with the longer wool locks that we get from some of our Border Leicester ewes.
The mill has been our biggest challenge, thus far, more so than raising sheep and goats, putting up fences, and all of our other homesteading endeavors. Primarily because there are no "how- to" videos, no mentors, and no books. It has been all trial and error.
On the bright side, the wool is still usable and has made it's way into my spinning basket. After spinning into yarn, I may be able to knit it into a wearable garment. (more practice)
Have a great weekend!