Saturday, May 07, 2011

Far Out Farms, Cornersville, TN

My fave cotswold ramlamb
Well, I couldn't go to Maryland Sheep and Wool this yearso I drove over to Kim Caulfield's Far Out Farms for a play day on her giant carder Friday. It's a beautiful drive through rolling green hills of Southern Tennessee. Kim, Robbie (one of her 6 great pyrenees dogs), and several sheep met me at the gate. Ewes with new lambs dotted the fields and inner yards like white flowers. Before getting down to work we admired a newly dyed fleece, checked out a 30 minute old lamb, and ran the gauntlet of her other dogs, and trundled more wet fleece down for a fresh dyepot. To my great joy, her top dog Nora came up for a pet. Soon she was nudging me for more love. Great thing (sorry) about Pyrs is that you don't have to lean over to pet them. This is quite an honor, one I certainly won't take lightly.

Once the dyepot (or should I say was big enough to hold an entire cotswold fleece) was going, Kim demonstrated some simple carding of picked romney fleece that she'd dyed in various shades of muted iris purples and lavenders, a color not unlike the natural dye logwood. She laid the colors out at random. Once we'd carded half the fleece, we laid some opened white kid mohair locks on one side of the fleece on the feed belt. The resulting roving was subtle and shiny, very elegant.

the kill switch
this is what it looked like freshly picked
For our second run we shot a grey romney fleece and some turquoise and royal blue mohair locks through her picker...another respectable machine. It would literally inhale fiber off the feed tray and shoot it into an enclosed room the size of a decent closet. I really wished I could have found a place to put my camera (just my phone, dang it) so we could see the fiber exploding out of the picker.

Capt Kim at thehelm

Fiber going in.

See the above video to watch carded fiber coming out.

This yarn sample is one ply corespun spiral plied on a fine worsted single from the same roving. It's fluffy and light and very soft. You'd never know it was romney by the feel of it.
carded and freshly spun

Of course I had to buy fleece. I was looking for some nice locks for curly spun yarns, so she showed me some of her shorter fleeces which are really great for this purpose. These samples show romney and cotswold spun in the grease. The romney is curly spun, and the cotswold is a moderately spaced tailspun. I washed them in Power Scour after skeining and they came out clean, sweet smelling and very soft indeed.
tailspun samples: romney left and cotswold right, both spun in the grease.


Sandy said...

that is one mega operation! what wonderful fun!

anastasia said...

the blue and natural fiber batt looks scrumptious; it spun up beautifully! i don't think i could fit that machine in my studio, so i'm going to have to stick to a drum carder; but it sure looks like my idea of fun!