Friday, October 26, 2012


So, on a whim, I decided to purchase three Navajo-Churro fleece from Rancho Del Sol, out of Paso Robles, CA... I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into, much like many other things in my life... Well, after talking with the owner of the ranch and discussing a bit, she directed me to Jan... Jan has been purchasing, processing, spinning, and knitting with the NC for quite some time now and was a great help.

Raw NC still in the box

When the box came in, I was pretty surprised at what the fleece actually looked like... very long staple length. This is #74 and she has an 8+ inch staple length (wow)... I should probably let you know that here is still vegetable matter in the fleece, as well as some "organics" if you know what I mean... I picked out some of it before washing, but left a lot in and let the hand cards help me out...

Guard Hair

This particular sheep does have a guard hair (or kemp)... although it is not a guard hair like that in alpaca... these are about 2" long, very crimpy and super stiff.

Cold Water Prep

Navajo-Churro sheep are not a a high lanolin breed, so the water does not need to be as hot to thoroughly scour the fleece. To start, Jan told me to let the fleece sit in a cold water bath over night or for a couple of hours. This helps to remove all of the suint (basically it's sheep sweat), that has been building up on the wool.

After the cold water soak

First soap bath

After the cold water bath, I then made a bath of hot water (around 140 degrees) and some Dawn dishsoap (about 45 minutes)... I proceeded to then rinse the fleece in hot water, another wash with some Orvus (horse shampoo) again 45 minutes, another hot water rinse, then a wash with some Pantene Pro-V, once again 45 minutes... I know it sounds weird, but think of what shampoo does for your hair... it definitely helps the fleece out too... One more hot water rinse... spin cycle in the washer (make sure that your washer is capable of doing just a spin with no agitation, before you stick the fleece in there)...

Once the three washes and three rinses are done... as well as the spin... I soak the fleece in a mix of vinegar and hot water for about 30 minutes... drain and then do one more rinse in hot water for about 30 minutes... spin in washer again and lay out on a towel to finish drying...

 After all the washes, rinses, and spin cycles...

From there, I hand carded the fleece in super tiny batches, into rolags (little bundles of prepped fiber that can be spun from the rolag)... 
Prepped Rolags

Now the NC is ready to be spun into beautiful yarn that can be used for anything from weavings to shawls... just depends on how thick or thin the yarn is, also how soft it is against the skin :) Enjoy

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dad is Coming to Visit :)

Well, just talked to dad this morning... and he is coming for a visit :)

He has been battling stomach cancer and they believe that the cancer has returned. Looks like he may not make it past spring... so, he is going to come and meet his grandchildren before its too late.

They should be down here on the around the 22nd and will stay for a couple of days. I haven't seen him in almost two years now, so it should be a good visit. I just really want the boys to get to meet him. I know that they will not remember him, but at least this way, they will have some pictures with him when they get older.

I have been trying to come to grips with saying goodbye to a man I barely knew. My brother and I used to go spend the summers with him and some Christmas vacations, but that was really it. As we got older, I decided that I would rather stay here and work, so thats what I did. I have always sort of held onto the hate that I always had for him and its not a good thing.

When I was younger, I couldn't forgive him for hitting us and mom. All that I wanted was for him to die and leave us alone... and now that I am older, it really bothers me that I was such a hateful little brat. I know that its all part of life and learning to grow up, but it is hard to deal with as an adult.

I know that he will not be here to watch my boys grow up... and being a kid who had no grandparents, because they all passed, it is very difficult to think that my boys are going to have to go through it. But, I guess that is life...

We are going camping for work this weekend, so the kids should have a ton of fun with that... then next weekend, dad should be getting close :)