A Spanish post – Un post español

Soy inglesa y normalmente escribo mi blog en ingles.  Pero, vivo en Chile, cerca de La Serena, y creo que aveces debo hacer mi blog en español.  Mas que nada para ver si alguien esta interesado en que hago.  Yo trabajo con lana.  Tengo ovejas y lo esquilo yo misma y después hago cosas con la lana.  También trabajo con lana que compro.  En este post voy a incluir “links” a otros posts mios que estan en ingles, pero que muestra mas fotos del tema.

I am English and write most of my blog in English.  However, since I live in Chile, near La Serena, I think I should sometimes do parts of my blog in Spanish.  I am doing this to see if there is interest in what I do amongst Spanish speakers.  I work with wool.  I have sheep and shear them myself, and then I make things with the wool.  I also work with wool that I buy.  In this post I will include links to my other posts that cover each theme in more detail.

Con la lana que compro me gusta hacer cosas de fieltro, como bufondas.  La lana de mis ovejas no es tan buena para hacer fieltro, porque no es tan fina.

Bufandas de fieltro / felted scarves

With the wool that I buy I like to make felted objects, like scarves.  The wool from my sheep is not very good for felting, because it is not as fine.

post de fieltro/ felting post

Para empezar, primero saco la lana de las ovejas esquilando y lo lavo suavemente para sacar algo de la lanolina y suciedad.  Cuando esta seca yo paso la lana por un “wool picker” (que yo hice), que abre la lana y deja caer mas mugre. Luego, paso la lana por mis “hand o drum Carder” para peinar la lana.

Maquina para abrir la lana / machine that opens the wool

Lana sin lavar, lavada, abierto, y dos vellónes peinado/ wool unwashed, washed, picked, and two carded batts

To start I remove the wool from the sheep by shearing and then I gently wash the wool to remove the lanoline and some of the dirt. When the wool is dry I pass it through my home made wool picker, which opens the wool and allows some of the dirt to fall out.  Next, I pass the wool through my hand or drum carder to card the wool.

post de ovejas/sheep post

post de esquilar/shearing post

post de como hice mi “wool picker”/ how I made a wool picker post

post de cardar/ carding post

Ahora la lana esta lista para hilar.  Yo hilo con husos y ruecas dependiendo de donde estoy.  Los husos yo puedo tomar a todas partes porque son chicas y livianas.

Lana hilada con una rueca/ wool spun on a spinning wheel

Lana hilado a mano/ hand spun wool

Now the wool is ready to be spun.  I spin wool with drop spindles and spinning wheels, depending where I am.  The drop spindles I can take with me anywhere because they are small and light.

post de husos/ drop spindles post

Yo puedo tejer o usar la lana para telares, o yo puedo teñir la lana en mis hornos solares.  Yo teñía con colorante de comida o con plantas naturales.  Mis favoritos son cascara de cebollas, que hace un color naranja y hojas de el árbol nogal, que hace café o verde.

Lana con cascara de palta en el horno solar/ wool with avacado peels in the solar oven

Lana teñida con cascara de palta y cebolla/ wool dyed with avocado and onion skins

I can use the wool to knit or weave, or I can dye the wool in my solar ovens.  I dye with food colouring or natural dyes from plants.  My favourites are onion skins, which give an orange colour and walnut tree leaves, which give brown or green.

post de teñir en hornos solares/ solar dyeing post

Este post es solo una introducción a las diferentes etapas del procesamiento de la lana.  Si alguien esta interesado en algo específico me puede dejar consultas en la sección de comments.

Gracias por la visita!

Lana de mis ovejas/ yarn from my sheep

This post is only an introduction to the different steps in processing wool.  If anyone is interested in something specific you can leave questions in the comment section.

Thanks for visiting!

Clip, clip

I have been busy doing things that I should have done months ago.  Like organising and cleaning, (yes, my mom has been helping me with that stuff) and getting some of the sheep sheared.  I know, way too late.  Summer is ending and I should have done it in September, not really much point now.  Except that I want to know if my sheep have wool that is good enough for spinning, and I can only do that if I shear.

Shearing isn’t very common in this part of Chile.  I have seen some sheep that are never sheared, just a mass of walking wool.  But there must be some people who shear because my dad encounters stacks of rotting wool when he is working in the mountains.

When we first bought the goats a man came to shear.  He was very slow and didn’t seem to really know what he was doing.  I thought “hey, I can do as good as that”, and so started shearing the goats myself.

I lay the goat on their side on a table with someone holding their legs and work from the back leg, up across the side, front leg, back, then neck.  Then the other side.  Our goats are pretty accustomed to shearing now and don’t cause much of a fuss.  The sheep however are much heavier and their wool is much more denser.  With the hand clippers I was using it took me hours to shear one sheep.  I invested in two good clippers from the UK, Burgon & Ball, and it made shearing much easier.  It still takes me over an hour and my body ached the whole week I was shearing, (and I only sheared three!)

The sheep's back legs are tied up and she is being held at the front while I shear

I am shearing the sheep on the floor because it is a bit easier.

I am using the stronger, Dagging shears here because the dirt in the fleece makes it harder to shear

The wool is not very long, and very dirty.

These clippers are for shearing the soft wool

I think that my sheep are a mix of Hampshire or Oxford Downs and Suffolk Downs. After shearing the different types of sheep I found the sheep more like a Suffolk had better quality wool.  It wasn’t as dirty and was softer than the other fleece.  Now I get to play with the wool doing some spinning!

Celebrating Wovember

Celebrating what?  Yes, Wovember.  This is the month to celebrate all things woolly. I am not sure if this is only in the UK, but I am going to join in.  The idea is to promote the use of wool and to have it labelled correctly in clothing, (if something says it is wool it should be real wool).

From a sheep like this one:

One of my woolly ewes and her lamb

Finding yarn that is 100% wool here in Chile can be difficult.  Most of the wool in “normal” yarn shops is acrylic.  And to make things more difficult, the word lana means wool (and wiki includes all fibre animals) and also means yarn.  I have bought yarn and been told it is lana, which I know by touch it is acrylic.

Some places sell yarn that is pure sheep’s wool, like Mary Dubó Castillo, delicatessen & souvenir, 320-B Brasil street, if you are visiting La Serena.  She also sells kits and wool for felting, and other lovely woolly things!

Hand spun and knitted mitts from wool I bought at Mary's shop

There is a web page all about Wovember which you can find through their link. So visit and sign their petition, and enter the competition, I know I will!

Update on rain and sheep

The amount of rain we had last week was as much as La Serena has in a whole year.  I know I said everything is beautiful and clean after the rains, but not last week.  The run off from the rain covered all the roads in mud and debris.  In our village, and many other areas they needed ploughs to scrape the mud off.  Many of the lower areas were flooded and people were trapped in cars or rescuing furniture from their houses.

This weekend more rain is expected and with the ground still wet from last week there could be more flooding.  Because we live in the country we don’t have run off from cement, but there are many property walls made from adobe that sometimes collapses with their own wet weight.   So we are getting the farm ready for rain.  I want to climb onto our roof to fix the bathroom skylight where we had some dripping, and we need to put a plastic sheet over the hay and goat/sheep corral.  The sheep don’t seem to mind the rain but the goats look downright miserable when it rains.

The mystery sheep are not such a mystery now!  With much help from spinners on Ravelry, the general opinion was that the sheep are Suffolk /Shropshire or South Down mix.  The father of some of the ewes definitely looks like a Suffolk.

Ram we had on loan, who was father to some of our ewes

After the rains this week, our first lamb of the season was born, and she looks very sweet.  Well, maybe leggy and wrinkly is a better description.

Lamb born after the rain

While I was taking pictures of her asleep, her mother became protective and started “stomping”.  I think she is a new mother, because she “stomped” on the little lamb’s head, waking her up!  Poor thing.

First lamb of the year with mom

What kind of sheep?

Sheep and goats

I learned how to spin when my father bought a small herd of angora(ish) goats, and only later did I try sheep’s wool when we bought two sheep.  They were a male and female, not fully grown and when they arrived on the farm I stared into their eyes and named them Knit and Purl.  Unfortunately I should have stared at the other end because I named the ram Purl, something he would not forgive me for!  I later learned that rams should not be treated like pets, which is what the previous owner had done, making Purl dangerous.

So it wasn’t just my name that made him turn on me one night when I was putting him in his corral.  I was lucky he was not fully grown, or with horns, and that when he charged he hit me below the knee and not on the knee.  Not so lucky I was next to a cement post which is what he smashed my leg into.  The worst part was how terribly scary it was, (I can’t imagine a dog attack), and how persistently he tried to continue when I had climbed out of his reach.

He did not do too much damage; my leg was scratched and bruised, but nothing broken, just my pride.  I felt I wasn’t capable of keeping animals, and I was not being responsible or smart.  It took me a year before I was comfortable around the sheep, and shearing that first year was not pleasant.  Even now I am cautious around them, which is probably better.

We slaughtered Purl a week after he attacked me, I couldn’t risk him hurting anyone else.  We replaced him with Shaun, who is much gentler.  However he is big and I have seen him charge the cows when thinks they are getting close to his ladies, so caution is still needed.   As well as Shaun we have 6 ewes, and 13 goats.

Shaun at the back

I don’t know what breed of sheep these are, and there seems to be two types.  Some have a woolly face and some have a clean black face.  This week I have been trying to spin some of the sheep’s wool, but after working with bought wool it is frustrating.  It is very dirty and greasy, and even when I manage to clean the wool, it is full of neps and short bits.

Maybe I will have better luck when I shear this year, because in the past I have spun a very nice bouncy yarn from these mystery sheep.

Different breeds of sheep, I think

Woolly faces

One of the goats