|Castlemilk Moorit Sheep |
(photo:RBST Caledonian Support Group)
THe last week was all about care of Hilde, our smoke grey bunny with the eye problem and custom spinning and dyeing: a lot of it !!!
Hildes right eye in particular was giving me a lot of worries becaus eof a bump that was showing on top of her eye, her left eye was red and inflaed as well so last week we went to the vet who said it may be a tumour but here are some treatments for the eyes (different ones of the left and the right eye!) and you have to administer it every 4 hours. Like clockwork every 4 hours I treated her eyes, gave her a massage, took care of any naughty discharge of her eyes. almost a full time bunny nurse..lol So every 4 hours the ointment went in, a delicate eyemassage and presto !!! the inflamation is totally gone!!!! yeah !!! There is still a tiny little bump visible on her right eye ball but it is much smaller and the vet is really hopeful that keeping this treatment up will hopefully mean that the right eye can be saved ! I could not be happier !!! We have to go back to the vet in three weeks time..I will keep you posted!
So bunny care and ...special custom spinning were filling up this week for me ! One project especially where a very fluffy angora yarn with a bit of silvery sparkle ! needs to be spun for a very special occasion: a wedding. After a special bunny was selected to do this project ( if it is one garment I always like to take fibre off the one bunny because every bunny has different fibre qualities. Especially for this project excessive staple length and "fluffy halo" (yes technical term..lol) was needed to be able to create a magical bolero. I therefore made up a special long draw technique with an occasional nip so to speak. (very hard to explain in words but I hope you get my drift). THe thing is when you spin fluffy fibres and guide the fibres back with your drafting hand, the "halo" tends to stick to the rest of the fibres and the only way to get some kind of halo back is to whack it after spinning the yarn making it bloom or brush the yarn after spinning. I wanted to see if I could already create this halo effect while it was on the wheel with this technique and brush afterwards as well for double the effect. Nor every fibre is suited though: if your bunny fibres are very short it will not work and you will lose half of it before you even get started. It will work with a longer stapled bunny fibre though, especially an english angora. Long draw, not guiding the fibres back and a fairly low ratio is the trick. It is coming up beautifully !
Next update I will be able to show you some extra special custom order yarns I am working on this weekend: Art Yarns with a twist and lots of .....curls !!!!
|Angel english angora bunny in full coat|
|very fluffy pure english angora bunny, spun with a special long draw technique with a low ratio|
|Angelic Bolero worn by Kate Middleton|
In my search for the rarer kind of sheep breeds I have come across the story of the Castlemilk Moorit sheep. First I read about them and then, when I saw what they looked like and what their fleece was like , well, I was sold.
Castlemilk Moorit sheep are the cutest most feisty little things. The Castlemilk Moorit sheep breed take their name from the Castlemilk estate in Dumfriesshire, where they originated in the early 1900s. They were originally bred to provide meat, wool to make clothing for the estate workers, and also to prance around the parklands of the estate. They are graceful, elegant sheep with fine, kemp-free wool, which is mid honey brown (moorit is a Scottish word for brown) at the base and bleached to a fawn colour at the tips.
Castlemilk Moorit sheep have some Manx Loghtan sheep and mouflon sheep breed ancestry and have retained the interesting mouflon markings of white underbelly, lower jaw, knee, eye markings (‘spectacles’) and a white rump patch. They are also feisty and pretty fast!
Once clipped they look totally different – almost like deer – as they revert to the dark brown colour for a few weeks, until the growing fleece bleaches back to fawn at the tips. At one point in the early 1970s Castlemilk Moorits were reduced to only around 12 individuals and could easily have simply ‘disappeared’. However, those few remaining were rescued in two groups, including six ewes and two rams which were taken to Cotswold Farm Park. All of today’s Castlemilks, which include around 700 registered females, are descended from these two small groups.
In the past couple of years the breed has been downlisted from the ‘Endangered’ to the ‘Vulnerable” category on the RBST watchlist – a big success.
|Cute Castlemilk Moorit lambs|
4th barrier island from the top right of the picture
|lambs with their mum|
As with everything the way that you scour and process the fibre is very important. The fleece of the castlemilk moorit ranges from 28 to 32 microns and the staple length is about 6 cms. The outer edges of the staple are often bleached by the sun and the locks often have a pointy tip. I find it very easy to spin. It reminds me of Manx Loughtan but definitely finer and softer. It is not that easy to get hold of this quality fibre so I only have a limited amount, but it is oh so worth it !
Have a fun snaffle !!!
Castlemilk Moorit Sheep Tops
New IxCHeL Club sign ups are open
for the months : October, November and December 2016
(til quotas are reached or until October 1st)
IxCHeL Fibre Club October, November and December 2016
The IxCHeL Sock Yarn Clubs October, November and December 2016
IxCHeL Funky Bunny Batt Clubs October , November and December 2016
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