Friday, March 28, 2008

And the day after....

A damp drizzly cold day in Massachusetts, and the girls are dressed in only their skivvies! They've spent much of the day under cover.

Shearing Day

Just a few quick shots of yesterday's shearing. Most shearers use electric shears: in my opinion, awkward and noisy. Kevin is a blade shearer: he shears by hand without electricity. If a sheep struggles he very quietly and patiently reassures her. It's usually the friendly sheep who are the least cooperative; the ones that think that all humans are axe murderers usually relax once they know that the situation is out of their control!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gathering In the Sheep for Shearing

Just a quick post and a few shots- this is a hectic week.
My dog Abby and I rounded up the flock, who were contentedly sunbathing in the pasture on the other side of the brook, and brought them in to prepare for shearing.

It's best to confine sheep in a clean, dry spot the afternoon before shearing so that they're all collected when the shearer comes and their fleeces are free of moisture. Now they will bide their time, chewing their cud, until Kevin the shearer gets here in the morning.

Wish I could show more photos- I have some nice ones just taken- but the software is insisting on them being placed right next to each other and I don't have time to figure out why.

I've gathered twenty-one large plastic bags, a trash barrel in which the bags will be supported as they're stuffed with freshly-shorn fleeces, a broom to clean the shearing surface off between each sheep, and 21 cards to identify which fleece belongs to whom. Now it's time to shower and go buy provisions for tomorrow's lunch. Shearing is hard work, and it's always important to feed the shearer! Then on to my crochet class taught by Linda of Northampton Wools.

Monday, March 10, 2008

OK, this is one of the projects I've been working on lately: Evol-HUE-tion Yarn. Subtitled, Color Flowing Gracefully. Here is one of the skeins, dyed and wound into a center-pull ball so that the knitter can immediately start a pair using the two socks at a time method. Socks knit from this ball will begin with a magenta hue in the cuff or toe area that evolves through orange to a polite yellow hue around the instep, then back to magenta. More details about the yarn, as well as other colorways, on the Yarn page of my web site, here.

The sock, knit by Mary Alice Baker, is an example of a ball of Evol-HUE-tion with just one color change.

Two balls have sold since this post; there is one ball remaining of the Magenta/yellow colorway of Evol-HUE-tion yarn available at $25.00 per ball, and shipping will be free for the first Internet buyer.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

How Do I Do This?

Welcome to the first Blog entry for Sojourner Design! I am Diane Roeder, CES and CED (that's Chief Executive Shepherd and Chief Executive Dyer) at Sojourner Design which is the fiber part of Sojourner Sheep. If you don't know me, please feel free to visit my web site at

My main goal in establishing this blog is to do a better job of bringing my fiber products to market. I've found that my web site never keeps up with what's going on in the dye lab and hope that the answer will be this blog.

Although I'm not much of a writer, a secondary goal is to create a commentary, whenever possible, about lif as the shepherd of a small flock of sheep. I hope to include photos and perhaps, eventually, videos clips.

OK, for starters and just to see how easy it is to post photos, I've just taken a photo of today's work in progress. It's a pound of roving dyed in two colors that gradually flow back and forth into each other: lime and teal. Not yet ready for market; there's more of that roving that I want to dye in the same manner.

But it's a good first photo because in the background you can see my chicken house (called Fort Apache) to the right, a few sheep loitering near the haylage bales, and the funky little trailer that I use for summer quarters for my chickens so that they can free-range over the entire property, moving to a fresh area every few days.

Further into the background is the hill. Although my sheep are now in their winter quarters and confined to the area right behind the house, during the summer months my flock rotates through fresh pastures extending up the hill and over about 17 acres on the hilltop. During those months I drive my little Honda 4-wheeler up the hill (you can see the road meandering its way) to care for them. More on that in a few months.

Well this worked very nicely and it's time to publish. I'll be back soon with photos of fiber items that are ready to go to new homes.