Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Thursday, January 23, 2014

This Is The Way We Wash Our Sheep ... Small Batch





Good things come in small packages ...


Washing to maintain lock structure ...


My favorite detergents.  About one tablespoon per wash pot.





Layer tulle netting between layers of locks in the pasta drainer.



Otoshi buta (落し蓋, literally: drop-lid) are Japanese-style drop-lids for use in Japanese cooking. These round lids float on top of the liquid in a pot while simmering foods. They ensure that the heat is evenly distributed and reduce the tendency of liquid to boil with large bubbles. This reduces the mechanical stress on the food and keeps fragile ingredients in their original shape. Otoshi buta are almost always made from wood, so they have to be soaked in water for a few minutes before use to avoid absorbing the flavor of the dish and disturbing the flavor of the next dish cooked using the otoshi buta. After use, the otoshi buta is washed and dried completely before storing. Wikipedia




2 washes; 2 rinses.  160 - 180 degrees; each pot slightly hotter than the one before it.  Put the oshi buta on top of  the layers of fleece and drop it into the pot of hot water.  Leave it there for 30 - 45 minutes.




"Twirl" (You've Got Mail!)  with the pasta drainer between baths to remove excess water and soap.  Twirl in one direction only.  There's a better photo of "twirling" in my "big batch" post .... you can see the water flying out of the basket as I turn.


Depending on the condition of the fleece, the wash water can be used more than once.  Dispose of the water OUTSIDE (pour it on a plant; it makes great fertilizer).  Do not pour down the drain.  
Wax (lanolin) + drain pipes = big plumber's bill!! 


2 rinses; "twirl" in between and after final rinse.


Separate layers of locks ...


And set out to dry.


A dehumidifier helps drying.


Deborah's washed locks!


Enjoy!



This Is The Way We Wash Our Fleece ... Big Batch

I'm just going to post the photos now and then go back and fill it the text.  Follow along if you like, a lot of it is self explanatory.







brb ... need a picture of the hose set up ...
















To be continued ... when it stops raining ...

For the rest of the story click here :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our Story So Far ...

If you've been been following my Kitchen and Garden Blog, At Home On Paradise Cove, you know that I am an avid gardener.  A while back I started learning about saving seeds. A Google search on how to store them brought up an article on pine needle baskets (that’s how Native Americans stored some of their seeds). Of course I had to know more about these baskets. I found online instructions, ordered the really long pine needles; but I needed something to stitch them together with. I remembered that there was a yarn shop in Allyn so on that fateful day I walked into the store, found some lovely ribbon that would work for my project ....

The yellow and orange ribbon in my basket.

 I walked around the store and noticed the display of spinning wheels. I stood there and looked at them and after a while Lois (the store owner) noticed the puddle of drool collecting on the floor. She came over and chatted for a while and she started spinning her web (Lois is good … she’s really good). She mentioned that there is a second Tuesday of the month spinning group and if I wanted to come she would lend me a wheel … 

Merry Christmas!  Taffy was more interested in the alpaca fiber that the wheel ...

With a little practice I was soon spinning yarn.


 At a subsequent visit to the my LYS in Allyn I discovered bottles of dye so of course I needed them so I could create my own colors of roving. That was fun ...




but, well, acid dyes aren't really good for the planet so I started researching natural dyes. And was hooked again...

Logwood dyed batts, silk and yarn.


The seeds for Dyer's Garden have been started in the greenhouse and will go into their beds in the spring.

In the meantime I was starting to build up a really big stash of yarn...


I don’t knit. I have tried … I hate trying to follow a pattern … and rip it out … try again … rip it out. I can make a scarf … garter stitch. Period. So, I had a lot of yarn … and I noticed an advertisement in Spin Off magazine for a loom...



While all this was going on I discovered a group of local spinners that meet in the Belfair library once a month and started joining them.  Last summer I was going through my fiber stash and discovered some super wash merino roving which I knew I would never use.  I put a notice on the Spinster's Ravelry board that I would like to trade it for something else.  Suzanne Griffith offered me part of a Border Leicester fleece ... a fleece?  That's like right off the sheep, isn't it?  And I am off again ...


Her name is "Caramel".  She lives in Montana and she sent me her coat ...

"Caramel"

So, that should bring us all up to date.  Up next:

In Search of Fleece ... Golden or Otherwise ...

Enjoy!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Natural Dyes: Madder




"Rubia tinctorum, the common madder or dyer's madder, is a plant species in the genus Rubia. It has been used since ancient times as a vegetable red dye for leather, wool, cotton and silk. For dye production, the roots are harvested in the first year. The outer brown layer gives the common variety of the dye, the lower yellow layer the refined variety. The dye is fixed to the cloth with help of a mordant, most commonly alum. Madder can be fermented for dyeing as well (Fleurs de garance). In France, the remains were used to produce a spirit as well. The roots contain the acid ruberthyrin. By drying, fermenting or a treatment with acids, this is changed to sugar, alizarin and purpurin, which were first isolated by the French chemist Pierre Jean Robiquet in 1826. Purpurin is normally not coloured, but is red when dissolved in alkaline solutions. Mixed with clay and treated with alum and ammonia, it gives a brilliant red colourant (madder lake). The pulverised roots can be dissolved in sulfuric acid, which leaves a dye called garance (the French name for madder) after drying. Another method of increasing the yield consisted of dissolving the roots in sulfuric acid after they had been used for dyeing. This produces a dye called garanceux. By treating the pulverized roots with alcohol, colorin was produced. It contained 40–50 times the amount of alizarin of the roots. The chemical name for the pigment is alizarin, of the anthraquinone-group, and was used to make the alizarine ink in 1855 by the Professor Leonhardi of Dresden, Germany. In 1869, the German chemists Graebe and Liebermann synthesised artificial alizarin, which was produced industrially from 1871 onwards, which effectively put an end to the cultivation of madder. In the 20th century, madder was only grown in some areas of France." Wikipedia

That last statement isn't entirely true ...


I am going to plant a Dyer's Garden in the spring.  The center tray shows the madder plants I started from seed (that's Japanese Indigo on the left).


Enjoy!



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Spinning Around ....


Enjoy!