Friday, August 21, 2009

New selvedges just in

Hi Everyone,
Just brought home 8 big boxes of new selvedges and here are some pictures of what I unpacked this morning. A small sampling but will give some idea of the variety. Remember these selvedges come from an upholstery mill so they are of mixed content. Still $1/lb + shipping from NC. Your order can be packed in 25 or 50# amounts and you can specify light, medium or darker colours or a smorgy of all three. Shipping of 50lbs of selvedge is more economical than 25, so consider sharing with a friend. You can pay via paypal (funded or CC) or check. Email me with your postal code and I can give you a shipping quote. But just to give you an idea a 50# order to MI is $48-49 and yes shipping has gotten quite a bit more than we used to pay but in the end the selvedges cost less than $2/lb. Email address is

Monday, August 3, 2009

More Pictures of selvedges

Here are pictures of some of the selvedges we have right now to give you an idea of the variety of colour in each. Remember that you can order these in any amount starting at 25#'s with 50#'s max. per box. More information is in the entries below.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More about rug selvedges

Here are a few pictures of some rugs I just took off the loom. I put on an 8/4 warp in a denim colour so that limited my weft selections so please don't think this represents all the choices - not by a long shot! The upper right picture also shows where I did some clasped weft design to make the triangles, that was fun.

Please continue to the next entry for all the information about purchasing these selvedges.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Hello Everyone,

Here is the current information and a few pictures of the selvedges available. We are sorting thru the boxes and separating them into bags which can be quite a task in untangling sometimes. These selvedges come from a local mill that weaves upholstery fabrics for mid to high end furniture manufacturers - chairs, sofas, recliners. The content is a mix of polyester, cotton & rayons. Some are matte, some are silky and some are a mix of matte & silky and there are some rather sophisticated colour combinations too. When I took a tour of the mill they were running 15 different looms all at once, including about 7 Jacquard looms which are so impressive! The manager told me with some pride that they are known for being able to get up new designs quite quickly, so there is lots of variety in the boxes now and I expect that every delivery from them will be completely different. Well on with just a few photos to give you an idea of what the selvedges are like - remember there's a lot more variety then what you are seeing here:

We are sorting the selvedges into bags and then they're classified as "light", "medium" or "dark". The minimum order is 25lb up to 50lbs per box and you can specify which of the 3 categories or "The Smorgy Box" which will be a mix of all three. The cost is $1/lb + shipping via UPS. Payment can be by check or paypal.

Some questions I've been asked:

What are selvedges? These are the very long, yards & yards long continuous edge strips that are cut off the fabric as the cloth is woven and being rolled onto the cloth drum. Some people have asked if they are "worms", since "worms" seem to mean the edges cut off from woolen blankets after wet finishing we don't use that term.

Do you send samples? Yes, samples can be mailed but we can't guarantee that those selvedges will be available for any particular length of time or in any particular quantity.

Can I choose by content? Because these selvedges are quite mixed it wouldn't be possible to send you just cottons, or rayons, etc. All the fabrics woven are a mix of poly, cottons & rayons in some combination.

What's the shrinkage? Today, July 17th, I finished a 28X35" rug in a combination of 2 very different types and did a full wash, line dry - there was 1 1/2" shrinkage in the lengthwise and none in the width. This was on a poly/cotton warp from Great Northern. Since these selvedges are all very different the shrinkage will probably vary a little bit.

How many pounds do I need for a rug? I weave my rugs at an 8 epi, 29" width in the reed and usually to about 40" long which takes less than 5lbs of weft. A 50 lb box then could make 10 or more rugs depending on length and your warp sett. A denser sett means less weft material needed I'm told.

Do you have sock loopers? No, I haven't found a local mill doing socks.

Please send an email to to place an order or for the phone number if you'd like to speak in person. And if there is a question you have not covered here please send me an email via

Thanks and hope to hear from you soon,

Saturday, October 18, 2008

News from Little Meadows

Hello to Everyone from all of us at Little Meadows. Although it's been a busy time for us humans in the last couple of months since the last newsletter, the rest of the crew has had it pretty easy. But we do have a few things needing done today.

First up is Frank because he's going to be having a hornacure -yup, you've hear of a manicure and a pedicure, right? Well ol' Frankie needs to have his right horn shaped every month to keep it from growing against his eye. Now his left horn grew just fine but his right grows just a wee bit different and that's enough to make it grow too close to his face. Fortunately some very nice people at UNC Small Ruminant (that's what sheep and goats are) Center helped us and so now we take care of it ourselves. Because Frank is such a mellow guy and knows that we are trying to help he is very co-operative, standing very still so we can sand, file and then sand again. Here's a picture of how his horn looks:

It has a flat end because we could cut it back that far several months ago. This did not hurt him since we didn't cut back to where he could feel anything. Today what we have to do is trim away at the inside that's coming so close to his face. First we put in a shield to protect his eye, we have a thin sheet of plastic that's both flexible but won't tear. Then we slip in a piece of sandpaper with a cloth backing and sand enough of the horn to slip a file in. This is like getting your fingernails filed. We use a shurform file that's flexible and thin, this takes off a lot of horn pretty quickly so we aren't making him cranky by taking too long. Usually he get's alfalfa coookies now and then to thank him for being such a patient boy. Then we sand again so that the horn is smooth. In the next picture you can see the shield and how much help we're getting from Max. After all Frank is his cousin so he wanted to be sure everything was okay.

In the picture at right, we're just giving the final touches with the sandpaper. Now let's get a few words from Frank...

Mom: So Frank how does your horn feel now?

Frank: It really feels great, before sometimes when I was chewing my grass, I would feel that horn rubbing my face. Do you think I'll have to always have a hornacure?

Mom: Probably since your horn grows all the time just like my fingernails. Is there anything you'd like to tell folks in the newsletter?

Frank: Yeah, tell them that the grass is growing okay but we need more rain to make it more tender and yummy. And Teacup has been baaad

, she got out of the fence yesterday but I was good and stayed in. Can I have a cookie now?

Mom(laughing): Okay Frank, I don't think anyone can send us rain but maybe they can send us rainy wishes and here's your cookie.

Besides Frank's horn we also trimmed or at least looked at everyone's feet to make sure they're not over grown. Fancy, Faye & Fiona (the Dorsets) and Betty, Mabel & Precious (the Corriedales) need their feet done frequently, growing fast out in front which then makes them stand in ways that isn't good for their legs. Everyone else have slower growing hooves that don't need trimming so frequently. It would be nice to have a picture here but taking a picture whilst holding a leg and clipping is beyond me! And Bob is busy holding each sheep to help them feel balanced and secure. The front feet always go pretty smoothly but everyone hates to have the back feet done. I hang on and eventually they stop kicking their leg back enough to trim without either hurting them or myself. But this is where I can stab myself with the points of the trimmers.

In the photo above you can see the netting that we use to keep them in a place without permanent fencing – in this case right behind the house. I rarely have to use a lawn mower! This was taken in the morning when everyone is the most active of the day, they are so busy eating they won't even look up to see what I'm doing. Then they'll go and lay under the trees or shelters in the shade for most the day. Then in the evening they get out for another major meal and then snack sometimes at night. Now if it's really hot they'll do most of their eating at night, that's why we don't put them into a barn at night. They are happy to lay down in groups and sleep under the stars. We all love to sleep under the stars....good night all.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sheep shelters, cheap shelters

Over on Ravelry someone asked about how to provide shelter where there is no infrastructure. Lots of web surfing a few years ago yielded Hoop houses that we've worked out thru several renditions. At first we built them on frames to haul around as some people do. Maybe it's us, probably it's our terrain and field condition but they began to fall apart; plus dragging them around is a ... drag. So we have evolved to have semi permanent hoop houses in each field. Semi because we can take them apart, permanent because they hold up to wind and sheep.

It all starts with the cattle panel which is 4' high and 16' long of welded wire, this is available at the farm supply store for somewhere in the $16-20 range. The picture on the right up there is of several tied up awaiting use. So you take this 4x 16' panel and raise up the center- the easiest way is to pound 2-3 T posts in the ground and set one 4' end against those posts and push on the other end making the centre rise up; do the same for the second panel. Now is the time to set the other T posts for the opposite side - 2-3 again. With the posts pounded in, the panels will stay put and behave themselves. Then they need to be laced together and you can do that with handy baling twine or electrical zip cords - we have lots of baling twine so that's what we use. You want to do the lacing almost along the entire join because the wind will try to have fun with it.
Now spread your tarp over the structure and tie that down at the grommets with more baling twine. Tie it on one side and then pull tight from the other so that it won't flap much in a wind - this is what really wears a tarp out. More cords can be tied from one side to the other over the top for further wind protection. In order to get the right length of tarp we're forced to get too wide, just run the extra bit underneath and tie like you see here. The final stage is to tie the panel to the posts just below the tarp - lashing it on is all you need to do. In our experience, it is better to set up 2 of these separately rather than make a big long lodge - the sheep just don't use that set up efficiently and several will be out in the rain looking miserable. Also when setting up 2 houses don't put them smack against each other unless you have lots of time extricating lambs - leave a bit of room and no-one will get hurt. Our flock is about 24 and 2 hoop house are just about the minimum necessary, 3 would be nicer. Definitely do the one extra in the winter so that you can feed hay under cover and not have a crush. Each one will cost under $100, the panel last for many, many years and the tarp maybe 2-3, more if you're disciplined to untie it when not in use. We have 2 in every field as we rotate the sheep from meadow to meadow. Shade from trees is far superior, so fence in trees when you can but where there are no trees and for rain protection I haven't found anything cheaper or more versatile than the hoop houses.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Farmer's Market or How I spend my Saturdays

This is what the little market looks like, it's a log built stable once used by the family of the Chinqua-Penn estate and so just down a bit from the Big House . The tables are set up all under roof but we're on grass and small gravel which makes standing 5 hours a little easier. Of course I don't stand as much since I bring my wheel and spin. Here are a couple views of my table: Actually these pictures are switched but you get the idea. The framed picture by the soaps are of Iris and Gardenia mugging it up. Now I have pictures of the sheep too.
My neighbor sells many things from her farm including these lovely mushrooms, these are shiitakes they grow on oak logs. She sells fresh and dehydrated, just in case anyone needs to know where a good source of these mushrooms are. She also represents the local winery by pouring out small samples of their wine and selling. Once in awhile she'll turn to me and ask "would you like a sample?" Isn't this a great neighbor to have?!
All in all, we have 10 vendors so it's not a big market but I do well enough. It's a balancing act because a larger and busier market would mean much more soap making, spinning and weaving. Since I feel as though my work is never done now, this seems to be a good fit.

Currently on the loom is a 5/2 pearl cotton baby blanket with a 15 epi sett - which is wide for a twill but a 10/2 blanket in the same sett (!) had a nice drape and hand so I decided to try out the same threading for the 5/2. Perhaps this preference is being influenced by our 80*F spring weather - this blanket weight seems just right. I'll have to try the next at a closer sett and compare. This blanket is being also woven in a 2/2 twill but I changed the treadling so that I'm stepping right to left but outside to inside and am finding this much easier to keep straight. Meanwhile I've gotten a copy of Peg Osterkamp's second book intraloaned thru my wee library. Even a quick read has given me lots of handy tips and pointers for warping the big loom. Which I'd like to happen this weekend because Sheila has sent me a note and I feel that a picture of her former loom with a warp on it is a must in my reply! An even bigger must is getting Lashes sheared, she's still in her winter coat which last week didn't seem to bad but now the temps have soared. Llew's coat doesn't grow near the length hers does but we'll have to see how matted he is from rolling around; we may have to tackle him too.

Well, it near milking time already, so off to clean the bucket and get the food ready. Have a great weekend everyone.

Postscript - here's a couple of pictures of the finished Preemie/stroller blanket:

The cloth is of course much fuller with the 5/2 than the 10/2, more "blanket" like at the 15epi. Don't think I'd want a much closer sett myself. The 10/2 at the 15 epi in the 2/2 twill is more shawl like. Temps now in the 90's! Not blanket of any type weather unless one has the A/C blasting!