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From the Pastures — Zeien: Working with wool

Belvidere, Ill.

A couple days ago, I received a text from my husband, “Just got done putting the rams back in.” A number of questions came to my mind, so I called him right away. He said, “Imagine my surprise when on a conference call and out the window I see the rams walking in the front yard.” It was one of the first warmer days in northern Illinois. Apparently, the rams were feeling good and broke a fencepost, giving them a small way out of their pasture. Luckily, they follow a bucket of feed anywhere and were easily enticed back into the barn. Guess we know what our first spring project will be. Thanks, dear, for getting them safely back in the barn.

I am working with a variety of fibers in the mill, including alpaca, llama and several breeds of wool. It is really interesting to see how each one processes a little differently. From past experience, I have learned how to change the settings on the equipment for the different types of fiber. A few customers had wool and alpaca mixed together, which gives the yarn the good characteristics of each. A grey suri alpaca mixed with a little white Shetland wool spun very nicely to a soft, durable yarn with a beautiful color. This month, I also started to wash some of the wool sheared from my sheep. Looking forward to working with my wool. I am still in the planning and idea stage of what to combine and make. Soon the weather should be nice enough to do some dying.

Please note that the Illinois Lamb and Wool Producers annual meeting and Sheep Day scheduled for March 21 at the University of Illinois has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns. A new date has not been selected yet.

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