Aandsvarr Needs a Woman

Meet Andsvaar.... he's one strappin' Icelandic breeding ram!! Check out our website below for details on how YOU can have Andsvaar on YOUR farm.

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and it begins.....

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

Welp, springtime is definitely here! There's new life all over the farm and we're all just lovin' it :-) We herded all of the Icelandics into the lambing pens and all of the Icelandics managed to get out the very next day haha! We went down to fix the situation and one of our Merino/Icelandic crossbreeds decided to lamb on pasture (oops). The babies are adorable and the wool feels TREMENDOUS! I'm anxious to spin them :-)

We lambed some Merino/Icelandics back in January and the results are varied so far. We were able to produce a single coated fleece from the black male, but the female retained the dual coat.... both are *incredibly silky*! Strange thing: The black fleece is thel, the white is tog on both animals?? Go figure. The conformation on the male seems to be representative of Merinos (low, barrel bellied), but the female is a spitting image of an Icelandic....hmmm.

Lyndsay's Hampshire babies are doing well (born Jan./Feb.) and she's already at me to take a trip to Missouri for next years breeding ram.... go figure :-) Damn, we need a new barn!!!!!!


Missing the Olympics....

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

We're all missing the olympics around here.... I decided to make some hats for next year that have that kool emblem :-) One down, six to go. Lyndsay and I want the one that Lyndsay Vonn was wearing (same colorwork, different design).


Sean's Sweater

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

Oh for the history of this sweater....... I *absolutely* HAD to finish this sweater that I started a LONG time ago. Too many times I almost frogged it and then I remembered where the fiber came from :-) The black yarn is a blend of my girlfriends Llama and one of our original Icelandic breeding ewes (since deceased). The memories I have of those animals still make me smile :-) The ladder pattern is made of angora----again from one of the Angora rabbits the kids used to play with. It's funny how memories can keep you going!!

I'm not all that happy with the sweater (one of my first). I lost the pattern and had to improvise---and spin more yarn. I really did a POOPY job with construction.... ah well, live and learn. Sean is happy with it tho'!! Now he has an ice skating sweater like the other kids :-) Since it took me so long to finish his sweater, he's first on the list for next years sweaters!!


Swatching the Cortina

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

It's finally swatched!! I went back and forth over what colorway to use.... I'd originally planned to use my Icelandic, then I didn't think the colors looked right, now I'm back to using my handspun yarn :-) It's funny how different a project looks once you swatch the pattern. I hafta say, there's not alot of contrast, but I like it.

I'm using the Dale of Norway Cortina pattern but I'm sure I'll have to make some pretty major adjustments due to the yarn guage difference and my aversion to steeking. I'm not overly worried, re-engineering is my specialty. The variegated green is from some Merino roving I purchased and the brown is Birla (one of my AWESOME Icelandic breeder ewes :-)


Fair Isle Mitts & Hoodie

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

They're done!! I completed my fair isle gauntlet mitts in 4 days flat..... which is a HUGE accomplishment for me haha :-) It was such a simple pattern, I think I'll make some for my 'lil sister. I used the following fibers: Gray mohair, white mohair, French Angora rabbit, black Icelandic ewe. They're WICKED warm and too comfortable. I may shorten up the gauntlet if I make a pair for someone else, but I like the long ribbed gauntlet-----I typically wear a wool sweater outside, so the big mitts really keep my arms/hands warm.

Sean's hoodie is pissing me off again...... it's working its way back to the bottom of my knitting basket. The entire sweater is complete, however, I purchased the wrong zipper for the front so now it's just sitting up in the loft on my sewing machine. We're snowed in right now, so FAT CHANCE of me making it to the store for a new zipper anytime soon...... that's what happens when you take 4 kids to the sewing shop (I couldn't concentrate for ANYTHING). I started this sweater a heckuva long time ago (and have since lost the pattern) so I'm kinda makin' it up as I go. I'm not overly pleased with the ribbing around the hood, but it'll work. The darn thing is curling so bad at the front opening, I'm not sure if the zipper is going to look right..... RIBBIT, RIBBIT.... I hear a frog.


More Babies !!

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

I got my cross breeds!! We crossed a moorit Merino female with a white Icelandic ram and boy did we get cute little babies :-) The black one is a male and the white one is a female. They seem to have wool like an Icelandic, but time will tell. I'm anxious to see if they maintain the dual coat. Last year, we crossed a Hampshire female with an Icelandic male and the tog went bye-bye, however, the wool was like a brillo pad (haha).

Both of the babies jumped right up after they were born and acted like they were already a week old!! The kids won't leave their hands off them :-)----They have these fat little faces!!


Blocking the AandF

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

I'm *so* incredibly glad that some of my fellow ravelers talked me into blocking my sweaters. Can you believe that I've never blocked a single sweater I've made? The kids steel the sweaters the moment they're off my needles-----no time to block.

I have one front panel left to knit (it's almost finished) then I'll put the
thing together and throw on the ribbing. I think I'm REALLY going to like it :-) I found this thing called a WOOLY BOARD and I think I need to have it. Right now, I'm using kids foam playmats and T-pins. Welp.... it's off to the barn I go to see if I have any more baby hamps !!


The Sheepdog

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

Lamb(left) & Kirby(right)

Oh for dogs and their sheep. It's already happened, we've got a lamb in the house. Not sure why it happens, but we ALWAYS seem to host a few baby Hampshires in our home during lambing season. No other breeds end up in my house..... only Hampshires. They're not very stealthy boogers when they're born, but they sure do beat the pants off any other breed once they're grown.

At any rate, Lyndsay went to check the moms down at the barn yesterday and came back ALL FIRED UP about some baby lamb. I trucked it on down there and sure enuff...... we had one with a cold mouth. Up to house she came and I've been tripping over her (and the dog) in my kitchen ever since. Kirby, our French Brittany, has adopted this little 'bundle of BAA' and treats her like it's her baby. Mind you, I don't allow animals in my kitchen, EVER. Typically, I run the 'hospital' in my husbands basement shop. Once she can walk..... SHE'S OUTA HERE..... chicken coop bound. Don't ask me how I'm going to separate the dog from her lamb.


Project & Anxiety Update

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

Welp, mom's head hugger is finished... I sure hope she doesn't have to use it. We bought her a wig just in case the chemo/rad treatments zap her hair. The pattern is *super* simple and you could easily crank one out in a few hours.

My mock 'A&F' sweater is coming along nicely as well. I had to reverse the colors b/c I ran out of Shetland. I'm NOT doing the whole STEEK thing (yes, I'm a pansy-ass). You really must look at the rationale behind my NOT wanting to steek:

1.) THE SHEEP: I've raised these sheep from babies, nursed them back to health in rough times, busted open ice so I could haul water from a nearby stream for them, shepherded them back (a few miles) when they tried to 'head for the hills', spent an INCREDIBLE amount of money maintaining them.

2.) THE WOOL: Hubby then carefully removes the wool---NO 2nd cuts and NO crap attached. Then I sort the wool and spend and INORDINATE amount of money getting it processed.

3.) THE WHEEL: Now I spin the wool on my 'lil Kiwi. Then I ply it, then I soak it, then I dry it, then it's onto the swift and ballwinder.

4.) THE NEEDLES: FINALLY, I get to actually knit with the stuff!! YAY :-D

And now I'm supposed to CUT HOLES IN THE blankety-blank SWEATER??? I'm having an anxiety attack just thinking about it. I can just envision me doing this (sweat on my upper lip..... theme song to JAWS in the background) Ok, breathe deep, get centered..... maybey we'll try it on the next sweater... or the next... or the next.


The Hamps Are Here!!!

Posted by Stone Hill Ranch

Well, we're off and running with baby lambs as of yesterday!!! Our Hampshire sheep begin to lamb in January and will continue through February. We also have some Merino sheep that we've crossed with Ilex (Icelandic ram) that will be due in January/February timeframe. The last to lamb are always my Icelandics-----Easter time is when they 'pop' :-)

'Sister' had her twin boys yesterday morning. They weighed in at 11lbs & 12lbs and have really GREAT butts on them!! Last year, we bred our Hampshires to a ram that had a bony butt, and hence, most of the babies came out with scrawny butts and skinny legs. This year, we bred the girls to my friends ram up the road. I think all but one took. Hopefully, everyone twins and Lyndsay will be able to have a choice on who to show in 4H :-)

I'm going to take a few of the Hampshire fleeces to the processor this month and have them made up into quilt batts. Hampshire sheep are a mutton breed..... not wool, however, their wool may be a cheaper alternative for quilting batts.