Monthly Archives: November 2014

Hand Woolcombing

I highly recommend the book Hand Woolcombing and Spinning by Peter Teal.  I’m still reading it, but even the introduction section is very interesting.  Mr. Teal believes that when spinning was revived as a leisure art in the mid 1800, it was believed that  women were too fragile to handle wool combing, and therefore worsted spinning never revived the way woolen spinning did.  He expounds on the virtues of worsted spinning, and the ability of a highly skilled spinner to produce customized threads for a task.

I will soon be referring to the directions in chapter 1 to build a comb set in the lighter range.

Long Wool Project

As mentioned in my earlier post, I’ve been contemplating that the path the textile industry took during the industrial revolution may be responsible for the downfall of the Cotswold. I think we can change that with new technologies that help all the long wool breeds.

I’m no genius, I’m not smarter than the 250 years of engineers who have worked on the problem of wool processing before me, but I have a different focus, a different goal, and therefore may come to very different results.

I’ve since been doing my reading. It seems that there are not enough Cotswolds in the world to keep a single industrial sized carding machine busy, so even if we revolutionized the technology there would likely be no large commercial buyer of our machine. I have since turned to look at small hobby scale machines, something that would work for the same market that buys motorized drum carders, but is better suited to processing long wool.

I attended the Rochester Makerspace open community night (every Thursday night) and brought my wool processing tools. The interested parties were quite taken with the manual processes, and we had an impromptu combing/flicking/spinning class. No engineering was performed.

I got a chance to spend an afternoon with an interested engineer, and we played with some sketches, but I’d not brought the manual tools which might have been helpful in demonstrating the combing concept.

Simple tools I’m considering making:

  • An extra long blending board
  • 2 and 4 rank comb sets
  • Blending hackle

More complex tools I’m considering inventing:

  • Motorized flicker
  • Automated combs

I still have a lot of reading to do, I have to study up on the wool, cotton, and flax industries, and the machines that run them.  I’m hoping the long fiber problem has already been solved for flax and we don’t need to re-invent the wheel.

If you like to tinker or design, we could use your help. Give me a buz and I’ll keep you updated on which nights we will be at the Makerspace.  If you like to tinker or design but don’t want to help, I might recommend the Makerspace anyway.

One lamb, cut to order

Taking deposits now for December/January Lambs

If you are on my waiting list but wish to pass this year, please let me know that so I can let someone else have your spot this year.

Our lambs are scheduled for butcher. We have two butcher dates available, the first set will be ready right around Christmas (Sorry, I can’t guarantee they’ll be ready for Christmas dinner as I had hoped), the second set around January 8th. When ordering please let me know if you are available to pick up for only one of those dates or both.

We encourage you to come to Marion to pick up directly from the butcher and get a chance to visit the farm. If the weather is below freezing, we can bring your meat to Perinton, NY on a work day. If the weather does not co-operate, you will have to come to Marion to pick up. We are available for farm tours 12/26, 12/27, and 1/10 by appointment. The butcher shop is normally open until noon on Saturdays, I don’t yet know their Christmas week schedule.

This year the price for Tunis cross lambs will be $275 including delivery to butcher and cut & wrap fees. Special butchering requests may incur additional butcher costs. Tunis cross lambs is what last year’s customers had. Cotswold Cross lambs will be $300. Cotswolds are slightly larger and reputed to have very mild flavor.

We also have one adult Finn ram available, $275. The ram is not grain free, he has only been with us a few months of his life. He is being finished on hay, rutabaga, and pumpkin. He will be larger than any of the lambs, but will have a stronger flavor and be less tender due to his age.

A deposit of $125 is required to reserve your lamb or ram.  Deposits accepted by mail or in person.

Address for mailing deposits or taking farm tours by appointment:
Denise Skidmore
4513 Eddy Ridge Rd.
Marion, NY 14505

We have a limited supply. If you are on my waiting list, you have one week to claim your waiting list priority, then all customers will be handled in the order deposits are received. After I receive your deposit we will discuss your butcher cut sheet.

This year we have a new website, you can read more about our farm and how we do things up here on the ridge.

Looking forward to hearing from you, please let me know if you have any questions.

Denise Skidmore
Eddy Ridge Grassland