Saturday, December 29, 2007

Between Christmas and New Year's Day......

This is a custom hat that I just finished for Anna in Texas. She and I have had a great time communicating about its creation. Anna said to make it tall so that we can be sure that it covers her ears. I had my daughter Terre, who has a rather large head try it on and it almost covers her eyes, as well as her ears. Anna wanted it 10 inches tall, but I stopped at 9. I spun the brown and white by holding the two colors next to each other to create this nice blend, and then double stranded it while knitting. The top blending is Luke and Celeste, and the bottom is Sonata.

My daughter bugged me today about updating this blog. Yea! I didn't think that she even read me. And she says the other daughter does also.

Tomorrow is the end of our holiday celebrations. All three of my kids will be here, our son-in-law, and the two granddaughters. Son, Rob, has been here since Wednesday and will be going back to Pennsylvania on Monday. I am so blessed to have them want to come home.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Foggy Morning in the Barn

It was so foggy this morning that local schools were on a 2 hour delay and finally cancelled. Bet the teachers are enjoying an extra day to prepare for the holidays. Ahh, I remember how thrilled I used to be....... More baking time.
I went back to the barn about 8:30 after my chores were done and took some pictures. The fog turning to ice on the trees was awesome. This is a picture of our POA pony, Kelly, who is nearly blind. Can you see the ice forming on her hairs?

Frosty Berringer

I think this is a really neat picture because Berringer (Bear) is 7 years old and has grown lots of those nasty, prickly guard hairs. The fog/frost this morning settled on them and they really show up.
Because they are lighter in color and stand up from his nice fleece, it has always been easy for me to just pull them out when I clean his fleece after we shear. His fiber, sans guard hair, always spins up with a luster.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Alpaca/Mohair Yarn Handdyed and Handspun

Only 2 more ounces and I will have all my handdyed roving used up. This yarn started out as 2 ounces of dyed up white Pollux, one ounce of natural brown Sonata, and a handful of mohair that I got from Edie Bowles at SpinningMoonFarm through her Etsy store. Edie was very helpful teaching me a little about mohair. My past experience was working with some not so fine stuff so I was a little negative. I carded these three elements together on my carder. Have I mentioned that I'm not really very fond of carding? And I do have a very nice Strauch that does a great job, but I just want to get to the spinning. The white that you see in the yarn are the tuffs of mohair.
Very bulky @ 8 wpi - 3.4 oz./95 grams

Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas from John and Slammie

This is dear friend, that I mention all the time, Beth's son and Orion (barn name Slammie). While we were at Tractor Supply today getting barn stuff, Beth took John and Slammie back to the pines to get a Christmas picture for her Christmas cards. She might kill me if I have ruined her card surprise, but I don't think anyone on her list reads my blog. This picture is just too cute and needed to be shared with all of you.
A friend, Nancy, started an Alpaca 4-H Club, and John will be showing Slammie at the Fair next summer.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Dyed Yarn

This is yesterday's spin. I have only 2 more dyed up roving and then I'm going to have to heat up the crock pot again. I think the colors in this are quite yummy. Remind me of the granddaughters who love pink and purple.

A Determined Spinner

This is incredible. Issalura bought 4 ounces of Tobasco's roving from me to spin. This is her first spinning attempt. Awesome Yarn! And you need to check out her spindle - she created it with an old tea canister, a nail, a screwhook, and a hot glue gun. You can see more pictures here in her Flickr account.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

EEEHAW! She's pregnant!

Phone call from vet's office this a.m. Sonata's progesterone is 6 - that's a confirmed pregnancy, folks. Remember when the vet was here last week and he couldn't tell for sure with the ultrasound and drew blood? Yippeee, Skippeee! That means 3 spring cria, and 1 September cria. 11 months gestation!
I meant what I said yesterday. I am going to use up my dyed roving! I deserve to spin this lovely stuff! Yes! This is what is hanging up drying right now, and I've started about 4 ounces of a pink/ lavendar roving that I had named Heatherbelle after a very dear young friend.
I was telling friend Beth that I will soon run out of the dyed and why does it seem like we shouldn't start new projects, like dyeing, before Christmas. It feels like things should be finished up - wrapped up, literally. But I will probably break through that mind set and get out the dye pots.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Spinning up the dyed roving

For some reason I have been saving all that lovely dyed roving that I did this fall. No longer! I think that I had some stupid mentality like, I need to sell it and don't deserve to use it myself. It's so much fun to spin that I'm getting right into it. The 206 yard skein that I spun up yesterday sold this morning but is still drying so I can't mail it out or it might arrive frozen because it's going to New York state. So when I finish here I'm going to get into that bin filled with yummy colored roving.

The Pony....... Yep, we bought her. I think that Smitty is going to call her Fiona, you know like Shrek's wife? We had to put her a ways from the other horses but she seems to be doing well. Smitty is delighted! When he works in her paddock/pen, she follows him around. I will try to get a picture on here.

The (no longer) Boys..... They are doing fine. Although the removal didn't seem to take away that instinct. We were weighing the girls this morning and the no longer boys were just tearing around, mounting each other, and acting like dorks.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Boys Will (no longer) Be Boys

NS Orion (Slammy), NS Pollux (Luxy), and Gunsmoke (Gunny)These are not happy boys this afternoon, in fact, they are not truly boys any longer. That is - their chances of ever being daddies are gone.... Yep, Russ, our vet, arrived at nine to do the dasterly deed. Dear friend Beth (thanks, woman) assisted Russ at the business end and I (wimp that I am) sat on the ground holding their heads. It was about 15 degrees in the barn and Russ was sorry that he said we could do it here. My original intent was to take them to the clinic but this worked out great. This picture was taken about three hours after the neutering and, as you can see, they are up and doing fine. A little subdued, but eating and doing their bodily functions like they should.
While Russ was here, he did ultrasounds on the four girls. We think they are all pregnant but he drew blood on Sonata for a Progesterone reading cause he wasn't positive. If she is pregnant, she is due next September. The other three, Ariana, Lady Belita, and Celeste are due in June and July.
Imagine four little cria running around here next year. I will probably bore you with tons of pictures and bragging.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

New Pony?

Oh, my, a new adventure here. We are going to look at this Haflinger mare on Friday. Daisy Duke, 4 year old, quiet, 850 pounds, trail safe. Since we had to have Smitty's Haflinger, Thor, put down last summer, he has really been missing his own equine friend. I'm betting we will be bring this little girl home unless something is seriously not right.
I'm pretty excited because she has been ridden English and jumps. Oh, a dressage pony! How great would that be!

Can't you just imagine how excited the granddaughters will be?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rammin' Around This Morning

Whew! what a morning in the barn. When we finished with the poop scooping, husband asked for my help. Now you must realize, we are amateurs and have only had sheep since mid summer, and that I leave sheep business up to him. The help needed was to move the ram from one end of the barn in with the two ewes, leaving Danny, the whether, where he was - and - to move the two lambs who were in with the ewes to stay with Danny - BECAUSE it's breeding time! You would think this would be relatively simple, however, no one had ever had a halter on before.

We caught Aries, the ram, and while Smitty held him I got his halter on. Actually, it wasn't that simple because it was on and off a few times for buckle adjustment while Smitty is bent over holding the guy. He doesn't get on his knees often because they are both artificial. That's Smitty's knees, not Aries. Now it's time to lead him about 150 yards. I pushed, Smitty pulled.

OK, so now we are ready to move the lambs who actually look full grown and probably weigh about 60 pounds. Haltering goes great but they absolutely refuse to be led and we can't get ourselves into the push - pull positions because we are trying to move two. Well, Phoebe slips her halter, so now she's moving great but all over the indoor arena. I could just see Smitty thinking to hell with it, he grabs Maddy who I'm leading, and with considerable effort picks her up and deposits her in the pen with Danny, goes back into the arena, catches and picks up Phoebe and dumps her.

I'm all anxious to go watch the breeding process but it's not really happening. Aries is making these cooing noises and doing a tongue thing in their faces but they are just running off.
Back in Danny's pen, he's terrified of these two little girls and when I left to come in, he was cowering in the corner.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Marianne's Yarn

I am always stunned when I'm out visiting folks on their blog and stumble across my name or some of my yarn. I found this picture this morning when I was visiting Marianne's blog. I hadn't visited in a while and, oh my, has she been making some lovely stuff. You know how some people you just feel connected to? well, that's my feelings with her. Well, plus she is sort of a farm girl, has horses, kids - the good things in life. And did I mention Marianne lives way over in the Netherlands?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Morning Barn Chores

This is the view from my kitchen this a.m. at 7:20 just before I bundled up to do barn chores. I am the luckiest woman in the world to be healthy and able to enjoy and contribute to my small part of the world. Just to be able to say "I'm off to do barn chores" makes me smile. Waiting for me with all their baaing, humming, and nickering are 4 horses (you can just sort of see Cord in the fence on the right), 11 alpacas, 3 kitties, and 6 BabyDoll sheep.

I'm off to do barn chores.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Present for Myself - Goddess Pendant

Look what just arrived in the mail..... I ordered it for myself. The picture doesn't do it justice. It's glass, created by Molly in Pennsylvania. It came with a lovely choker that fastens magnetically, just the ticket for these arithitic fingers. I love it so much that I just ordered two similar for the daughters as Christmas presents. (Feeling pretty safe 'cause I think they never read their Mom's blogging ramblings.)
Take a look at the lovelies in Molly's store now that I have my choices ordered. (heh, heh). Her shop is called M.SotherdenArtGlass.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Our first snow on the way to do morning chores.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Spinning with the SpinningSpider

Last Friday I spent a wonderful day in Howell at Beth's Spinning Loft taking a spinning workshop from Jeannine Bakriges from Vermont. The class was titled "Spinning Thick, Thin, and Medium Yarn", which I need because I am a slave to my fiber and just spin whatever it wants to be. Blog readers will recognize Jeannine as the SpinningSpider.
Beth, I lifted this picture from your blog. Please don't sue me.
Jenny is a delightful, beautiful, wonderful woman and teacher with an awesome sense of humor. The most important lesson that I brought home is to pick and choose from the "spinning rules" Do what works for me. There are no Spinning Policemen! I now cut my yarn from the spindle with SCISSORS without grief or guilt. I don't HAVE to learn a long draw if my short, backward draw makes nice yarn. If I don't want to change my ratio, and if everything is to my liking, I just keep going.

The really great thing about Jenny is that she encouraged us to push ourself beyond our comfort level. First we worked on a really thin yarn and I totally amazed myself. I now know that I can spin laceweight - if I want to. My main concern is consistency and to spin a designated weight. Jenny sat right next to me to help, in fact, she even spun on my wheel so that I could see what she was talking about. I think I have been visiting and watching too much television while spinning. If I pay attention to the drafting triangle (mine is never really a triangle), my yarn is much more consistent.

The really biggest challenge for me has been to make nice bulky yarn. And look ▲ don't you think that's nice. It's from white fiber boy, Buck. Jenny helped me understand the ratios and how they help spin different weights. I actually change now depending on what I want to spin. The bulky is 6 to 1, which is simply the slowest on my wheel. I do need to remember to slow my feet down also.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sara's lamb, Ellie

This is Ellie, a delightful little lamb that Sara, from Tucson, Arizona, made from some of my handspun yarn. Visit her Etsy shop, woolies. Sara makes beautiful gifts including awesome shawls and darling little animals like Ellie.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pudge Yarn from Sunni

A few weeks ago, Sunni from Chicago, who has bykes shop on Etsy purchased some of Pudge's roving. I just received this picture from her and she assured me that Pudge's fiber is very lovely and that she is going to keep the yarn she spun for herself instead of selling it in her shop. Besides yarn and roving, Sunni sells other lovely "stuff", so you should go take a look.
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Sunni is a student in Chicago and rides her bike around town - which I can't even imagine doing.

Fiber Friends Get Away

We had quite the get away in Michigan's Upper Peninsular near the town of DeTour. My friend, Kathy (on the left in the pictures) has been building - what I thought was a cottage - but is really a beautiful home on a bay right along St. Mary's River. From the huge front window we watched iron ore and ocean freighters during the day and enjoyed their lights at night.
We did knit, and spin, and eat chocolate, and drink beer and wine. The large picture above was very late morning and I was still in my pjs, quite the treat because I am usually dressed by 6:30 to go to the barn.
Kathy's home, a true log home, is filled with whimsy. A little bird stuck here, a squirrel there, a humungous smiling moose over the fireplace. The two little racoons in the canoe here are above the mantel of the dining room side of the fireplace.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sharon and Maple Dye

Oh, my, what a fun day! Sharon arrived about 10 this a.m., and by 2, look what we had created. Two pounds of awesome dyed alpaca roving from Sharon's white alpacas. Had she brought more, we would have dyed more. We had three batches going at a time - the crock pot, the broiling pan in the oven, and the roaster on top of the stove.
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If you don't know Sharon Winsauer, you must go visit her shop on Etsy called AuroraAlpacas. She is my "genius lace pattern making " friend. Maybe you have heard of her Dragon shawl pattern? She just got some awesome roving back from the mill that her alpacas grew for her. I think that she will be listing this in her shop soon, so watch for it.
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I am very fortunate to have fibery friends living close enough that we can have fun days together.
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I had just decided to let my grays grow out but kind of like the way my hair looks in this pict. so I don't know..... I'm on the right up above. We are outside my kitchen on the deck.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yummy New Roving Arrives

Three big bags arrived from Suzanne this week, and, as usual, she did a beautiful job preparing this roving - (white, light fawn, and black). I have most of it done up in bundles like this with a picture of the donor and have already listed it in my Etsy shop. I like to put it in 2 ounce bundles because it is easier to handle and store, besides, it looks really super all fanned out like this.
The arrival time was perfect because I am running a 15% off all my roving sale until November 16th. On November 16th there will be a Trunk Show at the Etsy headquarters in New York City. We were invited by Etsy to do it and many members of our fiber arts group, EtsyFAST, have already sent stuff. To celebrate this Trunk Show, many of our shops pledged to offer sales of at least 15% off. See here for more information.
I'm also thinking on November 16th I should do more with sales because that will be my 1 year anniversary of having my online Etsy store. Maybe offer 15% off everything in the store, not just roving. Any suggestions?
I got a little off track there because I wanted to tell you how I got my ♪♫♪ three bagsfull ♪♫♪.
Phil, a buddy from nearby town, borrowed our horse trailer for a trip to Indiana to pick up 2 new alpacas. In return he offered me the raw fiber from three of his alpacas. You can see Pudge at Phil and Polly's site. Needless to say, I'm thrilled!
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It is an incredibly windy day here in midMichigan. I locked all the horses outside with hay and water. If I leave their stall doors open, sawdust and crap will blow all over the barn. Actually, the horses don't mind. They were all standing out side anyway, with tails to the wind.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

FearlessFibers Wish List Suggestion

The World’s Greatest Holiday Shopping ListMost of you are all familiar with my Etsy shop, but I wonder how many of you know about a great Etsy feature that you might just use yourself this holiday season?I’m talking about the “Favorites” feature on Etsy. Although it’s not meant to be specifically a wish list for holiday shopping, you can easily use it to your advantage that way. It’s simple. Just login to your Etsy account (if you don’t have one, registering is simple and requires no detailed personal information beyond your e-mail address and name), and then browse around to find things you love. When you come upon an item of interest, within the listing description you’ll see a link on the lower right side that says “Add Item to Favorites.” Just click that link and the item will be marked as a “favorite.” Now here’s the fun part. When your husband or sister or best friend or mother asks what you might like as a gift this holiday season, you can point them to your list. All they have to do is type your Etsy ID name in their browser, followed by "" (For example, my username is fearlessfibers, so my URL is: Even if you don’t have a shop on Etsy, a page still comes up and on that page there is a link that says, “Favorites.” There, your gift-giving loved ones can find your wish list. How cool is that?! If you have no shame (I know I don’t!), you can even go to your favorites list when it’s complete, copy the URL and e-mail it to that husband or sister or best friend or mother.One important thing to note: If you decide to create a holiday wish list this way, be sure to check back every few days. If items on your list are sold or removed from the site by the seller, you may want to remove them from your favorites so that your shopping friends and family won't become frustrated if they find that the items you've marked are unavailable.
And, of course, if you are more of the giving sort and not so interested in your own wish list, you can ask your friends and family to make their own wish lists to help you out with your shopping this holiday season.Just thought you all might like to know about this feature. It’s much easier to drop a URL than a subtle hint ;)

EtsyFAST Sale

EtsyFAST, our fiber arts group on etsy, are on a really big roll. We are having a Trunk Show at Etsy headquarters in New York City on November 16th. I surely can't go to the event but some of our group will be there. Many of us sent items to be displayed. I sent some yarn and little packets with my business card and some alpaca fleece.
To recognize and celebrate this show, many (38 shops) of us are offering some really good sales from today, November 1st through November 16th. I'm offering 15% off all the roving that I have. These items on sale are everything from roving, to yarn, to finished products. Most of the shops are having 15% off, but there are some with 20% off.
I have no idea what happened here, but if you click on any of this underlined stuff, you will go to a list of all the shops participating in the sale.

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For those of you who are wondering about Lady Belita, our sick alpaca, she seems to be just fine now. The only thing we can figure out is that maybe she was dehydrated. For some reason none of the animals, (horses, sheep, & alpacas) were drinking well earlier in the week. The blood sample and the fecal sample showed nothing conclusive.
I have so messed this up. Click on any of this underlined stuff to find a list of the EtsyFAST artists who are having sales.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Barn Worries

I just came in from doing morning chores and am worried about Lady Belita (that's her with her last cria, Pollux). She is acting very strange. Moaning a little but she's pretty verbal normally. She's laying down with her legs out to the side and not in the normal cush position. Remember, she's pregnant. If Smitty were home to hold her, I would probably give her a shot of Banamine to relax her, but I will just keep watching her for a while. She's acting a little like a horse does when he colics.

3:30 Update on Belita. I had the vet here. Took her temp., listened to her belly, checked gums for dehydration, and gave her Banamine - just like I would have done except I would have given it in her muscle 'cause I just can't seem to hit those veins. We also gave her some ProBio which is a probiotic to ease her stomach, sort of like yogurt. I was out to check her about 1/2 hour ago, took her halter off, and let her out of the barn. She still isn't normal. Just wants to lay around and is a little shaky. Will continue watching/hovering.

9:00 Lady Belita - At 5:00, we took Belita's temp and it was 97.3, which is quite low. Her gums felt dry. Worrying about dehydration, we syringed 2 cc of Pedialyte (not in spellcheck) into her mouth. Back out at 7:00-temp up to 98.5, gave her another 2 cc of Pedialyte. Seems more alert and no shaking, ate a little hay. BTW, a normal temperature is about 100, 101.

Vet Russ is stopping here at 8 tomorrow a.m. before he does some herd health at a nearby cattle barn. I will go out and check her just before I go to bed tonight.

...and I have a sore throat. Feels like I won't need to chew food today because the razor blades in my throat will masticate it enough. I haven't had a sore throat since I quit smoking a little over a year ago. poor me.

I have been really lucky lately in getting Treasuries on Etsy. Treasuries are when a curator, that's me, gathers pictures from other Etsy stores and presents them to the world. Below is a link to my latest.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gunny Alpaca Training - continued

First of all, I'm very pleased to announce that I haven't been spit on since that first day. In fact, the little darling hasn't even made the hawky, throaty noise that is a threat.
Yesterday he wore his halter with a short rope dangling. Even though I worried about him, he also wore it all night.
This morning after his breakfast, I tied him up! Yep, for about an hour. I wanted to use a bungee cord so that it would give some when he did his rearing and pulling but didn't have one. So I rigged up an old elastic trailer tie that I had used for hauling horses around. He did do considerable thrashing but never really got himself into trouble. I could keep my eye on him while I was cleaning the horse stalls, but managed to stay out of sight. I wanted him to think I wasn't involved and he would learn to give to the pressure. worked! When I put a lead on him and released the trailer tie, we actually went for a little walk out side with no rearing and pulling. YEA!
I'll continue tying him up for a couple of days until he thinks our walks are fun.
BTW, that's a picture of his awesome fiber all spun up......
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Pam, look, I put the picture where I wanted it. Thanks for your help!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fricke Yarn Winder

My two favorite spinning friends are my Fricke yarn winder and my Woolee Winder so thought you might want to see them. I originally wound my yarn onto a knitty knoddy (that doesn't look right), but my arm, hand, and shoulder would be screaming. Arithitis doesn't favor repetitive motion. I ordered this winder from Fricke, and ♥ love ♥ it. It had a counter that I managed to break in the first month but it is easy to count the yardage because each revolution is 2 yards.
I guess I should have said my three favorite spinning friends are shown here because that's my Cassie girl in the background.
Talking about this reminds me that I have a brand new knitty knoddy, or however the hell you spell it, hanging in it's denim bag in the basement. Think I will try to sell it in my Etsy shop. Hmmm, off to dust it off.......

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

SpitFace Gunny Is Forgiven

Gunny Fiber

This is what came in my mail today. Three pounds of beautiful baby alpaca (Gunny) roving processed at Suzanne Pufpaff's mill. You are so totally forgiven, Gunny Boy! You even get a few free spits for this fiber.
I have already weighed out a couple of ounces 'cause I can't wait to start spinning it. I spent a lot of time cleaning the VM out of this fleece before I mailed it out to be processed. As many of you know cria fleeces are like velcro to dirt and debris. Those embryonic tips pick up and hold everything.
These colors are awesome. They range from a very, almost white/gray to a very dark, almost black/gray. And, of course, all colors in between. Can't you just imagine?
The picture below is of the boys putting Gunny in his place.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Alpaca Training

This is Gunny, the little dear that was given to us about a month ago. He's a year old and weighs a little over a hundred pounds. He has had no training and very little handling. Yesterday I decided that it's time for Gunny to get to charm school. Oh, my, it took my 200 pound husband and myself (ample weight here too) just to get a halter on him. That was after I received my very first ever alpaca spit in the face from him. Yuck! it's really stinky, probably from that second or third stomach.....A leisurely walk down the road was out of question. He leaped and drug me around a small pen for about 5 minutes. I figured that was enough for the first time (for both of us), and I really did need a shower.
This morning I managed to sneak his halter on without his really getting upset. Yea! I hung a small, 2 foot lead from it so that I can get a hold of him later. He is going to wear this all day to get used to it. Of course, I am checking frequently 'cause I have this horrible vision of his getting his hind foot caught in the halter when he does a face scratch.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Handspun, Handdyed Alpaca Yarn from Polaris & friends

In spite of felting the roving a little, this yarn came out quite soft. I plied the dyed single with a single that I spun from dark fawn Polaris and ended up with 204 yards, which is considerably less than I thought I would get. It weighs 4 ounces and averages 10 wraps per inch which is considered bulky. The dyed fiber fought me some and just wouldn't be consistent. Hence, we have here an unintentional Thick N Thin yarn.
More views of this yarn can be seen in my Etsy shop.

(thanks for your awesome golden brown fiber♥)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

My dear friend Cary and I did a dyeing workshop last Saturday uptown at the SipNKnit yarn shop. Well, actually we were upstairs over the yarn shop, in what used to be a dance studio. Was a really great place because we had lots of open space.
I've been so pleased that I have been able to dye my alpaca roving and maintain the yummy softness of alpaca that Cary encouraged me to teach the crockpot/roving method. Well, I goofed. I didn't over cook the demo roving. Nope, I was in such a hurry to get the next person dyeing that I abused my fiber. I usually let the roving cool completely in the pot and then handle it VERY gently. At the workshop, I dumped it into a drainer in the sink while it was still hot, and before it was cool, started rinsing (way too vigorously!). This resulted in a rather harsh, hard to spin fiber. You can see it above ↑. It looks fine and will probably be a nice yarn. I'm going to ply it with Polaris, which is a very soft, golden brown and I should end up with about 350 yards.
We are planning another workshop and I have learned a good lesson here. Slow down! Be patient!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sonata Not Pregnant

Not good news tonight. Sonata is in western Michigan at Gosnell's Irish Valley Farm to be bred. They thought she was pregnant but the ultrasound yesterday says NO. We'll leave her there through the weekend to try again and then bring her home. I really miss this little darling. She's our super friendly, visitor greeter who loves Spearmint Life Savers. I'm really anxious to get her home.
Good news - 6 weeks with Weight Watchers and minus 6 pounds.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Alpaca, Merino, Silk, Handdyed Yarn

It has been a while since I posted something that I have made. I think that this yarn is really nice. The gray roving that is the foundation is a combination of black alpaca, Beringer, and light fawn alpaca, Celeste, and white Merino from genopalatte.

As I was spinning each single, I held and added the colored silk that I had dyed last spring. I just had to knit a little swatch before I skeined it up and, oh, my, did it ever feel good in my hands. Unfortunately, when I took a picture of the swatch, I had forgotten to replace the memory stick, and didn't realize it until I pulled the knitting out.

Was kind of a bad morning because I took the skein outside to photograph, came back in and realized that I had left the lens cap on. If you want to see more pictures of this yarn and the alpacas that grew it, look here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Sickly Alpacas

Oh, my, these are the two boys, Orion & Polaris, that we took to the show and they came home with very snotty noses. Now all seven of the boys are sneezing and snotting. I haven't really felt the need to call our vet because I'm not really hearing any nasty wheezing. Temperatures seem normal. Now you horse folks know how really unpleasant that nasal yuck is, but even though this is sort of thick, it's not nearly as offensive as horse snot.
I had an email from a friend who said that she saw the vet at the show giving antibiotic shots to a farm's alpacas with like symptoms. I wonder how many alpacas got infected there.
I also wonder if it's not just a good idea to stay home. These same two boys came home from the spring show with diarrhea.
I still can't put these pictures where I want them. Pam said she would help me one of these days.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fiber for Salana's Purse

Lady Belita and Pollux
I have to give some credit here to Lady Belita because she is the girl who donated her fiber for Selana's purse. I smile when I say "donated" because she really doesn't like giving it up. She and her daughter, Celeste, are the only alpacas here who protest when being sheared. She grumbles during the whole process - doesn't spit or kick or anything - just grumbles.

Salana's Alpaca Felted Purse

Selana's Crocheted/Felted Purse

In mid August Selana, from Dortmund, Germany, bought a skein of Lady Belita's yarn that I had dyed a burgundy color. I remember worrying about it running when washed and even mentioned in the listing that it might. When Selana sent me this picture, I asked her, and yes, it did run. After crocheting it, she started to hand felt it but finally got "fearless" and tossed it into the washing machine. Pretty cute, isn't it? The good thing is that she likes (as do I) the color. This was one of my first attempts at dyeing and I was using Landscape dyes which worked well, but I have switched to the Jacquard brand although I don't have a conscious reason.

The purse is listed in her Etsy shop if you want to take a look.

Selana is also a digital scrapbook designer and has a nifty Etsy shop for that. She designs all things digital like cards and scrapbooking stuff.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Jocelyn's Green Alpaca Hat

Jocelyn's Hat
Way back in March Jocelyn was living in Germany. She and her husband were there for about 6 years with a year's detour in Iraq. Germany is where I sent her first two or three yarn purchases. She's back in the States now - Alexandria, Virginia. About the end of August Jocelyn purchased this green yarn that I dyed from Pollux's white fiber. I remember feeling odd dyeing it because even though I love green, I avoid it. I don't even have green dyes and made this from yellow and blue.
I am so pleased that Jocelyn sent me this picture to show you. It's really nice, isn't it? Very unique. There is something very satisfying to see how my yarns end up. It's the mini version of seeing your kids graduate from college......

Friday, September 28, 2007

Teri's Apple Shawl

Remember way back in the middle of September when I posted the apples and the yarn that I dyed for the EtsyFAST monthly challenge? Teri of knitsbyteri bought the yarn and knitted this awesome shawl. Can you see the outlined apples on it? This is her own pattern. Teri started knitting at one hand tip and worked across the back neck edge, increasing across the bottom until the center back was reached and then she reversed the process. I didn't know that we could knit a shawl like this, but then I'm practically a beginner knitter. See her Etsy listing here. Teri was very kind in her listing and gave my shop lots of coverage.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Last weekend was our Michigan International Alpaca Fest at Birch Run, MI. This is a picture of friend, Beth, showing Polaris in his class. Because Polaris's (Lars) fleece wasn't a full 2 inches, he had to go into a "shorn" class. Strangely enough, all the dark fawns that were his age didn't make fleece length.

We were disappointed because in a shorn class, the judge evaluates just the confirmation of the animal and not the fleece. Lars has really lovely, crimpy fleece. He did bring home a fourth place ribbon though.

Beth also showed Orion (Slammy) who is Polaris's full brother - same mom and dad, just a year younger. His competition was way too keen - a class of 15 really nice brown guys.

I am so lucky that Beth is not only an incredibly, awesome friend, but also willing to show our animals. I can do it but actually get physically ill in the show ring....heart racing, stomach upset, blurred vision. Of course, the animal can feel all my tension and gets upset also.
The alpaca shows have a competition called a Spin Off in which exhibitors submit 2 ounces of raw fiber along with a picture and information about the alpaca. A judge then evaluates the raw fleece for: First impression, Staple length, Cleanliness, Lack of second cuts, Lack of guard hair, Crimp, Staple architecture, Uniformity, Fineness, and Hand. Points are given for each category.

Then the judge spins up some of it and evaluates on: Ease of preparation for spinning and Ease of Spinning.

Finally the yarn itself is evaluated for Hand feel, softness of yarn & loft and Brightness. A total of 100 points can be earned.

And the winners are....... light fawn, Celeste, on the left above got a blue ribbon with her 100 points. And brown, Sonata, on the right got a blue ribbon for 98 points.