Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rose Gray Yarn

This fiber was grown by Rouge, a very handsome alpaca who lives in Michigan. While my dearest friend, Maryanne, owned him, he came here for a breeding visit. He also got to go to an alpaca show in Davisburg, Michigan last spring. As you can probably see from Rouge's picture, his
fleece has lots of variations and shades of the rose gray.

The fiber that I used to spin this particular skein of yarn was rather dark but has light colors running through it. It was great fun to spin.

Occasionally after I spin up a skein, I just have to knit a swatch (don't you think that sounds like a dirty word?).

I used U.S. # 9 needles and did sort of a knit 2 together, yarn over pattern because I thought this would make a lovely lacey scarf or shawl.

My intention was to list this in my Etsy shop but they have the site down again until about 4 or 5 this evening. At least that's what the announcement was when I tried to log in. This is going to make a lot of people angry. Because it's reasonably new (about 2 years old, I think) they do have a lot of problems. The site is growing faster than the management can keep up. This is an excellent online place to shop for handmade items. They do allow commercial supplies that they are going to keep separate. I am thrilled to have an outlet for my yarn 'cause as I've mentioned again and again I love to spin.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Olde English Babydoll Southdown Sheep

I am totally beside myself with excitement. In the Hobby Farm magazine my husband found an article about these darling sheep. In the classifieds was an ad for a farm called The Bidlack Pasture that raises Babydoll Southdowns. And, imagine this, the farm is only about 30 minutes from here. I emailed Amy Bidlack and EEEEHAW we are going to visit this Sunday. I hope Amy doesn't mind that I lifted this picture from her website.

I have been researching this breed and there are several things that appeal to me. Number one to satisfy my fiber addiction, they have very fine wool, between 19 to 23 microns. Baby alpaca is classified as fleece below 24 microns so you can see this wool is really fine. Can't you just imagine blending these Babydolls with alpaca? Mmmmmm.

They are very small according to what I have read, between 18 and 24 inches and easy to handle. Apparently they are friendly and bond to their humans. Colors are black and white. I can just imagine these sweeties in the pasture with our alpacas. Will update after our visit.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Awesome Yarn

I spent most of today creating this yarn that I just love. The picture on the bottom left is the fiber that I used. I had dyed this alpaca roving a couple of weeks ago. Remember? I wrote about it. It was rather felted so I had to pretty much strip it apart and loosen and spread apart the fibers. Was quite a challenge to spin because I held the stiff dyed and the very soft natural brown together in the hand that I was drafting with. My pinchy forward fingers were busy stretching and drafting too. I did the two singles the same way and then plied them together.

I had to see what it would look like done up so knitted this swatch right off my wheel. That's a US size 9 needle. I was very pleased that when I took it off my winder, it hung perfectly balanced. I always give myself a silent cheer when that happens.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Starting over - again

I swear I have never started a project without having to start over. Did it again...... On Monday our sock group decided to knit the Roza's Socks in the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits magazine. It has a really neat brioche (have no idea how to pronounce this) ribbed pattern. Our knit shop didn't have enough mags in for me to buy one, so I just wrote down the top 8 inches which include this brioche pattern. Picked up my magazine this morning and damn, damn, I did it wrong. What I did looks rather neat though. Of course, I'm using alpaca. Should I start over or continue?????? Can't let my buddies see my error so, no doubt, will start over.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Easter is Tomorrow

This is a picture of Ariana with her last cria, Orion. Orion is the little guy that we weaned last month. Our vet, Russ, sent the blood that he drew from her to Michigan State to be checked. The progesterone count came back at 1. That means that she is either pregnant - or not. Guess we will wait until Aldie (the visiting stud) comes here and see if she refuses him.

Yesterday we weighed the boy alpacas and this morning we weighed the girls. Because alpacas are so stoic and rarely let you know what might be wrong, a monthly weight check assures us that all is well. Of course, this time of the year, we figure 5 to 10 pounds is fleece. While we have them out, we also check and trim their toes if necessary. My job is to hold and Smitty does the trimming. We never know who is going to be nice and who doesn't think it's a good idea for that day. Ah, Boris, Sonata, and Celeste will need to be finished tomorrow.

Daughter Terre and I had a wonderful time visiting son, Rob, in Pennsylvania. This is a picture of him in one of his labs at Scranton. He is showing us birds that some of his students had stuffed. Is so hard for me to think of him as Dr. Smith. Hopefully, he will be able to come home for a while this summer.
I had totally forgotten how mountainous and beautiful Pennsylvania is. My biggest joy was looking down into the green valleys at the beautiful farms.

I'm convinced now that spinning has become an addiction for me. Within 20 minutes of getting home, I was on my wheel. Spun up a really nice combination of three alpacas and a Shetland sheep. One of the alpacas, Weatherby, is a little white, very friendly Suri. Suris have long silk like locks unlike the fuzzy, crimpy Huacayas.