Sunday, April 29, 2007

Felting purses

Ellen and I made felted purses yesterday. Mine is on the left and hers is on the right. We experimented using a resist inside the bags to create small pockets for keys or a phone. I am really happy to say that we both succeeded. It is one thing to understand the theory, but application does not always follow. It was a relief to see that it was not as hard as I thought it might be. Now I have five bags that need straps and additional embellishment to finish them up. Since my mind is running around with ideas for my loom and the current shawl is going to come off tonight, they are on the back burner. I have decided that they template I created for these backs has turned out to be the best size of any that I have used to date.

Texas Doe finally got a name

She should have bust already in my opinion. This is my Texas doe and she finally got a name, "Crystal." I have been waiting for a week now and nothing has happened yet. She will be the first Texas doe to give birth from No Size. All of my other does have been lovely, but they are a mix of the Texas and the regular line of angora goats. Can't wait to see what she produces.

Goats for sale

Latte's buck, Toffee is now available for sale. He is $350 and the one in the middle with his head turned away. I will try to get a head shot tomorrow. He is gorgeous, but I can't use him. He is related to almost all of the does. If he is not sold by breeding season, I will have to castrate him. It would be a shame, since both of his parents are what I consider to be show quality, as well as lovely hair quality.
These six bucks are out of No Size's dad. A friend is trying to sell them. He ended up with almost all bucks this year. They are all bucks out of the Texas line and have the finest hair that I have ever seen on angora bucks. No Size's last fleece was the equivalent of a second doe fleece, and it was his sixth fleece. I am keeping that guy! I would like to keep the bucks, but they have his parentage and are too close in breeding to mine. If you know anyone who needs a great herd sire, pass this along. They are $350 each. If not sold, I will castrate them and keep them for their fleeces, which would be a total waste!

Time flies

I got bored tonight, so I decided to take a few of the goats for a walk. I figured the oldest moms would be the safest, because their kids would follow them back in. Barbara, Saffron and Habanera seemed to be the most interested in escaping, so they got to go. Habanera's daughter must already be weaned, because she was no where near her mother. She did not get to go!
Some of you might recognize marble, the bottle fed baby from the November wool festival. He has definitely grown, although tells me that he is small compared to the rams born about the same time that he was.
The last picture is of Garnet and her ram, Truffles. They were on the inside looking out. I included this photo, because I am currently finishing a shawl on my loom that includes her wool and the "Doll Hair" buck. It turned out to be a lovely combination.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

More lambs and weaving

Onyx had twin lambs on Monday and sure enough, they were rams. Can't believe how many of them I have had this year. They are 3/4 Shetland and look totally Border Leicester. I don't really care, since I can castrate them and keep them for their fleeces. There does not seem to be much of a demand for the sheep themselves, but the yarn sells very well.

I got excited this past week. Finished goods sold, so I have space for something new. I got motivated on Monday to finish tying on my loom - which has been sitting at the same stage since last October. I started weaving and two hours later realized that I had woven half of a shawl. It is natural colored Shetland and I will name the shawl after Hazelnut, since it is all her fleece. I am always planning my next project as I work, so I decided to blend the Jacob ram's fleece with the kid mohair form the buck that I called "Doll Hair." Lovely stuff. I started spinning it today and have decided that it is gorgeous and might have to be used differently in two shawls. I experimented on a drop spindle with a thick and thin yarn and love the shine that the mohair adds to the wool. That shawl will be called Granite, after the Jacob sheep. The other one will be the Doll Hair. Now I just need to find the time!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The year of the doe and the ram

Seems like all of the goats are producing does and the sheep are producing rams. Good thing I had already decided that I was castrating all of the rams, so I could keep them.

Precious had a doe and a buck on Saturday morning. She was really nice. She did it all before I had to open shop. I am naming them Bitter and Sweet after the Lindt chocolate bars that I bought last night.

Onyx, the black ewe out of Shyly, had twins rams this morning, so now I am in search of another set of names for one black and one white lamb. Onyx was a much better mom than Pearl. Her babies are on her already and she did not struggle to give birth. I have not run her into the shed, since she seems to be doing well on her own. I did lock her in the far out pasture, so the rest of the sheep would give her some space. Nice to have moms give birth easily!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More lessons

Pearl, the white Border Leicester/Shetland cross, had her twins today. She was a first time mom, so I expected problems, but not two lambs that hung in her just long enough that I had to swing them around by their hind legs and then poke my finger down their throats as far as I could to get them breathing. If I had not been there, they would have been dead. Pearl was just standing there looking at the first one. I had to pull the second. An hour and a half later, both are standing and nursing on their own.

Have I mentioned that I now have 9 more to go and only 2 of them are NOT first time moms?

I have not named these two, so any suggestions? The last two rams that were born were named by customers this morning - Hershey and Mars. I have not used those yet, have I?

Got to go update my Baby spreadsheet and check names.

Always learning

Cinnamon had twins (2 more does!) yesterday and I named them Belgian and Swiss after those types of chocolates. I got my inspiration from the bag of chocolate chips that Marc brought me home last night. The store was out of Ghiradelli, so I had to make the switch.

They are doing well. Cinnamon definitely has a pair of lungs on her! She bellowed like crazy, when I dragged her into the shed away from her babies. She would not let them nurse, so I had to get her in the grafting panel. Once she got used to her babies, I moved them to the big shed. It is a lot easier to deal with the moms in that area than in the far out pasture.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Gorgeous Easter

Spring is here! Sorry for those of you who live in colder climates, but the average temperature here during the day is now 85 degrees. I have had to turn the fans on for the bunnies, but most of the goats and sheep seem to be doing well. Emmy and Brillo have their rounds. About noon and 4 P.M. they tend to show up at the front fence. Emmy is sitting where they like to take a dust bath.
This is a current photo of the shop. I try to rearrange the shop on a regular basis and thought I would compare this photo to the one on my website.
I got bored this afternoon, so I felted the blue purse and finished the brown one that I started months ago. I have already decided how I will finish them. Usually I hang them a while before deciding. Both purses required three batts and the insides are totally different. I make make them reversible. Depends on how the embellishments work out.
No Size before and after his haircut on Tuesday. He looks rather pitiful. I moved him to a pen, so I could open up the outer pasture for the rest of the animals. He won't be lonely, since all sorts of kids have been popping in and out of his pen. They are not all his kids either. He is being very tolerant.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Flowers and Shearing

My family should recognize the iris above. It is the first of many that have bloomed outside my kitchen window in the past two weeks. I have been hauling the bulbs every time that we have moved. I had them in my vegetable garden in the arena and Marc moved them to the back yard this past fall. It is lovely to watch the colors start to pop. There used to be rusty colored blossoms, but I think I am getting only blue/purple ones now. Definitely a sign of spring, although I have to admit that it already feels like summer here.

This is No Size,the buck that bred all of my white does this past year. He is awesome. Almost all doe kids this year and he still has gorgeous hair at the age of three. It is the equivalent of a second fleece for most angora goats and I got over 7 pounds of it. It is in the washer right now. Can't wait to try spinning it. Of course, I also have three gorgeous fleeces - a badger, a grey, and a black. So, which will I do first?

Penny was here to shear this past Tuesday and will be back on the 15th of May. You are invited to come and watch. I have three llamas and 10 goats/sheep to be sheared, before I am done till October. Lots of lovely fleeces. Most of the fleeces from Tuesday have been washed. They are for sale, so stop on by. Except the silver and black ones! I am hoarding again.


Rosey is my faithful helper at all of my shows. I am trying to talk her into teaching a needlefelted doll class. Here she is working on a mermaid that she named "Lorelei. " Check out her blog for which I have a link: Rosey's Place. She will be teaching a class here the 14th of April on needlefelting bears, check out the current workshops' page on my website for details.

Been a while

Between preparing for the 4th Avenue street fair and baby deliveries, I have gotten behind in news. Part of me wants deny that it happened by not writing about it, but I have to share the bad news as well as the good.

Baby, my bottle fed baby from last year, died in childbirth, the week before the fair. You don't know how much you will miss someone or some animal till they are gone. Baby's water broke, but she was not having contractions, so after an hour I went in and discovered that the kid was breech. One of my friends checked the kid out, once we managed to get it out, and said that he was pretty sure that the kid had died a day before. I sure wish that we had a vet around for times like this and that they did not charge so much. There was no question of calling in a vet to help. He would never have arrived in time. Since then, my heart has started to race when I know that another mom is about to deliver. Now I know how wrong things can go.

Marc, my husband, had baby watch duty, while I was at the fair, and discovered that Jalapeno had had twin does right as he was getting ready to come pick me up. He and Kyle managed to get them all into a pen in the shed and made sure that the kids drank before he headed out to get me. When he called, I asked him to check the sexes. Too funny, he did not know how. The customer in the booth at the time, Amber, named them Kit and Kat. Rosey decided that the black one looked most like Kat.

Today, Obsidian, a black Shetland ewe had twin rams. I have had a lot more rams than ewes born this year, but that is OK. I will castrate and keep them for their fleeces. I have been really happy with all of their fleeces so far. Most are white or black and some are shades are of grey. The chocolate fleece was coarser than the rest, but it is a great color and will do nicely blended into a different fiber.

I am going to post a lot of pictures in the next posting. From reading this one, you should be able to figure out, what is what.