Thursday, January 31, 2008

Expanded shop hours

Things have gotten busy around here, so I am expanding my shop hours to include Monday-Wednesday, as well as what was already scheduled. The exception will be the THSG guild Wednesdays. (February 27th, 2008) Got to go to that to remain inspired!

Decided I needed to sit down and spin, despite the real need to make batts. Sold a couple of pounds today to different customers, and I really need different colors. The brightest just went, so back to the dyepot I go!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Officially a farmer

You know that you are officially a farmer, when you get an official census in the mail. It was scary at first. A total of 24 pages to fill in and a lot of it more personal than I want to put in a form for others to read. I had to think about it for a few weeks, but the deadline for mailing is almost upon me, so I got it done tonight. Marc had to provide some of the info, since I don't do the number stuff, if I can help it!

Anyone else get one?

Polly's purse

Polly felted a gorgeous purse and then used coiled yarn in matching shades to create a strap and tassle closure. A work of art!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Monet, Felting, and Lambs

I am currently back on the novelty yarn kick. It is so much more fun to just kind of do a little of this and a little of that. I am spinning a series that I am naming "Monet" because it reminds me of his waterlilies series. I don't think blues, greens, and yellows are in, but my customers don't seem to care!
New felters hard at work. Lots of lovely purses and bowls. One lady has already sent me a photo of her purse completed with strap and a tassle. Gorgeous. I am waiting for her permission to post it here.
You can't see their work because the netting is covering it, or the sun washes the color out from a distance. The weather was gorgeous for felting. Not too hot and not raining. We are supposed to get some and I was really glad that it held off, so we did not have to work in the garage. The garage is going to be enclosed with glass doors, so we can use it year round. Our land hunting has been put on hold due to lack of properties without issues that are also scenic
I asked one of my visitors today to help me name the lamb. I have decided to use desert flowers and trees as my theme this year. The little girl feeding him settled on Desert Rose. We will call him Desert. He has settled in and comes running when he hears me, looking for the bottle. He is all legs!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tor's baby

While at the TH&SG meeting today, I got a call from Tor. He is going out of town and he had a mom with triplets. He asked me, if I would like a bottle ram. I could not say "no", so I stopped by his place on my way home and picked up the lamb. He is cute, but very loud. He quiets down, when the other sheep are nearby or I hold him. Like all babies, he likes to have something around him. I would let him out, but then might not be able to catch him in order to feed him. Once I know he will come for the bottle, he will get free run.
Now I am going to have to think up my theme for names. It has to be something that I know a lot about and can REMEMBER! I also checked out his baby angora goat kids. They are so cute! Can't wait for mine to start delivering. They are at least a month out, except for the Jacobs' ewe.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mystery thing = hat and a scumble

This is the hat that I created using a freeform technique. It turned out really well and, depending on which end you gather, can be a small or medium.
While teaching the freeform class yesterday, I came up with an idea for a way to start using some of the millspun that I got back last week. By mistake, I came up with a new stitch that I can use to create little flowers as I am knitting. No ends to weave in, if I spin a yarn that has the right spots in it. I have white kid mohair and some lace weight to spin for the green crochet shawl pattern before I can start experimenting with the new yarn. Too many ideas and not enough time!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The mystery thing

I have finally decided what the mystery thing needs to be: a hat! It was so cold when I went out to feed the animals, the only thing I wanted to do was knit a hat. Since my mystery thing was started and needed to be finished, I pulled it out. I have about half hour to knit and one more pattern to put in it. I will wear it in the morning. If you read this and want the complete pattern for free, email me within the next week. I plan to publish it for sale after that. I will post a finished picture in the morning.
I have come to the conclusion that I need to design patterns. They will sell on etsy. Yarns ought to, but will probably only start to sell after people visit and touch my yarns. Guess there is a place for everything.
Felting is still really popular. I am trying to finish my southwestern Monet. I am making progress and should have been working on it instead of my hat, but I NEED to be warm!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Animals love to pose!

This is Absinthe's baby from last year. Mini can no longer see without having to throw her hair back. She has the second loveliest fleece. Saffron's doe beats her out by just a little. They will get sheared about March 15th.
This is Absinthe. She is the happiest to be out of the pens. She and her daughter still hang out together. Now her fleece is rug yarn, but she is a keeper due to her lovely disposition and babies. She will stand still for kids to pet. What more can you ask for?
This is one of Barbara's kids from last year. Now she does NOT like being separated from the does and bucks. She is pretty close to delivery, so I want her free to roam.
My friend, Rosey, named this goat, Crystal. We are still calling her Texas Doe. She is most definitely pregnant. She reminds me of a bear. She is the most skittish doe, but warming up to me finally. She will now eat grain out of my hand.She has learned that she can't get it any other way.
Habanera, Barbara and Cocoa are roaming everywhere. Barbara has been reminding all of the goats that she is the boss. She went around attacking each of the pens. The only goat that we have had longer is Holly, the dairy goat. Barbara and Holly still head butt, but they are also friends.

I don't really need any more fleeces right now, but after sitting out on a tire and watching them for a while today, I am itching to get a few of them sheared!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Total uproar

My friend, Tor, came and trimmed hooves and helped me put eartags in the kids that I missed last fall. I have not bothered with the wethers, since they are not going to be bred. As we went through the pens, we checked for udders and other signs that baby season is approaching. A lot of the young ones might not have bred this year. Some are getting pretty close, but can't be here before March based on when they went in with the bucks. I let the obviously pregnant ones out, so they will have more room to roam - and I will have less raking? Several of the released ones ran over to the far out pasture fence and started whacking horns with the does in that area. Talk about a racket. Some of the younger ones wanted to go back into the pen that I threw them out of. Barbara and one of her daughters were out and showed no interest in each other. Absinthe and her daughter were instantly back together again. Funny! I will get photos tomorrow.

I have the shearer scheduled to come out on the following dates, if you want to mark your calendars:

Feb 6 (don't come before noon)
March 15: Coincides with my celebrating 4 years in business. Unadvertised specials and shearing.

October 23-25 Fall Shearing and the wool festival on the 25th.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


This is one of two skeins that I just spun. They are singles that are pretty close to lace weight. I made them to go with the green crochet pattern that I wrote last summer.
This is the batt for the yarn above.

This is a close up of the two yarns wrapped around each other. The color looks really subdued on my screen, but they are muc more vivid in life. I would crochet them up myself, but I have a few other designs in my head that need to get in yarn, so I will put these in the shop. Kid mohair and Shetland lamb. My favorite combination.

Fleeces and more animals

This is a close up of the fleece of the 3/4 Shetland in the last picture of the last post. Can't seem to get more than 5 photos to post at a time. 3 inches of his wool are brown and the inch and a half closest to his body has turned grey. Lovely coloring. Dove (white) and Reeses were the two wethers in that photo.
This is Mole'. His wool is growing slower than the others, but it is lovely. There are spots of grey with touches of black and a shade of brown in areas. I have loved looking at the fleeces this year. Lots more colors than I thought. All of the parents are cream or white with touches of grey. Funny how different they all turn out. Have I mentioned that all but two were born pure black? They have all changed in some way.
These are more of the wethers.
The does on the left is Saffron's kid doe that I kept. She has the loveliest hair. This is Peaches' kid doe in with her.
These two wethers are brothers. I was amazed when the one in the back was sheared in October. I was sure he was going to be pure black. Turns out that only the outer inch and a half was. His fleece is spun or sold. I am thinking that his brother has black all of the way through, since it was when I looked not too long ago, but I could be wrong.

I am not sure that all of the does and ewes got pregnant this year. It has been really warm this winter. I am fairly certain that the ewes that were in with the Cormo did not get pregnant. They seem to fuss periodically. I would put them with a Shetland ram, but it is kind of late in the season and I am limited on animals that I can keep anyhow.

Watching the animals

As I walked out to feed this evening, I found all of the llamas and alpacas waiting for me.
Can you tell which is the llama and which is the alpaca?
Jennifer has settled in and does not mind the sheep at all. Geoffrey still keeps his distance, but knows that he better get in the gate when the others do or he will have to wait till I am done feeding.
These are Mounds and Musketeer. They are Rambouillet/Columbia crosses and they sound the alarm when they see me coming. They have bottomless pits for stomachs.
These two wethers are from the Black Border Leicester/Shetland cross ewe. The are 3/4 Shetland and have the best wool of the bunch. They are really friendly when it is dinnertime. They know that I only feed the pellets to the animals in pens for breeding, so they grab what they can. They let me check out their wool and I can play with their noses. Some of the others do also, but these are the most persistent. They would make great pets. They are for sale - I can't send them to auction.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Photogenic cat?

Charcoal, the studio cat, found a new spot to hang out. I bought a tabletop photo studio, so I could get better pictures for my yarns. The lights are not as good as the flash on my camera, but it does cut off the mess in the rest of the studio. Of course, a box would have worked just as well!
This is the yarn that I spun today from a batt, that I carded last night.The colors really appealed to me: a touch of yellow and red among the blue and purple.It is a mix of kid mohair and wool, coiled over cotton. It is currently in the wash. I am going to list it on my etsy shop.

I have started spinning a green, blue and orange mohair blend with a dirty grey looking Shetland. It is going to wash up a lot nicer, since this was a fleece that I did not clean as thoroughly as I have others. That is why I am spinning it and not selling it as a batt. It looks interesting. I am not sure that I will ply it. Depends on what I feel like after I get it all spun.I must have been happy carding because it is over 11 ounces. I am spinning it laceweight.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New theme, same as the old theme

After looking at art books and considering several ideas, I have come to the conclusion that I have not finished exploring the idea of freeform. I am in the process of designing something (can't tell you what it is) for which I will post the pattern as I design/write the pattern. I am going to post the pattern as I write it and photos the following day (so you have a chance to try it out and see if it works). I am going to call this the "mystery thing." It is going to be all about texture.

Choose a yarn that is suitable for both male and female. It should be about worsted weight. You should have about 500 yards. It can be one color or at least 7 colors. It should also be something that could felt, if I decide to felt the end product.

This is the yarn and needles that I have chosen: Needles US 13, Yarn Alpaca/Targhee worsted weight. 500 yards

Notes: The first and last stitch of every row should be knit for best results.
Always cast of/bind off stitches with the right side facing you.
Pick one way to pick up stitches and then be consistent throughout!
You can do the whole thing in one color or change color ever time you pick up stitches.
Always turn your work 90 degrees to the right.

Cast on 9 stitches. Knit 8 rows. Mark the front side.

Bind off 8 stitches. Knit the last stitch and turn work 90 degrees to the right. Pick up 5 stitches along the side.

Pattern 1: Ribbing = 13 rows
Row 1: k2, p2, k2
Row 2: k1, p1, k2, p1, k1.

Cast off 5 stitches and knit the last stitch, turn the work 90 degrees to the right, and pick up 16 stitches = 17 stitches total.

Pattern 2: Double basket weave
Row 1: was the row you picked up and should look like knit stitches.
Row 2: K4, p1,*k3, P1* to end with 4 knits.
Row 3: Knit.
Row 4: Repeat row 2.
Row 5: Knit.
Row 6: K2, p1, *k3, p1* to end with K2.
Row 7: Knit.
Row 8: Repeat row 6.
Repeat rows 1-8, bind off on the next row in knit.

Happy knitting. Let me know, if you decide to try it out, so I can notify you of updates.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New ideas for a new year

This is the shrug that I am remaking. I have done over half of it and hope to finish it by Friday. I have half finished the red crochet shawl and need to get back to it. I wanted to see how the millspun yarn would work up. It is great for traditional knitting - sweaters, scarves, etc., but I think I would get bored with it, even the yarns that I have dyed.

I need to come up with a them name for my babies this year. Any ideas?

I also need to come up with a theme for inspiration this year. Last year it was freeform. I am thinking abstract, but that might be too much like freeform. I could explore geometric shapes, but have not a clue as to how I would relate it to yarns. So, I am thinking...

Happy New Year!

Making progress

I started working on the shoulder shrug that I need as a sample for the pattern that I designed a year ago. It is hard to get motivated to work on it, since it is cream colored and has no pattern. I finally got going on it this evening, after Marc taught me how to use the turntable that converts records to computer files. It was like a trip down memory lane. I have records that are 40 years old and still sound great. I can remember where I lived when I first heard the albums and where I was the last time I listened to them. My favorite one is Roger Whitaker's, The Last Farewell. Skyler, our African grey got really excited when the song, Whistle Stop, played. I plan to play that one frequently, so he will learn to whistle it.

I listed a few yarns on etsy, but will replace the photos, once the tabletop photo studio arrives on Thursday or Friday. My camera is good, but it is too hard to get decent photos. I hope to be listing more handspun yarns. I noticed that they are looked at more than the millspun ones.