Friday, November 28, 2008

SpinOff Magazine

There was a write up by a local guild member on the different fiber related businesses/breeders/artists in the southwestern Arizona area. I got my magazine this afternoon and was saving it for later and did not even open it, until Linda, a friend in Washington state, mentioned that she saw the photo of my yarn, thought of me, and realized from the write up that it was mine. Glad she did mention it. It would have gotten buried in a pile, since I am on a spinning binge. I am really excited about it. I will have to buy my friend, Tor, a copy, since he was also listed and had a photo in the article. I hauled the Tucson guild out there the other year to check out his Rambouillet's. The photo was taken by a guild member that day. He will probably laugh about it, but I think it is rather cool.

I have felting in the morning and am too excited to sleep. I can't go spin - then I will start watching another series on and never get to bed!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Current projects

I designed this hat during the crochet tune up class last Friday. I wrote the pattern and decided to create a scarf to go with it. Since I ran out of yarn, I sewed the ends together to make a mock moebius. Not even 24 inches of yarn left! I will be writing out the pattern and selling it and the finished items on etsy. They are great beginner projects.
I have almost finished the red, orange, and black shawl. Hope to get it done before Saturday. In the meantime, I have started spinning for another shawl, that I hope to have started, if not finished by the 4th Avenue Street Fair. I have to have something that shows how the yarn can be worked up. I am using all natural colors of wool, mohair and llamas. I plan to name it for something southwestern, since the motifs follow that theme. I might call it something to do with Kokopelli, since one of the buttons is a black one. I will sleep on it.
Parley could be pregnant, since her teats are larger and her attitude is nastier. What I have read online says that the milk comes in after delivery. I think that might not always be the case.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Animal Curiosities

I brought the bunnies over to the workshop to pluck with a friend and decided to keep two of them over here for a while. They love to sit in the corn cobs. Cadbury (the male on the right) is pretty tame. I put them together to breed on Saturday and am writing this to keep track of the dates. Parsley, my French angora rabbit is still over with the chickens in a pen. She has teats. I suspect that she has already had the babies and something happened to them. She has never had babies before and she is 4 years old, so I don't think that she is still pregnant. I could always be wrong, so I put her in a cage for a while.
Helen and her husband came on Saturday to learn how to drop spindle and to pick up the shawl that she won from the raffle at the Tucson Wool Festival. I was relieved to discover that she was not tall or big - we ran out of yarn, so I had to call it quits! They are her colors and she promises that she will wear it. It looks good on her.

This Jacob ram is turning out to be as destructive as his father. If he were not so stunning, he would be gone. He does the prancing that the llamas do, when he sees me coming with dinner. Too funny. Wish I could catch him in mid air. Once I get close enough for a photo, he usually quits. Digital cameras have too much of a lag time.
Hazelnut and Poppy are the tamest of the Shetland ewes in the arena. They are hungry enough when I come out that they meet me at the gate. They have lovely fleeces.
The red, orange, and black shawl is 3/4 of the way done. It is spectacular. I had to spin another skein and I will be back on it again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


My company, B-4-2, at Ft. Gordon, Georgia in 1982.
A student from the University of Arizona has been interviewing me for a school project. Today we went looking for pictures of me from when I was in the military. I cannot believe that this was almost 30 years ago! It seems like only a short while ago. I was giving up command of a signal company and scheduled to attend the Signal Officer Advanced Course (SOAC) in the Army. I met Marc in that course just a month later. We were married three months later.

It is interesting how different experiences in life prepare you for things that you end up doing later. I had a company of 500 Army students studying all sorts of telecommunications equipment. Besides learning how to manage people and supervise four barracks (great preparation for running an apartment complex - which I have never take advantage of!), I learned how to talk to large groups. Someone asked me a few nights ago whether I would be nervous speaking for the Tucson Handweavers and Spinners guild on Wednesday. Since I have done lots of public speaking and on subjects that I dearly love, it is not as hard as one would think. The only time I worry is when I know that the audience is critical or unfriendly. I am always prepared for technical difficulties - computers do have gremlins and always know when you NEED them to work. I can always talk with a skein of yarn in hand!
Now I am thinking of digging out more old pictures to share. My kids never believe my stories of my time in the Army. I always tell people that the rules and regulations that I was forced to follow then turned me into the freeform rebel that I am now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Midnight Cowboy Novelty Yarn

I posted on November 6, the fiber and novelties for a yarn that has already been in the shop two weeks. This is a southwestern skein with cowboy and horse motifs. I listed it on etsy, since someone at the Tucson Celtic festival was interested in seeing one.

I am 3/4 of the way done with the Red, Orange, and Black Freeform Shawl. It is turning out to be gorgeous. I will post pictures as soon as it is finished. I plan to start another before the 4th Avenue Street Fair. It will be in shades of brown with southwestern motifs. I have already designed it in my head. Now comes the tough part - execution!

Things are always happening around here. Last week we had a pipe burst out in the animal area - so my time was eaten up by hauling a hose around to fill buckets, which the animals then proceeded to dump. Not too bright, if you ask me. I also had Agave's mother break a horn while her head was stuck in the fence of a male pen. She was looking for love in all of the wrong places and the guys let her know! She is on the mend, but needed to get locked up till she has healed.

You can also tell that the temperatures have cooled - the animals are eating way more than last month.

Tucson Wool Festival Freeform Shawl

The interesting thing about this shawl is that it has what I call a summer side and another that is a winter side. Depending on how it is worn, you are set for the season. Helen will be picking up the shawl on the 22nd of November. The above is the fall/winter side.
This is the spring/summer side.
The spring side again.
The spinning group, that meets here on the first and third Saturday of the month, have agreed to make a new item to raffle off next year. We are staying with the freeform theme and will be making a lap blanket. We will keep you posted on its progress. The idea is to have the blanket ready to show off when we start publicity for the festival next year. During the festival itself, our demonstration will be the raffle item for the following year.
This year's fiber is going to include Rambouillet, Merino and mohair. It is going to be in natural colors, in hopes of appealing to guys as well as gals.
If you are a spinner, knitter, crocheter, weaver, or any other type of do-er, that would like to contribute to the shawl in some way, try to attend one of the Saturday meetings. I am donating the fiber and the first batches will be distributed on December 6, 2008.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New projects

The above is the batch of stash that I grabbed for a new freeform yarn. I have already spun the main skein skein and have started on a skein to complement it. The gray mohair is the Badger Doe's first fleece. It i really soft and gave me some gorgeous shades with the black and copper. This is the freeform shawl that I started two weeks ago. I now have an incentive to finish it quickly. Someone bought it today and trusted me enough to give me a deposit for it. I was so excited that I worked three hours on it this evening. I still have the raffle shawl to finish, so I will be splitting my time between them and spinning. Have to restock my pegs to stay within my comfort zone.

The Freeform group met this afternoon. The group is growing and getting more adventuresome. I heard that Prudence Mapstone is going to be in Phoenix in January. She is giving a one day class on Freeform. Anyone who is interested, should check it out.

The Open Studio Tours is this weekend, so I will sit in the workshop AKA garage and knit. A few friends are going to come and keep me company. It is always more fun to have others to hang out with me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tucson Celtic Festival

The above is a shot of my booth. Instead of the traditional 10x10 foot space, we were given 25x25 feet. It was great to be able to spread out.
From left: Shannon, Holly, and Alan are posing with the Headless Wonder. She is wearing the freeform shawl that we raffled off at the Tucson Wool Festival. I still have a little more embellishing to do.
I tried to do my share of demonstrating, since I had been asked to do it for the festival. The loom is warped with the Lindsay tartan. I have taken artistic license and used more subtle shades of the colors, since I don't like bold reds. Alan was demonstrating the drum carder. People were really interested in the process of creating fiber. We taught several people to drop spindle and hope they will come join us at the ranch for the spin ins. The group is really friendly.
An entry about the Celtic festival needs to include at least one photo of the bagpipe! I have to admit that the bagpipe music was lovely, but I liked it best when the drummers were included. There is just something about that beat.

Another view of the demonstrators. Caroline is on the wheel. Shannon was in traditional garb - which she gave up after a few hours. It was too hot. Holly gave me the evil eye, because I interrupted her count.