Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feed bill

Amazing that my feed has gone up $400 in the past three months and I am getting the same 100 bags. It is really surprising since the rabbit pellets that are made out of the same type of hay have not changed price. I thought about posting my bill! From my friends on different yahoo lists, I am hearing that it is no better where they are and many of them are auctioning off their animals. Those with pasture in the summer dread the winter hay bill. Of course, I have no pasture, so I have to dread all of them!

No picture of this sorry state!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Look at what Tor brought me!

Isn't he cute? He needs a name. Tor asked me if I wanted to give an alpaca a home last week. I thought he was talking about a Huacaya alpaca. As soon as I saw the mop on this guy, I wondered. Turns out to be a Suri alpaca from Illinois. He needs a name! Suggestions please. It is a desert tree or flower year, so that is my only requirement. Of course, it can't be one that I have already used. I have not named a lot of them this year, since I am going to have to sell a bunch of the wethers. This guy is three years old and an intact male. He is not registered, but I am in the business for fiber, so will breed him to Jennifer (or vice versa?) in late December or January. He is very docile and walked easily on a lead. I might keep doing it to keep him tame.
Don't know why they like to leave the hair on the legs and tail.
Went to take out the compost tonight. I ALWAYS use a flashlight. Just missed stepping on this guy. It is a garter snake, so I left him alone and had Marc and Kyle come out to admire him. The brownish spot at the lower left is a hole in the ground. He was obviously waiting for something to pop out of that hole.
Ugly fella!
Here are two of Garnet's Jacobs lambs from this year. the one with his back to us is a wether, since one of his horns is not considered acceptable. I am not registering the Jacobs, but would like to keep the lines clear. His brother has two gorgeous well formed horns. He is still intact and I hope to find a buyer before next spring. Actually I would like to find homes for both, but am sticking with my policy of reasonable prices, since I want to be sure that the new owners can also feed them. No bargain basement prices. The wether is $100, the ram is $150.
Kyle's ducklings are almost as big as the duck that sat on the nest. She obviously was promiscuous, because every one of the babies is a different color - matching one of the drakes!
On Friday I taught my freeform spinning class. We had just gotten to the coiling and it was an instant hit.
My latest batch of yarns, piled up ready for pricing. I pulled the blue one that is at the lower left to knit up into a scarf. It is a funky yarn and I figured I better try it out before spinning a lot more of it up.
This is the yarn, mentioned above, knitted up. I always recommend garter stitch for handspuns and especially for the ones with texture. I might end up freeforming the two ends to make the scarf long enough.
I do believe I am almost caught up again. I have started designing another crochet shawl. I will probably just make it large enough to be a decorative collar, since the skein of yarn was a sample. I should not do that!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If you are following along

This is the third entry that I am making today, so you might want to go back a few posts, if you are keeping track of all of it. The website for blogger seems to be bogged down at my usual time, so I am shifting to a mid afternoon entry.

Above is a portion of the roving that I got in yesterday from Ashland Bay. I carry it for needlefelters and beginning spinners. I also blend it in with my mohair to create colors when I don't have enough time to dye the fibers myself. Speeds the process up and helps keep my process down. One bag is already gone.

The goats really need haircuts soon.They are catching their hair in their teeth on a regular basis. It has become part of my routine to go out and look for goats with their heads stuck to their chests and with horns stuck in a fence. They have not figured out yet, that their horns go in where they cannot come out. The goats have beautiful locks. I will have a workshop full next month! This is my best shot of the rooster with the bad hair day. Anyone know what kind it is?
I had a customer come in looking for yarn. People usually are drawn to the colors that they are wearing that day. She was specifically looking for a skein to match her shirt. And she found one! It is a lovely shade of pale red and blue mohair with Shetland wool.

Yarn Production

The question I kept getting from the children was "How do you get the colors?" They were impressed that it comes from Koolaid and Wilton's cake icing dye. I had samples of the fiber washed, in its natural color, dyed, carded into batts, needlefelted, wet felted and spun into yarn.
I first demonstrated drop spindling.
Then I showed how to spin on the wheel and explained the differences between the two. They were a lot more fascinated with the spinning process than they were with the animals (except maybe the llamas), which is definitely a first. Budding spinners?

Animal Fascination

A Sartori school group came out yesterday for an animal tour and a brief run through on yarn production. Agave came right up to see what was going on. She does not come looking for a handout, since I rarely have one.
Seconds later, she was surrounded by the children, who all wanted to pet her.
She is a very curious goat and wants to check out everything.
The children did get to feed the llamas and were surprised at how fuzzy the llama's lips were. Jennifer, one of the alpacas, knows now that grain is only available, if she comes up when people come to visit. Geoffrey is not one bit interested in grain and heads in the opposite direction.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tucson is waking up

The summer months are slow in Tucson. Everyone hangs inside with the air running. I am not really an exception. If I did not have the animals to worry about, I would not be outside much myself.
The ladies above are from the Tucson Knitters' Guild, also known as the Old Pueblo Knitters. I gave a presentation there yesterday on freeform knit and crochet. I was excited to see the interest that they displayed. The feedback at the end of the presentation was really positive, which justified all the time that I spent organizing my thoughts and preparing the slides. I learned how to make a power point presentation and I had the president of the guilds' daughter (on the left in the top photo) to thank for it all going well. I get by with the computer, but operator headspace crops up occasionally. Ask me, if you want to know that whole story.

My friend, Holly, helped me assemble two Pioneers yesterday. Here is our combined review:
It is not a pretty or sophisticated looking wheel, but it has the same footman as the Rose and operates just as smoothly as the Rose does. For the price, it is an awesome wheel. I attached the wild flyer and made sure that it would really work with it. Majacraft at one point used to say that the jumbo flyer worked on all of its wheels. It does not work on the Little Gem, so I wanted to be sure. With the addition of the wild flyer, you can do most anything with the Pioneer. Holly has a Lendrum and says the foot action on this wheel is better and with the wild flyer option, is one that she is going to consider as a second wheel. Since the wheel has not been finished, it lends itself to decorating. If I keep one as a rental, I am thinking of hiring someone to paint a few animals on it.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have a pile of yarns sitting on my table to be priced and hung in the shop. I might list a few on etsy. I had a friend come over today to help me with the design of flyers for the wool festival. I could not believe how quickly the time passed! Anyhow, she noticed how slow my computer was, so she set it to defragment.Marc said he thought he had it on a scheduled thing, but based on how long it took, I kind of doubt it. Anyhow, I noticed how pretty the colors looked piled upon each other. Wish I had more time to knit. These would be gone mighty quickly. I love spinning the coiled yarn. Iffy colors and fibers turn out so richly.

Animals caught their heads in fences again. Can't wait for them to be sheared. Talked to Danny, the shearer's wife, and we are still on schedule for October 25th. She is also a spinner and will be bringing fiber from her animals to sell - add Merino and Romney as well as crosses to your spinning fibers. Need to try out a little of everything, if you want to talk knowledgeably about wool! She spins laceweight and will have some interesting novelty yarns. She can't access the internet to upload pictures, so I will scan hers in when they arrive.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Productive day

I am putting the final touches on my freeform presentation for the knitters guild. The above item was photographed in various stages, so they could see how a project develops.
I finished this scarf. I was going to square off the edges, until I tried it on and saw how they curved in a natural funky manner. The flash on my camera did not seem to catch the colors well, so I am going to take more pictures tomorrow. I want to put it on ravelry.com as a finished project.
Another way to wear it.
Some one emailed me about the color of one of the yarns that I listed on etsy. I put it down as green and it shows up as turquoise. I used an evergreen kid mohair with natural black (charcoal) mohair. Something about the two colors together gives it a different appearance. I think the color shifts with the lighting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kristie's wedding and other news

These are the only pictures that I will post of Kristie's wedding on my blog. I will put others on flickr, when I get around to it. I have presentations to prepare, flyers for the Wool Festival and publicity to organize, so it might be a while.
Kyle looks like a Bond - told him it had to be 008, because previous ones are dead. He dresses up nicely!
The little chicken -I am thinking maybe a quail - laid her first egg this morning. I will be interested to see how much yolk their is in such a tiny egg. Hope they get bigger, but could be painful for her!

In other news, I had 6 of the older goats tested for CAE, when the vet came out for No Size. I had Holly, the dairy goat, tested also. The good news is that none of them have it. He said that I tested a large enough sample of the goats to be able to say that none of my goats have it. None have ever showed signs, but it is nice to be sure. So, if you bought goats from me in the past, you can be sure that they were CAE free when they left here. The disease does not tend to run in angora goats but people, who have both dairy and angoras, could have it show up in their herds.

Monday, September 8, 2008

No Size

No picture for this, since it would be depressing. The vet came out today and confirmed that No Size does have a spinal cord injury. We are going to put him out of his misery. Chances of him recovering are pretty slim. He has been an awesome herd sire and I am so glad that he has given me gorgeous offspring to carry on his line. I will probably talk about him forever - he was such a bargain and so good.

Someone mentioned that his problem could be disease related. I did not think so, but it stayed in the back of my mind because I did not want other animals to become infected. The vet said that my animals look very healthy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Freeform and weaving

The freeform bag I began last week is almost finished. A friend stopped in today and suggested that I use the brass buttons I had for embellishment. As soon as she did, I figured out how I was going to finish it.
This is the second side. It needs more work and a few extra pieces along the top.
I had started winding a warp for bags and possible scarves, so a Coldplay and two Josh Turner CDs later, I had the warp tied on at the bag and pulled through the heddles and half of the reed. Will finish up in the morning. I decided to go with a more interesting tie-up than the plain weave, since I put 12 yards on. I figured I would weave bags that can be embellished with freeform, if the weft is not as nice as I expect it to be.

I have washed and dyed yarn that I am going to put on a loom that I moved to the workshop (garage!) I am going to make the Lindsay Tartan. I am trying to duplicate the colors from a book that I saw years ago. The online colors seem close enough, but I think I am going to end up taking liberty with them, since I have come up with a combination that I really like. Will post photos of that tomorrow. I have a 12 yard cotton warp on that loom from the previous owner, which I am going to cut off. After 2 1/2 years, I can tell I am never going to use it, because I prefer handspun and a more interesting design!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The diggingest rabbits

Don't know, if any of you remember reading or reading to your kids the Dr. Seuss book about the dog that kept digging. Anyhow, I have two rabbits that showed up that dog today! They managed to dig a burrow at least 15 feet long, that went under the entire rabbit pen and out the far side. I know it, because I found them wandering around outside the rabbit and chicken pen. They were happy, but not for long. Marc and I caught them and they are officially back in cages. If we had not noticed (we would have), they would have been someone's dinner. Had to throw the youngest chickens out with the adult chickens, so a rabbit could go in a cage. Marc says I should let them run around in the day. I am not sure that I will for a while. The ground is nicely dug up and soft. Won't keep them in for long.

No pictures - I was too busy catching.