Thursday, December 31, 2009

Yarns, Barn, and Hats

I am starting to list more of my yarns and patterns on etsy. I am also in the process of designing a website for my own products, so people will not have to go to other places to find them.
In response to an order for a hat, I designed four to give him options. He chose the one at the top left. All were knitted out of the same skein of yarn, so you can see the natural color variations in a Shetland fleece. I will be listing the patterns for sale on etsy as they are completed. Two have elastic bands. I find that the elastic works really well because the hats stay on.

I had this hat started before the Shetland Hats, but had to spin more yarn to finish it. Above is a close up of the hat and below is the finished hat. It is very similar to a hat I made during the 4th Avenue Street fair, but it has a larger elastic band and different novelties.

Funky yarns are in. I have started knitting a few of them to satisfy the non-knitters. It is amazing what can result from 23 yards on a size 17 needle. It does fit a real person.

I will post photos of the finished barn tomorrow. This was the way it looked on Monday. The doors and roof are now on. We have asked the builder to add 4 foot high panels on the inside of the stalls. I can just see the sheep butting the walls and them all popping off. The builder said he would replace them for free, but I would rather prevent it.
In order to give the barn builders freedom to come and go from the arena, we closed the geese up in their original area very close to the house. One day last week, I suggested that we move them to the old duck area. Marc proceeded to try to close them up in their area, so he could catch and carry them to the new area. I laughed and asked why he was not just herding them. They move away as we spread arms out and make ourselves look big. I refuse to pick one up. It hurts when they bite! Took two minutes to move them to their new home and they are happy. They now have a permanent concrete pond.

See the hole in the shed? The ram below has been busy getting into trouble. Below he is nibbling on a tree that Marc planted this fall. I will know that Marc has read this blog, when he mentions this to me!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Barn, hats, and etsy

The sheep are eagerly waiting for the new barn to be finished. They are not excited about being exiled to the farthest end of the arena.
To give you a perspective on the size of the arena, I tool a picture of Marc while he was out checking the 6 foot holes.

I finished this hat during the 4th Avenue Street Fair and have another one almost finished that is slightly larger with different novelties. I have listed this hat for sale on etsy. I am using my knitting orders time to add to my online shop. Pictures take a while to load, so knitting works well. I am going to write the patterns for the hats that I have been designing and selling. If you are a knitter and buy a hat yarn from my etsy shop, I will send you the pattern as soon as I have made it look pretty!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thanksgiving and our new barn

Thanksgiving is getting quite comfortable running around the fenced in area. She is now checking out the goats and she follows me as I feed, while her mother hangs out at the front gate - eating and hoping that I am going to let her rejoin the herd. I have decided to keep them in, so I can keep handling Thanksgiving and keep her tame.
My shop was back up on Monday. I rearranged again. It gives me a new perspective and some of the changes were a result of questions at the 4th Avenue. Everyone was looking for the larger skeins this time, so I have put the 300 yard skeins in one area and the 500 yards plus in another. I have a lot more of the larger skeins than I thought.
I am currently spinning skeins with beads and skeins with elastic. I am now a dealer for Rainbow Elastic and have the complete 48 set available in the shop. I am spinning yarn for hats and love how the elastic behaves as a core for the band of a hat. I plan to try it out on a woven scarf next.
The last issue of Handwoven had an article on using elastic thread. I think the yarn will be very interesting in a scarf. I have designed two hats and plan on publishing the patterns.
The other exciting news is that our barn is finally going up. All of the permits are in and 6 foot holes for the foundation were dug yesterday. The inspector approved them today, so the frame work is now going up. It should be finished by the holidays.

This photo was taken yesterday before the barn started going up. The arena looked huge! I lured the sheep to the back pen by dragging the feed wagon to the area. Good thing the builder called early. I did not feed the sheep first like I usually do and I waited long enough that they were desperate. The only sheep that would not go in was the ram. He is smart! I had to have Kyle catch him for me later in the afternoon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

4th Avenue Street and Southwestern Shawl

This is my southwestern shawl. I was hoping that the detail would be more obvious. I will have to take close ups tomorrow

I took a bunch of booth photos when there was a break in the crowd, but it was already too dark, so I took a close up of a few sections of my booth.
Thanks to all who stopped by and said "hi!" I am always surprised at how many people have met me. I discovered that I am now known as the "goat" or "yarn"lady. You can guess which age group refers to me as which lady!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

4th Avenue Street Fair

The shop is packed and my booth is set up on 4th Avenue. It seemed like more work this time. I am in booth number 347 between 7th and 8th Street on the west side. I am directly across from the Fire station and a ways north of where I was last time. Come visit, if you have time.

A photo of me taken at Tohono Chul was in the northwest section of the Arizona Daily Star today. It is among the additional smaller 5 shown on the online version, but a much larger one was in the paper. Kind of cool to see myself in my new vest spinning - and the angle was actually decent. I beat out the animals this time. Usually the photographer loves them and their publisher goes for the animal shots.

My stuff is hidden by all of the people at the back of the picture.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tohono Chul

Ruby (charcoal kid) and Patagonia (red kid) were a definite hit at Tohono Chul. They were very well behaved and by the end of the last night, they were exhausted. They have never had so much petting. It is always fun to have visitors to the ranch, because they get to see the whole herd. I think Ruby and Patagonia did an outstanding job of representing the ranch.
Ruby is by far the best ambassador that I have had for the ranch. I was not surprised that many people did not know that they were angora goats and not sheep. Hopefully, a lot of the visitors will come out and see the wide variety of sheep breeds that I own - and maybe they will be able to pick out a llama from an alpaca!
My shop is back up and I am working on another hat using the skein of yarn that was a single that I plied to elastic thread. I am going to have to order more elastic. I can already envision a line of singles with matching elastic yarns to with with it. I am making this hat a little larger. The elastic is very easy to knit with and looks like normal yarn. Sure beats weaving in an elastic thread while knitting.
My circular shawl is now 16 inches in diameter. I am now designing 10 to 12 rows ahead, since I have figured out how lace works and know what I want to do. I could get addicted to lace also!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Playing around

I designed the hat above in order to knit something with the elastic thread that I spun up. It made a perfect band for my hat and I have spun more up to play with. The single that I knit the top portion of the hat with is not a total match, so the hat might end up in the dye pot. It fits my head.
This is what the skein below looked like on the swift. You could not see the elastic and it looked like a normal skein of yarn. It was cool to see it kink up. The kid mohair softened up amazingly.

I have the shop half packed for Tohono Chul. Marc just got home from the east coast, so he will be able to help me load on this end. The Holiday nights is from 5:30-8:30 tonight and tomorrow night - hope to see a few of you there.