Monday, July 26, 2010

New design

I am tired of cleaning and reorganizing. This is my fiber room and it is stuffed. There is enough room to walk around the 3 racks in the middle of the room. All of this fiber is washed, some dyed and some carded into roving. If you are a spinner and want large batches of fiber, please email to set up an appointment.
It seems like I always come up with a new shawl design when I am planning on visiting Kristie. She would never wear one, but I think of all of the time on the plane and how much I can get done. This one might be finished before I leave, since the design has been established, so it has become mindless. Of course, I could get bored and then have to take it to finish it. I was intrigued by a few patterns that I saw that seemed to have ripples in the design.
Some of the Shetland rams for sale. Only the ones with perfect horns get to be sold to breeders. I am no longer registering the Shetlands.

We have had awesome looking skies this month, but no rain. The clouds travel around us all of the time. I have told Marc that God is waiting for him to quit complaining. 50% chance of rain and we got a few sprinkles. I am so glad that we are on a well. Each of the animal areas have swimming pools and they are emptying them more than twice a day. They have automatic waterers, but the water in those does not stay as cool.

Monday, July 19, 2010


The goats recognize any plastic bag as having a treat in it. This is the only way that Marc is able to get really close to the animals. They know that there is not a lot in the bag, so they have to hurry, if they want any.
It rained two nights ago, so I went out to take photos of the animals. Their fleeces are so much curlier and springy looking, when they have been wet. We have only had one 20 minute rain spell. This monsoon has been pretty sad in terms of rain.

I have listed that I am selling sheep and goats on craigslist. I have put a sampling here to be looked at, since I am not going to send individual photos out. Takes too much time and they are NOT going to pose. Anyone who is really serious is going to come to the ranch to see them close up.

Almost all of the white kids have fleeces that look like this. This is a close up of the buck in the photo above.

Most black angora goats are born black, but their colors change by the time they are two months old. The one on the left has kept a very dark fleece. He is one of Shake's brothers. The buck on the right is now silver. A sliver of the fleece of a white buck on the right side is so white, that it does not really show up.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Beginning and Ending with Rattlesnakes

The doe that had been bit by a rattlesnake died yesterday morning. I was hoping that she would make it, since she kept eating up until Thursday. The venom caught up to her. She had gorgeous hair. I have already sold one of her bucks and will plan on keeping one. She had triplets and was going to be one of the ones I kept.

Last night I came back from bottle feeding the baby goats and started walking along the porch to go lock the dogs up for the night. It was pitch black out there, so I turned my flashlight on as soon as I heard something slithering next to me. I thought it might have been the Gila monster, but it turns out that it was a 4 1/2 foot rattlesnake. With the light of the flashlight and the camera light, it looks like daylight. I was hoping to catch his rattles. He had at least 7. It was one of the largest that I have seen in years. I woke up several times during the night thinking about it. No trace of it this morning. I plan to take all of the fleeces outside and get them on racks today. I closed the workshop doors last night and plan to keep on closing them!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Small Town and Uniqueness

I did not mention it after the wool festival, but I had two skeins of kid mohair that were stolen. I was sick about it and prayed that the thief did not profit. This past weekend, one of my friends found them selling at a yard sale for $5 each. They were huge skeins 281 yards and 300 yards weighing 4.4 and 4.8 ounces. Total value was $155 and a week of work, never mind the cost of feeding the animals to raise it. My friend had written to tell me that she had found a "steal" and she recognized them immediately as mine and said they must not have known what they had to be selling it so cheap. I am sure that their conscience was bothering them. They were indeed a "steal."

I have learned a few things from this.

Tucson is a small town and what you do can come back to haunt you. Whoever stole the yarn was never going to be able to use it here in Tucson, because most knitters and crocheters recognize my yarns at first sight. No matter how hard other fiber artists try, they are never going to be able to duplicate my process. I am a freeform artist and my yarns are produced in the same manner. I am not afraid of competition! So, anyone using my yarns or buying any of my finished goods is sure to get noticed.

I have been photographing my yarns for quite a while and these two had been listed on my eshop, so I did not have to look around to discover the cost, yardage, etc. I have listed them here for my friend's use. I don't want it back, because I have already written them off and I would just feel sick again, if I had to look at them. It is nice that she recognized them and was willing to send me a photo. Now I have "the rest of the story" and can truly let it go.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This was the last necklace for my personal "Project Runway." Shipped and paid for!
The mom with mastitis can no longer be bred nor can she feed her does. They have become very tame and have very distinct personalities. The blue eyed one sits with Chinless watching for me. The brown eyed one hangs with her mother, but comes running when she sees me approach. Both should have gorgeous hair, since their mother's is the best of the reds right now.

It is easier to feed the twins than it is to feed Chinless. She has a hard time latching on to the bottle and then pushes too hard. She dances around like a ballerina on her back legs.

I am busy washing fleeces and creating a stash room for spinners and felters. Marc says he won't call it that. He says Fiber Room is better. It is almost stuffed. Will post a photo soon. We bought lights for the room this past Saturday. We also bought ceiling fans for the workshop area. I want to start using the looms out there and it is too hot not to have more air flowing.
The yarn above is some that I have spun from the Woolly Knobs batch that came 2 years after being sent. As I was cleaning out the workshop and moving fleeces, I came across some fleeces that were lovely in terms of color, but were rug yarn to the touch. I am currently finishing up the current project on my large loom, so I can tie on a warp for rugs.
I carded some seconds of three different alpaca fleeces for a friend. One was a Huacaya and the other two were Suri. I coiled the yarn and got surprised by how poorly the Suri coiled. Since I was looking for texture, I am happy with the way it is turning out. Usually I say to go with an 11 needle or higher with coiled yarns, but it looks much better with a 10.5.

One of my does was bit by a snake last Saturday. It might have been a dry bite or the goats might be more resistant to snake venom. When I found her, she was drooling and it looked like she had caught her face on the wire from the fence. Once the antibiotics kicked in and the swelling went down, I could clearly see the snake puncture marks. She is doing well and should recover.
There does not seem to be a dull moment around here. Found a kid (goat) outside the fence yesterday in an area where the coyotes hang out. I spent half hour trying to catch her with no luck. She kept getting under the mesquite and ironwood trees where I could not reach her. My shirt became history and I got aggravated. I went back into the pen area, caught the mom and dragged her around to the kid. The kid was perfectly willing to follow her mother, but I had to drag the mother all of the way back. Since it was over 100 and not a cloud in sight, I felt like I had been in an oven. Most goats know how to get back in where they came out. This kid is a dummy. She cried the whole time!