Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Designs

I finally finished this freeform shawl - just in time for Kristie to model it for me during her visit. It takes a certain amount of "drama" to carry off the unusual designs and I think Kristie has it!
I designed this to be a traditional shawl, but noticed that the center piece worked perfectly to frame my head and be worn as a mantilla or prayer shawl. The pattern will be for sale on my eshop and etsy by this weekend.

The more traditional look.

I have played around with pin weaving and have now finished all three of the pieces that I had started. I wanted to show that each one lent itself to being finished off in a different way. I can't pick one as my favorite. All three are now in the shop. I will schedule a pin weaving class in January, if there is sufficient interest. I am now playing around with texture on my Cranbrook loom.
Pin weaving as a scarf.

Pin weaving as a bag.

Pin weaving as wall art.

Blue beaded yarn.

3.33 pounds of yarn spun over the past week. The blue skein at the front has the beads. The rose and greens have novelties and various singles to go with them. I am currently spinning white - it is a combination of Shetland, kid mohair, and alpaca that might (or not!) remain white.

Monday, September 20, 2010


On Friday, Marc and I went out to do the morning feeding and discovered that a coyote had gotten into the main goat area and killed a silver buck. The coyote could not get it out of the fence, so it ate half of the goat right there among the rest of the goats and left what it did not want. We have had goats and sheep wandering the open area for 7 years and never had a problem. Since the buck, that was killed, is the one I was planning on using as a herd sire next year, I am especially sick. I am playing around with textures on my loom. I had mentioned finding Jane Patrick's book on ideas for weavers. This was my first experiment. Very time consuming to actually make a rug that way, but a very cool effect for a small project. This will probably be a small bag.

This is a variation on Brook's bouquet. I am half done weaving a scarf using this pattern. Yarn size makes a huge difference when you are weaving funky patterns.

Friday was spent putting all of the goats and sheep into pens. I was planning to put a lot of them in pens on Saturday for breeding, but all are now in pens after the coyote incident. The picture of the hole in the top photo is of one of the three holes that a coyote dug during Friday night. We do not think it actually got in, since this hole was the largest and nowhere near as large as the hole from the day before. We have gone around and reinforced all of the fences and the llamas and alpacas are now spending the night inside the area to keep predators out. I am letting the llamas and alpacas out during the day - as long as they come in willing at evening feeding.

The common goat area is very bleak looking with all of the animals penned up. I sheared five sheep this weekend who will be sent to the UA meat lab on the 12th of October. If anyone is interested in lamb/sheep, please let me know at jmarckathy@aol.com, 520-572-3758. There are too many animals in the pens, which I consider unhealthy, so I am scaling back.

I received a special order for spinning and creating something from Eskimo dog hair on Friday. The dog hair is a lot like llama in that it has a short under coat and guard hairs. There was only enough fiber to knit a scarf. It turned out rather nice and can be worn next to the skin, if the person is not sensitive. If you look closely, you can see that it is going to shed for a while.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is Fall Here?

Marc has been planting pieces of our front yard organ pipe cactus in other places as the branches broke. The main plant died this summer, but we have lots of lovely one new ones. They only blossom for one day and I was lucky enough to catch this one as it opened.
I have been playing around with weaving techniques. This is similar rot the southwestern one that I am turning into a ruana. In an escape to Barnes and Nobles on Saturday evening, I found a book by Jane Patrick on weaving ideas. It is written for heddle looms, but can easily be adapted to what I am already doing on my Cranbrook Loom. The book is probably the most interesting one on weaving that I have come across. I can already envision take offs on her ideas.

These are the yarns that I spun last week. I was not as productive, since I had to shear a few animals and finish sorting the ones that went to Michele in Oregon.

I had to do some dyeing this weekend. I had run out of the moss green kid mohair that I love to throw into rovings. I have plenty of the green in the not so nice mohair!

Mounds and my "$500" ram were lured into a pen last evening. I hate restricting their movement, since I think it is healthier for them to be able to run around, but the ram was chasing all of the does who are in heat. It is too hot for that and I could see him injuring one of them. At 3 1.2 months old, he is bigger than they are. He will get weaned this Saturday, when I move his mother, the other Rambouillet and the Merinos to the far out pasture. All of the goats will be sorted for breeding, since the adult bucks are in rut. I am so glad that they do not smell like dairy bucks.
I mentioned Michele above and thought I would share with you what happened when the sheep and goats were delivered to her Saturday night. Only three goats had made it off the truck, when Michele fell and broke a few bones. She is seeing the orthopedist today and is likely to end up in a cast. It was an accident and not the animals' fault, but I feel really bad about it. She has not even been able to go out and check them out. Fortunately, the animals will be on pasture, so it will not be as much of an ordeal to feed them.
Marc is now in a panic about what we would do, if something happened to me. I don't have the luxury of a pasture, so I have to feed twice a day. And, as stupid as the animals have been this summer, they have to be checked on a few times a day to be sure that they have not gotten into trouble. If you know Michele and would like to drop her a line, please email me at jmarckathy@aol.com and I will send you her email address.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Our monsoon is almost over and it has been pitiful. They listed the rainfall totals for the different areas of Tucson and our area has received 1.5 inches, where other parts of Tucson have had 4 to 12 inches. Trees are losing branches and leaves and we just have to watch it happen. My friend, Holly, was here last week and I was joking with her about our lack of rainfall. I mentioned that there is always a blue patch of sky above the ranch while all around you can see nasty thunderclouds. As she was leaving, I looked up and there was our patch of blue, so I had to run back in and get the camera.
We have a flock of black birds hanging out to steal the dogs' food. I thought that this picture was rather cool. There were two birds on the float, but this was the better picture. I love the reflections in the water.

I finished the black, white and grey scarf!

I finished a felted bag..

and, I put the strap on a woven bag from the 15 yard warp. I have decided that Sundays are good for finishing projects, because I can run back tot he main house to use the sewing machine without worrying about leaving the shop unattended.

My most recent yarns spun over the past five days.