Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter's Cria

Caitlin went out to feed this morning while I was getting ready to go to the optometrist and discovered that Winter had had her baby. It was an11 months and five days gestation. I had it on my calendar, so I know for sure. She is a darker chocolate than Winter and still unnamed. I still have not settled on a theme for the year. I did get to see her before running off t my appointment.
I went back out this afternoon to check on the cria. Winter had just bit my hair, so I was trying to block her. She latched onto my shirt as I was checking out her baby. Winter is settling down, but she is not fit for public greetings!
I taught a pin weaving class to a select group of the Old Pueblo Knitters. They picked it up quickly. Above is the piece that I started during the class.
My piece turned into a landscape. It will be done, as soon as I weave in the loose ends and attach a saguaro rib for hanging. It was a very addictive piece to work on.
I carded up angora rabbit for an order and then carded a bunch more. Most of it got blended into black kid mohair and then one batch with black and navy blended and two batches with red and black blended. Now I am gearing up for spinning them. I ended up with 70 ounces blended. It is going to take a while.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Day Off

Above is a picture that Caitlin, my intern took today. This is Barbara, my oldest goat. She was born in 2003 and is still going strong. She has produced lots of lovely babies over the years. She still loves the salt licks! I played with the picture a little.
I went over to a friend's llama ranch to help with a baby llama. She did not make it, but another baby was born while we were there and she seemed to be in good health. Caitlin took the photo of this mama llama, while I was working with the baby. Her eyelashes are gorgeous! None of the rest looked half as cute.

I am getting lots of spinning and carding in, while Caitlin is washing and picking the fiber. She is getting to see how variable fleeces are in terms of quality and dirt. I have taught her to drop spindle and want her to hop on a wheel tomorrow or the next day. She is worth more than her weight in gold!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Best Time of Year

The winter months are the best time of year for me here at the ranch. Shows are over for a few months and visitors from out of state start coming through to see the animals and check out the yarns. Ideas start to flow and I get feedback on finished goods. This is how I know what patterns to put in writing and what types of yarns to spin.
Someone bought a skein of angora rabbit at the Tempe show. She came to visit on Saturday looking for more yarn and she showed me her hat. Talk about gorgeous. I have only knitted up bits and pieces of angora rabbit, so I was blown away by how soft and lovely her hat is. I have to spin more angora!
This might be the last dog hair that I ever spin. The fber at the top right is what I had to deal with. It was fairly felted and I wore out my rotor cuff and thumb trying to pick it apart for carding. I have to admit that the coiled yarn turned out lovely and, since I focused on the fiber that was softest, she will be able to knit a scarf from it and wear it. It will shed a little, but it is definitely sturdy enough to be used.
Two skeins of yarn that I plan to turn into a freeform lace shawl. A sample shawl is posted further down in this post.
I just finished a blue series of freeform yarns. They are a blend of kid mohair, Shetland lamb, and Rambouillet (Mound's last fleece) with lots of beads, bows, and texture.
A view of the yarns that I spun to complete the series.
This is my latest freeform lace shawl. I am going to draft a pattern explaining how I created it. I don't have a clue as to how many stitches I cast on or how many rows there are, but I can explain how you can create your own. I spun the cranberry colored yarns above to make another, but I am being seduced by a red kid mohair fleece that came off #397, a buck that I might use for breeding next year. His fleece turned out to be nicer than that of many does. I did not know that until he was shorn. It is not like the goats are going to stand still for me to fondle their hair!
This is a close up of the lace. I am naming this shawl - A Spinner's Web.
In other ranch news - Josey does not look like she is going to deliver, while Winter is definitely due around the first week in February. These are alpacas. The goats are due to start delivering around the 24th of February.
I don't remember whether I mentioned that I am juried into the Spring 4th Avenue Street Fair here in Tucson - the first weekend in April.
These are the yarns that will greet you as you enter the shop.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Colorways

I did a quick search on the color forecast for spring and summer of 2011. The colors above are an extract of one set. Most of the spring and summer colors look to be what we traditionally consider to be fall colors. I spun two freeform yarns, a coil, and a single, so there is enough to make a shawl.
The colors below were spun just prior to the golds. I had some "red" kid mohair already spun up that will go nicely with the green. I spun 3 freeform ones in this series.
I am already on to reds with touches of orange and white. Stitches West is just a month away!
I did get into the Albuquerque Fiber Fiesta and the spring 4th Avenue Street Fair 2011. I won't be doing the San Diego show, unless the Tempe show moves to a different weekend. San Diego was OK, but Tempe was awesome and so much closer to home.
I finished the versatile vest order and decided that it would be the last knitting order that I will fill. From now on, I will be knitting to design patterns. If the model sells, I will still have the pattern. Spinning is a much better use of my time.