Friday, September 30, 2011

Tucson Expo Quilt Show

Foot traffic is pretty slow at the show, so I am getting lots of spinning done and catching up with friends. I probably recognized 80% as previous visitors to the ranch. I am at the very back of the hall, but I am OK with that, since no one has complained that I have spread out and taken room for two spinning wheels, my skein winder, and a basket of fiber. I would have gone nuts without my wheels. I am spinning freeform yarns since I was down to only 4 after recent shows. The whole front rack that you can see is all yarn spun since the Pasadena Show at the end of July. I do love to spin.

A cameraman from Fox 11 News stopped by to film me spinning this afternoon and he took all of my information. He wants to have a reporter come out and cover the ranch - hopefully before the wool festival - so we can get more publicity. Marc and I will watch the news, but I would not be surprised, if all of the footage (digital of course) ended up on the floor!

I feel like a gallery or a circus act depending on the time of day, but I do think it is worth spinning in public to generate interest in the arts. If you have free time, the quilt show is free and there is enough room for several spinners to set up. You might want to bring a chair. If you want to knit, that would be great also. I forget that not everyone has been exposed to the arts and that those of us who have been are really blessed!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Unexpected Changes

Last Saturday I added two alpacas to my menagerie. Angel and Scarlet are gifts from a friend. They fit right in and are wandering with the rest of the alpacas and llamas.

They are not eating out of my hand yet, but will be soon.

I am working on publicity for the Tucson Wool Festival. The felted bag above will be raffled off during the festival to benefit the Casa Maria Kitchen of Tucson.

I have updated my website to include the new shows (9 over the next few months), class changes and the wool festival page. I also changed my store hours. I will be closing at 4 P.M. effective immediately. Few people come that late, it is getting dark earlier, and I need to start making time for running errands. If I am here, I will open, until the word gets out.

I was first on the waiting list for the Quilt Show at the Tucson Expo Center and was called to say that I got in. I have already loaded the truck and will set up there tomorrow after the THSG guild meeting. I heard about the show too late to get in, so I had to wait for a cancellation.

This morning I went out to feed and discovered that coyotes had attacked and killed all of the geese. The geese have been there over 10 years so it is hard to believe that a pack got past Fillip our llama (he is obviously not doing his job) and dug into the arena area. They carried Ugly our oldest away and chowed down on the others, so I was left to pick up the remains. Needless to say, I am depressed about it.

In order to keep the sheep safe, we herded them into the barn area and fenced them in. The dogs, Shep and Herd, have been moved out to roam the arena. They were really helpful in getting the sheep moved - first time that I have ever used them to herd - and have been very quiet. I expected them to start barking as we left them, but they only barked once a little while ago. They are going to enjoy having the area to run in.

Our organ pipe cactus flowered this week. Those blossoms stayed open less than four hours. Sure hope the insects pollinating them work fast!

Seems like changes are in the air. I am doing more shows and home less, so the Shetland herd is being seriously reduced. 12 are being sold this weekend and the rest will go in mid November. The feed has risen 50% in the past three months and the Shetlands are not producing enough quality fiber to justify keeping them any longer. I am a creature of habit and I hate selling them, but I am running a business and have to be realistic. I am consoling myself with the knowledge that the Merinos are much friendlier and produce five times as much gorgeous wool for almost the same amount of feed. The goats are too precious to sell and have always earned their keep. They are going to the Arizona State Fair the week of October 18th. Tor and Scott of Southwest Acres are going to show them for me. It will be interesting to hear what another judge has to say.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More yarns and new projects

My latest batch of yarns will go in the shop this evening. The green singles will be added to my knitted landscape on large needles, while the two skeins wrapped in figure 8s are for a knitted rug that I have been thinking about for ages. The bag of roving for the rug yarn is on the far right. The skeins look gorgeous, but are incredibly itchy. Perfect for the floor!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Love is in the Air (Breeding Season is here)

I spun 10 ounces of merino for an order. I have gotten the thick and thin down to a science now and it looks gorgeous!

This batch of yarn was last week's production and it is now in the shop.

A gorgeous shade of blue violet for my newest nuno felted shawl. I published a pattern for nuno felting and it is available on my etsy shop.

Marc - this picture is for you. I hate to tell you that you are missing all of the monsoon rain. It is all coming down when I usually feed - making feeding a lot more interesting.

Someone told me that they missed my animal photos, so I caught a few just half hour ago. This guy is fully covered now. He will get sheared next month at the wool festival. His fleece is gorgeous, but not even the best!

Last year I was bottle feeding Dainty and Brazen. They are still the tamest young ones. They thought my camera was a treat. This is Brazen - she was the blue eyed one.

Breeding season is here. This is the buck that I bought at the Del Mar show. He is in love! The weather has cooled and the goats are getting frisky. It is still too early for the sheep.

There is a lot of tail wagging going on. The object of his affections is on the wrong side of the fence. If I did not think my arm would get injured, I would move him to a different pen and try to put her in. Marc and I will spend some of Saturday sorting animals for breeding. The white guy looking back, is interested, but not quite ready - thank goodness! I want to breed the reds to reds this year, so I get red - not white - kids next year!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Trip to Chicago and Oddities

Chicago and the surrounding towns are not much different than other towns. The size of the city does allow it to be a little more fashion forward than other places. I saw these shoes in a Nordstrom in Schaumburg, Illinois. I would have bought the white shoes with the abstract lines on them, if they had not been so expensive. I could not see myself wearing them, since they had such a high heel, but I was fascinated by the art that went into them.

Very interesting architecture with the old and not so nice right next to the elaborate.

I was fascinated by the red building that stood out among the more traditional colors.

All of my helpers have to pose with the Headless Wonder at some point - especially, if they go to a show with me. So here is Caitlin. She did a wonderful job of introducing beginners to the drop spindle and selling batts.

Surprisingly, Caitlin and I did not get sick of one another during the four and a half days of driving. We went to Chicago using the southern route and came back by the northern route. We were hoping to vary what we saw, but there were cornfields everywhere. We saw some gorgeous barns and pasture, but we both decided that the Midwest was not for us.

Yesterday, Marc spotted this snake crawling up the Texas mesquite outside the front of our house. I looked online to see what kind of snake it was, but none of the sites were conclusive. This one was heading for the birds' nests. First time I have ever seen a snake in a tree!

I came home with several orders from Stitches Midwest. This one will ship in the morning. It is lovely to be given artistic freedom. Sure makes the spinning go faster!