Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Alpaca Birth

It's not often in life you can witness a birth...
After two years of owning my own farm, I finally did.  
Day 359 of Sugar Breeze's pregnancy, she gave birth 
to Sexy Rexy of Wonder.
Yes, I was wordless...for a moment
Before the giggles of joy began.
 




Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Confetti Reign - Suri, Pure Suri Alpaca

I've written my own knitting pattern!  I'm on a quest to find a good pattern for 100% Suri Alpaca and apparently that means making it myself.  This is my second hat knitted out of Confetti Reign after a few false starts.  The key to knitting on 100% Suri is to find a pattern and gauge that takes in account the lack of memory Suri Fiber has.  Now why would you want to knit on Suri if there is no memory?  Because it is the most amazing fiber ever!  Ok, I'm a wee bit prejudice but from the raw locks to the handspun creation to the finished product you have your hands on the softest most luxerious fiber ever.  I love my Suri! 

I'm not afraid to blend Suri.  Actually, I believe that you should blend it to get the most use out of the fiber without the frustration.  Adding Suri to other fibers only make them better and adding other fibers to Suri increased the products you can make out of it.
Confetti Reign
The trick I am finding is to have a pattern that won't stretch, too much, when blocking and to also find a gauge that takes in account that the yarn will stretch.  I have to admit that Confetti Reign is the only 100% Suri that I have spun or knitted.  Her color is too perfect to blend and ruin.  This experiment was a skull cap.  When I knitted it, it barely fit on either Bear's head.  That was my intention.  Then I blocked it.  It grew just like I knew it would...now it fits my head.  Before I knit another hat, I want to wear this for awhile to make sure that it doesn't keep growing.  If it doesn't then...Mission Accomplished. If it does then...back to the drawing board.  Regardless, I have the pleasure of combing, spinning and knitting on my beautiful Confetti Reign.

I've been told that weaving 100% Suri keeps the memory because of the process but I am curious how heavy the blanket would be because Suri is deceptively dense. One little bag of Suri can weigh more than two garbage bags of Huacaya.  That's why most of my blends have at least 30% Wool in it.  Not only does the wool give the memory it also creates a lighter product.

So...I will continue the quest for the perfect Suri products.  Wisdom does begin in Wonder and I sure have a lot of questions full of Wonder.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sugar's Sexy Rexy of Wonder

Last year when I purchased my first female Alpacas including Sugar Breeze ,who was pregnant at the time, I told my father that I would name an Alpaca after him.  He didn't seem too enthused but I had already named one of my dogs after him, Zomerhoff's Rexford Munchkin, so he wasn't surprised to hear that I would name yet another animal after him.  Hey, I did give his only grandson the family name as his middle name so it's not like I didn't pay tribute the "proper" way. I tried explaining naming an animal after him was like having a legacy.  He didn't buy it.

Last year I only had one Suri cria which was a female, Sugar's Sunshine of Wonder, and my only Huacaya was a male who I named SpinSanity because I just didn't see naming a Huacaya after my dad.  My dad always prided himself on his thick wavy hair that even after a double lung transplant and years of steroids for his lungs, never thinned.  Yes, a Suri Alpaca would need to be named for him and today that happened.

Now why on earth would I name my Alpaca Sexy Rexy and even more, why would I call my father Sexy Rexy? Well...I do like to let people Wonder Why.  My mom left us when I was 14 and my dad didn't start to date for awhile.  When he finally did, quite often he would come home to a house full of teenage girls giving him grief about who he was dating.  (Well it was funny unless it was a friend's mom then it was just wrong) My dad loved to tease.  He'd pick and pick and pick until it drove you crazy. (and you wonder where I get it from) One day I started to call him Sexy Rexy.  His name was Rex.  It became a joke and more than once I had him speechless.  My aunts told me when he was young they used to call him "Eugenee with the Light Brown Hair" because his middle name was Eugene and he had beautiful hair...obviously I like my nickname better.

So after 359 days, Sugar Breeze birthed my first male Suri Alpaca on the farm: Sugar's Sexy Rexy of Wonder. I sure hope he lives up to his name.  Dad, I hope you are looking down here and chuckling because not only is your namesake a looker but he also have the light brown coloring your hair had.

The following pictures are from his birth.  This was the first live birth that I have ever been able to see and I was super excited.  My kids got to watch too...actually the photos of the birth were taken by either Sister Bear or Grumpy because I was trying to get the towel down under him before he dropped.  Didn't happen but...I tried.  Nope, Sugar picked the sandiest dirt spot to have her cria instead of the beautiful green pasture grass.

The wait was definitely worth it and I am excited about this boy because his sire has amazing fleece along with Sugar so we can only hope that his fiber is an amazing mix of both his parents.

Fiber Arts Friday - WWKIP 2010 Recap

Last Saturday we celebrated World Wide Knit In Public Day (WWKIP) at Your Local Yarn Shop (YLYS) here in Battle Creek, Michigan.  What an event!  It was a day to show the world the Awesome Wonder of Fiber Arts and also a day to raise money for the Haven of Rest here in Battle Creek because their was also a Roof Sit on top of the Yarn Shop while we were down below knitting.
In just a few hours the knitters raised $1000 just by attending the WWKIP event.  If you wanted a booth or to shop, you needed to make a donation to the charity and we knitters sure love our yarn so of course, we made donations.
Some of the vendors and knitters who participated in the day.
My Booth...All you see is my Wonder Hat because I'm writing info down for a customer.
This year I decided to be a vendor and had an amazing time showing people what the Wonder of Alpaca is.
This is Kelly, who put the event together and owns the YLYS
SpinSanity also had a booth.  Hooray for Spinny!  She took a break from making her gorgeous awesome spinning spindles but they are back and as beautiful as ever!
 SpinSanity and crew (her talented daughters) displaying the SpinSanity Drop Spindles
Besides selling our awesome products we also shopped and demonstrated how the yummy yarn is made.

I try not to knit in public because it scares away potential knittners so I spin 
Of course, no fiber arts event is complete without the animals the fiber comes from.
School Pond Alpacas brought a few of their Huacaya for the public to see.  Yes, I wondered where the Suri were too but the Huacaya they brought were beautiful.  Don't worry about the Suri Alpaca though, I totally had the breed covered with the roving and yarn I brought plus my Photo Album of Wonder where my customers could see the herd their products came from.
It felt weird being at an event with Alpacas without mine being there but it was nice to focus on fiber arts.
Really, this was a Roof Sit along with WWKIP, here is a DJ who was raising money for the Haven of Rest.  
See, people were up on the roof.
The best part about the day is that we had fun and made a difference for other people.  The Roof Sit raised over $30,000 for the Haven of Rest and it felt good to know that Fiber Arts had a part in the goal.
So what have you been up to this week? Please share you adventures in Fiber Arts!
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these cool blogs:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 355 and The Puppy Ate My Shoe

Sugar Breeze is a beautiful stubborn Suri and she is trying my patience by not having her cria.  
Argh!  Day 355.

In other exciting news, Lego has either ate my Croc, buried my Croc or the the Turkeys too it.  
Yes, you do Wonder Why, don't you?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day - 2010

This is the first Father's Day in my whole life that hasn't centered around my dad.  The day usually consisted of the kids and I giving my husband a present in the morning then we were off to Dad's house for lunch or sometimes he'd come here and spend the day with us by the pool but...it was always about Dad.
 Grumpy and Sister Bear 2001
My husband has never complained because he considers most holidays "Halmark Holidays" since they sentiment behind the day is one that should be celebrated every day but, here it is, Father's Day, and the focus is on him and our big plans are to stay home with the family...just me, Grumpy and the Bears.  I'll head over to Ft. Custer this afternoon to visit Dad's gravestone but the day won't be full of the kids telling their Papa lots of stories and getting away with anything because of  "Papa's Rules."  They still haven't dealt with Dad's death and that really bothers me...I cry every day, but we all deal with loss differently.

This year I did my best to make Father's Day about Grumpy because it is his day!  He sure has earned it living with me and raising the bears. We got him bottle root beer, pancakes and maple syrup along with cotton candy and chocolate plus a new grill tool.  Of course, he also has to mow the Alpaca pastures and finish work in the barn but...we gave him root bear and lots of hugs.
Me and My Dad 1975
Happy Father's Day to my husband, my father and all the other men who are wonderful to their families.


 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - I Am Third

I used to go to YMCA Kimball Camp in Reading, Michigan every summer.  We were taught "I am Third" which means God first, Others second, and I am third. Now I knit for charity and it all makes sense...I even sneak Alpaca into the mix. Well, I've always tried to put others second and I love being surrounded by those who do to.

Last week I shared with you that my knitting group, Zombie Prom Date Knitters, were making hats and hearts for a little girl who needed brain surgery.  I was so happy to see who many of the ladies contributing to the gift. We ended up with 7 hats, 8 hearts, 1 angora bunny toy, 1 Alpaca book, 1 Alpaca teddy bear, and a whole lotta love!

A bunch of us knitted hearts which I "knitted together".  She could use the hearts to hang up or as a scarf, like Sister Bear is modeling.  After I hooked them all together, I thought of ten different ways it would be better but I needed to get the package in the mail so...that's how her gift will come.
This is the Alpaca blend hat I knitted.  I made up my own pattern and it still turned out wearable.  Lots of YO and Drop Stitched because I LOVE to YO and Drop.

I also finally got to knit with our group at Barnes and Noble at the Lakeview Square Mall in Battle Creek on Wednesday.  I've missed this monthly get together because the MI-ALPACA board meetings were always the same night.  The meeting night changed so I spent time with my friends and got another inch of knitting done on my first lace scarf.   While I was there, SpinSanity was knitting a Print o' the Wave shawl.  She said she was making it for a friend who had lost a close relative.
Last month she gave me the Clapotis in the orange I like, because my Dad had died.  I love that Spinny not only wanted to knit a gift for a friend but was picking patterns that make most (ok, just a few of us) knitters pull their hair out.  These shawls take many hours of work and talent but most of all love...and that is the best ingredient of all.
This is SpinSanity without her spinning or knitting...which is rare.  Oops! They are at her side.
I just love that my knitting group can have so much fun putting others first.   I've been told by more than one of the ladies in my knitting group that when they are knitting a project for someone else that they will put it down if their minds wonder to negative feelings or if they feel sad.  They knit their emotions into the project.  I understand that finally...it took a few gifts and tearing out my "hospital" hat that I knitted every time I went to see my Dad in the hospital then hospice.  It was full of sadness, tears, and helplessness.  Not something you want in a gift.  The next time you receive a knitted gift, remember that love and kindness was put into every stitch.
 By the way, I have started a team up for Tour de Fleece.  It's the Team of Wonder.  Come join the fun. I'll write more about our group next week...but get a headstart and join now.

So what have you been up to this week? Please share you adventures in Fiber Arts!
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article to the next edition of fiber arts friday using our carnival submission form. Remember to submit your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these cool blogs:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Alpacas Teach Us Patience? bahahaha

One week ago was the due date for my Sugar Breeze.  Day 335!  Today is day 342.  
 I'm wishing that cria would join the Herd of Wonder already!  
I promised Sugar I'd quit looking under her tail and being a bother once she has that cria, but she won't listen.
Argh! 
So there she is is her pregnant glory sunbathing in the sunshine 
and here I sit with my binoculars waiting for the cria to come.  
Alpacas are supposed to teach up patience...