Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day 4 Where are they now? 2KCBWDAY4


Day Four: Where are they now?
Whatever happened to your __________?
Write about the fate of a past knitting project... 

Today I am going to share with you my Gift of Life Scarf.  This was the first knitted project that I had made using my very own handspun and better yet...yarn made from my own Alpaca, Sugar Breeze.  I knitted the Staggered Ribbed Scarf for my Dad in the autumn of 2009.  My intention was that he could wear this scarf with his overcoat.  It wasn't a long scarf so it would be perfect for a dress coat.

Dad never got to wear it.  By the time I finished it, he was already in the hospital for the final time.  If you've been a follower of my blog for some time then you know about his battle with lung disease.  If you are a new follower then please feel free to read back in my archives.  My father was an amazing man who was my best friend.  He was also a double lung transplant recipient.

I chose to share this project today because eight years ago, this week (March 26), my father received the Gift of Life.  After being on a transplant wait list for almost two years, he got the call that meant the world to our family.  He was 56 and the doctors never thought he'd live past 45. He suffered from lung disease that can be traced by to Vietnam.

I am writing about this scarf because it meant so much to me being my first hand knit item from my handspun and it was supposed to be for Dad.  I have never given it away and have never worn it.  It sits in my farm display to show the beginnings of my spinning and knitting.  I was actually looking at it the other day thinking it was a shame just to sit there...I think I am going to modify it so I can wear it as a short cowl...maybe add buttons (I do have a Gift of Life button that is very classy I could add)  I won't sell it or give it away to someone else because it was Dad's scarf so I will keep it.

Eight years ago my father received a new lease on life.  He was able to breathe without the assistance of an oxygen tank.  He went for walks, played with his grandchildren, traveled and lived a life that he had not been able to enjoy for over 25 years.  He lived life! Those lungs were a gift that our whole family enjoyed and cherished.  Not a day doesn't go by that I don't thank that person who registered to be an organ donor.  Our donor's choice to register allowed my father to breathe.  I am a registered organ donor and a Gift of Life Michigan volunteer.  My wish is that every person I meet become a registered organ donor so that more lives can be saved.  Our family had 6 1/2 years of my father that we would never have had without his transplant.


I have promised myself that of all the dates to remember/celebrate Dad's life with that I would use his Transplant Birthday/Anniversary as my date to remember because it's full of joy.

Register to be an organ donor, visit http://www.giftoflifemich.org  Give so others can live!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day 3 Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches

Day Three:  Tidy mind, tidy stitches.

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organized? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organization exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organized at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organized, blog about an aspect of that organization process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organized stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

My stash is not organized! (at least like most knitters I know)  I buy most of my yarn as I start projects.  I can fit all of my store bought yarn in one box (which is not sorted an any particular order but...can be looked through in a matter of seconds).  Now...my handspun yarn and roving along with raw fiber is a totally different story.  I have a barn, a fiber studio, a farm store, another barn, a pool house, a pasture and a living room full of fiber.  I even left my handspun on a pool floaty last summer during the Tour de Fleece. (ok, in reality, this was for a poolside knitting photo op but I couldn't resist.)

I've attempted to photograph my stash and put it on Ravelry but...even when I have it in my stash I forget to link it to projects.  Again, since the majority of my knitting uses my handspun it's not as big of a deal.  So that's my stash....visit my farm store or visit my pool house and you will most likely find yarn just...floating around.

Now for true inspiration...visit my pasture.  My contribution for Fiber Wordless Wednesday is  a couple photos of Buccaneer and Pedro playing in the pasture.  This was from last Spring before shearing.  These are the two boys you see in the header of my blog too.  They are two of the first five boys I bought for my farm and they are near and dear to me.  In these photos they are pronking and just having a good time.  Sometimes the males Alpacas can fight and cause a lot of ruckus but these two were just being playful and I was fortunate to have my camera handy.




  Finally, for WIP Wednesday, my contribution is a wee bit of weaving.  I am working on Leno Lace.  It's a finger weaving technique.  I also just cast on a sassy cowl that I'm knitting for a special friend...more photos and updates on that project next week.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day 2 Skill +1UP

Day Two:  Skill + 1UP
Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet...?

Whew!  What a question to ask.  Well...2010 was an amazing year for my growth as a knitter.  I started the year crying every time I picked up my projects ( I had learned how to knit in 2009 while spending countless hours in the ER and ICU watching my father slowly die from lung disease) which was therapeutic but also very sad.  I had so many emotions tied to my knitting.  Maybe that is why I love spinning so much.  Every time I sit at my spinning wheel, I feel the weight of the world wash away from me.  Where some people are frustrated spinners, I find the rhythm of the treadle and drafting of the fiber calming yet get easily frustrated knitting.

When I first learned to knit I found myself surrounded by some amazing knitters with skills that were beyond compare.  Being an over-achiever, I wanted to knit like they did without realizing that they had been knitting for a long time and had worked to achieve that level.  I would get frustrated and...cry.  One snowy day in January 2010, my friend Holly decided that it was time for me to get some knitting confidence and learn to knit in the round.  I conquered the London Beanie and found a love for knitting hats and knitting in the round.

Before long, the frustration I had as a knitter slowly melted away and I started to understand patterns and my skill level better.  Instead of wanting to knit like other people, I started to find my own way and patterns that fit my style.  Although I have a dream list of lace patterns that I will one day knit, I finally understand that I don't have the skills or the patience to knit those projects...yet.  I am also learning that there is no need to rush the skill level.  There are so many patterns out there to enjoy that I have a lifetime to knit all of them that I adore.

I now enjoy knitting and I haven't cried while knitting in ages.  Oh, I grumble and bellyache but that is just my nature (said with a smirk).  Thanks to KellyJ at Your Local Yarn Shop, I now am knitting color work.  (Yes, it is helpful having the pattern writer just minutes from your farm).  The photo I am showing is the Winter's Rhythm Caplet that I knitted as part of a KAL at Your Local Yarn Shop.  I was super excited to finish this because I actually completed it on time with the rest of the group, it taught me new techniques plus I made some new friends while participating in the KAL.  Win/Win/Win

Who knows where the next year will lead in my knitting adventures.  I do know that socks are up next...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day 1 A Tale of Two Yarns





DAY ONE TASK: Part of any fiber enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

I am a Certified Sorter Apprentice.  For the last year I have been sorting Alpaca fiber for farms after the fleeces have been sheared so that farms can process the best fleece possible from their Alpaca using fiber that has been sorted by Color, Length and Grade.  My clients also get feedback from their Alpacas in the form of a Sort Record that not only gives them feedback about the fleece production from that particular Alpaca but can be used to make future breeding decisions based on the fiber production.

When it comes to beautiful yarns...it all begins with Shear Day.  You see, the day an Alpaca is sheared they are starting the re-growth of fiber for the next year's harvest.  We only shear once a year and we can shear 2-6 inches (that is the optimal length range) from that yearly shearing.  Our goal as breeders is to maintain proper barn and pasture maintenance so that clean and healthy fleeces are grown.  We need to feed our herds a healthy diet for good pasture to graze on, the proper hay and the right "kibble".   We need to make sure our pastures are free of burrs and any other weeds that will ruin a fleece.  The better we maintain our pastures and barns, the less loss we have at the mill.


Alpaca Yarn that was NOT Certified Sorted

We, as fiber processors, also need to understand that some of our fleeces are "hairy" but nice.  This means that we have strong primary fibers or longer primaries that can cause a halo when turned into yarn.  We can eliminate this through proper sorting, which a Certified Sorter knows to do, and by alerting the mill that processes our fleece that we need the dehairing process.  It can cost a wee bit more per pound but what you get is a better yarn.  Better yet, as breeders, if we quit breeding to males that are "hairy" then we can save the cost at the mill by producing cria (baby Alpaca) that have amazing fleece  that don't require dehairing.

Alpaca Yarn that has been Certified Sorted

As a fiber producer, it is my job to not only breed for Alpacas that will produce the best fleece (which is so much more than luster, length, lock structure and density --as the show rings push for with Suri Alpaca) that has a uniformity of grade between the primary and secondary fibers, length and color.

Both yarns shown were handspun by me.  They actually came from the same Alpaca too.  Just by changing the process in sorting and what mill we had the roving made at totally changed the yarn.

Alpaca isn't just Alpaca.  You need to experience the Wonder of Alpaca to truly enjoy the beauty of the breed. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Let's Do the Time Warp

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Each week Fiber Artists from around the world meet here to share their adventures in Fiber Arts.  So...what are you waiting for?  Link your Fiber Arts Blog in and share in the fun.  If you visit, please leave a comment and join the Fiber Arts Fun!

My new obsession with weaving is growing faster than I can create time (really, I've been working the time warp --get it?) to weave.  Between spinning, carding, sorting and knitting, I somehow try to squeeze in the art of felting and weaving.  Argh!  Something must suffer and I decided house cleaning would be it so...let me share with you what I've been doing this month with my Cricket Loom.

The Weaver's Guild of Kalamazoo, which I joined last year, has some amazing study groups focusing on various aspects of weaving, spinning and felting.  I recently joined a Towel Study Group where we are learning all the techniques needed to make all the beautiful towels that you see in kitchens and dining rooms.  When we had our first meeting earlier this month, I was overwhelmed with the items people brought for show and tell.  Some of these women have been weaving longer than I've been alive (I know...that's really not that long, is it?) and have amazing skills, stories and techniques they are willing to share with our group.


We are supposed to create a towel for our May meeting using whatever colors and pattern we want for display.  The group really wants a variety of colors, patterns and techniques for our display.  The goal is to show the art form of making hand woven towels and the range of skill using various types of looms and the variety of skill levels.  Obviously I will be representing the beginner weaver.  The first thing I needed was the proper sized tools for my loom.  The Cricket comes with an 8 dent-reed which is nice for worsted weight yarn but for my towels, which I will be using delicious Mercerized Perle Cotton, I needed a 10 dent-reed so a shopping I went.  There are also all different types of cotton to use for towels and the cotton I chose will be for display towels more than for every day use...why?  Because the absorbency of the Mercerized Perle Cotton is not very high.  It allows for a very pretty look but washing dishes or drying your hands would take much longer but...I wanted to work with this cotton and LOVED the colors I found so display towels it will be.  At our meeting I learned so much about what fibers work best for towels and the difference between display towels and everyday use towels.  I finally got my weaving yarn package in the mail this week so...once I finish knitting my Winter's Rhythm Caplet this weekend, my reward will be to warp my loom with my pretty cotton.  Now to decide which color(s) to weave my first towel with and...what pattern.  I am going to keep the first one simple because...it is going to be a challenge working with a finer yarn.

Before I begin my towel, I am also experimenting with weaving raw Suri Alpaca locks into fabric.  The most recent issue the Alpacas Magazine showed rugs being made using raw locks out of Angora and Suri so I decided to try a smaller project since that's all my Cricket will allow.  What a perfect use for the beautiful raw locks that are too tight to be spun into yarn.  Hopefully next week you will see my loom warped with beautiful cotton.  In the meantime, which color(s) would you suggest I use for my first towel?  Now...share your 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 wonderful blogs:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Lefty Loosey, Tighty Whitey?

This will be my last WIP Wednesday post featuring my Winter's Rhythm Caplet.  Oh, it's not because I'm giving up on it...it's because it will be completed by the weekend.  Oh yeah, baby, you read that right.  I am finishing the project also known as Piss and Moan pretty much on schedule.  I am on my final decrease area then all I have is the collar.

How did I manage to keep on schedule with the rest of the ladies knitting in the KAL?  Well, it wasn't on purpose.  I was told ages ago by the fabulous Knit Doctor, KellyJ, at Your Local Yarn Shop that knitters will go through phases in their knitting where their style and techniques will change.  As a beginning knitter, I was knitting tightly for most of my first year to the point that my right arm and hands would cramp up from knitting.   "You're knitting too tight!" or "Relax, don't attack the yarn with your needles." were two of the suggestions I remember.  When I took my sweater class (You know, that sweater that is currently in time out) last fall, KellyJ said that I would most likely change my knitting style during that sweater.  Sure enough, with frequent gauge checking (which I learned to do from that sweater) we saw that I, indeed, did start to loosen up.
So...here I am still working on my Winter's Rhythm Caplet in the final week of the KAL  (Really, KellyJ timed it so we would finish just as Winter ended...) and we have found that I am knitting looser than the pattern's intended me to.  What does that mean?  Well...some knitters might tear back and start over with smaller needles.  I, of course, am not that knitter so KellyJ suggested that before I finish that last repeat of my mosaic chart, I put the caplet on scrap yarn and come into the shop so we could make some adjustments, as needed, because this would be the perfect spot to do it.  We decided that I wouldn't finish the last block of the mosaic pattern.

Well, I was all for that because that meant 16 rows I didn't have to knit. The length is still going to be just where I want it.  We took the needle size down for the decrease too (went from a size 8 to a size 6) so we can compensate for my loose knitting.  I am really digging this caplet and can't wait to finish it (hopefully Friday night at our KAL meetup) so I can wear it.  I really recommend you check out the pattern.  It looks harder than it is.  Really, if I can knit it, anyone can.  KellyJ is a super sassy pattern writer and the Studio June yarn is just delicious to work with.

Now...make sure to check out Tami's blog for more great WIP Wednesday posts.


Also, I leave you with a photo of my herdsire, Midnight Magic's Mystery, celebrating St. Patrick's Day by wearing his hay.  Check out Alpaca Bytes for great Fiber Wordless Wednesday posts.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Spin Into Spring with Suri 2011

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Each week Fiber Artists from around the world meet here to share their adventures in Fiber Arts.  So...what are you waiting for?  Link your Fiber Arts Blog in and share in the fun.  If you visit, please leave a comment and join the Fiber Arts Fun!

This week I wanted Spring to arrive a bit early so I have been busy dyeing, blending, carding and creating some amazing art batts using my Suri Alpaca as the base fiber.  Each batt is unique in colors and in materials.  I used Suri Alpaca, Angora, Merino, Seacell, BFL, Silk, Bamboo, Glitz and much more.  I used every Shade of Spring I could think of.

I have been adding these batts to my Etsy Shop of Wonder so you can Spin into Spring with me and enjoy the Sensational Suri Alpaca that I adore. 


I would love to make this a Spin Along and have lots of people create yarns to share in my Ravelry Group of Wonder, the Wonder Why Alpaca Farm Group.  So...purchase your Art Batts of Wonder in March and post your photos by the end of April in our Group.  You may be lucky and win more prizes. If you mention Fiber Arts Friday in the comments of your purchase, you will receive a special added bonus gift.  So what are you waiting for?  Invite Spring to visit you too by Spinning up some inspiration.  Now...share your 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 
Photobucket

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 wonderful blogs:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Out of Step

This week's WIP Wednesday is going to be short and sweet.  I didn't get much knitting done this last week.  I did, however, manage to clean the house, pay some bills and scrapbook 26 pages at a Creative Memories Scrapbook  Camp.  I felt like I was cheating on my fiber arts while sitting at my scrapbook table working on preserving the memories of my Bears.  I completed a year and a half in Brother Bear's life...that is a major accomplishment for two days of scrapbooking. Poor Sister Bear's book didn't even get touched.

My goal for this week was to complete the second repeat of the big chart on the Winter's Rhythm Caplet which is 36 rows.  It's Wednesday morning and I am on row 11.  There is a slight possibility of me getting through the 36 rows by Friday night but...I'm not holding my breath.  Once I complete this then I can start my ribbing and decreases.  I am really enjoying the yarn and the pattern...just not the lack of knitting time I've had this week.  Argh!

For more WIP Wednesday projects, check out Tami's Blog.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - What Would You Do For A Klondike Bar?

What would you do for a Klondike Bar?  (now how about that for a beginning to Fiber Arts Friday?)  Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Each week Fiber Artists from around the world meet here to share their adventures in Fiber Arts.  So...what are you waiting for?  Link your Fiber Arts Blog in and share in the fun.  If you visit, please leave a comment and join the Fiber Arts Fun!

Why, exactly, are Klondike Bars so good?  Why can't they make a dairy free version that is just as yummy?  Curses.  First, I love the good ol' fashion Klondike Bars (at least I did before I found out I'm allergic to dairy) and second, the popularity of the ice cream treat is tied to the catchy marketing campaign.  Really, when there is that much exposure and a jingle that you sing all afternoon long...what do you crave?  A Klondike Bar.  They haven't aired those commercials in ages yet I still find myself singing the tune.  How does that relate to Fiber Arts?  Well...we need more exposure to our amazing community! 

A few weeks ago I shared the gorgeous felted flower that Suzanne Higgs from Hooked on Felt created for me.  I decided to adorn my favorite Gray jacket with this beautiful flower and I have been wearing it around town.  I have also been using the sassy wet felted bag that Heather from Wool love functional art made me.  (Yes, I am spoiled with these gifts and loving it)

I get so many compliments about my gorgeous flower and my sassy bag and I think about all of the other handmade fiber arts items I wear that expose the world to Fiber Arts.  I wear something pretty much every day that I have knitted, has been knitted for me, been felted or woven. Yes, people are used to seeing knitted and crocheted goods but not felted and I find that I wear them with a slightly different attitude (Is it possible for me to be a bit more sassy?  Of course, it is!).  Most knitters assume it has been knitted then fulled to created the felted look.  They don't realize that there is a whole world of felters that are making leaps and strides even in the fashion industry.  Even more so, people just can't wrap their heads around the fact that someone made this gorgeous item. Do you mean they took raw wool and/or roving with a bit of soap and water and created that?  Do you mean it wasn't created in a factory?  Yikes!

With the flower, they are even more blown away that the artist lives right here in Southwest Michigan.  So...how do we get the community to crave the Fiber Arts flavored Klondike Bar?  We don't need to cover it with chocolate coated ice cream but...we do need to wear it proudly!  We can't just let these beautiful creations sit in our studios or craft rooms and only wear them to events at the local yarn shop or at Fiber Festivals.  We need to wear them out in public and not shy away when people ask about them or compliment them.  For goodness sake, it isn't the renaissance dress that you bought on a whim only to be pulled out once a year for the next Renaissance Festival...it's a hand crafted item made with rock star skills. (Yes, I do have a complete outfit for when I attend renaissance festivals...Huzzah!)

Many people see these felted creations and ask if they are made out of Alpaca because they know I raise Alpacas.  How do they know about the Alpaca?  Because I am out there promoting myself and my farm everywhere I go.  I created a farm name that is easily recognizable and have been fortunate to get some amazing press coverage from the local newspapers.  They know who I am. I am the Klondike Bar...ok, maybe that is pushing it but you know where I'm going with this.  It opens the conversation about all of the amazing fiber producing animals out there and Fiber Arts opportunities.  People are amazed to know that there are so many farms in the area that raise fiber producing animals and that we have so many fiber festivals right here in Michigan because I tell them about it and give a mini-lecture when asked.  You would be amazed how many people are curious about fiber arts but just didn't know who to ask or where to go...and that gorgeous flower resting on my lapel was the door that opened them to our world.

So...for this week's fiber arts adventure, I challenge you to be the Klondike Bar.  Go out and share with the world around you the world of fiber arts. Wear your hand felted hat to the school basketball game or pull out your crochet and knitting at the PTA Meeting.   I was knitting at a hockey game the other week. Take your drop spindle to the park or put your needle felted figure on your work desk.  We have a love of fiber arts that should be shared with the world.  Now...what were your Fiber Arts Adventures?


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 
Photobucket

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 wonderful blogs:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday - The rhythm is going to get ya!

For this weeks edition of WIP (Work in Progress) Wednesday, I am showing off the progress I've made on my Winter's Rhythm Caplet.  Our homework for the week was to knit the mosaic chart in the pattern twice.  Argh!  Not happening!  I am on row 28 of 36 for the first time which means I have to knit the chart all over again.

That being said...the pattern is addictive.  It's not that I don't want to knit it or that I'm even frustrated, it's just that there are not enough hours in the week.  I can knit about two rows at lunchtime and this week has been hectic with after school meetings plus Alpaca farm responsibilities.  Blah, blah, blah...and lots more whining later, I wish that I could knit more because I am really enjoying this so I will go to our KAL (Knit A Long) meet up this Friday and just keep knitting. In the last two weeks our fearless leaders have given the group some major entertainment including Linda and Lenette doing the Chubby Checker Twist in honor of the twist we knitted in the beginning of the pattern and last week Kelly and Lenette created their own version of the Electric Slide to include our patten to the tune (um, yeah, I really wish I had my video camera set for that YouTube clip too).  Yes, they even danced and sang it for us.  This week...I think Gloria Estevan needs to be dusted off.  Why not? The Winter's Rhythm is Going To Get Ya!  It's all about the knitting fun and this pattern is fun. 

Some members of our KAL have already completed the project.  Yikes!  I say they need to visit my farm and scoop some poo if that have that kind of fiber arts energy.  Any takers?  I didn't think so.

Again, I apologize for bad photos. By the time I get home the good outdoor photo lighting is gone.  I really need to make a new light box.  The Green and Burgundy are amazing and my camera is NOT capturing the sassiness of the two colors together.
Now...for more great projects, visit Tami's blog and see what other fiber artists have been up to.

Finally, I want to leave you with my Alpaca Photo of the Week!  AlpacaBytes has been kind enough to host Fiber Wordless Wednesday and last week she was trying to figure out how to get photos of Black Huacayas in the Snow...here was my attempt.  Now the best part is that the snow is finally melting so hopefully I can get better photos. 






Although...having a professional photo at AOBA Nationals is a big help.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shearing Day of Wonder 2011

Announcing our Shear Day of Wonder 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011 
Starting at 8am 
Until the last Alpaca is sheared (lunchtime or so)

You are invited to come see the Wonder of Alpaca Shearing. We'll have the farm open to visitors so please come and see all that is involved  in our yearly fiber harvest.

It's also Easter Weekend so...you may even find an Easter Egg with special prizes such as discounts on your favorite Alpaca products.

Now, please enjoy photos of Buddy getting his first shearing.  These are a couple of years old but since he is a farm favorite to all of our visitors, I wanted to post.  We bought him from Enright's Alpaca out of Caladonia, Michigan and that was where he was sheared.  The shearer is Dave Easter who will be shearing our herd this year.



As much as I adore my Alpacas in full fleece, I love the freshly shorn bobble heads that walk around sniffing each other trying to figure out who is who.  It's a joy to see the transformation and I invite you to join in on the fun.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fiber Arts Friendship

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to have dinner with a special fiber arts friend.  Well, I did and it was a wonderful dinner.  I met her right here on Blogger and we have been following each others blogs for some time.  Unfortunately, neither of us had our cameras at dinner ( I know, bad blogger form) but then again, we were enjoying the conversation so much that photos ops may not have fit in very well.  Who am I talking about?  Well, none other than Heather from Wool love-functional fiber art.  She had flown in to Michigan to meet with other felting friends and contacted me while she was here.

Now...I have to admit, it wasn't weird meeting an internet friend in person.  Some people would be all freaky about it but this wasn't my first time.  Last year, Linda aka FatCatCrochet, came to visit our knitting group from down South and stayed the week.  She was also a major help at my Alpaca Farm Shearing.  Really, fiber arts people rock and rarely is there a bad egg in the bunch. 

So...while Heather was here I finally got to see her amazing felting in person.  Her purse that used raw wool locks was unbelievable!  I sat next to her at dinner and have to admit, I was petting the purse.  (Yes, I'm odd that way)  Well, we decided since I love her purses so much and she doesn't knit plus I wanted an excuse to knit the KellyJ All Keyed Up Cowl again that we would trade.  I won't start her cowl until after I finish the Winter's Rhythm Caplet KAL but...I got my purse this weekend.

Squeal!  It is so flippin awesome!  The colors are perfect!  They go with everything I own!  She used Orange as a main color!  There is an inner pocket!  Oooooh, and look at the cute button.  So, of course, I emptied out my Vera Bradley and filled the contents into my new bag.  I LOVE IT!

Thank you, Heather!  I apologize for the bad photos because they totally don't do the bag justice (I really need to get my white box fixed for indoor photos) but I really do love my new bag.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Winter's Rhythm KAL

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Each week Fiber Artists from around the world meet here to share their adventures in Fiber Arts.  So...what are you waiting for?  Link your Fiber Arts Blog in and share in the fun.  If you visit, please leave a comment and join the Fiber Arts Fun!

Last week I cast on for the beginning of the Winter's Rhythm KAL (Knit Along) with KellyJ of Your Local Yarn Shop and Jill June of Studio June.  For the next month you are going to see a lot of posts from me regarding this KAL because I am determined to finish the caplet with the rest of the group during the month of the designated KAL.  I've yet to finish a project where a time line was set.  Will it happen this time?  Should I stress now?  Oh, you know I will...but I also intend to have fun and enjoy every inch of knitting on the fabulous yarn that Studio June has created while knitting KellyJ's sassy pattern.  One reason I am really enjoying this KAL is because KellyJ has opened up her yarn shop for late hours every Friday night so the members of the KAL can gather and knit together.  Even though I consider myself a frustrated knitter, I do enjoy it.  I love that it's portable and that you can be social with it.  I have already met some new people while visiting the yarn shop and I look forward to ending my work week at one of my favorite places here in town surrounded by beautiful yarns and wonderful people.

Our first week's homework (yes, I said homework) was to complete the first chart in the pattern.  Guess what I did.  I completed the chart.  Hooray!  This is a first for me.  Will I keep up the momentum?

Well...stay tuned for next week to see.  Oh, I also dyed up tons of fiber for a SAL (Spin Along) I will be hosting...more details to follow this week.  I also have managed to squeeze in some spinning but by the time I get home at night the lighting is bad so hopefully the bad weather we are supposed to get this weekend doesn't come and I can get photos.  I'm still procrastinating about the sewing of the bags made from weaving.  Argh!  Yes, for those of you who wonder how I do it all...really, sewing may be my kryptonite. tehehehe  This month's focus really will be the knitting though.  I am finding that I can't stretch myself as thin as I used to especially if I want to enjoy what I'm doing.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Winter's Rhthym

Hello Wednesday!  Where have you been all week?  This week I'm sharing the caplet that I cast on last week as part of the KAL (Knit A Long) with KellyJ and Studio June at Your Local Yarn Shop in Battle Creek.  It's called Winter's Rhythm and it seems to be doing it's job of taking the focus off the last blah days of Winter and putting energy into my knitting.

KellyJ has created an amazing and fun pattern to knit and Jill June has created unbelievable hand dyed yarns that are just dreamy to knit with.  Really, I wonder when I'm frustrated with my knitting if it's really about the yarn and not the pattern because this stuff just screams, "KNIT ME!"

We had our cast on party last Friday (which I will share more about in my Fiber Arts Friday post) each walking away with a homework assignment.  We needed to finish the first chart which is 21 rows to build the first pattern.  So far (surprisingly) I'm on track.  I'm not row 17 and I will easily have row 21 completed before Friday's next meetup.  I had hoped to get past that but...I've also been busy dyeing up my own fiber for a special SAL (Spin A Long) I will be hosting.

So...I'm happily knitting along.  Enjoy the happiness while you can because I'll most likely be bellyaching in a few weeks.  Oh yeah, we already have that covered.  This project has been named  "Piss-n-Moan" because that's how I roll when I have any project that takes longer than a few days.  I'm loving it...for now though and who knows, I adore Kelly's patterns so much that I might surprise myself and complete it without complain...we can always hope.

For more great Works In Progress (WIP), check out Tami's Blog!