Friday, April 29, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - True Blood Vampire Swap

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!

A couple of times a year I take part in swaps on Ravelry.  This is where a group of knitters sign up for a themed fiber arts gift exchange.  All three swaps I belong to have a vampire theme and the most recent one was based on the HBO show, True Blood.  Now I not only love the series on HBO, I also have read all of the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse books that the series is based on.  Everyone who participated in this swap sent and received some amazing gifts.  We all have a dollar limit that we are supposed to not exceed and we were supposed to stick to a theme.  My spoiler did a great job with my package which included lots of goodies including a pair of orange fingerless mitts, Cascade 220 yarn (which I love to knit with) and even some gluten-free goodies for me to enjoy.  She wrapped all of my gifts with photos of my favorite bad boy vampire and truly made opening the gifts a lot of fun.

 If you ever get a chance to participate in a Ravelry swap, you should.  It's so much fun "stalking" your spoilee to create the special package to send them plus you get a surprise in the end.  The vampire swaps I belong to have a great group of people who I am getting to know better now that I've participated in a few swaps.  With each swap the level of creativity reaches a new level plus I use the swap as a way to challenge myself with new techniques.  Now...I must wait until August before the sign up for the Halloween swap begins.

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, April 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Spring Shawlette

I've cast on a new project using my handspun from the Spin into Spring with Suri Alpaca Art Batt of Wonder. (say that 10 times fast).  I decided to spin my yarn as a single which I rarely do since I prefer 2 ply handspun yarn but this was so beautiful I decided to leave it as a single.  I just barely had 200 yards so I needed a simple project that would show off the beauty of the yarn.  I'm still not ready for lace patternwork because I just don't have the patience and most shawls/shawlette patterns seem so intimidating so I am knitting the Storm Cloud Shawlette which I found on Ravelry because it is very easy yet pretty.  I am really looking forward to seeing how the yarn knits up since I will be starting with the greens and browns then ending with the pinks.  They way the yarn balled up, it looks like a pink yarn but there is so much green in the core.  I guess I had better start knitting so we can see it unfold...


I cast on yesterday so I've only got about 20 rows completed.  Now can I keep up with the YO and drop stitches without messing up?  I tend to screw those up each time I find them in a project so fingers crossed that won't happen this time.

Of course, since I have cast on this project it can only mean that I have completed my Key to Warmth Cowl for Heather but...those photos will have to wait since it is busy being blocked.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shearing Day of Wonder Recap

Saturday ended up being a gorgeous day for shearing after a week of snow, rain and blah.  We sheared my whole herd plus all the females from our friends at Lissabeth Alpacas.

Every year I am in awe of the amazing transformation Alpacas make as they go from full fleece to freshly shorn.  I also get a big laugh out of the ones that act like big crybabys and the ones that just calmly lay there while we do our work.  Our biggest crybaby this year was Sweet Petunia followed by Kaboom who is usually our biggest whiner. I didn't take any photos during the shearing because I was busy working, so darling Sister Bear was farm photographer.  Unfortunately most of her photos were of our barn cat, Friend, so I don't have very many photos to share.

Of course, my favorite photos are the "after" pics.  I love how tiny their necks and bodies appear.  I will be busy this weekend sorting my fleeces so that they can go into production...fiber festival season is just around the corner.




Friday, April 22, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Earth Day

Happy Earth Day and Fiber Arts Friday!  How do you celebrate Earth Day? This year we are busy prepping the farm for our annual harvest of fleece.  Tomorrow is Shear Day of Wonder 2011 and I am super excited to have more fleece to sort so that I can turn it into roving and yarn.  It's amazing to see the transformation of a full fleeced Alpaca to a freshly shorn one.  

When I stand on our back deck and survey our farm, I see free range chickens enjoying what nature has to provide and beautiful alpacas grazing.  We compost our Alpaca poo to use as fertilizer instead of buying harsh chemicals and I have to admit that my flower beds have a few more weeds than they used to since I quit using chemicals.  We do our best to reduce, reuse and recycle and we know there is always more to do but every little act we do keeps our Earth healthy and strong.


The weather this week has given us rain, snow, wind and sunshine which means that I've been a busy gal when the sun is shining attempting to keep up with the barn chores and when the weather isn't so nice...I get to play with my Fiber Arts.

Now that the warp on my loom is fixed, I've been busy making a new towel.  Our May guild meeting is going to be a show and tell of all the different towels the members have made displaying the vast degree of  experience, techniques and colors.  I am hoping to get a couple of towels completed before then and now that I understand what went wrong with my warp, I hope that I will make better progress and have a sample or two to share with you next week.

In the meantime, I finally got the finished bags back that I started ages ago.  I left the finishing to someone that knows what they are doing with a sewing machine and I was right to do so.  My bags are perfect and I love my new bag complete with an inner pocket and Sister Bear totally loves her new purse.  I have one more bag I need to give her then I'll be totally caught up.  I love the weaving but not the sewing so I'll stick to what I love.

Now, share your adventures in Fiber Arts and...be kind to our Earth!

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, April 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Pssst, Don't tell Heather

I've been not so secretly working on a gift for Heather Woollove because she is super awesome.  She doesn't knit but is a great felter so we agreed she would felt me one of her bags, which I use every day, and I would knit her the KellyJ The Key to Warmth Cowl

I'm using my handspun that came from an Art Batt of Wonder I created using Alpaca, Angora, Merino and a wee bit of Seacell.  You can totally see the halo from the Angora heavy part in the second repeat of the pattern.  I'm about  75% done ...maybe a wee bit more since I'm on 4 out of 5 repeats then all I have left is the final ribbing. 

I totally adore this pattern and how it loves handpsun.  I really can't wait to block it so the pattern really pops!

Now...visit Tami's blog for more great WIPs!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Warped Weaving?

The Rigid Heddle Study group I belong to met this afternoon here at the farm and we spent the better part of the time figuring out what went wrong with my loom and how to fix it.  Well, three heads are better than one and all is well in my warped weaving world again.

We found that when I was trying to fix the warp myself, I wasn't taking in account that the opposite end of the loom had a slightly different thickness due to the fact that I had already been weaving.  So...one set of hands worked as a guide while we fixed it.

We also had some tension issues so...since I didn't have an empty paper towel roll, I used a couple of toilet paper rolls (which Brother Bear seems to like to stack by the kid's toilet--don't ask) and I conveniently had some duct tape (camouflage, of course) to make the correct length.  Yet another set of hands guided the yarn as the third set fixed the warp.  HOORAY!

We did find that my weaving on the original towel was still off a wee bit so rather than hit another snag, I hem-stitched where I was at and had a smaller towel.  It is hence-forth known as my learning towel.  Now here is where we found where my original problem began.  The apron cords weren't all the same length (which is how they came from the manufacturer).  It was a very small difference in length but just enough to cause my tension to go wonky.

All is good now and my loom is ready for another towel.

On another note, we learned that if your tension is just slightly off, you can use a common household item like a fork to change your tension and correct.  I was glad to know that all of us have been having issues with tension and it's all part of the learning process.  Hopefully everyone walked away from our meet up with new knowledge...I know I sure did.

Terry found this out to help compensate for her warp.  I have said it before and I will say it again, having a Rigid Heddle Loom is great because it is portable.  All of us can easily travel with our projects and our loom bags aren't much bigger than our knitting bags.  Just like our knitting meetups, having a group meet for weaving sure does make it more enjoyable, especially when you are learning techniques.

Yet another great meet up and a beautiful Sunday to get together...now, back to ignoring my housework so I can weave.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - A tangled web I weave...

Knitting, Spinning, Weaving, Dyeing, Crochet and more...how can we fit all of these Fiber Arts in to one week?  Well, having a bunch of blogging Fiber Artist share their adventures in one place is the easiest way so pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy all of the amazing fiber arts adventures that have linked in this week.  Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!


This week I found myself spinning more than I have in awhile mainly because I've decided only to knit at work during lunch or when socializing (which means I haven't been knitting much lately).  My focus has been on weaving which I've shared with you the last few weeks.  Well...we hit a snag. Ok, I hit a snag (a super huge awful snag) where I screwed up my warp a couple of weeks ago and it wasn't noticeable for the first 12-14 inches of my project but...it is now and I hoped to weave 18-20 inches to make this towel.

I tried taking the warp apart to fix it while the project was still on the loom and that may have created an even larger mess because now the yarn is all wonky right where my project needs to be worked on.  For some reason my tension was right across the whole width yet when I thought I fixed it...I hadn't so I ended up with lots of loosy goosy yarn where my actual weaving takes place on the other end of the loom.  Alas, our weaving group is meeting this Sunday so hopefully the more experienced weavers can help me through this....that's how we learn isn't it?

In the meantime, I managed to spin these two yarns using my Spin into Spring with Suri Art Batts of Wonder.  I'm debating if I should sell the yarn or knit something.  hmmmm  If I do use the single, I'm thinking about this Summer Caplet.  I keep looking at shawls but I really dig the caplets and cowls right now. I don't know though...we have another KAL beginning soon at Your Local Yarn Shop and this time it's going to be socks.  Yes, I am finally going to knit me some socks but I will share more about that soon.  Now...share your adventures in Fiber Arts!  I always love to read about what other fiber artists are doing.

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:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - April Showers Bring May Flowers

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!

How did we get to April?  I just don't know where the last few months have gone.  Well, here on the farm the warmer weather and April rain (and sometimes spitting snow) is starting to green up the pasture.  In just a few weeks we will be shearing our herd.  Now that it is warmer, I am starting to Certified Sort fleeces from other farms.  My goal is to finish my apprenticeship by the end of this shearing season.  In the meantime I have been enjoying the last few evenings relaxing with my spinning wheel and loom since Grumpy and the Bears have been at Hunter's Safety Class.  I don't have any photos of my newest yarns (I promise I will for next week) but here is the beginnings of the first towel I am weaving. As you can see I went with the Pumpkin Orange (did that really surprise you?) and yellow.  Two colors for the first one.

Typically towels are 12x18 and since my Cricket is just that wide, my towel will be a bit narrow after the shrinkage.  I am curious how this will turn out.  I warped enough yarn to allow myself two towels which I plan to use two different techniques on.  This first one, I am using the Leno Lace Finger Weaving technique in the yellow stripe.  I'm not sure if I like how it's turning out on with this yarn.  I thought it was really sassy on my test/practice cotton.  I'll make my final decision once it's off the loom.  Regardless, I love how the weaving cotton feels. I thought using a finer yarn would be more tedious but the worst and most time consuming part was the warp (I've including a couple of photos show the warping progress) and that really wasn't all that bad.  True, I am using a very simple weaving technique but still...not too bad at all.


I am also working on my very special knitting project during lunch at work and it's coming along beautifully.  Heather may have a hard time getting her knitted gift since most of my co-workers are trying to make dibs on the cowl. Do I hear charity fundraiser?  Just maybe.  I've decided to wait a bit longer before I post photos of that.  Hey, don't pout like that.  I am sharing my weaving ;-)  By the way, Sister Bear passed Hunter's Safety so she'll be Turkey hunting with Grumpy this Spring. Now...share your adventures in fiber arts this week.

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:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Bear's Eye View

Sister Bear has been making me a lot of pictures to hang in my office at work.  She presented me with this beautiful drawing of my farm.  I love that Sister Bear!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fiber Market Monday - Spin into Spring

Welcome to Fiber Market Monday.  Our friends over at the AlpacaBytes Blog have given bloggers a chance to share their fiber arts items that are for sale. 

A few weeks ago, I posted that I had stocked my Etsy Shop of Wonder with amazing Spring Inspired Art Batts.  Well, I still have some left so hippity hop over to my store and check out the amazing Suri Alpaca Spring Art Batts of Wonder.  Spin up some delightful yarns before Easter.


If you prefer to spin from roving instead of batts, check out these Spring inspired blends.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day 6 Something to aspire to

Day six:  Something to aspire to.
Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make bu can admire the result of those that have.

Let's see, I decided that I would buy a couple of Alpacas without knowing how to knit, spin, felt or weave.  I only knew how to enjoy handmade products.  In just a few months (before my first shearing) I had learned to knit and spin on a drop spindle.  By the time my first rovings had been processed at the mill I had bought my first spinning wheel and was spinning yarn.  Then I decided I wanted to felt so...I did.  Wait...oh, I decided I wanted to weave...so I am.


Who am I?  I'm the Wonder Why Gal! I'm part fiber artist, part Alpaca farmer and may secretly be part super hero.  Have I mentioned that I think I can solve world peace through fiber arts.  Really!  I have now brushed the surface of almost every aspect of fiber arts in the last few years and now I am trying to figure out what I want to master.

Who and what do I admire?  Well...I admire pretty much every fiber artist I meet regardless of their skills or their medium.  We all have to be dedicated to our craft and anyone who can follow through and finish a project wins my admiration. 

This photo is from April 2009 on the first day I had ever used a drop spindle.  A very talented spinner and knitter made this spindle and also taught me how to spin. Her talent is amazing and one day I hope to spin and knit as beautifully as she does. I even named an Alpaca after her because she is so amazing.  I have lost track of how many skeins of yarn I have made since that day two years ago and I can't even come near to calculating the yardage I've spun.  I do know that all of my spinning has always been surrounded by friendship and fun which is always something to aspire to.   

I never want to think of fiber arts as a chore.  From taking care of the pasture and the herd in the barn right to creating a finished product, I enjoy every aspect of my fiber arts...now, I'm off to work on that world peace aspiration (I think that will take me a wee bit more time to conquer.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day 5

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've been participating in the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  Each day a topic is give or a question is asked for you to answer.  I've been busy (in my spare time -bahahaha) visiting many fiber arts blogs that weren't on my radar.  It's been a lot of fun and I want to thank EskimimiKnits for creating this fun event.  This year's questions really focused on us reflecting how we have grown as a knitter/crocheter.  It really is amazing to think that I've only been a fiber arts fanatic for a couple of years.  Today's topic is one I am going to skip because I feel that I bring the quirky to fiber arts every week and definitely push my creativity plus my hosting Fiber Arts Friday is a unique way of presenting fiber arts.

Day Five: 1st April. And now for something completely different This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.
There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog. 

So...what did I do this week? This week I made progress in a few of my projects.  After bellyaching for a couple of months about sewing the lining in the bags I made on my Cricket Loom, I admitted defeat and handed them over to my friend Kim's Mom to sew.  I enjoyed weaving the fabric so much and actually didn't mind the hand stitching of the fabric but instead of turning a great project into a dreaded chore, I decided having someone who enjoys sewing help would make the bags perfect.  I also sent a bunch of mending I've been dreading her way too.  

Earlier this week I posted a photo of the Leno Lace I've been working on (re-posting the photo).  I feel pretty comfortable with that technique so this weekend I will finish off the rest of the warp on my loom so I can finally start my towels.  I've decided on my colors but you will have to wait until next week for that.  I found that I don't have a lot of time to weave during the week.  By the time I get home from work, take care of the Alpacas, eat dinner and love my Bears it's time to relax which either means sitting rather still and doing nothing or spinning some delicious yarn.  
 
I've been  busy knitting during lunch on a new project for a special friend.  I am going to wait until more progress is done before I share the photos since she reads my blog.  I am hoping I got the colors right and she will love it.  I created an art batt full of Autumn colors which I spun into a unique single of thick and thin which will be totally sassy in the pattern.  It's another cowl using the KellyJ  Keyed to Warmth pattern.  

Speaking of KellyJ, I also admitted defeat and I am having her block my Winter's Rhythm Caplet (re-posting photo).  The last three items I have blocked have grown.  Just when I think I have something figured out...I find I have a whole lot more to learn.  After lots of questions about how I wanted my caplet to look, she took it to be properly blocked so that the length and width are correct along with keeping the integrity of the yarn.  She tried explaining what she was going to do but my mind wandered...I will try to get her to re-explain it all to me again. (It's been one of those crazy weeks)

What did I learn this week?  Well, it's ok to ask for help. Really, I need to ask for help!  I can't do everything myself...especially if I want it done properly. The best way to learn is to ask (who knew).  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: