Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bear Grows Up

 Sister Bear figuring out the combination to her first school locker at the school's open house.

I can't believe my little bear is in middle school. 

When did she
grow up?

Just yesterday she was my baby girl...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Michigan Fiber Festival 2011

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday.  Each week, fiber artists share their adventures in fiber arts by "linking in" and attaching their blog post.  This week I am going to begin the recap of the 2011 Michigan Fiber Festival.  I honestly don't know where to begin because it was five days of utter bliss for me between taking workshops, being a vendor and simply being around so many amazing fiber artists...I am still recovering.

This week I am going to share with you some photos from my vendor booth.  It was a happening place with friends, new and old, visiting and lots of sales along with a great view of the Camel who, according to this photo I took, loves sheep.  I am very pleased with my first year as a vendor.  I have lots of notes for improving my display and my product.  I was very fortunate to be stalled across from two amazing vendors.  Liz from Macintoch Yarns who I met last year at the Fiber Expo gave me tons of advise plus she is one sassy lady.  It's nice to have a seasoned vendor give you pointers.  Coby Kopec from CJ Kopec was directly across from me.  I met her for the first time last year at festival and it was great to get more time with her...if only we lived closer to each other.  With both, we bartered for product on Sunday where I got some amazing roving from both of them to spin.

My friend Dawn aka Knitamazoo volunteered to be my assistant for the weekend and she was a rock star.  We had a great time visiting, shopping, selling and learning.  Thank you, Dawn, for all of your help.

One of the best parts about the weekend was that I had many customers bring me their yarns or finished goods that they created with my handspun yarn or roving.  Carole took third place in the spinning competition with a skein of yarn she created with my Suri/Merino blend.  It was a lovely yarn and I can't wait to see what she creates with it.

image title
Another customer showed me her roving that she is spinning into a lace weight yarn on her drop spindle.  It is unbelievably beautiful.  I am always fascinated with people who spin lace because it's so delicate.  I can't seem to spin it nor do I desire to especially because I am not ready to knit it either.  I know...one day.
Finally, I had a chance to meet a bunch of friends from Ravelry including Lee.  She drove a few hours to see me and visit festival.  She created the group Knitting is Gluten-Free plus writes a blog about being gluten-free.  She is an amazing lady and a truly beautiful person.  I am very lucky to have finally met her in person and I look forward to getting to know her better.

Photo taken by my friend, Beth from Beth Pulsipher Photography
Well, that's the gist of all the fun that happened in my booth.  I promise to share the creations I made in my workshops once I get my photos organized.  Thank you to everyone who has inspired and supported me as I have started to build my fiber arts business.  I adore all of you.  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, August 24, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Weaving Bears

Last week I shared that my little bears were weaving while I was away at the Michigan Fiber Festival.  Instead of showing my WIPs which haven't made much progress since I was away, I thought I'd share what they are creating.
 
Sister Bear is busy with my Cricket Loom, weaving a scarf using a Lion Brand Wool Yarn as her warp and an awful fun fur as the weft.  She is loving it and has already woven a few feet.  She isn't using a pattern; just weaving back and forth.

Brother Bear found that the lap loom requires a wee bit more concentration so he managed to only weave a few rows.  He is using some wool yarn that came with the loom kit when I purchased it.  His real progress was all of the planes and Star Wars ships he has made out of his Legos.

I am just tickled that they wanted to weave when I wasn't around.  I wished that I had more exposure to Fiber Arts growing up...or maybe I did and just didn't show an interest.  Regardless, I am excited to see how their projects turn out.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Love from Home

I called home last night to see how the Bears were doing and Sister Bear answered the phone.  We had a delightful conversation about her happenings of the day with Grumpy and Brother Bear.  I asked how her weaving was going and she said, "Mom, it is beautiful!  The fiber is just amazing and I really love the handle."  Hearing this from my Sister Bear just made my heart melt a million times over.  Grumpy said that she had been working on her weaving throughout the week while I have been away.  I can't wait to see what she is making.  Now for the part that really makes me giggle.  I warped the loom with a Lion Brand Cream Wool yarn and when I left home, she had been weaving using a fun fur.  Not the two yarns that I would say are amazing nor describe as great handle but I got to give it to that bear for taking the terminology she hears from her mother and putting it to work.  I also enjoyed her details of the day's events.  She is growing up so fast and I love her more every day.  Children are truly the greatest happiness.

I really do love my bears.  I promise, when I get home I will share a photo or two of her creation.  I hope Grumpy is taking some "in process" photos.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - While the Wonder Why Gal is away...

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday.  This week I've been away camping at the Allegan County Fairground for the Michigan Fiber Festival.  The first couple of days I took classes and today through Sunday I will be a vendor.  This is my first year being a vendor and I am super excited.  (Can you imagine, me excited?)  Anyways, pretty soon I'll be ready to scoot out of the camper to put the finishing touches on my booth so my post will be brief today.

I finally finished my Alpaca and Silk handwoven scarf that I created on my Cricket loom.  It took me a couple of months to complete it but it's done and I am totally pleased.  I wove this looser than I normally do which really allowed drape to come through plus I didn't lose a lot of length since the yarns weren't super tight. It has the drape that Alpaca and Silk should have.  I wore it to work on Monday with a cute t-shirt and it totally rocked. 

Since the loom is empty, Sister Bear requested that I warp it so that she could weave with it.  She picked out a couple of yarns and I quickly warped the loom before work and even took it to work and finished the details during lunch so my co-workers got a mini-weaving class.  Grumpy called me from home last night and said that she has been weaving.  I told him to sneak some photos.  I did get a cute photo of Brother Bear using his lap loom.  The day that I finished my scarf, he asked me to warp his loom.  I LOVE that my bears are showing an interest in fiber arts.  I love that they are working on projects when I am not even at home.

Ok, I really have to get "dolled up" and ready to work my booth.  Stop by the Michigan Fiber Festival this weekend.  I will be in the Caulkin's Barn in booth C1 from 10am-6pm today, 9am-6pm Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday.  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, August 17, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Shelter

Now that I've finished my first pair of socks, I have already embarked on the second sock journey.  This pair won't have the beautiful chart to follow and will hopefully allow me more talk time (because I always need more talk time) while knitting.  The yarn is a beautiful limited edition yarn called Shelter dyed by Jill June of Studio June in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  She created this colorway as part of a fundraiser during WWKIP (World Wide Knit in Public Day) to raise money for the Haven of Rest in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Not only did I purchase a skein for myself but a wonderful nurse I work with asked me to purchase a skein for her too.  I told her, in my excitement of learning to knit socks, that I would knit her a pair.  Slowly the ribbing is coming along.  It will be a simple knit sock so it should go much faster than before. I think the hardest part will be giving them away once completed.

Now I didn't make too much progress this week because my main focus was finishing my Walking on Sunshine Sock (see Sunday's post) and finishing my handwoven scarf (wait for Fiber Arts Friday for that) so it's been an amazing productive Fiber Arts Week (and it's only Wednesday). 

Now...to finish my coffee and get over to registration.  The Michigan Fiber Festival begins today!  I am taking the "Lets Just Bag It" felting class with Suzanne Higgs of Hooked on Felt.  SQUEAL!


Monday, August 15, 2011

I did it! I'm Walking on Sunshine

After just over three months of knitting, I have completed my very first pair of knitted socks.  I have overcome my "fear" of tiny needles, turning a heel and whatever other crazy notion I had in my head regarding sock knitting.  I made a super sassy pair of socks that I will enjoy for a very long time.
The pattern I knitted is called Walking on Sunshine and it was chosen because I know the amazing pattern writer, Kelly of KellyJ Knits at Your Local Yarn Shop.  The pattern has a great chart and since I like chart knitting, I figured if I focused on the chart, I wouldn't think about the size 1 needles in my hands. 

In May a bunch of us gathered at Your Local Yarn Shop every Friday night for a KAL (knit along) where I finished the first sock in the pair.  After our month long meetup ended so did my mojo.  I started to knit only at lunch and an occasional Sunday afternoon.

The socks are officially done!  I started my second pair about a week ago using a very simple pattern.  I learned a lot from this first pair of socks and I am going to ask KellyJ to help me tear back the toe on my right foot sock so I can lengthen that sock a bit (if you look at the photo you will see the toes are slightly different) because I took the shorter length option on the pattern and only completed half the chart for the final sun.  That made about a 1/2 inch difference on the finished sock.  Once I completed my second sock with the extra length, I was totally pleased with the bit more give that it allowed.  Since I adore wearing sassy socks, I want these to be done correctly and also be able to wear them for years to come.

I am going to knit this sock again in a different colorway.  When I purchased this pattern, I did it via the StudioJune Sock Club where I also purchased beautiful yarn that was ideal for this pattern.  One skein of the yarn is cashmere.  Yes, yummy! 

I am truly Walking on Sunshine with the excitement that I actually knit a pair of socks.  HOORAY!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Goodbye, Dear Friend

Friend has been missing for a few weeks.  I fear the worst and we have explained to the Bears that we don't think he's on a long hunting adventure.  Our neighbors have confirmed that he hasn't visited their houses for his in between meals nor has he helped take of their pesky vermin.

He's more than just a barn cat, he truly is a Friend.  We adore this cat and knew that getting attached to an outdoor kitty was a chance we were taking but how could we not love Friend.

Anyways, I wanted to share some photos of our favorite cat.  May he be at peace wherever he is chasing chipmunks and mice along with any other vermin that might get in his way.  Although we hope for his return, we understand that he may not.

We'll miss you, dear Friend.




























Friday, August 12, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Prep for Michigan Fiber Festival 2011

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  This week I am frantically getting labeled, packed and ready for the Michigan Fiber Festival where I will be a vendor.  SQUEAL!!!!!  I am going to be a vendor at the Michigan Fiber Festival!  Pinch me!  Wait!  Don't pinch me that would hurt.  Really, after months of  knowing that I would be a vendor the time has finally came for reality to settle in.  I am going to be one of the booths that people are searching out because they want to spin, knit, weave and adore the WONDER OF ALPACA! 

Fiber Artists are going to seek me out to buy my roving and yarns that I have carefully Certified Sorted so that they will get the best quality Alpaca products that is out there.

I have been busy over the last few months spinning yarn, creating batts and working with my favorite mills to create amazing yarn and roving to sell.  The most recent blends arrived last week ( yes, just in the nick of time) from my favorite mill that has worked with me since the beginning of my farm to make the most beautiful Suri Alpaca roving out there. 

Although I have a few colors that I always stock, I have a few new colors for 2011.  I won't be listing any of these items in my Etsy shop until after I get back from festival but I wanted to share my my color blends. 



Next week's Fiber Arts Friday will be posted right from the Michigan Fiber Festival.  If you get a chance to make it to Allegan, Michigan next weekend, make sure to stop by my booth, the Wonder Why Alpaca Farm in the Caulkin's Barn.  It's still like a magical dream knowing that I am a vendor at my favorite Fiber Festival.  Aw, now I feel like a Disney Princess, "Dreams really do come true!"  Hey, share your adventures in Fiber Arts!  Thank you for visiting my blog.


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:


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yummy Banana Bread!

 It's been a very long time since I ate Banana Bread, at least a year. It's very hard to find Gluten-Free Banana Bread and I am not a baker so making it is a terrible chore for me. 

Yesterday a couple of co-workers and I took advantage of the gorgeous humid-free weather and walked a couple of miles around downtown Battle Creek.  Part of our walk took us past the Farmers Market where, to my delight, was a vendor selling Gluten-Free foods.  She had a variety of cookies, pizza crust, breads and treats and I was in heaven.

I bought some Peanut Butter Cookies that were super delicious.  Seriously, maybe it's because I haven't tasted regular cookies in a long time, they were amazing!  I couldn't tell the difference between the gluten-free goodness and the wheat flour version but I'm sure my auto-immune system could.  Hooray for not having the negative side-effects.

For dinner I warmed up a couple slices of the Banana Bread and spread a wee bit of real butter on them to enjoy the delicious taste of that wonderful bread.   I think I may be taking more money to the farmer's market next time and maybe finding a bit of patience in the kitchen.

Hooray for Gluten-Free Goodies!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Spinning is Happiness

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  What is a week without spinning yarn, knitting or weaving?  hmmm...that's a riddle I care not to answer so I shall share with you all of the wonderful creations I've been busy with this week. 
 
Spinning is happiness! Really, I am totally happy making beautiful yarn with Frodo.  Mr. Baggins and I have been on an experimental streak working on funky yarns.  I had a request for a yarn using raw Suri locks so I played with that then I went thick and thin with some beehives.  I was asked, recently how I relax.  If I had a way to meditate or unwind...honestly, spinning is my relaxation.  I just feel the weight of the world leave my shoulders when I spin.

I spun the whole 4oz of my CJKoho Jillian roving.  I now need to decide if I should leave it as a single or ply it...and with what.  I don't know if I want to ply it with Alpaca.  If I did...what color?  I just can't decide...hmmm

I did something very uncharacteristically of myself...I cast on a knitting project without finishing my current project.  It's a second pair of socks.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  I haven't even finished my first pair but...here's the deal.  My first pair has a pattern that requires concentration.  I have been in situations where I really wanted to knit but could not concentrate so...I cast on a pair of ribbed socks using the Studio June Shelter yarn (which is delicious) so I can knit.  So far this is working.  This pair of socks will be a gift. Yeah, I know...I'm not even a completed sock knitter yet I'm giving away my knitted socks.  Don't worry, I told the recipient that it may be years before the socks are completed.  In other words...don't hold your breath.


I am still weaving my Alpaca and Silk scarf.  It's taking forever to finish.  I find that I can't weave this as fast as I do when I am using a worsted weight yarn so I only get a couple inches done at a time.  I'm not sharing a photo because it really doesn't look any different than the last time I shared. 

Finally, I leave you with our version of  "Making of a Champion".  Midnight Magic Mystery and Midnight Aire working on the 2012 version of Arwen.  Arwen doesn't really know what to make of Mystery and her dam and Midnight Aire made Mystery scooch closer to the grass so she could eat while he created next year's offspring. Ah, I do love animal logic.


So...that's my fiber arts week.  Same ol', same ol' ;-)  Yes, I do sleep and spend quality time with my family.  The key to my fiber arts time management is waking up about two hours before the rest of my family.  I find my happy place and enjoy fiber arts before I need to get ready for work each day.  Win/Win.  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:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Life on the Farm - August 2011

Just a typical August here on the farm!



Rasberries almost ready to be picked.






Peaches ripening in the heat.




Gorgeous Flowers in bloom.



  Kittens at rest.










Alpacas!  Alpacas!  Alpacas!