Friday, September 30, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Nerd Wars, Yes, Nerd Wars

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  What topic shall we share this week?  Will it be knitting, spinning, weaving, crochet, sewing, felting...ah, the fiber arts ideas are limitless so I shall do what I do best and leave you wondering "why".  I have joined Nerd Wars. After waiting for what seemed an eternity, I was chosen to be on Team Bite Me.  Yes, my love for vampires apparently outweighed my love for Middle Earth and the vampire team got me instead of Team Precious (where I have kindly offered to be this tournament's Smeagle). 
This is my new Ravatar.

October 1, tomorrow, begins the newest tournament in Nerd Wars.  For the months of October, November and December I will be making projects that fit the theme of my team where we will earn points against other teams such as the Dr. Who lovin' Team Tardis, the Star Trek lovin' Team Enterprise, the Braaaains Team who love zombies, the Firefly/Serenity lovin' team called Browncoats, and...well, you get the idea.  We will make projects that fit our team themes in categories such as charity, science, nerd culture, intellectual, technical and team spirit.  Apparently we can also be very creative as to how our projects fit these categories while maintaining the theme of the team.  What do I get out of it?  Nothing more than having a bunch of fun with people who share my enjoyment of, well this time, vampire books and movies while making various fiber arts projects.

So, as I reach in to find my inner nerd (which apparently isn't a deep search) I will be sharing with you the fun of Team Bite Me.  Wait!  This sounds like fun?  Well, hop on over to Ravelry and check out Nerd Wars.  You might be inspired to knit cool projects like the R2D2 Beanie.

In the meantime, as I impatiently wait for my first Nerd Wars challenge, I am still busy working on my weaving, spinning and knitting.  Sock one is done of Shelter and I am already a couple of inches into the ribbing of Sock two.

New yarns are in the works.  Right now one ply of my Alpaca and one ply of gorgeous Merino hand dyed by CJ Kopek are ready to be plyed and I'm still plugging away on my weaving.  I get a few inches done a night.


Spin, knit, weave is how I spend my unwind time each night.  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
 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!   
  1. 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, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Seriously, me wordless?

 I love the beginning of Autumn on the farm.  The trees are just starting to turn and the air is cooler at night.  The Alpacas know there is a change in the weather too.  They enjoy their last month of fresh pasture before the frost takes over and leaves them  in the inner pastures for Winter.

Enjoy your Autumn Evenings too.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mystery's Shawl of Red Awesomeness

This post was supposed to be shared a few days ago but the USPS decided that the distance from one end of the country to Michigan should take a full business week.  Argh!  Anyways, presenting Andrea's Shawl of Red Awesomeness crocheted by my blogging friend Denise who writes the Voie de Vie Blog.

For complete information on the pattern, the Critron (a free pattern on Ravelry), and the knitting stats you can visit her blog or Ravelry Notes.  For the drooled over shawl...well, you will have to visit me.  Earlier this year, we had talked about bartering for yarn and I really wanted a shawl that I would adore without having to find the patience to knit one.  Denise had posted this shawl made in a lovely green and I fell in love with it so I asked if I supplied the yarn of my choice would she crochet it for me.  Of course, I had to use my handspun so I picked yarn that I created during the Tour de Fleece 2011 from my herdsire, Midnight Magic's Mystery and paired it with a sassy Mohair yarn.  I had no clue what to expect.  About two weeks ago, I got an email asking if I would like beads added.  I didn't know so I said, "Yesh!"  I am so glad because those beads just make the shawl POP!

My dear Grumpy Bear brought it in to work for me yesterday afternoon because I was supposed to meet some friends after work for spinning.  All of my co-workers LOVED it and all of the ladies that evening did too.  I have been wearing it all day too.  I love that I can pair it with jeans and go casual or use it with a nice dress or slacks.

It truly is the shawl of Awesomeness!

I promised Denise a few photos of me wearing the shawl with Mystery but he isn't at my farm right now because he is out performing his herdsire duties at the farm where he is co-owned so...as soon as I can make my way to their farm or he returns home, those photos will be taken.

Denise, you are a rock star! xoxo

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Addiction or Sanity

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  It's amazing how quickly this week went.  Somehow, with everything else going on, I did manage to knit, spin and weave my way through the week.  I even plan to sort fiber tomorrow for another farm.  Some people would call my love of fiber arts an addiction or obsession but I would prefer to call it therapy or sanity check.  What about you?


When I first learned to knit it was in part because I wanted to learn about Alpaca fiber since I had my farm but it was also filled a social need.  Indeed I have found a wonderful community full of fiber artists locally and throughout the world now that share my same interests.  I am also learning to enjoy my own company and the quiet peace that comes with the gentle hum of the spinning wheel or the clicking of my knitting needles.  For the first time in a very long time, I am enjoying the silence.  I'll save all of the therapy talk for another post but I do want to say that I am finding that emotional wounds are healing and fiber arts have helped. I am learning to find reflection or meditation in my craft instead of focusing on the social and for now...it's working plus I am creating some amazing projects.
My newest weaving project- (Don't freak out but I'm actually providing yarn information for once)
Project Yet to be Named
Loom -Samwise Gamgee aka Cricket Loom
Weft - Alternating between Panda Silk Spruce yarn and the primary yarn, Mohair and Silk by The Gormet Collection, Douceur et Soie
70% Baby Mohair
30% Silk
25 grams - Approx 225 yards 
Made in Italy

Warp:  7 feet of Panda Silk yarn alternating between the granite tones and spruce
52% bamboo
43% machine washable Merino wool
5% combed silk

204 yds/50 gr.  7-8 sts/inch
 
Anyways, my house is still a mess but...I have a happy, healthy family and beautiful creations from my spinning, knitting and weaving.   Now before I get any more mushy, I am going to ask that you 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
 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!   
  1. 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, September 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Shelter Sock

"True happiness consists in making happy."
Bharavi's Kiratarjuniya, Hindu

I'm finally making progress on my Shelter sock(s) that I'm knitting for a nurse I work with.  It's so funny watching her at lunch as I sit next to her and knit her socks.  She is simply giggling with anticipation which just makes me all the happier to knit them.  Now that I've turned the heel, the first sock is really taking shape.

"In seeking happiness for others, you find it for yourself." Anonymous

I have to share this.  I was at home Sunday not feeling so well with a sniffly sneezy sinus allergy issue so I decided that I would turn the heel and attempt the gusset without help.  This being the beginning to my second pair of socks ever, I was scared to do it without KellyJ from Your Local Yarn Shop sitting next to me to cheer me on.  I pulled up her page on Facebook all set to send her a message for help when all of a sudden it clicked and I remember to knit through the "V" and before I knew it I was knitting on the other side...all by myself. 

I told KellyJ about it when I was in the yarn shop on Monday minus the Facebook part.  She said that I should have had a photo of her which is when I giggled and told her I already had.  Yes, the Knit Doctor worked her magic via Facebook.  (Hope she doesn't figure out how to charge for that service --just kidding) With each new project, I gain confidence in my knitting skills and enjoyment.  I truly enjoy knitting now and found when I'm not in the mood to simply not knit.

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." Franklin Roosevelt
So here I am gaining confidence as a sock knitter while doing good for someone else.

"Be helpful.When you see a person without a smile ,Give him yours."  Zig Ziglar

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Who's that Girl?

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!   Knit, Weave, Spin, Crochet, Sew, Felt, Dye are all parts of the Fiber Arts Fun we share each week so what are you waiting for?  Join in the fun and share you Fiber Arts Adventures.  This week has been a tough one for me.  The Neti Pot has been my best friend as I've battled the change of season allergies.  Argh!  When you don't feel good you typically don't want to do much.  Of course, I'm not your typical gal.

I've been busy spinning every night before bed which really does relax me and put me in the happy frame of mind to sleep. Literally before I went to bed last night I finished plying 8oz of 2-ply yarn in my Suri Alpaca Blend which ended up giving me 452 yards.  I have also been busy knitting at lunch each day.  I am finally working on the heel for the Shelter socks I started awhile back.  These are my on-the-go knit so progress has been slow.  I switched from my Studio June Shelter yarn to Shibui yarn for the heel and toe since the red is almost the same and really puts a POP on the color.  Once I turn the heel, I will simply knit the foot.

I did get a chance for some extra knitting on Wednesday night.  I needed to visit the Secretary of State office for my driver's license renewal.  Apparently I can't keep the photo from when I "really was 29" so I had to brave the crowds to get the renewal.  When I arrived, they were just calling number 63.  I picked number 97.  Good thing I had my knitting with me.  It wasn't long and I had a crowd of people around me watching me knit, asking me questions about knitting and giving me all of their excuses why they don't knit but do various other crafts even though I don't remember asking (yes, that was the sinus thing making me testy).  I am so used to knitting in public that I just take it for granted that most people aren't exposed to knitters. 

Of course, the lady next to me then noticed the socks I was wearing.  Yes, my first pair of hand-knitted socks.  MY SOCKS!  It has finally been cool enough that I could start wearing socks.  So there I was in the Secretary of State's office in my dress slacks and shirt with my hand-knitted socks and Birks.  Yes, I'm not quite the picture perfect office professional but I sure am picture perfect.  Oh yeah! 

Now the conversation went from me knitting to what I have knitted.  Before long I had completed quite a few rows plus kept everyone around me entertained and slowly all of our numbers were called.  There was a day, not so long ago, when I didn't know how to knit and I would be the impatient gal waiting for my number to get called.  Now that knitting is in my life I don't mind the wait...or the attention.  Ok, I have always loved the attention but that's a whole different story.  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
 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!   
  1. 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, September 14, 2011

Honk, honk? The Oboe Playing Bear

With the start of Middle School, a few new beginnings have taken place at our farm.  One of the most enjoyable rights of passage is Sister Bear joining Band.  Yes, joining Band is a right of passage.  Don't you remember your first instrument?   I am very excited for Sister Bear. 

My first instrument was the piano but my first band instrument was the Alto Saxophone.  I eventually played the Tenor Saxophone for the remainder of my high school band career along with the tri-tom and base drum.  I still get a rush when I hear the marching band preparing to go out to the field for the halftime show...especially if it's the WMU Marching Band.  Go Broncos!


When Sister Bear said she wanted to play an instrument I was excited.  I have been slowly working with her on learning to play the piano and read music but learning from Mom is never fun, apparently.  Sister Bear wanted to play the Clarinet and that is what she told the school but when we went to try out instruments she asked to try a few different instruments. (Go Sister Bear for exploring the possibilities) I was excited when she asked to play the saxophone but within a second she decided no and asked to try the Oboe.  The minute her lips hit the double reed, beautiful sound erupted.  No, not a strangled goose sound but the sweet sound of a Mallard saying, "Hey, let's swim in this lake for the afternoon."  So...Sister Bear decided to play the Oboe.

I am excited to see how she takes to learning her instrument and reading music.  I am looking forward to Band Concerts.  I am interested to see how music affects her life...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Dye Day

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Yes, it's Friday again and after a short work week, it's time to pick up that Fiber Arts Momentum started during the long last weekend. Knit, Weave, Spin, Crochet, Sew, Felt, Dye...are all parts of the Fiber Arts Fun we share each week and this week I am going to share a Day of Dyeing.

After the Michigan Fiber Festival was over, I realized that I had sold all of my colorful yarn and all that was left was the natural colors.  I adore my natural colored yarns but...color sells so my daughter, Sister Bear, and my friend, Dawn aka Knitamazoo, helped transform my kitchen from the room that doesn't cook into one hot cookin' room full over colorful pans of yarn and socks.  


I had a bunch of roaster pans that used to be my Dads which were the perfect size to heat up the fun.  I typically use Vinegar as a mordant but decided to switch to Citric Acid and I am so happy I did.  The kitchen and house didn't have the overwhelming vinegar smell.  By the way, I use Jacquard Acid Dyes. 

I did find that I have a few skeins I will need to fix.  Unfortunately, the strings that tied them together were a bit tight which caused a stripe of the original color to pop through.  Argh!  I don't consider myself a dyer although I do enjoy dying so I have a lot to learn and most of that is through trial and error.  Overall I am very happy with the results and now I have more color yarns to add to my shop and to sell at the upcoming festivals in October.  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:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - To Spindle or Not to Spindle Basket

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Boy, this week sure has flown by so...take a few moments to share your adventures in Fiber Arts and also catch up with other fun adventures by linking in to my post.  This week I am sharing with you the Spindle Basket I wove at the Michigan Fiber Festival this year.  I was super excited to make a basket because my friend Terri has created so many amazing baskets and I wanted to do the same.  I was even more excited because I got to take the class with her so we had a morning to visit and weave together.


It really is amazing what you can create with a handful of reeds.  I wasn't sure what to expect with basket weaving but...it's addictive!  Once we got the first few reeds hooked together I was totally engrossed in the process.

It only took me three hours to make this basket.  Can you believe that?  Three hours!  There aren't a whole lot of fiber arts where you can complete a whole project in just a few hours so I was super excited to create something that I could actually use...in just a few hours.  Woot!


Now I know this post is photo heavy but I wanted to really show the process.  By the way, I am totally going to make more baskets...in different styles.




Weaving...in any form is addictive.







I finally found a use for clothespins that didn't include a potato chip bag ;-)
Really, why would I use them with clothes?  Just kidding.

One of the workshop participants was much faster at weaving that I was and she put her spindle basket to use right away.  I have actually used mine already and it is great.  I can put a few ounces of roving in the basket and just walk around and spin. 

I missed out on the Whine or Wine Basket Workshop which totally bummed me out but it was my own fault for not registering in a timely fashion.  I think that basket will be my next project.  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: