Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Reflections

This Thanksgiving holiday has went by way too fast.  Four days off from work was spent with my family.  We didn't go shopping or go anywhere.  We spent the weekend in our pajamas or sweats just being together.  We played, we baked, we laughed and we simply enjoyed being with each other.  I love my bears so very much and especially now that I am working full time, I cherish every single minute I get with them.  This time together meant more to me than I thought it would.  Over the last few years my life and my Thanksgiving holidays were always spent in ICU visiting my dad.  It will be two years next week that he died. 

I thought about him a lot this weekend.  It wasn't in sadness or anger.  If you look at the stages of grief, you could say that I have finally found the acceptance stage.  I managed to sneak away to Fort Custer to visit his grave site.  I started to freak out because I had remembered his grave number incorrectly.  The panic that I felt really bothered me.  I had lost my dad!  Even though he is in my heart every day, I decided that I needed another visit to his resting place.  Veteran's Day had a snowy mess going on and the weather was beautiful.  When I finally found his grave, I thought about the panic and the fear of losing him.  I could hear his voice in my head singing, "You are my sunshine" and I felt calm.  Yeah, I took a photo so I wouldn't forget.  I remembered 78 but kept thinking 278 and not 678.  Never again!

I will miss him forever!  He was my father and my best friend.  I hear his voice in my head and I don't cry (as much) anymore.  The anger has left me...and I am at peace.  I know I alienated myself from many people during my grieving and there is no excuse for my actions.  It is was it is and I handled my loss the only way I knew how.  I am better now.  I know I have an angel always looking out for me.  We put his photo at the top of our Christmas tree.  He is more than a Christmas Angel, he is our angel in heaven. On another note, I'm not as angry with God anymore.  Oh, I still have issues but I understand, I think or at least I'm trying.  I actually found myself praying the other day.  It was the first time in a very long time.  I now know that it may take a lifetime to heal from the loss but I don't have to be angry or sad and for that I am thankful to have finally figured that out.

I hope that all of my friends and extended family had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I hope that you all found what you needed to be thankful for and have found peace.

"Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
 
The first photo in this post may be one of my all time favorites.  It's my dad with my son (not long after brother bear was walking) going for a walk.   This was taken about a year after his double lung transplant when he was in the peak of health.  I LOVE THIS PHOTO!  I am thankful for this memory that I managed to capture on film.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Black Friday

Gobble, Gobble!  Welcome to the Black Friday edition of Fiber Arts Friday.  Are you planning on spending the day knitting, spinning, weaving, crocheting or felting?  Are you spending the day shopping for the latest and greatest bargains?  Me?  Well...pajamas are a number one requirement for my day of fiber arts.  If I do go to the store it will be to visit my favorite yarn shop who is having amazing deals.

My goal this year is to Buy Handmade and Buy Local or better yet...make all of my gifts.  I can't always do it but I will try my best.  In the spirit of Black Friday, I am offering FREE SHIPPING on all domestic orders in my Etsy Shop of Wonder.  Just use the coupon code GOBBLEGOBBLE2011 to save on shipping.  This offer is good through 9pm on Sunday.


One of the best deals in my shop is if you purchase some of my Alpaca the Way it Should Be yarn, you will receive a crochet pattern written by Denise at Voie de Vie for her Le Chaud French Press Cozy.  It's a gorgeous pattern and once the new year begins you will have to purchase it so here is your opportunity to get some great yarn and a beautiful pattern.

Now...I intend to spend the rest of my weekend knitting, spinning, weaving and felting while avoiding housework at all cost.  Enjoy your family and fiber arts this Thanksgiving holiday.  Share your adventures in Fiber Arts.
Fiber Arts Friday ! 
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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Swaps...Received!

I participated in a couple of my favorite swaps on Ravelry this Autumn and was beyond spoiled.  Swaps are a fun way to get to know other fiber artists from other parts of the country and world.  It's NOT just about getting a package full of goodies because the most important part of the swap is spoiling the person who you are "stalking". 

At the beginning of each swap, we are required to fill out a questionnaire about our likes and dislikes.  Throughout the swap, more questions are asked by both the moderators and the spoilers. Because these two swaps are centered around my favorite nerddom of Vampires, a lot of the same people are involved so from sea to shining sea...and across the pond, I have met some wonderful Ravelry friends.  Even better, I have had the opportunity to meet some of these great ladies at fiber festivals.  Of course, anyone that I spoil will always get a bit of the Wonder I create here on my farm whether it be a knitted, woven, felted, handspun good or even roving.
The first swap was the Love Bites Halloween Swap which required a Vampire/Halloween theme.  My spoiler is from Nova Scotia and crafted an adorable project bag for me plus a bunch of adorable goodies.  The prize in the package was the gorgeous Wollmeise yarn and beautiful roving.  She did a great job getting to know what I liked and I love the package she sent me.

The second one was the True Blood Swap which required a theme of anything and everything we love about the HBO Show, True Blood.  I was indeed spoiled. Custom buttons, a custom stein, an adorable flask, a blood drop necklace, beautiful stitch markers and my most favorite of favorites, the Vlad Shawl.  Our group had a KAL which I didn't participate in because me, lace knitting and patience don't mix so I was truly spoiled when I opened this gorgeous shawl.  I've already wore it a few time.  I even have a project in mind for my buttons.  Squeal! 
Even though the swap is over, we are still chatting away.  Many of us are participating in Nerd Wars together too.  I really do enjoy the fun I have through these fiber arts activities and it's obvious, I truly was spoiled.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nerd Wars Update - Scientific and Intellectual

I've submitted two more projects for my Nerd Wars Challenges.  This time they are both handspun yarn.  With these two done that only leaves two more to complete before the end of the month to get full points.  We'll see, because one challenge is going to require the use of acrylic yarn and I have issues with that.  Oh well, that's another post. 

Here is my Intellectual Challenge - 












Your challenge is to select any element from the periodic table and craft something inspired by its properties.
Challenge--Select one element from the currently accepted Periodic Table of Elements and create a project that you can connect to the element via its properties (such as the structure, element number, common uses / location, atomic weight, atomic symbol, volume, etc).

Here is my submission:
For this challenge, the element that inspired me was Copper.
Brief description: copper is one of the most important metals. Copper is reddish with a bright metallic lustre. It is malleable, ductile, and a good conductor of heat and electricity
I have some gorgeous Suri Alpaca in my herd that have a reddish tone to their beautiful brown. The roving that I created from them especially after adding Silk really created this metallic look to add to the natural luster that the breed already has PLUS Alpaca is an amazing insulator and keeps you nice and warm ergo heat.
Now, we vampires have been known to make use of Copper. It helps enhance our psychic powers.
All I know is that psi-vampires will sometimes use silver and/orcopper to enhance or depress their own feeding abilities. It is important though that they wear it where it can get in contact with their skin, otherwise the effects are null. In that regard, a vampire who will wear silver will depress its abilities, which can be very useful for more advanced vamps who wish to be close to someone without feeding on them subconsciously. One that will wear copper will increase its powers since copper will act as a catalyst for its feeding. Weak psi-vamps will find copper a wonderful thing to have around…Jacynthe Durocher, The Vampire Project

This is my Scientific Challenge:
 Anatomy of Nerddom
Anatomy and physiology are such amazing science subjects. They are also often manipulated in the fiction surrounding our nerddoms. Some characters have human features mixed with reptilian, others have an atypical circulatory system. This month, embrace the A & P!
The goal of this month’s topic is to narrow your focus away from the entire body as a whole, and pick instead a system: skeletal, muscular, digestive, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, or circulatory.
 This project represents the intestines in the human anatomy. I used fushia wool that I dyed myself and spun coils to show the fluctuations in sizing throughout the intestinal tract. For Team Spirit, I have tied in the intestine spinning through some research on Vampire Folklore in Malaysia. Apparently, there is a Vampire called Penanggalan which is a Flying Head with dangling intestines. This vampire is a female. Here is a LINK to one version of how this Vampire came to be and of course, the WIKI Definition. I have included an artist rendering of this Vampire to show the intestines.

Now...I'm off to investigate Big Bang Theory.  I've never watched it and I'm supposed to submit a project inspired by another form of nerddom.  Apparently I'm not allowed to use my beloved Middle Earth so...a television show it is.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

WAFA Sale - Last Day

Today is the last day for the Weavers and Fiber Artist Sale.  I know, I should have posted this earlier this week but I didn't so...you have to make sure you go today. 


 
WEAVERS AND FIBER ARTISTS SALE
Featuring works by members of the
WEAVERS’ GUILD OF KALAMAZOO
Thursday, November 17, 2011, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday, November 18, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 19, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Located at:
Kalamazoo County Expo Center and Fairgrounds
2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Admission is free and the location is handicap accessible.
This greatly anticipated yearly sale and demonstration draws shoppers and fiber enthusiasts from the Tri-state area of Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, and features one-of-a-kind handmade items created by the members of the Weaver’s Guild of Kalamazoo.
Hand-woven table linens, shawls, scarves, and rugs; handspun specialty yarns and knitted garments; felted scarves, hats, and wearables; woven metal jewelry; and fiber Christmas ornaments will be available for purchase.
Guild members will be on hand all three days to answer questions and provide demonstrations of spinning, weaving, and knitting.






 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Me? Love Orange?

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Another week has passed in a flurry (yes, even snow flurry here in Michigan) of activity.  Spinning, Knitting, Weaving are always on my agenda along with some new felted creations.  So...what are you waiting for?  Share your adventures in Fiber Arts and take a few minutes to enjoy all of the posts of everyone else who has linked in too.

This week I have been busy working on a few projects for Nerd Wars. Ah yes, I am still working on that.  Round two is in full swing and I am thankful to have a holiday weekend coming up so I can make some progress on my challenges. I am working on a new pair of Bella Mitts using some of my handspun Merino in orange.  Maybe it's because hunting season or maybe because I love the color orange...you can pick either but you know very well it's because it's a sassy color, I have chosen this yarn.  It's so different from the Farkland Wool I used for my last pair plus I now understand the pattern so any mistakes, er, artistic adaptations,can be avoided.  Progress has been slow but I am loving how squishy these are so far.

Over the last week or two I've been spinning up some of my Suri Alpaca Blend for a Nerd Wars Intellectual Challenge which involves the Periodic Table (more details in a future post) and the Scientific Challenge which involves anatomy (definitely more details to come).  So...with these four bobbins can you guess what my inspirations are for both challenges?


I am working on another Saori Weaving Mobius Cowl using more of my handspun.  This time I added a few more inches of warp to hopefully get more of the look I want.  I went with more Gray in this cloth but added bits of Orange and Yellow to really make it POP! The last one was great but with each project I learn something new.


I have also been working on more felting.  I created another shawl using the Nuno-Felting technique.  I did learn something with this one.  If you are going to use Panda Top, make sure you have some Merino as a bottom layer.  I found that some of my roving didn't attach to the silk so...I am going to go back and rework a few spots.  Again, with each project you learn something new.  I do have to admit, there is no Orange in this project.  hmmm, maybe that's why it didn't turn out the way I wanted right away ;-)

 Now, share your adventures in Fiber Arts!
Fiber Arts Friday ! 

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

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nerd Wars Team Spirit Challenge - Winter is Coming

I finally finished my Bella Mitts! 

I am super pleased with how they turned out.  After knitting three mitts, tearing back part of one and now casting on the fourth, I got my stripes to somewhat line up and the colors to basically coordinate. 

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Now for the Nerd Wars submission, we need to write up how our projects tie into the theme.  This is what I wrote:

Rav Handle - wonderwhygal
Team Bite Me
Knitting

Project: Bella Mitts - reVAMPED!
Winter is coming and although Vampires don’t need to keep warm, we tend to find teenage girls up in Alaska that are totally obsessed with us. They have serious sulking issues when we leave them and have spread awful rumors that we sparkle in the sun. WE DON’T! So ignore any nonsense you see in the movies about sparkling vampires, it just isn’t true. Anyways, Winter is here! So…I created these sassy fingerless mitts using the Bella’s Mitts pattern. I also didn’t want a solid color yarn so…I used some of my handspun of Farkland wool dyed by Kelly of Felting Sunshine to knit with. This mitts are worthy of any amazing Vampire, that doesn’t sparkle, who wants to have a cool look while keeping the fingers free.

Off to finish the fourth mitt so I can somehow tie the second pair into another challenge.

If you haven't guessed already, I'm having a lot of fun with Nerd Wars..and really am not a fan of the Twilight movies.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Getting Technical with Nerd Wars

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  My ultimate favorite time of the week is when I can sit back with my knitting and enjoy reading all of the blogs that link in.  TGIFAF!  This week I am going to update you on weaving with my Nerd Wars challenges.  I submitted my first project for Round Two which was the Technical Challenge, From a Different Angle...


Angles occur where two lines, line segments, or rays meet. Measuring these angles (the space between the lines) is a major aspect of Geometry, and shapes made up of angles, such as triangles, squares, and hexagons, can play a major role in fiber crafting, such as modular knitting/crocheting.
Your challenge is to create something with an angle in it. This could be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it. The angle can be in the shape of the object, in the pattern on the object, wherever you can find it. Please include a picture where your angle can be clearly seen. Additionally, I want to know what kind of angle it is. Classifying it as acute, obtuse, or right would be a sufficient explanation, but it would be really cool if you actually measured the degrees :)
 Of course, I had to submit a project that involved weaving so that is what I did.  In the Saori Weaving Group on Ravelry, there has been a Weave Along to create a Mobius Shawl.  I was totally up to the challenge and it was well worth it.  I pulled out a variety of yarns that included my chunky, thick and think, two-ply and single-ply handspun plus millspun yarn from my herd in addition to some fun sparkly yarns that I had in my stash.  It was so much fun and liberating to weave using the Saori form of weaving with all of these different weights of yarns.  I was amazing how even the weaving actually turned out.  
Of course, I had to connect this project to Vampires to get Team Spirit Points for Team Bite Me so I called the project Sunrise Sunset on Bon Temps (from the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood Series).  The colors of this shawl have all of the beautiful colors that you can find at Sunrise and Sunset which, of course, are critical times for Vampires. (Yes, I am going to suck you into the fun of my Nerdom before this is all over)
I plan on warping my loom this weekend to make another one.  I want to add a few additional inches to the warp but, overall, everything about this project is totally awesome and perfect.  So...share your adventures in Fiber Arts.

Don't forget to take the time to Remember and Show your Respect for the Veterans who have fought for our country.  My husband, Grumpy, served our country in the Air Force along with my father in Vietnam.  I have grandfather's who both served during the Korean War and a cousin who is still Army and has been overseas more times than I can count (He is home now).  At some point today,  I hope to visit Fort Custer National Cemetery to visit my Dad's stone.  Thank you to everyone military person who has served our country or is currently in active duty.   
Fiber Arts Friday ! 
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, November 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Bella's Mittens

I am knitting a pair of mittens for Nerd Wars.  It's part of the Team Spirit Challenge called Winter's Coming.  Of course I had to knit the Bella Mitts from Twilight because it gives me a Winter time item plus totally ties into Vampires for Team Bite Me.

Now here is where it get's tricky.  Instead of commercial yarn, I decided to use the lovely handspun yarn that I created using Farkland that Kelly from Felting Sunshine dyed.  It was a dream to spin and I totally loved her colorway but somewhere in my spinning part of the yarn totally striped how it was supposed to and the rest did a more obvious barber pole/candy stripe look.  Oh, all would be well if it were a hat or shawl because the stripes would gradually fade into each other but with mitts...well, I really don't look like I have a pair.  PLUS I discovered on mitt number two that I did finish my top quite right.  Oops!  Must have been busy talking instead of reading the instructions.  No issue there, I can tear out and reknit but...how do I make this pair match?

Fortunately I have (think I have) enough yarn to knit one more mitt.  So I am casting on and whichever mitt it matches will become the other mitt in the pair and the third mitt will....hmmmm, either get torn out or become part of an oddball set.  It's a fun knit and I am totally LOVING knitting cables.  Woot!  Now...to cast on again.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On a Felting Roll

After spending a fabulous day felting with my friends Suzanne, Sharon, Char plus so many more, I was inspired to make more felt.  I wanted to make another shawl but in a different colorway so I created this shawl which reminds me of Iris's in bloom.    I absolutely LOVE dyeing silk.  It is so much fun to watch the fiber soak up the dye.  Actually, I really enjoy dyeing in general.  The only drawback is that a day of dyeing means a day I can't be spinning, weaving or knitting.  Alas, it's still a Fiber Art.  So here is my newest creation, Iris.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday - Nuno Felting, A Day of Healing

Yikes!  Another week has gone by and it's already TGIFAF!  Yes, you guessed it, Thank Goodness it's Fiber Arts Friday.  Now lay those knitting needles down and grab your favorite cup of coffee because some amazing Fiber Artist have been linking in to share their posts.

First!  I must announce who the winner of last weeks prize is.  Drum roll....Spinster Beth!  Hooray!  Beth will be getting a skein of my handspun in the mail unless...you choose to pick roving instead.  I will give your that option since I know that you love to spin the wonder.  Congratulation!  Thank you to everyone who left comments. 

Now, to share my adventures this week.  First, check out my last post, if you haven't already to see the Mohair scarf that I finally finished from ages ago.  I am super pleased with how it turned out and already gifted it to my aunt.

This last weekend, I spent the day with Suzanne Higgs from Hooked on Felt, who is an absolutely amazing artist and a truly beautiful woman.  I really enjoy her company and whenever I get a chance to see her, I always jump at it.   She has been the inspiration and the leading instructor in my felting education.  On Saturday, I spent the day with her and many other wonderful ladies Nuno Felting shawls using Suzanne's techniques.  Instead of slowing down this post with a bunch of photos, I will leave you a link to my Picasa Album so you can view them there.

I am very pleased with how this shawl turned out and plan to make a couple more for gifts. Felting is truly addictive.  Um, yeah, I've said that about every form of Fiber Arts I've attempted ;-)  It really is, though. 

One of the ladies that was felting with us, whom I've had a chance to felt with on other occasions, made a very astute observation that it was a day of healing.  I like that...a lot.  A Day of Healing. It's true.  On so many different levels, the felting fun day heals the mind, the soul and even the body.  Even though we tire ourselves out with over 3000 rolls (yes, that many) my back wasn't aching.  I felt invigorated.  Ok, I was tired and I did relax all the next day but for that evening, I had lots of energy.  My mind is at peace.  I don't think about the worries of my world because I am focused on my craft and the fun I am having.  My soul was fueled by the fellowship that we shared.  Is fellowship the word I want?  I'm not sure but there is a spiritual element to the day.  Anyways, whatever word you use to describe our gathering, it was wonderful and I look forward to our next playday.  Now, share your adventures in Fiber Arts.
Fiber Arts Friday ! 
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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What happens in Lórien...Stays in Lórien? Nah!

“Never before have we clad strangers in the garb of our own people. May these cloaks help shield you from unfriendly eyes.”
--Celeborn, LOTR








I finally finished my woven scarf that I started way back in September.  It turned out more beautiful than I had imagined and even though it was a complete pain to weave using Mohair, it was totally worth it.  I named this project:

What happens in Lórien...
 I found inspiration from the Lord of the Rings.  I thought about the colors of the cloaks that the Elves of Lorien gave the Fellowship of the Ring.  Of course, I made this as a gift.  Ok, I should have waited until Christmas but...I didn't want to wait another two months so I presented it to my Aunt Janet.  She is one amazing lady and has been amazing to me growing up.  She has been more of a mother to me than the woman who really is/was.  I hope she enjoys this scarf.
Unfortunately, I warped my loom before Nerd Wars so I wasn't able to count this in my work even though it took the whole October.  That's ok, it was a bonus project.  When she wears it, may she be met only with friendly eyes.