Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vacation Time in Michigan

We took a long weekend get-away and enjoyed Petoskey and Charlevoix, Michigan.  It was absolutely beautiful up there.  They are about 4.5 hours North of our farm and right on the upper part of Lake Michigan.









Grumpy and the Bears enjoyed hiking and swimming at the beach while I had a booth at the Castle Farms Fiber Arts Show. Castle Farms is simply gorgeous!  The grounds and gardens are super beautiful.

We had some amazing neighbors help take care of the farm so we could sneak away for the weekend and I am thankful for them.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda...where did the time go?  A few weeks ago, Kathryn over at Kathryn's Brain Blog awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award.  I have been awful about remembering to officially respond so...tonight I will.

Kathryn and I have been following each other's blogs for a couple of years now and our mutual love of the Alpaca Farm Life and Fiber Arts have shown through our responses to each other's blogs.  Even though we live in different parts of the United States, I feel like she is a dear friend.  It's amazing how much you can learn about someone when you read their thoughts on a weekly basis.  Seriously, we probably communicate with each other more than we do our "closest" friends.  So, in the spirit of accepting this award which also lets you get to know me a wee bit better, I am going to answer the following questions.

1.  Show your thanks - Kathryn, you are a rock star!  Thank you for always being  a part of Fiber Arts Friday and an active member of the Team of Wonder.

2.  Share seven things about yourself -

  • I say that I don't know how to sew but I am fully capable of doing it and have in the past.  I just don't life fiddling with having to thread the bobbins or the machine itself.
  • I really am impatient.  I don't care if it is a virtue, I want what I want when I want it.
  • I really am obsessive about fiber arts and my farm.  I seriously can't believe that I waited so long to learn how to knit, spin, weave and felt.  I am always thinking about new projects.
  • I really thought I would be a writer of sorts professionally.  My degree is in Organizational Communications but Journalism has always been an emphasis.  Currently, my only outlet to write is this blog and a column in the Fiberline E-Mag.
  • I get choked up when I hear the Star Spangled Banner played...every single time.
  • I break out in song from various musicals at any given time.
  • Finally, I'm not 29 nor have I been for quite some time.


3.  Name a bunch of blogs you wish to nominate (seriously, 15 is way too many)

  • I wish to nominate all of my regular visitors and contributors to Fiber Arts Friday.  We have become quite the little family of fiber artists and I look forward to reading all of your adventures each week.  Thank you for always visiting my blog and leaving wonderful comments.  I truly hope I inspire you as much as you have inspired me. 


4.  Contact the Bloggers and let them know that you have nominated them.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday - Triple Crown

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Whew, can you believe it's another Friday already?  Did you knit, spin, weave, crochet, felt, sew, quilt, cross-stitch?  What did you do? Well, this week I'm going to be all over the place because as anyone who has read my blog for awhile knows...I'm a wee bit addicted to Fiber Arts.   So...I'm going to talk about horses.  Seriously?  Not really, but I got your attention.  Well, maybe ;-)

In horse racing or more specifically, Thoroughbred racing there is a term called Triple Crown.  It's an accomplishment that few horses and their riders achieve when they can win all three of the main races.  Er, that may be the most knowledge I have of horses gathered from various movies.  I'm an Alpaca gal not or horse person so I'll relate it as I know it.

I am on my way to achieving my own Triple Crown of Fiber Arts.  I am currently in Tournament 5 of Nerd Wars where I am competing on Team Precious for the second time.  I just finished the Tour de Fleece where I spun my July away with the Team of Wonder - THE Alpaca Fiber Lovin' Team which I created three years ago and our team has just grown to a fabulous group of spinners and finally, tonight, when the Olympic Torch officially gets lit, I will start my projects for two different teams on the Ravellenics on Ravelry (FKA as Ravelympics but due to politics with the real Olympics we had to change our name --Grrrr) by knitting and spinning for Team Nerd Wars and Team Knitting Dead.  Seriously, I am gluten for Fiber Arts Overload.  Heck no!  There can't be such a thing...is there?

The final days of the TdF!

I finished my MOVING TARGET socks!  I am super pleased with these.  They met the requirement for my 50% Dissertation in Nerd Wars so now I need to knit a second pair.  It took me from June 10 until July 24 to complete. I am going to attempt to knit the second pair for "The Games" as part of Sock Put but I think I may be a wee bit ambitious.  Regardless, it will motivate me to work on them.
So, I took a day or so off to gather my wits before I cast on my next pair of socks tonight during opening ceremonies.  The next two weeks are going to be insane but I don't think I could operate any other way.  I'll be taking a short break from spinning and will concentrate on my sock knitting.  Now, share your adventures in Fiber Arts.  Are you going to participate in Ravellenics?

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

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday - Almost to the Finish Line

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  This is the last Friday in the Tour de Fleece.  Have you been busy spinning yarn?  Are you still in your spinning groove or are you losing wind?  Have you been keeping up with the Tour de France?  Me?  Well, I am just hitting my spinning stride.  This year for the Tour de Fleece, I didn't work so much on how many skeins I could spin but what new kinds of yarn I could spin and also higher yardage.

I think I succeeded with a variety of new Textured Yarns thanks to the inspiration from Jacey Boggs Spin Art book.  I finally got the hang of how to Navajo Ply so now I am on a three ply yarn kick.  I experimented with some new fiber prep techniques and I truly enjoyed myself with my Team of Wonder.  We have had a lot of fun on Ravelry chatting and sharing our spinning photos.




I started the Tour de Fleece blogging every day but since last Friday, I've slacked off.  I must say that it's hard to keep up blogging when your free time after work, barn chores, family time, etc is spent spinning yarn.  Once the Tour de Fleece is over, I need to get serious about finishing my socks (which I have been knitting at lunch) so I can complete those for Nerd Wars.  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


Friday, July 13, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday - Spreading the Wonder

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Spin, Knit, Weave, repeat?  Those seem to be the Fiber Arts I spend my week thinking about.  Tour de Fleece has been ruling my Fiber Arts life and for the last two weeks I have essentially blogged every day.  Whew! If you haven't had a chance, check my last few posts and see the yarns I have been working on.


This has been a very busy week with the Eaton County Fair.  My daughter has been showing Chickens and Alpacas.  Last week I shared the fiber that she helped me dye and some of the yarns I have created from the  fiber.  This week, I gifted the yarn and batts to her 4H group so they could experiment with Fiber Arts during fair week.  I was amazed how their faces lit up when I pulled out the yarn and roving.  They actually squealed with delight when they saw the drop spindle and lap loom.  Right away, one of the girls started to cut yarn so she could finger weave some bracelets.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
  

Teaching kids is easier than you would think.  Ok, teaching teenagers is easier than you think.  I was surprised how quickly they figured out the weaving and the spinning.  By the time I returned to the fair on Thursday, they had already spun through two batts of fiber.  Their yarn looked great too!  Sharing the Wonder of Fiber Arts and Alpacas with a great bunch of kids is a total rock star experience.  I sure hope that their excitement this week continues on.  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



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012 - Day 13

Another day of spinning at the Eaton County Fair.  My daughter and her 4H group showed Alpacas today.  There wasn't a lot of standing around so I didn't get as much spinning done.  We zipped through the Showmanship, Performance and Obstacle pretty quickly even with the amount of entries.



Although I enjoyed the time I had spinning, the true enjoyment was watching my daughter work with the Alpacas. All of the kids in our 4H Group are amazing and I love how they respect the animals and also care for them as if they were their own.

I also adore our group leader, my friend Nancee who co-owns the 4 Musketeer Alpaca Farm and also co-owns my herdsire, Midnight Magic's Mystery.  She is amazing with the kids and has a patience that I can't even come close to.

The remainder of fair week will be fun time for our kids.  Their part of showing is done.  I just can't get over the growth they have all went through in the last year, it makes this mom proud.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012 - Day 12

Whew!  It's mid-week already and after Day 11 of the Tour de Fleece being the day of rest, I don't feel very rested.  I used my day of rest to catch up on some much needed knitting that has been neglected, my socks. I didn't get anywhere near where I wanted to be but I did think about what I want to spin next.


For Day 12 I worked on Core Spinning from an Alpaca Art Batt I created on my drum carder.  It's Alpaca with a blend of Silk, Silk Noil and Angelina.  I thought I had added a lot of bling but once I spun it up, I realized that it's nowhere near the amount of "art" that I see other fiber artists add.  I had considered adding some Saori Silk and I considered adding some fabric...maybe I should have.  I'm still too conservative.


I still am not spinning the coils the way I want but I am getting closer...I think.

I also took advantage of the slightly cooler weather and bred Mystery to Sprite.  The breeding from last year didn't take and she remains open.  I've sold their first offspring, Sweet Petunia, and would love create another beautiful Huacaya like her so...hopefully their little session took.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012 - Day 10

There is a new meaning to WWSIP.  It has been known as World Wide Spin In Public Day but I am taking on a new twist, Wonder Why Gal Spins In Public Whenever and Wherever.  What do you think?


Today I spent the better part of the day at the Eaton County Fair watching Sister Bear and her 4H Group show chickens.  It was a long day, let me tell you.  Seriously, it was a very long day.  Thank goodness I took my Turkish Spindle which I've decided to name Took as in, "Fool of a Took. Throw yourself in next time and rid us of your stupidity" - Gandolf the Gray, Lord of the Rings, J.R. Tolkein.


Brother Bear and Sister Bear




I spun for the better part of four hours and only a handful of children asked me what I was doing.  Only one adult approached me.  They watched and stared and I would offer up what I was doing but it surprised me that so few people asked what I was making because they really didn't know...so I educated them.


After all of the spinning plus the approximately 90 minutes total I spun on it a few days ago, I only have about .79oz on it.  Geez, it seems like so much more.  I am spinning finer but I have to say that spinning on the Turkish Spindle takes a lot longer than my other Top Whorl Drop Spindles.  I know part of it is me getting used to the new spindle.  I think the yarn I'm getting is lovely though.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 9

I am getting a better handle on chain plying. I decided to try it with two bobbins of yarn I spun earlier this week. Originally I was going to work my standard 2-ply yarn but I do love how the 3-ply works so...that's what I did.
I ended up with 128 yards out of 3.6oz to get this 3-ply yarn.  I'm calling it Boys of Summer because the Alpaca fiber came from Midnight Magic's Mystery, Buddy, SpinSanity and Romeo.  I added some dyed silk and Angelina to finish off the yarn.  I have to admit, the Navajo Ply is definitely easier when you are working with a thinner fiber.

After I spent time plying this morning, I spent the rest of the day at the fairgrounds helping my daughter's 4H Group get the Alpacas and Chickens set up.  It's going to be a busy week here between farm chores and 4H festivities...plus that thing called work.  Eek!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012 - Day 7 and 8

Two days...two hot days but I managed to ply two of my yarns.  The first was my basic 2 ply yarn and the second was my first ever successful Navajo Ply yarn which gave me a three ply yarn.  I am super excited how it turned out.  It's not even and there are a few spots that went wonky but, as a whole, it is fabulous.  I am definitely going to keep practicing it so that I can start adding more variety to my handspun.

Lots of spinning...the only green my farm seems to have in this drought is this yarn.  Yikes!



Friday, July 6, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday -

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  We are at the end of Week One of the Tour de Fleece and I have been spinning yarn like crazy.  I can't tell you one thing about the Tour de France although I have watched a bunch of the Olympic Trials.    The Tour de Fleece has also inspired me to post on a daily basis after going months of posting sometimes only once a week so...what do I post about today?  Oh, you know me!  I always have something new to share.


A few weeks ago my daughter and I dyed up about 4lbs of Huacaya fiber using Kool Aid. She wanted to help dye and I didn't want her using the acid dyes. I also am still unsure of myself when it comes to natural dyes so we went crazy with Kool Aid. She has seen me at work so much that she pretty much drove the mission and what we ended up with was beautiful pastel colors.
I have made a bunch of batts up that will be used by her 4H Alpaca Club for drop spindle demonstrations.  I had some help with Grumpy to make some toy spindles for them to use.  I also spun up a few skeins for them to use with weaving demonstrations in the Alpaca barn.  I figured they could finger weave some bracelets to wear.

Any time Sister Bear wants to help with my fiber, I always find ways to help.  I want to encourage her to learn and find her own passions.  They might not be the same as mine but giving her the opportunity to figure that out herself is better than never having the opportunity at all.  I often wonder if my mother had encouraged me to crochet or knit when I was younger (and expressed an interest) what I would be doing now?  That's all in the past and I'm just thankful that a few years ago I had a friend who had a friend who handed me a ball of yarn and two knitting needles and said, "You're a Knitter!" because that did change the course of my life.

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