Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Day of 2009

......and a time to reflect on the accomplishments of the year past......and look forward to the upcoming new year and all that it holds. This has been a year of change for me. Lots of change. Some good....some not so good. It's been a good year overall though. :>) And what of the new year?? Do I have plans? Resolutions? No plans really. And no hard-fast, set-in-stone resolutions. It would be nice to finally finish (or at least make a huge dent) in my UFO pile. It would also be nice to lose about 20 pounds (yes, I have hit the point where I really need to focus on losing a bit of weight. You know it's time when you are not happy with yourself.....and I'm not happy with being pleasantly plump). Other than that.....well, I just hope to continue enjoying the things that make me happy.

I thought I would share a couple of pictures of my "boys". Pictured above is my miniature schnauzer. He will be ten years old in February. He suffered a stroke and was very ill little over a year he still has his times when it is very difficult for him to get around. The sparkle is still in his eyes though. :>) Makes me happy to see him running across the yard (when he does....which isn't very often).

Pictured here is the "big guy". And I've been told that he is very large for a Golden Retriever. He is actually a Golden Retriever mix. Mixed with what we do not know. He was the proverbial pound puppy. We adopted him when he was four weeks old. He had a rough beginning (very sick) and the vet wasn't sure he would make it. Here he is six and a half years later. :>) Doesn't have the best hips, but is still very active.....loves laying on the porch watching the world go by.....and playing with his toys. He's perfectly content to spend an afternoon sleeping in the sewing room (right in the middle!!) while I stitch away. He also loves the sound of the spinning wheel in motion. He is happy to lay next to it for as long as I can treadle. I think he finds it funny as that sounds.
Time to share pictures of my latest finishes.....and I have had a couple with which to end the year. Yea!! The first one is a small snuggle quilt that I made from a panel that was sent to me. Really didn't know what to do with it. Inspiration hit one day.....and I had a completed quilt the next. This one is going to my youngest's college roommate. I think she needs "quilty hugs" right now. She has had a rather difficult first semester.
My other completed project was a knitting project. I finally finished the socks I have been working on and off on for the past couple of months. They are for my youngest....who loves them. :>) I call them the "Mardi Gras Socks" because the yarn reminds me of all the colors you see in association with Mardi Gras (although I've never been....but have seen lots of footage and pictures). The fiber used for the yarn was hand-dyed by my youngest. I did the blending and spinning of the yarn itself. The picture of the pair doesn't really do the yarn justice, so I took a couple of close ups to show the color of the yarn knit up. They turned out really pretty. Both socks are different in coloration so I made sure to use the same pattern for both. The sock pattern is my own. Couldn't find one that I liked and thought would work with the yarn. Happens. Just glad I'm able to write up a simple sock patterns that I can actually knit up fairly easily. :>)

Wishing everyone a new year filled with lots of love, laughter, and joy!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009


I finally have a chance to share pictures of my latest quilts. Yea!! The last couple of weeks have been so busy! Didn't help things any that I had a plethora of classes as well. Pictured above is the end results from one of my classes. I simply LOVE how this quilt turned out! The class was called "Magic Square Quilt". The technique for this quilt was relatively simple....once you figured it out. This is a no template. It's a simple cut and sew. The "magic" lies in the cut. It is an easy quilt to make, just not an easy one to explain. This was a 3-part class. Class one was learning how to make the cut.....and seeing all the different options you can get from the various cuts. We also played around with color, value, and piece placement. I was lucky enough to get four blocks sewn together during class. It gave us all an opportunity to play around with a few blocks on the design wall.

Class two was just a continuation of class one. Everyone came back with completed blocks and then got to spend time playing around with placement....and eventually sewing them together. I came to class with a completed quilt center and fabric for a piano key border. Some time was spent playing around with fabric/color placement in the border......and then I settled down to getting my border pieces cut out. I loved seeing how everyone else's blocks had turned out....and some of the design possibilities.

Class three was the finishing class. It was here that we got to see what all the quilts looked like. If anyone needed help with anything, this was the class. I came to class with my quilt finished. I spent class stitching my binding to my backing. Another classmate showed up with not one, but two tops done. She just needed to add borders....which she did in class. Her quilts were very striking. The third classmate showed up with stacks of completed blocks. She needed help in deciding on the placement of all of her blocks. We all had fun helping her. By the time class had ended she had sewn together at least half a dozen rows of her quilt. Her quilt was done in soft pinks, blues, and florals. Very, very pretty. It was a wonderful class. :>)

Pictured above is a small wall hanging that I decided to squeeze in between projects. It was in one of the latest quilt magazines that arrived in the mail. Not quite sure which one right now. Anyway, I just had to do this one.....even though it was originally done using hand applique. I had the urge to see how small of a piece I could do using fusible web machine applique. You see, one of the classes I'm taking is a Block of the Month. It's a beautiful applique quilt...only using fusible web and decorative stitches. Well, it's been ages since I've done fusible web and I just had to do another project (finished my current block the same day as class). I was looking through my magazine when I saw this wall hanging. I simply loved it and the rest is history (as they say). No decorative stitches were used, except on the flower pot. The pieces were simply too small. I did have a wonderful time putting it all together. Made me realize how much I enjoy machine applique and now I'm determined to do a bit more. :>)
Finally, we come to "The Elvis Quilt". This is a quilt I made for my mother for Christmas. She is a huge Elvis fan (as in...."I was standing next to Pricilla when he flew into could have been me......"). She was born and raised in Germany. Came over when she married my father....who was stationed over there....and that is all I will say about that. Needless to say, when I saw this panel hanging in the window of one of my favorite fabric shops I just knew I had to buy it. It was easy buying fabric to go with. The hard part was figuring out what to do with it all once I got it home. I'm not much of a "panel" person so this was incredibly challenging for me. I spent who knows how long thinking, sketching, thinking, and sketching some more....and still didn't have a clue as to what I was going to do with it. So it all got set aside. Until one day when I was watching a Fons and Porter quilt show on my local PBS station. They were doing a one-block quilt using their pyramid ruler. Well, I simply loved that ruler and just had to have one. So I did the hour drive into town and was lucky enough to get the very last ruler that my local JoAnns store had. While driving home (and feeling so lucky to have gotten the very last ruler), it dawned on me. I finally knew exactly what I was going to do with the Elvis panel and matching fabric I had bought. Out came the sketch pad. It only took a few sketches before I knew exactly what I was going to do. The end result is pictured above. I think the finished quilt came out to be about 70" x 80".... a nice size to snuggle in. It's currently on its way to Floriday. I hope she likes it.

Only a few more days until Christmas. I have all the gifts made that I'm going to make. Just about everything is wrapped and under the tree. Cookies are made (I made 12 dozen yesterday).....and I'm as ready as I'll ever be. :>) We did get some snow.....followed by freezing rain......followed by more snow. Then warmer temperatures and rain. Lots and lots of rain. We have a slight carpet of snow still left.....and lots of very large, very deep puddles of standing water everywhere. My poor critters!!! First the frigid temperatures.....then snow (which they seemed happy with)......and now all this rain. Wonder what Mother Nature has in store for us next?

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May it be filled with lots of love, laughter, and joy. :>)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quilts for Kids

Wow, I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted on my blog. Sure doesn't feel like it's been all that long. Guess that goes to show me how crazy things have been around here lately. It's like the days are just flying by!

Pictured above is the very first Quilt for Kids quilt that I have made. It didn't take long at all to put together. A couple of hours at the machine resulted in a completed top. Another couple of hours resulted in a completed quilt. This one has been mailed off and received. A second kit arrived a few days ago and it patiently waiting for me to put it together. It will most likely have to wait until after the holidays though. Still have a few more things to finish up in the sewing room.

Usually we have snow on the ground by this time of year. Not so this year. Bare ground. :>( I really hope we get some snow for Christmas. Can't imagine not having snow on the ground Christmas day. Well, just because there is no snow, it doesn't mean that we don't have the cold weather. We have had plenty of spades!! You know it's been cold when the high hits 9 degrees and you are going "yea! It's warming up!". Yesterday was the warmest it has been in well over a week. The high was a balmy 23 degrees. Yea!! Snow is in the forecast. Now whether we actually see some or not.....who knows. Thankfully all the critters have nice heavy coats on them and are doing well with the frigid temperatures. All except my older llama. He was sheared this past spring so he doesn't have a full fleece in yet. When the temps dipped into the negative numbers he was out there shivering.....and there wasn't anything I could do for him. I wanted to cover him, but knew he wouldn't stand for it (literally.....and I really didn't feel like taking a hard hit from him with it being so cold). So I simply fed him some extra llama pellets in addition to putting out extra hay (which I had been doing since the frigid temps hit).....and then encouraged him to be more active........which wasn't a problem since the alpacas had decided to help by antagonizing him. It's so nice when everyone works together. :>)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Little Chaos

Finished!!!! And given to the recipient.....who absolutely LOVED it. :.) It now resides with my youngest in her dorm room. She says it makes a great snuggle quilt.

Been working on Christmas gifts. It's that time of the year.....for me anyway. I'm nearly finished with one quilt.....and almost done with sock #1. Hope to finish the quilt up this weekend.....and hope to have the pair of socks done by mid-month. I only have one more knitted project to make for Christmas.....and two more quilts, plus a quilted tote. I'm hoping to get everything done with time to spare.....and very little stress on my part. Just have to keep reminding myself that I have plenty of time in which to do everything.
As an added bonus, my first kit arrived from Quilts for Kids. I'm so excited!!! I can't wait to get started on it. Just need to set a day aside just for that. Shouldn't take more than a day to get the quilt made, quilted, and washed. I would love to be able to send two completed quilts back. It's just a matter of squeezing another day in there to make another quilt. I already have the fabric for the second quilt put aside. It's times like this when I wish I had a second machine set up. Then I could be working on two projects at once. Oh well. Maybe some day. :.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quilted Tote

I learned a new technique and was wondering what to do with the block that I had just created, when it dawned on me......make a tote!! I don't make totes very often as I really don't have the need for them (have way too many), but thought that this might make a nice surprise gift for a friend. So a tote was created. :.)

The design on this tote was created using the embroidery unit on my sewing machine. Some other amazingly creative person digitized the design. All I had to do was learn how to stitch it out correctly.....which took a bit of doing. I had never done applique with the embroidery unit before. I did manage to get the block stitched out and really love the way it turned out. The design in the center is colored with colored pencil....and heat set. The very center of that is beaded with tiny purple beads and a bird charm was then stitched to the center of that.
The front of the bag was quilted using a neutral colored quilting thread....outlining the applique design and stipple quilting around the stitched design inside of that. The background of the applique was quilted using a decorative stitch and the neutral colored thread in one direction. The same decorative stitch was used only with a clear metallic thread for the other direction. The entire bag was lined with the same fabric that was used for the applique on front. The bag was done with a box bottom and I put buttons made from recycled plastic on the bag bottom to act as "feet". This is suppose to give the bag something to sit on so the bottom doesn't get dirty.
There is no pattern, per se, for this bag. This is my own design....for the most part (applique not included). I'm sure that there are probably patterns similiar out there on the market somewhere. I have never seen them....nor have I looked for them. This is just something I will make from time to time....improving upon it each time. I hope to get it to where I can make any size bag needed without a bunch of trial and error. As for the recipient of this quilted tote......she was totally surprised and totally thrilled with it. I was informed that it will be her constant companion when she goes out. How wonderful is that!! :.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The day after.......

......a creative day is always hard for me. Things just don't seem to "flow" as well. It's not that the creative ideas don't keep coming. Because they do. It's just that things don't go as smoothly. I had finished up a pair of socks (that I had been working on for way too long) the night before last and it was time to choose a new knitting project. It was a no-brainer that I was going to start another sock project. After all, I had discovered how portable of a project it makes......and how calming it can be knitting on a pair of socks when the stress levels are a bit high (I had a procedure done about a week ago and knit on my socks the entire time........made things a bit easier to endure). Anyway, while looking for that perfect sock pattern (couldn't remember exactly where I saw it)......I came across a pattern for thrummed mittens. Perfect!! It was something I had been wanting to make and I even had the perfect yarn for it. Problem was I didn't have the needles needed. So I pulled things out for the thrummed mittens knowing that I couldn't start on the project until I got into town to buy the needles needed.

Well, after getting sidetracked with the mittens for quite some time (even pulled out the fiber for the llama) I finally got back to looking for that perfect sock pattern. Once I found it, I photo copied it and then settled down to cast on. Did my swatch and my gauge was off by a stitch. Went up a needle size and my gauge was still half a stitch. Any larger and the fabric would be way too loose looking.....the yarn just wasn't heavy enough for larger needles. So I thought I would cast on and see what happens. Turns out it wouldn't work. If I had continued knitting the sock it would have ended up fitting a child. So everything was undone and the search for a new pattern began. I did find one pattern that I really liked and cast on for it. The gauge and needle size was a good match. The ribbing even turned out really nice. The problem was with the stitch pattern itself. Did nothing for me. Luckily I had only knit two out they came. Found another pattern that was okay. Wasn't real crazy about it, but it did fit what I had done already. It calls for 1 1/2" of ribbing instead of the inch I had already knit. So I knit a couple more rows of ribbing.....and that was pretty much it. Not real crazy about the stitch pattern. So I think I may spend a bit of time seeing if I can't find something that works with what I have knit already. I really don't want to knit a "plain vanilla" sock. The yarn calls for something more. Just not quite sure what yet.

As for the picture above......well, that is a picture of the socks that I finally completed. Actually it is the only picture that turned out fairly decent. Turns out the socks don't photograph very well. Or maybe it was me. Anyway, I hope to have a better picture of the socks soon. Maybe yesterday just wasn't a very good photograph day either........

Friday, October 9, 2009

Creativity Abounds!!

Have you ever had one of those days when you have the impulse to create, but don't know what? Then something catches your eye......and it's just enough to get you off and running. Before you know it, the afternoon has passed and you've created something amazing.

Well, I'm having one of those days. Woke up with an amazing amount of creative energy. Thought, "okay, time to work on this month's block" and as I was reaching for the monthly kit something caught my eye. It was a stack of brightly colored blocks. While I was working on the first of two blocks for this month that stack of brightly colors kept calling me. Before I knew it, the block of the month was set aside and those brightly colored blocks were laying all over my sewing table. Wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with them....until I started laying them out. Then it all just came together of its own accord. Once the blocks were laid out I started sewing. A couple of hours later I had a wonderful little quilt top. A few minutes later the perfect backing appeared.....the batting joined......and a quilt sandwich was born. :.) I call it "Little Chaos". I even know exactly how it will be quilted.

As I stood back admiring the morning's burst of creativity, it dawned on me how amazing it was to have everything I needed for this little quilt right at hand. The perfect border fabric....perfect colored backing in the right size.......and the perfect thread for machine quilting. Not a single thing was lacking or wanting. It's as if it was meant to be.....and this was the morning for it to be created. Gotta love days like this!! :.)
Of course I did have a very good night last night, too. Actually finished combing a lamb fleece. It was the very first fleece I have ever combed. I was simply amazed at how beautiful and clean the fiber is. And this is from a fleece that I thought for sure would be tossed. There was so much vm in it!! Definitely not a fleece that I would have even thought about picking and carding. It was that dirty. Of course now that it's all clean time to move onto the next step....blending it with some white baby camel top that I have. Just haven't quite decided whether I will be adding blending nylon to it or faux cashmere. It will all depend on how the nylon that I ordered looks. It's supposed to resemble silk. We'll see. I will be spinning sock yarn from it. I thought my hubby would enjoy a pair of shetland lamb/baby camel socks. :.)
On to fair spinning........ pictured below is the bobbin on my Ashford Country Spinner. On the bobbin is a Shetland lamb/kid mohair blend that I spun up at the fair. I used the Country Spinner to ply all the singles thatI had spun. The first skein (pictured below) ended up being about 500 yards (weighing about 13 ounces) of a nice worsted weight yarn (10 wpi). The second skein still needs to have the twist set, but it is also a worsted weight yarn.....with about 490 yards in the skein. Then there is a third smaller skein of about 78 yards. Haven't decided what I will do with all the finished yarn yet. Thought about a vest.....maybe thrummed mittens and a scarf......or maybe a felted teddy bear. The possibilities are endless. :.)
I also spun up some sock yarn at the fair this year. It was all spun on a drop spindle then plyed on a wheel. It's a polypay x/icicle top blend. There is actually a story of sorts behind this yarn. My youngst had died up all these short pieces of polypay x roving and then left it all in a large ziplock. I had asked her what she was going to do with it all. Her response "I think I will spin it up. Well, that was eons ago. She has since then graduated high school and moved out (college dorms). I was cleaning up the fiber room right before the fair and noticed this large ziplock filled with all these short pieces of dyed roving. Was a bit upset when I saw it......then thought "why not spin it up myself". The idea was to spin up the ugliest, gaudiest yarn I possibly could and then make her socks from it......which I would give to her for Christmas. (insert evil mom laugh here) Well, things didn't quite turn out as I thought. She saw the fiber as I was spinning it and absolutely LOVED it!! When I was spinning it, the fiber was in about six different batts and each one was a different color. I decided to "blend" the various singles together when plying in the hopes of creating a very colorful, very cohesive sock yarn. I think I actually accomplished that. :.) And I even found the perfect sock pattern for it. Oh, happy days!!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tumbled Apples

It's been a bit of time since I last posted. September is always a busy time around here. It's fair time. Things went really well at the fair this year. There were lots of demonstrators so I wasn't stuck behind the "wheel" spinning for ten or more hours a day. And there wasn't the normal drama that there usually is in the barn. Reason for sheep!!! The sheep numbers were incredibly low.....and the goat numbers were incredibly high. So the barns were switched. The goats got the big barn and the sheep were moved into the little barn. The wool department (which is what I run) is located in the big barn so I didn't have to worry about being moved. I did, however, get quite a bit of grief from the "sheep people" because they were "kicked out of their barn". I honestly couldn't believe how rude they were!! It's not like I had anything to do with it either....because I didn't. It was sheer numbers. When you have close to 500 goats and barely 100 sheep.....well, which one do you think will be getting the big barn. Goats, of course.

I will confess to really enjoying having the goats in the barn. The breeders were nice....the barn was always full......and it just made the entire fair really pleasant. Even the demonstrators for the wool department commented on how nice it was having the goats in the barn. And the fair goers really didn't seem to mind that we were spinning sheep wool in a barn full of goats. :.) Plus the breeders played games with their goats and invited the public to join in. Really filled the barn....which meant plenty of people at the wool department. Kept everyone busy spinning, carding, and answering questions. :.)

While the fair went well, things at home did not go as smoothly. Came home late one night only to discover that I was short a sheep. Did a head count to make sure.Then went walking the pature with a small headlamp on. Found my little yearling ewe. She had passed away sometime during the day.....from scours. My hubby had told me that she was off her feed and staying away from the rest of the flock. I was hoping it would pass, but had this awful feeling that I would end up losing her....which we did. She was buried out in pasture the next morning where she will always be with the rest of the flock. With being so busy at the fair and my hubby's long work hours.....well, it's just hard to always be there for the wooly ones. I'm not sure there would have been anything I could have done for her anyway, short of a vet visit. And even point to dwell on should have's, would have's, could have's.

Well, it's been a week since I finished things up for the fair. I'm finally getting caught up on things around the house. I still have a lot of singles to ply and finish up. I spun a whopping two pounds this year at the fair. Most of it on a spinning wheel.....with about four ounces of it being spun on drop spindle. I didn't get to finish up the socks I have been working on. People wanted to see the 'Tank" in action. So no knitting for me. I do hope to get those done sometime this week though.

Last night I took the time and finally finished up my Tumbled Apples quilt (pictured above and below). It felt good to finally finish something. :.) I had bought the blocks already pre-cut so all I had to do was sew them into rows...and the rows into a top. I really loved the apple fabric and wanted to use it as a border. In order to tie the apple fabric in with the quilt center I decided to embroider the apple trees. Unfortunately, I didn't take into consideration the fabric background on which the embroideries would be. So they don't "pop" like I was hoping they would. Oh well. Live and learn. :.) It is something I will definitely try again. I'll just make sure the fabric background will enhance the embroidery, not hide it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I love sunflowers! Love the colors they come in....the various shapes and colors. While they may not be the prettiest flower (from ground up) they are very elegant and make me happy. :.) I thought I would share a few pictures of the ones that made it through the very hot summer we have had and are now starting to bloom.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Organized Chaos

And that is what it's been like around here the last couple of weeks. Between settling the boys in and helping the youngest get packed and ready for her move to's just been plain chaotic. Well, the youngest has moved and is now settled into the dorms. She loves the campus and the town surrounding the campus. Her and her roommate get along well. .....and her "intended" lives on the floor above her. So all is well with her world. Oh, and class starts tomorrow....which she can't wait for. :.)

As for me.....well, I must confess that it is harder for me to adjust to an empty house than I thought it would be. I actually felt lost....and very, very sad. The lost feeling is slowly starting to go away. Still feel sad at times, but I'm not crying anymore.....and that's a good thing. :.) I started a new quilt project. The top is almost done. Just needs a bit more embroidery and then it will be ready for sandwiching and quilting. I've also done a lot of spinning. I just set the twist on the last of the plyed yarn today. That will make three completed skeins of yarn in the last two weeks. Quite a bit for me. :.) I've also been playing around with dyeing my batts. I've been using Border Leister for that. My experimentation hasn't quite turned out the way I was expecting....but it's still rather pretty....or at least I think so anyway. :.) It's encouraging enough that I will keep on trying until I get what I'm after. It's absolutely amazing how different the two skeins turned out even though I used the same dye colors. Didn't even mix new ones for the second skein. I had plenty left from the first.
I did finish the graduation quilt....which was aptly named "Organized Chaos". It looked absolutely beautiful on her dorm bed. Fit perfectly. :.) Her side of the room is done in bright, turquoise, purple, yellow. Real sunny. :.) This was definitely the project quilt. There are something like 72 pieced blocks in all......and 26 embroidered blocks. The whole thing is set on point (which always gives me fits). The machine quilting is rather simple. Mostly straight line quilting using a serpentine stitch and variegated thread. The embroideries are outlined with meander quilting in the background. Pictured are a couple of the embroideries found on the quilt.
Now I will end this the same way it started.....with a picture of smiling Casa. He has a perpetual smile on his face. You can't help but smile and feel happy inside every time you see him. :.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My new boys :.)

Here they are!!! My new boys. :.) After a very long, but very pleasant, drive they are finally here. So meet.....Whitikin (the true black)......Casadeora (the red in the center)......and Jack-O-Lantern (the rose gray).

All 3 were gifted to me by a very generous breeder in Oregon. The drive down was lovely! We visited Sisters, Oregon....went through the Willamette National Forest (very, very pretty!!)......saw an amazing historical bridge.....and really enjoyed the lovely scenery. Had a wonderful visit with the breeder the boys came from. All of the other alpacas were very friendly.....and very, very pretty. At one point I was surrounded by babies ranging in age from 2 weeks up to a year. It was amazing!! While I was playing with babies, my hubby was getting to know the boys.

We spent the night in Eugene and loaded everyone up the next morning. They loaded very easily....and very Whitikin's case. He literally ran into the trailer and squeezed himself between Casa and Jack. He didn't want to be left behind. :.) The trip back up was just as nice as the one going down. We took a different way home and saw so many beautiful things. Every time we would stop heads would pop up. It got to be quite comical. "Are we there yet??" :.) We arrived home late yesterday afternoon. Unloading went very quickly. The boys were more than ready to see their new home and meet the flock.

Here is Whitikin saying hello to Q-Tip. Q-Tip is always one of the first to greet any newcomers. He is almost as curious as Whitkin is.

I was a little nervous about the boys meeting the llamas....especially Cavi. He's the alpha male of the flock and everyone knows it. Things went much better than I expected. :.) Below is a picture of Whitkin (told you he was curious) saying hello to Cavi. This was one of my favorite moments from yesterday.

Of course the thing I wasn't expecting was the bit of tension between Levi and the new boys. Levi (my white llama) is very, very friendly.....and very curious. So when there was a bit of tension between him and the new boys I was stumped. Couldn't figure it out until I remembered that the breeder had a light colored herdsire that was aggressive with the boys. Then it all made sense. So I watched and waited. While there was still a bit of ears laid back (on Jack's part) things went pretty well. Levi showed no signs of aggression at all. At one point, Cavi felt Jack was being too aggressive (with the growling and ears laid back) with Levi and actually stepped between the two. After that, things calmed down. It will take a bit of time, but I think everyone will become great friends. :.) And I think Cavi will retain his status as Alpha male of the group. After all, he does tower over everyone.....which makes him very happy. :.) As for me....well, I'm on cloud nine with happiness. My flock finally seems complete and I have some wonderful fiber to play with. What more could I ask for. :.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Finally done

These are the socks that I've been working on....and they are finally done. They were a test knit for a designer in Colorado, so I'm not sure when the pattern will be available for sale. They did knit up rather nicely. And the pattern was very easy to follow. It was my first attempt at doing a short row heel and toe. Both were easy to do once I got the hang of it. Picking up those wraps with the stitches can be a bit on the tricky side. I had read somewhere that if you simply put the wraps on the needle and then treat it as if you were knitting multiple stitches together that it would be easier and look a bit neater. Well, I gave it a try. One side of the heel layed really nice. The other side looks like the wraps/stitches are just a bit tight. Looks like I will definitely have to practice that technique a bit more. :>)

The yarn I used was a Targhee/Merino/Corriedale blend. Lovely yarn to work with. It was spun semi-worsted so it wasn't overly fuzzy. Wish it would have been a bit more consistent as far as thickness, but that's okay. This was a really great pattern for the yarn. Really hid all the inconsistencies very nicely. :>) I have enough yarn left to make another pair of socks.....which I will be doing.....and which will be going to my mother-in-law. My father-in-law will get the pair that is already done. This way they both will have a pair of wool socks hand knit from handspun yarn.....only in different patterns so they can tell them apart.

Fiber Fun!!

I've been having fun playing with fiber. Lots and lots of fun!! Yesterday I finished washing up the last of the 2009 fleeces that I kept for myself. Wow! There were some beautiful fleeces this year! It was amazing.....especially considering the winter we had and the acquisition of a new llama (Levi) who insisted on eating over the sheep instead of next to them. It was also challenging to keep washing until all the fleeces were done. With each newly washed fleece, I just wanted to drop everything and play with it. :>) With all the shetland fleeces washed, I only have a bit of alpaca and llama wool to wash. Then I can finally settle down and enjoy it all. :>)

Pictured below is the batts that I carded up in between washes and rinses. The first set of batts pictured are a shetland/llama/soy silk blend. I used moorit shetland (this was skirtings from a fleece that sold....mostly britch) with this lovely red llama that I purchased.....and added a small amount of soy silk (for strength). This will be spun into sock yarn......someday. It was a lovely, lovely blend. One that I would love to repeat some day. I think I ended up with 8-9 ounces in all.

I've been spinning quite a few sample skeins lately on my drop spindle. Just too impatient to see what the finished yarn will look like. :>) Anyway, the skein on the left is shetland/llama/soy silk blend (from the batts pictured above). The skein on the right is shetland/alpaca blend. The shetland used was a light cream color, while the alpaca was a lovely red color. The sample skein came out incredibly soft!! Even the shetland/llama blend came out feeling soft. Not as soft as the shetland/alpaca blend....but still quite a bit softer than what you would expect from britch. Both sample skeins were spun woolen on the drop spindle. The fiber was carded on hand cards.

The last batts pictured are of a shetland/llama/icicle top blend. The shetland is shetland black.....the llama is gray (that I purchased).....with a touch of icicle to give it a bit of sparkle. I had blend the shetland and llama together and really didn't care for the way the finished batt looked. Kinda dull. So I added a touch of icicle top and was amazed at the end result. The picture on the left shows the coloring of the batt, while the picture on the right really shows the sparkle of the icicle. Only half of this is carded up. I want to do a total of four batts....enough for socks. Then I would love to use the remaining shetland and blend it with either with white llama (also purchased) or with some red alpaca. Haven't decided which yet. All I know is that I'm more than ready to finally see the last of the black shetland. Even with gifting some of it, there was still quite a bit left. That was one pretty large fleece!!