Monday, January 31, 2011

Our alpacas just love this snowy cold weather.  They will lay out in the pasture when its snowing instead of inside the sheds.  Here is a picture of Apollo, behind him is Diego (one of my first two) and one of the brown boys just behind him, but I can't see who it is. 

They are so sweet.  They're the ideal farm animal I think.  No, we don't eat them.  But we do harvest their beautiful fiber once a year usually in the early spring.  Then they are cool all summer and start getting some length on their coats towards fall. 

One of the things they really like in the summer time is when I get out the hose and squirt their feet and legs.  Sometimes one will get so happy he will stick his entire head in the stream of water, open his mouth and get a nice cold drink.  All I have to do is head towards the water faucet and they are there.

Their fiber is extremely soft and warm.  Some of the most beautiful yarns come from these guys.  Here's a picture of Wasabi's fiber when he was only about a year old.  It was dyed blue and green, spun and plied to about a sport weight yarn.  Haven't made anything out of this yet, but it would certainly make a soft scarf or socks.  It feels like butter.

I have some new ideas for this year as far as using the natural colors of my animals.  I hope they turn out as I imagine them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My niece had a great time space dyeing her merino / silk fiber she bought with some Christmas money she received.  We used Country Classics dye which don't require any additives other than soaking the fiber in a little Synthropol before dyeing.  The colors were a little tame for her (she likes zebra stripes and hot pink!) but all in all its very pretty. 

I started putting a Verithane finish on her wheel to protect the wood but couldn't find the sandpaper needed, so finally got some yesterday and hope to have the wheel finished by this afternoon.  Being a Kromski Minstrel it has so many little pieces that make it so fancy so it takes a while to get them all coated.  She's anxious to use it so guess I better hurry up.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I started blending some yellow superwash fiber that I don't really like the color of, with some beautiful white Punta.  It needed a little pzazz so some salmon-colored nylon icicle was added in big streaks.  I think it turned out pretty nice.  I wanted to see what it was like so its on one of my student spindles right now.  I love the way its turning out.  Hopefully others will like the batts and try spinning them.

We had our first spinning group the our local community center this Tuesday.  There were three ladies there plus myself.  One was a spinner but its always so much more fun to spin with others.  Its also a great way to discover new techniques.  The other two are using the student spindles and seemed to have fun.  They caught on very quickly and picked out some of the dyed / blended wool samples I brought.  Hopefully there will be more spinners in the future, but for a first time with instruction from me going on, three was quite enough.  Any more might have been too much.

Snow continues to fall in north Idaho and now a freezing rain is predicted after there were many pileups and collisions on our local roads and our one freeway.  Guess its a good day to stay home.  We were supposed to go pick up alpaca feed and then take our remaining two rescue babies up to the shelter in Priest River.  Everything is on hold until at least tomorrow.

What a good day to stay in the do some dyeing!  Already have fiber in soaking that my niece bought with her Christmas money, some merino and silk from Paradise Fibers.  So soft.  She spun a little already and was able to see the beauty of the fibers and the ease of spinning it.  We will do some rainbow space dyeing this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back in October I dyed some fibers for a spinning class I hope to be giving at our local community center.  I showed on that post some bending nylon in the dye pot with some dabs of color applied at random, this picture is after rinsing and on the drying rack.  It can be difficult sometimes to imagine just how the fiber will look once its dried, spun and then incorporated into your project.  That's what is so much fun about this craft ... seeing the final product made from your imagination.  Sometimes I start with what will be a planned project, but what I end up with is entirely different.

We are having a studio and shop day tomorrow.  Who knows what will come out of it.  Maybe a couple of real masterpieces :->   We are supposed to get up to 18" of new snow tonight and tomorrow, so it sure sounds like a good day to stay inside.  This morning's temp was just about -10 degrees so you know who wasn't outside, at least for too long.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

There is usually a bright side to most things.  As snow continues to fall off and on here and the outside temps run between -10 and above 20 degrees,  my niece loves it and it doesn't matter how cold.  She was out playing with the dogs a few days ago and made her very first snowman.  We didn't have any carrots for his nose and since the woodstove was already going we couldn't dig for pieces of charcoal for his mouth so we made do with some green candy kisses for his eyes and a stump of broccoli for his mouth.  I thought he was cute.

The pink and white punta & BFL yarn is finished and plyed now.  I actually got two nearly full bobbins of finished yarn.  Today I'm trying to get it measured on the niddy-noddy, weighed and washed to set the twist as they say.  After drying it will be hung with the rest of the hand-spun finished yarns and hopefully end up in my etsy shop.  I've had the etsy a while but never have put anything in there yet.

The tan Polworth with the pink glitz is still on my Sonata wheel so am hoping that will be finished up this week.  Just a little more to spin and then the two bobbins will be plyed together.  Its beautiful but a little coarse for what I like but it may soften up when finished.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


After a very nice and quiet New Year's Eve we also spent an energetic and peaceful New Year's Day.  I always feel like cleaning house on the first of January.  Sort of like cleaning up my life for a new start.  The temps are still below 0 during the night but doesn't seem to bother the animals.  Except the kitties.  No One wants to go outside.  They sit and look out the glass door but do not try to open the door or they will run.

After getting the house in some semblance of order, I was able to re-card some fiber for the third time.  I like it a lot better now.  Also the pink BFL and white Punta is spun and in the process of being plyed together for a pretty soft pink yarn.  Not sure how much I will have here but certainly enough for a nice baby sweater set.  Maybe I will try to do some baby blue also.

I gave my niece a gift certificate for Paradise Fibers for Christmas so we are making plans to go over there one of these days.  She doesn't have school on Fridays so that might be a good day to go providing the weather isn't bad.  Looks like our cold weather will last until the middle of the week, then more snow which means warmer temps usually.  She's doing so well at blending and spinning her fibers.  Usually I give her some of my stash but now she will be able to purchase her own and get what she wants.