Sunday, March 27, 2011

Springtime Hodge and Podge

The choir trip with my son's school to Orlando was a lot better than I thought it might be and (with the help of a little Tylenol PM) I actually was able to sleep on the bus! Universal Studios was really nice (minus the super-loud music and sound effects and commercialism), and it was fun to see the kids perform, but I was predictably thrilled to return to the tranquility of Seldom Scene Farm. Hogwarts was by far my favorite part, but there's tons of magic going on right here with spring on the rise.
We're waiting on our first alpaca crias to arrive any time, very exciting! Also, our daughter's ewe is due to lamb soon but since we're going to be gone we've left her at our friend Dianne's place to deliver (thanks again, Dianne!). We are completely addicted to her new Lamb Cam (live barn views via the internet), and will be anxious to pick out our own lambs "on TV" when they get here and watch them bounce around on the screen before we can see them in person.
The other babies on the farm are these chicks which are being added to our egg-laying flock. We had the sweetest group of girl scouts come for a llama trek recently; they enjoyed playing with the chicks almost as much as they liked the llamas.
Fiber activity has been scarce, although I have continued to pick up the needles and work on my Tea Leaves Cardigan which I'm hoping to complete while there's still some cool weather around. I've made more felted birdhouses, but forgot to photograph them before they were shipped to Wyoming and taken to Damselfly Gallery in Midway.
Another piece of news is that we have decided to sell one of our premier alpaca studs, El Nino's Accoyo Michelangelo, at the AOBA National Auction in Denver in May. We had fun doing some photography and video with him the other day (of course the dogs wanted to get in on the action). He's a very cooperative, charismatic and photogenic alpaca, so it made the process a lot of fun!
We have a dusting of snow on the daffodils today after near record high temperatures this week. That is the epitome of March in Kentucky, it's definitely going out like a lion. I hope that you're enjoying at least some signs of spring where you are!
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Learning from Mistakes

It's never fun to have to throw out a messed-up felting project (at least with knitting, you can unravel the yarn!), but I suppose I can say that it's how one improves. Last week one day I had a block of time to make the first of Mirian's slippers. I chose her favorite colors and decided to make them slightly thicker and to use only wool, no alpaca. The alpaca in mine feels incredibly soft, however it is not holding in the rest of the felt very well. Although I love alpaca, it's not well-suited for felting that will take a lot of hard wear.

I traced a pattern for the resist and made it larger to account for shrinkage.... but not enough shrinkage! I guess that using more merino (which shrinks a lot) and not using alpaca (which barely shrinks) made it shrink significantly more. After trying to make this fit Mirian's foot (it felt like I was trying to get Cinderella's stepsister's foot into the glass slipper!), I gave up and started over.
The new slippers made from a larger resist turned out great! I had hoped to photograph them with the leather already sewn on, but I've not been able to whittle out even that little bit of time this week.
I did do a bit of dyeing, carding and spinning this past week, just wish I could have done more!
A friend told me that alpaca couldn't be spun into coils, one had to use merino, so of course I had to try- I love the result.
I'm off to the Southern Select Alpaca Show in Tennessee this weekend, then I'm chaperoning my son's choir trip to Orlando for 5 days! I'm beginning to forsee a time when our daughter will be back in school next year and I'll have larger blocks of time for fiber work again, trying hard not to wish the time away!
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