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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Custom Made Needle and Stitch Gauge

Being that there are two new knitters in our household I thought perhaps we needed a few new toys to assist us in our knitting adventures.  My mother, over the past few years, has amassed us a collection of knitting needles from a really neat sale that a local senior citizens group has every year.  She always brings us some goodies that she bought for amazing prices.  Some of the needles don't have the needle size on them though, so voila!  A need for a needle gauge.  And, so I've been told, every good knitter worth her weight in exotic fiber should swatch her knitting I thought we might need a stitch gauge too. 

Yes, one can buy both of those things at a craft store but they are more functional than they are beautiful.  Why not have both?  There is a lovely lady on Etsy whose shop name is KaratStix and she makes beautiful pieces out of sustainably harvested wood.  I contacted her to make us custom pieces with our animals.  She did an AMAZING job!  She came to the blog for photo inspiration and she captured our woolies in appearance and spirit in her artwork.  Recognize anyone?  I can't recommend her work enough.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The sun is shining, the snow is melting!

The Chickens are happy to see the sun shining.  They dislike walking in the snow and getting their feet wet and cold so they are happy to see the snow disappearing!

I love all their different plumages.

The woolies were all happy to be out.  Except for the wimpy llamas. They stayed in the barn.  Look at all those ringlets on the goats!  Shearing time soon....
No! Not that!
Psst!  Liz!  We can hide when that man gets here!

Oh relax everyone.  The lady and the hay guy will shear the goats in April.  The shearer doesn't come until the end of May!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The best part of a new Vacuum

I hope the vacuum cleaner is as sturdy as the box is!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Old Fashioned Sponge Curlers

I found these curlers at the dollar store and couldn't resist.  I loved having curls when I was little.
We've had them in her hair several times since I bought them.
The Idea was rather fascinating for Duncan.
He said "are you really going to sleep in those???"

"Yup!  Mommy bought them for me!"

Wow!  Much curlier than I remember my hair becoming. (sleepy morning picture)
  But then I suppose she inherited some of Daddy's curls as well as his color....I just love that!

Monday, March 7, 2011

New books and a gift

It is hard to find a good middle of the road book for rabbits and goats and sheep.  Many of the "Insert Name Here Guide to Critters" do a good job giving you the basic facts about the critters we care about.  Many of them, however, don't give all the information I would like to have and find useful.  For instance, one of my rabbit books tells me that it is best to cull the animal with said medical issue...okay for meat rabbits maybe but what about animals we have a lot of emotional attachment, time or money invested in?  I was looking for books that give me some technical information- enough to make a decision about wether or not I need to get to the vets office or if I can do something about the issue myself.  Or how to spy a problem in the making.

The Completely Angora book was a find at a library book sale that a friend found.  It is incredible!  I think he paid 82 cents or something for it, and he still gave it to me after he found out it is worth a bunch more (true mark of a friend).  Unfortunately it is out of print.  Not too technical and very in depth. I can't imagine what else I might need to know about angora rabbits that isn't in there.

The Sheep and Goat medicine book is very good as well.  It has an appendix with common goat and sheep medicines (including off label) and their dosages.  It is written primarily for vet students (with a biology background I still needed to look up a few words) but it isn't too hard to follow.  It retails for $105.00 but I found it at for $89.00.  I feel happy to have found both of these resources.

When I came home on Valentines Day, this surprise was waiting for me!  It is modeled after a really interesting display that we saw at the Portsmouth Children's Museum (they had a whole hands of textile section for kids).  Will says it is a mock up only and that the frame will be finished etc... I love it.  It looks even prettier in person and away from my messy counter... Since it isn't completely finished we may add a really big weaving shuttle that I bought in NH last year that is from a mill and a larger mill bobbin as well.  I'm thinking it might be nice to wind some other yarn on some of the naked bobbins too...yarn spun from our woolies might be nice.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

February- the Longest Month of the Year

MIA from the blogosphere; Mother of Three, Professional series State worker (in a state budget crisis), self imposed shepherd/farmer and wife of model train obsessed Scotsman buries herself in wool to wait out the long cold month.

Ya….something like that.

February has been the month of extra activities. Will and I are taking Yoga classes on two separate nights of the week, Lila has after school music and knitting classes, the boys have boy scouts, work has been busy and we are re-organizing at work. Add on to that the fact that the furnace blower refused to blow, the vacuum cleaner was merely redistributing the dirt instead of picking it up, and the muffler and tailpipe on the truck decided they no longer wanted a conjugal relationship and you have a personal budget crisis is in the making. I’ve been overwhelmed with reality….

So. We have a new vacuum cleaner bought with a 30% off coupon at Kohl’s that will hopefully last for more than a year. We are rough on vacuum cleaners with three dogs, two cats and lots of sand to track in, not to mention stray bits of bunny fuzz from grooming sessions. The furnace blower was replaced, no brainer. The truck can wait a week- I’m downstate for three days next week in the work truck anyway and quite frankly, I don’t think the truck is any louder with the disconnect.

On a more pleasant notes…Lila and I are taking a Mother-Daughter knitting class and I can now officially say that I can knit! I tackled two dish cloths, a scarf for Duncan (which is already lost) and I’m working on a scarf/sampler. I’ve knitted thirteen different knit/purl combinations and it feels good. I’m going to start some of the YO and other mysterious initials the end of the week and I’m feeling brave enough to tackle a simple cable! Lila is working on a garter stitch scarf with stripes. She doesn’t feel comfortable with purling which is fine…now that I can do it I can teach her later! I’ve got half a pound left of pygora/Shetland to spin for a yarn CSA which will be wrapped up very soon…then I can spin myself some yarn and knit up a hat…just in time for spring!

Our local spinning group, the Eweper Spinners and Weavers will be sponsoring a fiber festival this summer- July 9th in Curtis. I’m very excited and will be a vendor- my first ever fiber festival. We are in the planning stages now and will be busy setting this baby up.

Our shearer is booked to come the last week of May…YAHOO!!! I’m so stoked to have him back again this year- he was awesome. Nary a nick on our animals and he was good company too. I’ll be washing wool like mad so I can get it down to Zeilenger’s for processing to get it back in time for the fiber festival and our CSA shares. I’ve been peaking under those sheep suits and LOVE what I’m seeing under there…all that VM free wool!

On the bunny front, I need to decide who will be paired up with whom. I’m going to breed three bunnies this year; Buffy, our VM marked tort, will have her last litter and then go into retirement. She will be paired up with the new handsome chocolate pearl buck I bought from Zodiac Ranch- Butterbur. I’m hoping for some more torts from this breeding. Dalilah (black English angora) and Mocha (Chocolate) will also be bred but I haven’t decided on the pairing yet. The bucks are Chocolate pearl, Black and Agouti in color.

Sheep will need to be caught to trim toes, worm, and change coats as necessary in the next couple of weeks. Amey, the skinny sheep, has been coming into the people part of the barn every other day or so for extra oats. As soon as I come into the barn she waits in front of the doors to be let in. Then after cleaning up her oats, she tries to scam bunny food from the three stack of angoras in the barn. They are not impressed and don’t share!