Friday, December 27, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Stripey Scarf

A few weeks ago Vivian over at Bits and Pieces gave away a scarf she made.  It was her "car project."  Only working on it while waiting or being a passenger.

I love the idea of a "car project" to make those few minutes here and there useful, but I'm rarely in my car anymore.... or on an airplane for that matter.  So I have a cubby with a go-bag for each in-progress-project and just grab which ever one suits my fancy when I think I may have some waiting or passenger time.

Anyway, I am the lucky recipient of Vivian's beautiful work.  It has made an appearance at a couple of Christmas parties already and will be keeping me warm while doing farm chores this winter.

She was also kind enough to send some of her yarn scraps.  I had told her I was wanting to make something of a yarn quilt, but didn't have enough yarn in similar weights.

But now I have a little more to work with.... it might be time to start putting a real project plan together.  :-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday and I hope you're having a wonderful Holiday season.  :-)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Fingerless Mitts, part 4


I'm challenged with the ladders... the space between needles.  I did a better job with the second mitt, which is not very apparent in the photo below.  :-/  I'm hoping they will improve a bit with a good soaking.

The second mitt is a little smaller than the first... so I can now see a reason for attempting two-at-a-time.  ;-)

These were my first pair of mittens.  They also had my first Russian Join.

The join is to the left of the thumb gusset... almost un-noticeable.  :-)

The alpaca+silk yarn is lovely and soft.  I think these will work perfectly for computer work when it gets cold again.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Fingerless Mitts, part 3

I've been pretty dedicated to this project for the last couple of weeks and certainly last week's cold was a good incentive for finishing.  Not quite there, but they are getting very close,

and there's a whole lot of winter still to come.  ;-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Fingerless Mitts, part 2

I was on the road last week.  It was supposed to be time off around Thanksgiving, but since my DayJob is in IT, I did have to spend some time working. :-/  In spite of that, I made a lot of progress on my Fingerless Mitts while we were out of town.

I like small projects for traveling.... they don't take up a whole lot of space or weight... and when you're like me and detest checking bags, less is more.  :-)

I'm feeling much better about the pattern, although I did forego the lace at the top.

Now to make a second one, more-or-less the same size.  ;-)

I hope you're staying warm on this Fiber Arts Friday!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Feeling Grateful

A few years ago, when we moved back to Colorado from New Mexico, I bought a big down coat.  I call it my "Saint Paul Parka."

I bought the coat because New Mexico has mild winters, I had lived there for a very long time and was suddenly commuting to the Twin Cities of Minnesota... specifically, Saint Paul.  I knew my winter coat, that had been perfectly fine for New Mexico, was not going to cut it in Minnesota.

What I didn't realize at the time is that Northern Colorado gets just as cold, only it's not for as long.  Of course the sun shines more here, but I digress.  ;-)

So when the weather is like it is right now, I am grateful for my Saint Paul Parka.

We went below freezing (+32F) yesterday afternoon and will stay there for the next week.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Handmade Holiday, part 2

I suppose the good thing about not planning to make any gifts for Christmas that weren't already finished is that I have time when inspiration strikes.... and again.  ;-)

This project has the added benefit of using left-over yarn.  :-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Fingerless Mitts

I'm having a bit of startitis these days, and with it getting cooler, I am reminded that I really want a pair of fingerless mitts.

Susie's Reading Mitts have been in my queue for a looong time.  So long in fact, there appears to be a new version of the pattern.

I had decided that I wanted to pair that pattern with this lovely, fine gauge suri alpaca that Hubba brought home from Japan a few years ago.

So while Susie's Reading Mitts calls for a thicker gauged yarn, I was feeling confident about my gauge-adjusting skills.  I just had to figure out the right sized needle for getting the fabric I was after.

I decided to check the label for recommended needle sizes and was quickly reminded that I do not read Japanese.  :-/

One of my Comadres found a US-to-Japanese Needle Size Translation Chart... and after a bit of swatching I settled on US0.

So now that I'm into the pattern, I'm having mixed feelings.  I love the fine, soft yarn.... with it being an alpaca blend, the mitts should be plenty warm, but the eyelet lace is nearly impossible to see and what will become a Picot edge is just not looking so hot.

This has me thinking that a different pattern might be a better choice for this yarn, but I have decided to finish at least one mitt before I make a final decision.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Road Trip

The Fluffy Puppy and I took a Road Trip last weekend.

He did great in the car, as I knew he would.  He rides in the car a lot and I have him wait often.  So the 4-hour drive was not a big deal.

He was very excited about his first visit to a hotel.  He enjoyed all of the attention from the staff and other guests.  He especially liked that he had the power to open the automatic, sliding-glass doors in the lobby.

His first ride in the elevators was a bit of a surprise to him.  He didn't love it, but by the end of our two days, he didn't hate it either.

I'm not sure what it was about the sofa...  He's not allowed on the furniture at home, but he hopped up there a few times, like he was King of the Hotel Room.  Don't worry, I didn't let him stay there.

Our room was on the 3rd floor.  He thought being able to look out and see the world from such a high vantage point was pretty neat.

I tried to close the curtains a few times, but would get upset until I opened them again.  In fact, he spent most of the first night like this.

We had our first full grooming experience with just the two of us.  He looked pretty good, even though neither of us got a whole lot of sleep.

The second night he was much more relaxed in the hotel so we both got some sleep.  He looked much better for day two.

He even spent some time hanging out on the grooming table while we waited for our ring time.

This young exhibitor came over to meet Gunnar and the two of them were in love with each other almost instantly.  :-)  I did not get his name.  I love his outfit.  He was showing Collies.

Mr. Gunnison and I had a very fun weekend away together.  He handled all of the new things very well... extra-long car ride, hotel, automatic sliding glass doors, elevators, freezer-door flaps, the congestion and distractions in the ring arena and noise of the grooming area.

He handled and stacked well in the ring.  In fact, much better than last time with the distractions of being in an indoor ring.  He's still the youngest TM in the competition, and while growing up, he's still very puppy-like.

He won his age group both days, came in 3rd for the Winner's Dog competition on Saturday and won Reserve Winners's Dog (2nd place) on Sunday.  No points to add toward his championship but I call it a very successful weekend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Handmade Holiday

I was not going to make anything for anyone for Christmas this year, that wasn't already finished...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Slow Living: October 2013

We've had some freezing temperatures, snow and most of the leaves have dropped.  The air is different.  The light is different.  I love the transition into winter.  Which makes it time for the October installment for the Slow Living Project.

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, over-processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.

I roasted our first turkey of the season.  It may seem silly since Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, but I love turkey.  So we've been eating a lot of turkey sandwiches lately.... my favorite.  :-)

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season. Aim to reduce dependency on store bought items especially those known to contain BPA and other suspect additives. Stocking up on dry goods when prices are low counts too.

With the flooding in September we have revisited our some of our Emergency Plans and Stores.  Things like candles, matches and batteries have all been checked and added to.  The warms, woolies and extra blankets have all been cleaned and the boiler has been serviced.

REDUCE/Reuse/Re-purpose/Repair: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.

I blew out the tire on my wheelbarrow.  Hubba says it means I'm a "Real Farmer" because I'm putting more miles on my wheelbarrow than my truck.  ;-)

He replaced the tubed tire with a solid tire, so I'm good for a while now.  :-)

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.


GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints. Don't have a backyard? Ask a friendly neighbour or relative for a small patch of theirs in return for some home grown produce, they may surprise you!

With it being fall now, there's not too much happening in this department.

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.

There has been a bit of start-itis on the creative front.... Alpaca Cape, Palindrome Scarf, and a couple of other things I haven't written about yet.  ;-)

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.

I've been spending some time studying AKC rules.  Gunnison and I had our second show in October and we have another in November.  So I want to make sure I understand more about how the points are calculated and awarded as well as what my responsibilities are, as an Exhibitor.

ENHANCE: community: Possibilities include supporting local growers and producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group. Car pooling where possible and biking/walking instead of driving. Even start up a blog if you haven't already - online communities count too! Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street! The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.

I've been on the receiving end of this again.... our friends at Taboo Tibetan Mastiffs have been mentoring me over the last several months and they came out to help/teach me some grooming techniques for Gunnison's show.

I was also gifted about a half-case of canning jars that were not being used.  :-)

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.

An impromptu dinner with someone close that we don't see often enough, evening walks and visits with the neighbor cows, knitting with friends, dog shows, and lots of time with each other and our animals.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: The Answer is Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog

I am a member of an Alpaca forum called Paca This on Facebook.

They recently reached 2000 members and had a Trivia Extravaganza to celebrate.

I was lucky enough to be the first to figure out the answer to this question...

What breed of Livestock Guardian Dog pictured here watches over the 'boys' at The AlpacaRosa?

Photo Credit: Don and Carolyn Marquette
This handsome fella is a Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog.  A rare breed in the US, but a bona fide Livestock Guardian Dog.  He sure looks like a happy guy.

He protects the boy alpacas at The AlpacaRosa in Ohio.

I won a skein of handspun alpaca yarn and a Bungee Bite Block to use during shearing season next year.

I repeat, this 3-ply yarn is "handspun."  I must say to the spinner that I am very impressed and these 200 yards will be put to good use.  :-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dog Show Weekend #2

Gunnar and I had our second-ever show weekend this past weekend.

I don't have a "before, before" picture but suffice it to say that he was a good, muddy, mess prior to going to the Groomer for a "professional" bath.

My friends at Taboo Tibetan Mastiffs helped me with his "show" grooming again.

Gunnar was looking pretty darn handsome by the time we were finished with him.

He won Winner's Dog and Best Opposite Best of Winners both days for two points toward his Championship.  On Saturday, he also won Best Puppy, which meant we got to compete in a puppy-version of the Working Group.

If you're unfamiliar with AKC dog shows... All of the entrants for each breed compete against each other for Best of Breed, then all of the Best of Breeds compete against each other in their respective groups.  For Tibetan Mastiffs this is the Working Group.  The dogs that win their Group compete against each other for Best in Show.

There are a lot of points and accolades available for the dogs that do well in the Groups or Best in Show competitions.  As Best Puppy, we competed in a puppy-version which is more just for the experience.

Our ring times were very early, so there was a lot of waiting around for the Group Competitions...

I did a little "show grooming" all by myself.  :-)

Yes, I was able to coax him onto the table all by my lonesome.  Which is a bit of a challenge since he is not allowed on the furniture at home and is now well beyond my weight-lifting capacity.  ;-)

Over the two days of the show, Gunnar made lots of friends... both human and canine.  I lost track of how many people came up to talk to him or to me about him.  They all commented about how neat it was that he is so easy going, mellow and friendly for such a big, impressive-looking dog.

Gunnar got to visit with his breeder again, who he adores, and got to see many of his puppy-friends from class.

I am so, very proud of him.  He handled the noise, attention, waiting around and many females in heat extremely well.  He also performed well, held his stack and stayed upright his entire time in the ring.  :-)

By the end of the weekend, were both good and tired.

The Fluffy Puppy is happy to be back with his alpacas and playing in the mud.  :-)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Fixing Mistakes

Something looks a little funny on my Palindrome Scarf.

My first thought was that I made a purl stitch when I should have made a knit stitch, but it doesn't exactly look like a purl.

So I worked up to the column with the strange stitch.

Removed the stitch from the left needle.

Dropped the column.

All the way down to the strange stitch, which is still looking strange.

Then dropped it one more stitch and found a big loop.  Hmmm... I wonder how I did that?

Then I replaced the dropped knit stitches using a similar sized crochet hook.

All the way back up the column.

Then returned the stitch to the left needle,

and finished working to the end of the row.

Then wove the strange loop into the fabric.

Almost unable to tell there was anything weird. ;-)

But I suppose I should check the gauge on my crochet hook.... the replaced stitches look a little small.  :-/