Friday, August 30, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Wingspan, part 12

12 parts!

This shawl has taken me forever.... that is, if 15 months counts as forever.  ;-)  I started it on May 27, 2012. I love that Ravelry tracks that information. :-)

I thought it was finished on New Year's Eve, but I didn't love it.  Then I ripped some of it back, reversed the yarn, added a few more wedges and now I believe it is finished again.

I certainly won't be adding any more yarn to it.  I don't have enough to make anymore wedges... and as a hand painted yarn that is at least a couple of years old, the odds of finding any more in this colorway and from the same lot are pretty slim.  Good thing it grew during blocking...  :-)

I mean, it really grew...

It only took about 30 minutes to dry in hot sun and I think it turned out pretty great. :-)

Now to go see about picking up one of the other old and languishing projects.  ;-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Wingspan, part 11

The Forever Wingspan still continues, but is nearing the end.

I have been weighing the cake between wedges.  Each wedge takes about 1/2 an ounce of yarn.  So this means I might be into the last and final wedge...  Lucky number 13.  ;-)

Although, I have a little more yarn available than what's shown here, I do have to reserve enough to make the border and bind-off, and I don't want to play yarn chicken.  So we'll see how brave I'm feeling after finishing #13.  ;-)

At one point I thought this was going to make it to 16 or 17 wedges.... not sure what I was thinking. lol.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Things That Work: Antler

Last week was "All Dogs go to the Vet" week.  They get their annual check-ups and any vaccinations or boosters that might be needed.

All of our dogs checked out well with no concerns except that Wonton had a significant amount of Tartar on her teeth.  The Vet said she needs to chew more.

She's not much of a chewer but she won't let anyone else have chew toys or raw hides either.  She is the boss and that's the way it is.  So we only have low-value toys in the yard... sticks, tennis balls and other old toys that she doesn't care about.

The high-value toys are secured in their kennels and only handed out sparingly because disagreements happen... and then "expensive" vet visits happen.

So when the Vet said she needed to chew more, we weren't sure how we were going to make it happen.  He recommended reviewing the Veterinary Oral Health Council list of accepted products or get her a real bone or piece of antler.

So when I was at the Feed Store a few days later and they had a bucket of antler pieces, I decided to get one.  Only one because they were $10 for each 3-inch piece.  I used to find whole racks when I was a kid hiking in the mountains, for free.

Wonton hid the antler under her blanket for a few days before she started chewing on it, but she finally did.  It seems to be pretty durable and is definitely cleaning up her teeth.

We are going to scavenge for antlers on our next hike.

Antler definitely works to keep tartar under control.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our First Dog Show

As I mentionedGunnison and I had our first-ever dog show last weekend.

Since we had been practicing at a local drop-in class we both knew what to expect.  I was nervous, which surprised me, but he showed perfectly the first day.

Not only did he win Best Puppy (6-9 months) but he also won Winner's Dog (Best non-Titled Boy), which was a 3-point Major (an important step in becoming recognized as a Champion).

I was completely overwhelmed and could not stop smiling.  Hubba, his breeder and several TM friends were all there to see his performance.  Really pretty exciting for his first-ever and my first-ever show.  A complete whirlwind.

Photo Credit: Hubba

Day 1 was so exciting that we were both a little tired and our ring time was much later on Day 2.  As you can see, we were outside and it was very hot and humid (for Colorado).  He wasn't too keen on trotting around the ring and then went belly-side up during the Winner's Dog Competition.... literally, he rolled around on his back when it was his turn to be judged.

Fortunately his Breeder didn't see that performance, but my Momma and Sister did.  oy.  So Day 2 Gunnar won Best Puppy (6-9 months) and Reserve Winner's Dog.  No points, but we're very happy to have had class wins on both days of our first-ever show.

Photo Credit: Taboo Tibetan Mastiffs

My friend Brenda of Taboo Tibetan Mastiffs has been mentoring me along the way and helped Gunnar look his best for the show.  That's her grooming him in the first photo.  :-)

Photo Credit: Hubba

Incidentally, Brenda's dog Judah (Grand Champion Drakyi Lion of Judah) won Best of Breed both days and placed in the Group both days (#4 and #2).  We're extremely happy for them.

Judah is in the background of the last photo, next to the lady in the white pants.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Dreaming of Shetland

There is a new eBook out called Dreaming of Shetland.


The project was started by Donna Druchunas and Anne Berk as a way to help fund the work that Deborah Robson is doing.  All of the proceeds go toward her research into Shetland Sheep and Wool.

You may know Deb as one of the authors of The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook or Knitting in the Old Way or as a former editor of Spin-Off Magazine or countless other fiber and literary endeavors.  I know Deb as a fellow knitter, spinner and dog enthusiast.  I consider myself lucky to call her a friend.

Shetland Sheep are an ancient breed that can be seen as the foundation for many other sheep breeds yet they are not well understood.

The eBook is being released in sections in order to allow the files to be much more reasonable in size.  Each section contains an essay and patterns by noted designers.

Everything has been donated... the time, the patterns, the editing, the website.  I only wish I had appropriate skills to have also donated to the project.

More about the book and project can be found here.  The book can be purchased here or here.  Both links ultimately lead to a PayPal Transaction sending the funds directly to Deb.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Getting Ready for our First Dog Show

Gunnar is 6 months old now. Just barely. Which means he's old enough to start strutting his stuff in a more formal way.

Of course he already struts around the farm, the park and the Farmer's Market, but this weekend we will compete in our first AKC Dog Show.

We've been practicing and getting advice and today he had his first professional grooming experience. 



We're told he was a perfect gentleman while at the beauty parlor.

Now I just have to keep him clean for a few days. ;-)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Putting Up Peaches: 2013

Our neighbor participates in a fund raiser every year that involves Palisade Peaches.  The peaches that come from Colorado's Western Slope are so delicious.  Really, the best, in my opinion.  The program she works with provides college scholarships to women which we are very happy to support.

Back in February, Hubba placed our order.  She wasn't even taking orders yet, but Hubba did not want to miss out.  He committed us to three Lug Boxes... one more than last year.... at 18 pounds each, I was faced with putting up 54 pounds of peaches before they got too ripe.

We went over on the ATV and strapped the boxes to the front to get them home last Friday.  A few were consumed before we even got to the door and I've been processing peaches in most of my spare time ever since.

I decided to not use spices in the butter this year.  Last year's peach butter didn't taste much different from the apple butter.  So this year's was made with only peaches, water and sugar, no spices.  It's yummy.

The jam I make uses honey instead of sugar and is soooo delicious.  I thought about entering it in the county fair this year, but missed the deadline by a couple of weeks.  Note made for next year... perhaps this is Blue Ribbon Jam?  ;-)

My dad's wife has fond memories of Pickled Peaches from her childhood, so I thought I'd give those a try... All I can say is, "How did I not know these were so delicious?"  I made two batches.

The last batch of peaches were made into Peachsauce.  Since we like Applesauce so much we thought it might be fun to do the same thing with peaches.  I used a Peach Butter recipe, with a little less sugar and did not cook it as long.

So again, with 50% more peaches than last year, I still did not have enough for freezing or a simple hot pack.  I guess we'll be having 4 Lug Boxes next year.  ;-)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Pay-it-Forward, part 4

The fourth and last of my 2013 Facebook Pay-it-Forward Projects is finished and received.  :-)

I had finished up my third Pay-it-Forward project and was still trying to figure out what to do for my last one.

She's Hubba's cousin.  She's a knitter.  She's a gardener.  So I had a lot of ideas, but nothing was really grabbing me.... Then she called me up asking for a little advice and maybe some help.  :-)

She has a very funny, very cute dog named Dr. Seuss.  Doc is a Newdle.... not like our Noodle.  No, Doc is a Newfoundland-Poodle mix in a gorgeous chocolate brown.

photo borrowed from Hubba's cousin

He gets groomed once each month and she decided to keep the combed-out fur this time.  He was freshly washed and she was curious if it could be spun, so she tried a little, then called me wanting to know how to store the fur.... and then wondered if it was weird to be thinking about spinning and knitting dog fur...  lol.  You all know who she was talking too, so you know what my answer was.  ;-)

We talked a little about how to let the fiber dry and then how to store it.  She is planning to keep the next few combings and we agreed to get together this summer and I would show her how to prepare and spin it.

She's not a spinner (yet), so I had a little light bulb... the thing I would do for her is send her a drop spindle, a little bit of prepared wool and the link to a specific YouTube video.

That way, when we get together we will both have spindles to work with.  :-)

I'm feeling a little bit brilliant.  :-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Estes Park Wool Market, 2013

I've said before, Estes Park is one of my favorite places and I make a point to visit the wool market every year.  This year it was on June 8th and 9th.

This is when I do most of my fiber, yarn and tool shopping.

I was on the lookout for a small drop spindle.  The one and only I had is quite heavy at 3 ounces.  The new ones are lovely and quite light at 0.77 and 0.98 ounces.

I also wanted to look for black yarn, white yarn and unusual rovings.  I forgot to look for the yarn but I was not disappointed with the selection of rovings and clouds.

First was a Romney Lamb + Alpaca blend.  I don't know what it is, but I love the way sheep's wool smells. :-)

Cotton was everywhere.  Surprising because I had not seen it on prior years.  I picked up a naturally colored brown sliver,

a white sliver,

and a large amount of Ginned Cotton.

The white cotton sliver is much softer than the brown cotton which makes sense since the white cotton has been bred for a much longer.  I'm very excited about the Ginned Cotton... there are little seeds in there that has me thinking I may be able to plant and grow my own... of course I'm sure that a huge amount of work.  ;-)

There is also some de-haired Bison in cloud form that is especially soft,

and a Bison + Tussah Silk roving.

Pure silk in a lovely cinnamon color that is not as silky as one might expect.  I have only spun silk in blends, so this one will be quite an adventure.

 A lovely cloud of cashmere,

And I added to my cashmere+silk stash.  This is a 50/50 blend.  :-)

And finally, the pièce de résistanceQiviut!  This will need to be de-haired, but even the guard hair is super soft.

If it seems like quite a haul, I would have to agree.  But I always go with a canvas bag and cash in my pocket.  I'm done when either my bag is full or my pocket is empty... as you can see the bag was full, and I can tell you that my pocket was within a few dollars of being completely empty.  ;-)

I hope that you are having a fabulous Fiber Arts Friday.  :-)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Slow Living: July 2013

It almost seems too soon.... the last week or so has been quite comfortable, weather-wise.  We've had a few overcast and rainy days.  The breezes have been cooler and we noticed that the Cottonwoods are starting to change their leaves.  We are back into summer-like temperatures now, but Fall is just around the corner.

In the meantime, it's the July 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.

We usually spend a lot of time shopping at the Farmer's Market in the summers but this year, with the puppy, we've been spending a lot of time talking to people about our dogs at the Farmer's Market.... or I should say that Hubba has been.  I've been shearing most of those days.

There's been a little bit of vegetable shopping and a small amount of harvesting from our garden, otherwise Hubba has tried out of couple of new recipes for dinner.

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.

We have been making plans for our first Tibetan Mastiff Litter and this summer's alpaca breeding pairings and we are getting a large delivery of peaches later this week, so canning season is imminent.  yay.

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.

Hubba is often unhappy with his haircut and I am an alpaca shearer.  So he suggested that I just cut his hair.  We'd save the cost of two haircuts a month and he doesn't have any issue with telling me how or where to make things shorter or more even.  lol.  So we bought a pair of lower-end clippers... so far, so good.  :-)

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.

The alpaca dog has a tough time with flies on his ears.  We had been using Neosporin to treat the affected areas without much success.  It doesn't stay in place very long and the flies don't seem to care about whatever happens to remain.  So I asked some friends and received some advice regarding fly deterrents.  In the meantime I started putting Vitamin E oil on the affected areas.  I know the Vitamin E will help the areas heal, and I'm thrilled to see that the flies are also avoiding the areas.

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!

We had a baby.  :-)

and started harvesting zucchinis and our first tomatoes out of our garden.

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 was lots of spinning for the Tour de Fleece.

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.

Certainly there's something to include in this category, but nothing is coming to mind.

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.

Shearing season continues.  

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.

I met some old friends of Hubba's as they were passing through town.  While I had never met them before, I have heard about them for years so it felt like I've known them for ever.  It was such a fun visit.

We also met up with some other friends at a third friend's Distillery's grand opening.

There were a few trips to the river with Hubba and the dogs.