Friday, March 28, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: Palindrome Scarf, part 3

Since last time, when I realized I would need to buy ~5.75 ounces (~163 grams) of yarn to finish my Palindrome Scarf, I have acquired more yarn and changed needles.

I went to the to the LYS  to find a complimentary color of the same yarn, but they no longer carried it.  :-(  So off to Ravelry.... but was not successful in finding anyone state-side willing to de-stash.  :-(  So off to the Bella Yarns website in Rhode Island, who as far as I can tell is the only source for Lang Yak in the US.  :-)

The yarn is milled in Switzerland and my original stash came from a trip Hubba took to Japan a few years ago.  So I'm happy to now have enough yarn to finish this project.

Also a comment from ChrisKnits helped me realize that I was using bamboo needles, which are not my favorite and that I most likely had metal ones in the same size.  I added a life line so I would know where the needle change happened and made the switch.

The Yak+Merino yarn is a bit sticky coupled with the bamboo needles which are also sticky and while the cable is a little short on my circs, I am happier with the metal needles on this project.

At 20.5 inches long, I only have 39.5 inches to go.  ;-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shearing Day Preparations

Since my Day Job is continuing to move from one hypercare situation to another and my shearing season is pretty well booked, I decided to spend some time on Sunday afternoon getting ready for my own shearing day.

I put together our shearing order and a check list.

I prepared 4 pre-labeled bags for each of our 17 alpacas... one each for the Blanket, Neck and Legs & Belly fiber and a sandwich bag to collect the sample that we will send out for micron and standard deviation measurement.

I took inventory of the things we will need during the day, put what I have together and made a shopping list for the few items we need to acquire.

I also wrapped up my used combs and cutters to send out for sharpening.  On my list for a while now is to get the equipment and learn how to do this myself.  There just always seems to be something a little more important. ;-)

There are still a few things to check or complete.  Shearing Season starts in one month.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Half and Half

Half & Half is half milk and half cream.  I drink it in my coffee.

Without Half & Half, I will forego the coffee and have tea.

The other day, we were out of Half & Half and for whatever reason did not get some the night before.  So Hubba went out early so we could have our delicious morning coffee.

He came home with our non-normal brand and poured our coffees.

It tasted funny.

I chalked it up to it being the non-normal, non-organic brand but I really didn't like it.

So when I went for a warm-up, I noticed that the Half & Half was Fat Free.


We've made the mistake a few times.  It's part of the risk we take shopping at the mainstream supermarket.  With the packaging, product placement and shear volume of chemically-altered "foods" it's really easy to accidentally come home with Fat Free versions of foods that are supposed to contain fat.

We've since gotten some actual Half & Half.  But before we dumped the chemical version, I decided to read the labels.

There is a warning that this product contains Milk.  Yes, that's right.  There is a warning that this Milk Product contains... Milk.

There is added color, because all that non-milk stuff apparently doesn't naturally look like milk.

The Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate and Glycerides appear to be present to stabilize and thicken the Skim Milk-Corn Syrup mixture.  Where the Dipotassium Phosphate and Vitamin A Palmitrate appear to be there to "fortify" the chemically altered food.

There is also a warning that the small amount of cream and glycerides add a "trivial amount of fat."

I'm generally not a label reader so my first reaction was just wow and yuck.

As for the Organic Half & Half, the ingredients are Organic Grade A Milk and Organic Cream.

No warnings.  Just  Half Milk and Half Cream and a Thank You for choosing their product.

There are a lot of natural alternatives to cow's milk half & half... although difficult to find at the local mainstream supermarkets.  So am I just naive or are consumers really requesting this stuff??

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Things That Work: Undercoat Rake

I was introduced to a dog grooming tool last summer by Gunnar's breeder.  I had been using the Furminator de-shedding tool on our other dogs for several years, but it just wasn't working well with the Tibetan Mastiff's double-coat.

This new-to-me tool is called an Undercoat Rake.

It has one or more rows of spinning tines.

It pulls the fur out amazingly well.

This is Noodle about two weeks ago, right before she started to blow her coat...

and last weekend, while her shedding was in "full blow."  She and I spent some time with the rake.  ;-)

If you have not personally experienced a dog blowing it's coat... it's quite a sight.

Here she is telling me to stop taking photos and get on with the brushing. lol

We had another raking session today.

She still has some undercoat around her neck and chest.  But most of it has been shed out on her body, legs and tail.

I captured nearly two grocery sacks of fur to use for spinning and left some for the birds.

This Rake definitely works for dogs like the Tibetan Mastiff and other LGDs that have a double-coat.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: Zeotrope, part 2

I finished my first colorwork project.  YAY!

Before Blocking:

After Blocking:

Terrible Selfie in the Mirror:

Better shots of the frames:

I love it!!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: Knit Worthy and an Accident

Some people are absolutely Knit Worthy.

These people graciously accept a hand-knit gift.

They love and adore the item for years.

They tell their loved ones how much they love it every time they put it on.

Then one day the item gets misplaced and they frantically search for days.  Only to discover that it found it's way into the laundry.  :-(

When someone loves a hand-knit gift this much, they get a replacement.  :-)

And for this, I love Ravelry!  I did not have much of this yarn left, and had modified the original pattern somewhat.... but I had put the appropriate notes in Ravelry.

Knowing that it had been several years and a completely different state since I purchased this yarn, I took my notes and the tiny bit of yarn to one of my LYSs.  I set out to find something comparable.... a hard thing to do when you know the person loved the original so much.  I came home empty-handed.  :-(

So I decided the check Ravelry on a whim... I found out that this yarn is discontinued, but that several people were interested in selling their stash.

I found a large amount of the same yarn in the same color.  I sent a note inquiring about the stash and crossed my fingers.  By the end of the day, we had an agreement and my new yarn was on it's way.  :-)

I just love Ravelry.  What a tremendous resource.

The yarn arrived earlier this week.  I sent a note to the sender telling her that it arrived and to thank her again.  Then went to add it to my Ravlery stash... only then did I find out that the yarn I just bought was not only the same color, but also the same dye lot!  Wow!! What are the chances of that happening?

And now I not only have enough to replace the hat, but I also have enough to do something larger which I had been wishing I did with the original yarn.  Win-Win.  :-)

The Replacement is now in progress:

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Introducing: Timberline's Colorado Marathon Man

We weren't looking for a second puppy this year, but some opportunities must be acted upon...

At two weeks:

At nearly 6 weeks:

At 7 weeks:

His first full day in his new home at 9 weeks:

The introduction to the big dogs went quickly and Mochi is delighted to have a buddy closer to her size.

He is the son of Kesang Camp's Zhang and Drakyi Aliana Timberline.  He comes from the same breeder as Gunnar.

His fancy name is Timberline's Colorado Marathon Man.  We will be calling him Miles.