Friday, May 26, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Swatching

4th version. I think I like it now

Homegrown, sheared by me, handspun by me, Huacaya Alpaca.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Shearing Day, 2017

As I mentioned last Friday, we sheared our herd last weekend.

Several friends came to help.

We had a lot of fun.

The herd looks great.

The food was delicious and the weather was perfect.

We finished the day off with a dog party.  :-)

The harvest will be skirted later this summer.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Shearing Day Tomorrow

The first step in Farm-to-Yarn is shearing.

We are shearing our herd tomorrow.

The barn is ready.  The checklist is ready.  The four bags each are ready.  The food and drinks are almost ready.

Everyone will be looking a lot different tomorrow.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Pussy Hat Project

A week into 45's Presidency, I started thinking more and more about Pussy Hats.

I was thinking that I should make hats for some of my friends.  But I quickly realized that I could not make as many as I wanted within a reasonable time.  So I started to think about how to increase my capacity... So I offered to teach some of my friends who don't knit, crochet or sew how to make their own Pussy Hats.  :-)

Since then, I've taught a couple of friends how to knit and sent two hats to San Francisco.

Hubba has one, I have one and I'm working on a fifth now.

They are ridiculously easy to make, but I am a not a fast knitter.  :-)

What have you been up to?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Alpacamundo Monday: Mud Season

Clay Soil + Defrosted Ground + Wet Spring Snow = Mud Season!




That's spring in the Rockies and we need the moisture!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: My Kind of People

As seen in the parking lot of a farm store last weekend....

It's time to start thinking about the Tour de Fleece.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Dog Show Fibering, part 2

Sorry I missed you all last week.

The weekend before I was at a dog show... I brought two of my boys, both of whom are starting to shed... I collected two grocery sacks weighing a total of 6 5/8 oz.

I used the dark bag for the dark colored dog (Ramen) and the light bag for the lighter colored dog (Gunnar).... this let me keep both bags hanging on my grooming table for the entire weekend.

I also did a little knitting on another something pink.

In spite of all that's going on in the world, I hope you had a nice holiday weekend... and if you don't celebrate, I hope you had a nice weekend anyway.

What have you been up to?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dog Show: Terry-All Kennel Club, 2017

About two weeks ago, we were at the Terry-All Kennel Club Dog Show.  This is a much smaller show than we attended in February.  We brought both Gunnar and Ramen, which was the first time we brought more than one dog in quite a while.

The boys were very excited to leave for the show and were like this (^) most of the 1-hour drive both mornings.

I find it entertaining that I always (incorrectly) call our dog show "grooming space" a "stall," and we were literally in a stall, in the Horse Barn, at this show.  So, for once, I was not incorrect.  :-)  The barn provided nice shade from the heat on Saturday, but not much protection from the wind on Sunday.  Several of the exhibitors had tarps hung on the stall fencing to help block the wind... I think I need to add a tarp and clips to our show equipment for next time.

Regardless, we had a very fun weekend.

Gunnar and Ramen split the Best of Breed awards and both received very nice comments from the judges we met.

We always say "fun first."  Especially with an independent-thinking, self-motivated breed, if the dogs aren't having fun at the show, they aren't going to do it.

Ramen took that rule to heart on Sunday, and his handler handled it with grace.  :-)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Rill scarf, part 4

One of my thoughts when casting on the Rill Scarf last September, is that I would enter it in this years' county fair in August.

It has spent a good amount of time resting, but I've started working on it more in the last month.  So after writing last week's Fiber Arts Friday post,  I decided to figure out what needed to happen in order to accomplish this goal.

Here's my thought process:

With a finished length of 60 inches, a current length of 11.5 inches, and 18 weeks until the county fair, I need to add at least three inches of length each week.

The scarf is made up of two sections; (1) a 10-row, length-adding section, and (2) a short-row, wedge section that adds the ripples of the rill.

Each 10-row section is just under one inch.  Each short-row section does not add length.

If I average one section per night, I would average just under 3.5 inches per week.  Which would allow the scarf to be completed in time to enter it in the county fair.

I'm not sure I can maintain that pace for 4.5 months.  Also I'm not sure how interesting a scarf will be 3.5 inches at a time, for 4.5 months.  ;-)

I still have shedding season to finish up, shearing season to come, lots of skirting, the Tour de Fleece, planting season, and a few dogs shows, between now and early August.

So I think it's unlikely that this scarf will be finished in time for the county fair, especially since I only added one inch since I wrote last weeks' Rill Scarf post. ;-/

How do you plan your fiber-y goals?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Rill Scarf, part 3

I've been working on my Rill Scarf a little bit here and there.

I am now into the straight section.  But it's going to be a while before I get to start decreasing.  ;-)

The scarf is at 11.5 inches, I think I'm going for about 60 inches.

How are your fibery pursuits?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Mending Holes

I noticed a small hole in my Palindrome Scarf before Thanksgiving.  :-/

I set the scarf aside and then fixed it over the winter holiday.

I didn't do a good job, but the stitches are secure.  I'm going to have to research on how to do this better since I have a bigger hole to fix in something else.  :-/

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Be sure to share what you've been up to.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Alpacamundo Monday: Mud!

It's been warm lately, and was especially while I was washing out the water tanks over the weekend.

Pearl took advantage of the mud.  Too bad I missed her rolling around in it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Collecting Tibetan Mastiff Fur, part 3

I think it's safe to say that Nobu is done shedding for 2017.


I may get a little more chiengora off of her neck, but we're well into the point of diminishing returns.

So to answer the initial question that got this series started:  How much yarn can one expect to get from a good-sized female Tibetan Mastiff?

First, it depends on how much fiber you collect:
Nobu:  7 1/8 oz of fur collected
Nobu's Mother: 12 3/4 oz, so far
Nobu's Sister:  18 7/8 oz, so far
Second, it depends on how thick the yarn is spun.

For reference, a pair of socks requires about 4 oz, and this scarf used about 7 oz.

In the case of Nobu, I suspect this is less than half of what she shed out.  Much of it went with the wind and I binned the undercoat from the tail and britches.  There's a short explanation for why is at the end of the first post in this series.

In the cases of Nobu's Mother and Sister, I was able to start collecting earlier in their shedding process and both are nearly finished.

Once the rest of our dogs have finished shedding and the weather is a bit nicer, I will start washing the chiengora and may start spinning it by fall.

How are your fibery pursuits going?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Santa Hat

A few years ago I made a Santaclava for my brother.

I enjoyed making that project a lot.  I pretty much giggled the entire time I worked on it.

So while at one of our Christmas celebrations last year I remembered that I had a Santa Hat packed away, but really preferred the one I made for my brother.

So on Christmas Day I cast on a Santa Hat for myself.... just a little smaller and with less facial hair.

The best part being that this was made with left over yarn from the original Santaclava.

It just needs a bath, but I'm calling this one done.  Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Alpacamundo Monday: Quiet Weekend

As they say, I've been burning the candle at both ends for a while.  So with Hubba gone for a hunting trip over the weekend, I decided I needed some quiet time and cancelled or postponed most of my people-y things.

I brushed a few dogs that are shedding and gathered nearly two pounds of chiengora.

I spent some time with yarn and a favorite movie.

Spent some extra time with the alpacas and dogs.

I'm feeling recharged and have a massage scheduled for later today.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Fiber Arts Friday: Black vs Black

Two projects.  Both made with commercial, dyed, black yarn.

One is Alpaca.  The other, Merino Wool.

One is plied.  The other, a single.

Two very different textures.  Two very different colors.  Both black.

What have you been up to?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dog Show: Colorado Kennel Club, 2017

I entered Ramen in the Colorado Kennel Club dog show last weekend.

I'm always impressed by the transformation our dogs go thru.  Here's Ramen, a few weeks before the show, prior to any grooming.  He had been enjoying the snow and mud.  :-)

Given the time of year and chance for snow and cold, we scheduled an appointment with a professional groomer.  Shannon does an excellent job with our dogs and she has much better equipment for bathing and drying than we do.  He looks handsome after his bath.  :-)

I did a pre-show groom on Saturday, then fluffed him up before each event on Sunday and Monday.  :-)

The Denver show is about an hour's drive from our house, and we were helping a friend with her dogs, who's ring times were earlier than ours... so it was a very early morning and late night both days.

This show takes place at the National Western Stock Show Complex and is pretty-well advertised so there are a lot of non-dog-show-people who attend.  While exhausting, it's wonderful to have the opportunity to speak to so many people about Tibetan Mastiffs.

Fortunately, Ramen is an easy-going guy who enjoys the attention.

So on to the meat of the competition!

We had an amazing weekend, with many first-ever experiences.

Ramen was awarded Best of Breed both days.  Only one other dog competed, so he has one more point toward his championship title.

We were entered in the Bred-By-Exhibitor and Owner-Handled competitions on Sunday as well as the Open competition both days, which meant we had four opportunities to practice in the working group over the weekend.

As you can imagine, choosing the best four out of 20 or more Best-of-Breeds can be challenging.  So generally the group judge will make a "cut" prior to making their final selection for "best" dogs in the group.

On Sunday, Ramen and I made our first group cut ever.  We were in the Owner-Handled Working Group.  I believe we were the last dog chosen in the cut... but honestly, I don't remember.  I was so excited to make the cut!

Owner-Handled means just that.  The people at the end of the leads are the registered owners of the dogs they are handling.  There is a wide variety of handling experience in this competition, but none of the people have ever been a professional handler.

When the judge made her final selections and chose us as 4th place, I wasn't sure that she was pointing at me.  I was hesitant to go to the front.  But she clarified and I don't remember a whole lot after that.  I do remember her being very complimentary and she spent some time with me the next day, which I greatly appreciate.

We then competed in the regular Working Group.  A large percentage of the handlers are professionals and many are top 10 dogs.  I was exhausted from the long first day and know I did not exhibit him as well as I could have.  However, I was delighted with his performance.  It's a long day for canine and human alike, and Ramen performed very well.

Then after a little rest and a quick trip outside, we competed in the Bred-By-Exhibitor Working Group.

In this competition, the people at the end of the leads are the breeder of record for the dog they are handling.  The handlers can be professionals and/or owners, but neither is necessary.  The judge awarded Ramen a Group 2!  Or 2nd place!!

To be chosen from a group of dogs who are being exhibited by the people who bred them is a huge honor... I know that we brought what we feel is the best example of our breeding program.  I imagine everyone else did as well.

So we finished out the first day of the show having gone from never making a cut, to being placed in the group twice!!  Let's just say I had a hard time sleeping from all of the excitement. :-)

Monday was a quieter day, with only one group competition... and when I couldn't imagine the weekend going any better, we made our first-ever cut in the regular Working Group!  It was all I could do to maintain my composure and not squeal with excitement!

After a deep breath on my part, and an exceptional performance on Ramen's part, the judge awarded us with a Working Group 2nd!

As I mentioned above, a large percentage of the handlers in the regular groups are professionals.  Many are top professionals and many of the dogs are ranked in the top 10 for their breed.  So knowing the quality of dogs in this Working Group and the exceptional handlers, owners, and breeders behind them makes this placement all the more special.

I enjoy the camaraderie with the other handlers.... especially the owner-handlers.  I can't express how warmly I was congratulated by so many people I have been competing against (and losing to) for the last several years.  :-)

Most of the people I've met in the show dog world are lovely, nice, people who love and care for their dogs at least as much as I do mine.

I appreciate the time that each of our judges spent with us over the weekend as well as the advice and encouragement.

After an amazing weekend playing Show Dog, Ramen relished being back to work.  He enjoyed a few laps and a wrestle with his sire and sisters then settled down for a good long nap with his alpaca.