Friday, October 19, 2018

Fiber Arts Friday: Fiber Celebration, part 4

After finishing my technique swatches, I was antsy to start knitting for real.  So I wound off single #6.

Plied it with with singles #1, 4 and 5.

... and finished skein #2.

Current Status:
  • 3-5/8 oz, 196.5 yd complete in 2 skeins
  • 7/8 oz in singles
  • 6-3/8 oz remaining

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Apples, 2018

Our apples have been ready to be processed since August and our tree was especially full this year.  Which is nice given all of the hail we had over the summer.

Normally the apples are not ready until October.... which I think is predicting an early and harsh winter.

We've given a lot of apples away, since I haven't had time for processing.  But I borrowed my neighbor's orchard ladder (now on my to acquire list) over the weekend.  I picked 8 grocery sacks-full, gave a few sacks away and processed several batches.

I started with our favorite applesauce and tried apple pie filling and pickled apples.

I'm super excited about the pickled apples!  I wish I had time to make more.

In the last week we've had our first snow (10/10), first frost (10/12), +60F shorts and flip-flops weather (10/13), and first hard freeze (10/14).  It's back in the 50's-60's for the next several days.

I love this time of year.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Time for Reading

One nice thing about travelling for work is that the transit time is well-suited for reading.

I've finished a few books already.

You can see I've been pretty focused on Change Management.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Fiber Arts Friday: Fiber Celebration, part 3

After setting up my plan to finish the Twined Knit (tv√•√§ndstickning) Mittens in time to enter the Fiber Celebration next February, I realized that I should do a test knit.

I don't have a pattern to work from... just a technique and set of guidelines.  So I figure I should practice before beginning the final work.

I started with a couple of swatches... a standard knit and a twined knit.

I chose a yarn I don't care too much about.... the Twined technique will unwind standard-spun yarns... so I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't care if the test yarn got ruined while I was learning how to do the technique.

The twined swatch is noticeably thicker than the standard.  Also there are slightly more stitches per inch on the twined swatch.

I think the back is interesting.  You can see the twisting of the strands.  It reminds of color-work, though I haven't done much.

The twined technique uses two strands and recommended knitting with both the inside and outside strand from a center-pull ball.

I did not care for the twisting of the strands.  My sample yarn is a very slippery acrylic, so the cake did not stay together well.  Certainly this is a contributing factor, but I've decided to start knitting the final project using two balls.

While my twined swatch doesn't look great, I feel I have a good handle on the technique.

Next steps are to keep spinning yarn and swatch with the actual yarn to determine needle size.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

10 Years

10 years ago today, I started this blog.

I've had periods of low and high activity.

I've had periods where I read and commented on a lot of other blogs, and periods where it's all I could do to get my own posts out.

I still have far too many draft posts started.  Most of which will never get published.

We're still working on building Alpacamundo.  Now we are also building Colorado Tibetan Mastiffs.

It's still a small window into what's going on inside my head.

I love this blog.

Thank you for reading it.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Fiber Arts Friday: More Washing

Since I washed Ramen's fleece, I've washed a few more...

Nobu: 15-7/8 oz

Miles: 19-1/2 oz

Maggie:  21 7/8 oz

Wonton:  33 1/4 oz

I'm caught up with washing chiengora... for now.  ;-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fiber Arts Friday: Fiber Celebration, part 2

Like all good programs, things change soon after the plan is sanctioned.... I changed day jobs and am now travelling a lot.

This means I don't have much access to my wheel, so I'm not spinning as much and one of my Ledbetter spindles has been a travelling companion.

I want to be better at spindling anyway.  I have spindled since the change, but I've spindled zero in the last two weeks.

Although I have been using some of the transit time to study the Twined technique.

At the moment, my status is:
  • 2 oz complete
  • 1 7/8 oz in finished singles
  • 6 1/2 oz remaining
Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

With the new Day Job, I expect my blogging will revert to being sporadic.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Some things I've seen while travelling recently.

small trunk space

airport telephone


electric car charging

beautiful view

Friday, September 14, 2018

Fiber Arts Friday: Washing Chiengora

My process for washing Tibetan Mastiff is the same as for alpaca.

Starting with skirted fleece, I use lingerie bags, sink bins, fiber wash, a salad spinner, and a clothes line.

My preference is to use a low-sudsing fiber wash, but I ran out over the summer and started using a dog shampoo that I won in a raffle last year.

The dog shampoo is a bit too fragrant for my preference, but I'm happy it is low-sudsing.

Since we live in an arid climate, I try to be conservative about how much water I use.  Each change of water is just enough to cover the fleece and cool to lukewarm in temperature.

I soak each change for 15-20 minutes, or until I get back to check on it.

3-4 changes of water is usually sufficient to get the soap and dirt out.

Since I wash the yarn in the same fashion after spinning it, and again after completing the final object, I think the water below is clean enough.

If I have more fleece to wash, the I will add soap to the last change of the previous batch.

I spin the excess water using a salad spinner (marked for fiber use only).  Then hang the fleece to dry.  This goes a lot faster in the summer sun than it does inside in the winter.

Neither chiengora nor alpaca have lanolin, so scouring is not necessary.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dog Show: Cheyenne Kennel Club, 2018

We participating in the Cheyenne Kennel Club Dog Show over Labor Day Weekend.

This is a much smaller show than Greeley was a couple of weeks ago.

Wilma was the only Tibetan Mastiff entered and I had the opportunity to be a Ring Steward for the first time.

We did more practice with having strangers go over Wilma as if they were a judge.  As well as practiced waiting our turn in the Group Ring.

Photo by: Cheryl Mechalke

Wilma found a Fred. :-)  He's a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Puppy, just a couple of weeks younger than Wilma.  These two were fast friends.

She also got to play with her doggie buddies, Levi and Mo.  These guys have met before, so they went straight to wrestling.

I think her favorite part of the show was visiting with the information kids several times each day.  :-)

Ramen made a special appearance on the "Can You Guess the Breed?" poster.

Points if you know all of the breeds shown.  ;-)

I really enjoy this show.  It's extremely well run and very clean... and we were both very tired at the end of the weekend.

I hope you were able to do something fun too.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fiber Arts Friday: Medium Brown Suri Yarn, Finished

This yarn was part of a package of local Suri given to me by a fellow alpaca breeder in the spring of 2016.

I started spinning it in July 2016, and finally finished it in June 2018.

It spent most of it's time resting.  ;-)

This yarn turned out much better than I expected.... it's always amazing what a bath does for fibers.

This is a 2-ply and will be part of a long-term project, yet to be revealed.

233 yards
2.25 oz
21 wpi

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!