Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's that time of year......

Where I have to visit the local greenhouse to get a hit something springlike. Yesterday it was calling out to me, and I remembered my camera.

This is Kuhlman's Greenhouse. They've paved the parking lot. It used to be all gravel and mud.

Inside I was a little disappointed to find out that I'm too early and the season opening isn't until April 26. So for now all they had were these geraniums, and some nice herbs......

I picked up a Rosemary plant, and Noodles was enjoying the smell and the sun. I'm enjoying it as well because I know what's coming......more snow by the weekend. Drat.

More time to sit here...

and do some more of this.......
Single ply. I'll finish it up as a two ply worsted weight.

So enough of this lallygagging around......I've got to get Noodles in the house.

Helps....Sunz to bright! Needs my sunz specks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I wanted to post a link to another informative podcast and blog for spinner's and knitters. Yarnspinners Tales is the blog. I've yet to sit long enough to listen to the Yarnspinners Tale's podcast, but I have to say she's great with the written instruction so the podcast can't be too bad.
The fibre's arrived......

Went out on Friday, and it was another nice day for travelling.
My top priority project isn't one that I could bring along so I was looking forward to the drive as I could start on a new sock pattern that's been waiting in the wings. Country Girl Socks from HeartStrings Patterns. I'm using Knit Picks: Risata,(42% cotton, 39% Wool, 13% Polyamid, 6% Elite) Colour: Burgundy. I'm loving this pattern and it's not the first one that I've bought from HeartStrings. The first pattern was the Flared Lace Smoke Ring. They're both easy patterns to follow with great written instructions. The designer, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer has a lot of really nice downloadable patterns on the website it's well worth a visit.

I won't post too many pictures of the mill again, as I've put most of them on my flickr page. But this is the bag of Alpaca lusciousness that I picked up...

I brought 8 lbs of pretty dirty fleece to the mill, and I got back 6.4 lbs. This fleece was already two years old by the time I bought it and the vm in the fibre had gotten even more brittle and a lot of it was tiny pieces of straw which was near impossible to get out. I don't have a drum carder, and I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning, so the next logical step was to bring it to the mill. I was apprehensive as this was the first time buying a fleece and dealing with a mill, but I don't regret it. The alpaca was processed with no blending of other fibre's, and it's come back feeling and looking great. I'm looking forward to spinning it.

On the way back home we stopped in to visit some family in Stettler, AB, and I can't help but post pictures of the little ones who greeted us......

We had such a good time.....never a lack of entertainment in the company of these three.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Get a load of this beauty! (say it in an Aussie accent, Nicole) I would like to be able to shed weight like that.
Taken from Photo Basement. My graphic design daughter found this one for me. Thanks Nino!

What greeted us Saturday morning..................

Other than running some errands Saturday I happily got some knitting time in on the weekend. This wip started last week.......

I'm at the stage where I'll be casting off for arm's next.

I just got the phone call this morning that my alpaca fibre is now ready, so I'll post pictures whenever we get over to the mill to pick it up. I'm a little apprehensive about what quality the rovings will be as they wanted to blend it with wool. After getting home and spinning the fibre I bought from them I wasn't happy with it (earlier posts). So I asked to have it processed strictly alpaca. I don't think they were happy about that. I figured that I could always blend it with something when I get it home. So we'll see.
In the meantime I've been spinning up the fibre that I bought at the mill. The brown alpaca/wool blend, 2-ply. The stuff I don't like the feel of.....Over the weekend I picked up some books from the library on spinning. I found Teach Yourself Visually- Spinning by Judith MacKenzie McCuin. It has a lot of information from picking your fleece to tools to finishing your yarn. This one will be one of my next book purchases. With the above brown alpaca blend I'm going to finish it again with the technique in the book:

Put the skeins in a bucket of hot, soapy water and pound them with a sink plunger. Rinse the yarn in cold water, and then put it back in the hot water and plunge it again. Rinse it thoroughly in clear water, and then spin the excess water out. Hold the skein toward the end and smack it against a counter. This makes the yarn open up and distributes the twist evenly. Page 92.

I'll enjoy the smacking part. There's no way that I'll enjoy wearing any part of this on my body, in the state that it feels now, so I'm hoping it'll soften up a bit. I've been finishing this yarn with kid gloves thinking I'd wreck it somehow, but the gloves are off now.

Speaking of gloves I'll close with one of our kitties paw fluff....I couldn't resist after seeing Wendy's Knits Lucy, I had to copy....

It started out with good intentions, but Anna has nil for patience. There was no harming of animals during this photo session.
How can you not help but love those pink toes!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Just a brief post showing .....The Farm and Ranch show that was in town last week. We went on Saturday and of course the highlight for me were the Alpacas.....I want one. Sound kind of whinney heh? How cute are they? They have this endearing habit of leaning against anything, and at the show when they'd stand near their owners they'd lean against them, so sweet.

It was interesting watching the judging. How well the alpacas were behaving all standing in order. This was the two year old males being judged.

The judge would take a sample of the alpaca's fibre, closest to the skin, and then lay it on his helpers black shirt sleeve. He would go to each animal and do the same thing finally at the end he would take a second closer look at all samples, and based on that as well as the structure of the animal he would announce who the winner is.

The happy winner! It even looks like the alpaca is smiling!

On to my latest project........

Ruth Sorenson

Pattern: Autumn Cardigan

I'm using what they call for in the pattern and that is:

Kauni 100% wool from Denmark
150g = 660 yds
Colour: EK

I bought the yarn online at Yarn and Fiber Company. They offer free delivery to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. So far from the orders that I've received from them I've never been charged extra from Canada Post. They have a habit of charging extra fees which I haven't figured out how or why they do that.

Anyway I haven't got the second colour used in the cardigan which is the model on the left. It's Kauni EQ and it's still on back order. That's okay though I'll use that time to read through the pattern to get a heads up on some of the techniques that Ruth uses in her patterns.

The other thing that came in the mail last week was Knitpicks, Wool of the Andes 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, Colour: Arctic Pool Heather.

I've mentioned in earlier posts that I'm wanting to knit up a vest which was inspired by Kirsten from Through the Loops.

I've started the twisted rib, and I'm looking forward to getting into the rows of the cabled pattern. It's a gorgeous pattern, and so far it's easy to follow.

Along with my Knit Picks purchase I ordered the interchangeable knitting needles sizes 4mm and 5mm. Along with two sizes of interchangeable cables. I'm using them on this vest, and always with Knit Picks needles they're working fantastic. There is no hang up on the join when moving the yarn along the cable, and both the nickel-plated brass or the Harmony wood tips
are smooth to knit with.

Happy Tuesday Knitting!