Monday, April 25, 2016

Chicken Win, Chicken Loss

Win: one of our little Australorp chickens has started laying eggs!!! They are tiny and cute, and the most amazing purplish-flesh color. Shown here with a Heinrich mammoth egg sample for contrast.

Loss: a fox or coyote ate another one of said Australorp chickens - THROUGH THE BARS of the dog run chicken coop. A second chicken has a broken leg. These chickens are being raised for The Farmer's dinner plate. He was not amused. Dog run is now reinforced with what else, but chicken wire.

Fox also trampled the potato beds. Farmer's wife not thrilled either. Beds now surrounded by screens. Bugger off, ye wilde beastie!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Moonstar Sock

Last weekend I visited my parents and brought a few skeins of yarn for my mother to knit up.

My hope was to get a pair of socks. I didn't realize how fast they would materialize! Well, one at least. We had to make sure it fits. I'm sending it back Monday with some more yarn for another pair of socks for her.

This is yarn made from Moonstar's fiber mixed with 10% nylon and 20% merino.

It is soft and cozy and doesn't itch. Maybe, just maybe, this blend of yarn won't give me my normal allergic reaction to alpaca. 

But in the meantime I'm happy to put up with a little bit of itchy-scratchy to wear home grown, home made clothing!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's a Wrap (and Turn)

Spring Break 2016 is almost over. It has been varied in many ways. 

Several iterations of snow (interspersed with some nicer days):

(The farmer and I are posing with his sister's dog!)

A trip to northern Virginia to celebrate my sister-in-law's 40th birthday with a winery tour:

The views inside and out were pretty amazing.

(I may have enjoyed too much wine...)

Finally, plenty of mindless knitting in the form of a new shawl (pattern: Color Affection) using yarn from the alpacas in our foundation herd: Bella, Moonstar, and Greta. The section I am working on features a technique called wrap and turn to achieve the rising stripe look; hence the title of this post.

Oh yes, and I had the opportunity to play in the Indianapolis Symphony Teacher Side-by-side Concert directed by Vince Lee. Mahler Symphony No. 1 plus a pizza and beer break between rehearsal and concert. Everyone was happy! How could you not be?

Back to work tomorrow, and hopefully spring will resume, too. Wrap and turn.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Start-itis Yarn Along

The air is heavy with start-itis and delusions of non-stop knitting! Here are just a few of my day dreams:
First up is a lace scarf with Anne Hanson's Wheaten pattern using lace yarn from our alpaca The Eleven. I'm not sure if this is the right combination, especially the cable part. The swatch is already blocked. Any thoughts? (Sorry for the bad lighting.)

Second is a hat (or possible cowl) made from Lopi spun yarn with 10% tencil from our alpaca Dark Star. It will be a child's hat thanks to lack of stitches. It is deliciously heavy and warm!

I've had my eye on making these fingerless mitts for a few years and some Malabrigo Rios at the ready. My LYS is closing its doors, and when I was shopping the tremendous sale yesterday, I happened upon the pattern book and bought it. I prefer paper patterns to downloads: WIN!

At the sale I also found some very pretty yarns whose colors did not photograph well. No spoilers, but I hope to show you a reveal of several projects at the end of December. I love planning ahead!

My list of imminent projects is even longer, but I better stop here for now. Happy Spring! Be sure to join Ginny and the other knitters here:

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Spring is here a month early. According to my photo records from last year, daffodils weren't blooming until April 19.

Gooseberries throwing out new leaves.

It wouldn't be Spring without fresh eggs. Both Heinrich and Athena started laying eggs again about 10 days ago.

I'm also knitting a hat and a shawl, because you know, you might need one with all this warm weather we're having!

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Knitting Treat!

My first project using our yarn from Shady Grove Alpacas 100% Suri is complete! I decided to knit the Wheaton Cap by designer Anne Hanson of The yarn is sport weight and from our alpaca named The Eleven.

The unblocked hat had a lot of definition and contour, thanks to the massive amount of spinning oil still in the fiber.


There was an interesting architectural and sculptural concept to the hat.

But of course alpaca in general, and Suri specifically, relaxes A LOT in the bath. A beautiful sheen, halo, and drape developed through the blocking process. And the color lightened a little after all the oil and grime got washed out.

The pattern is more subtle post wash, but oh my is this hat soft and pliable! This fiber stretches quite a bit, so even though I was conservative in choosing the head size, the fabric stretched enough to fit almost loosely. The drape of the extra fabric in the back of the hat is almost overwhelming, so if super slouchy is not your style, knitting it a bit shorter is advisable.

Looking around to see what everyone else is knitting? Check it out here:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Home-Grown Suri Yarn!

I have been so excited since last Saturday, the day I picked up 319 skeins of our own home-grown Shady Grove Alpacas Suri alpaca yarn (and 9 felt sheets and several bumps of rug yarn) from the mill which processed it! 

I eagerly searched for a pattern, and settled on the Wheaten cap from The pattern matched up with the sport weight yarn I wanted to use, and presented both lace and cables to see what the yarn is capable of. This yarn is from our late alpaca, The Eleven, whose fleece was the darkest shade of brown in our herd.

This is the first time that I've ever used Suri alpaca, and it is quite different than any other yarn I've ever tried. It feels a little stiff and inflexible due to the fact that it has negligible loft, but is softening  beautifully as I work with it. Now that I finished the first repeat, I think I might wash it and see how it reacts to washing before continuing.

Stay tuned on more info about our yarn. We're in the process of setting up a business plan, etsy shop, and inputting all the yarns into Not to mention, I want to provide knitting info on Suri yarn, so I'm knitting up a bunch of samples to see how it all reacts. Who knew that selling yarn would take so much prep work?! 

Check out the rest of this week's fiber fun at Ginny's here: