Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Celebrating Miracles and Life

The last week has been difficult and emotionally draining. In spite of the emotional roller coaster, there have been so many moments of good fortune, serendipity, blessing, luck, answered prayers, that I thought I would share some of them here.

A few hours after I posted for last week's Yarn Along, the intended five-week-old recipient went to the hospital with a life-threatening condition. After harrowing treatments, many question marks, and continued confusion in the NICU, it looks like the little one will finally be going home on Friday. So let's look at that completed sweater.

Never mind that I still can't place button holes on the button band in spite of excellent and simple instructions. I wrapped it up and The Farmer presented it to the family on Thursday afternoon. It has stayed with the patient in the NICU. There are many happy memories of Cooperstown, NY, and road tripping with two nephews knit into that sweater. Many wishes of healing and comfort to my little niece. I hope she feels the love and happiness.

Sunday afternoon, as we were leaving my sister-in-law's house, we got a flat tire. Her neighbor, whom she had not met yet, immediately gave us some tire inflating cans. The tire inflating cans proved ineffective, but it just so happened that another neighbor's lawn care people were finishing up their work and they loaned us their jack and some other tools. Less than 90 seconds after we were finished, a tire store van cruised down the street to drop a customer off. We flagged him down and he arranged an emergency appointment for us. It took longer than we wanted to leave, but we did finally get on the road. After a dinner break, I uncharacteristically continued driving, and narrowly missed not one, but two deer standing together in the middle of the highway. There was no question that The Farmer would not have seen them coming...

Finally, yesterday evening, we found our cria with an infected eye. We dutifully washed it out according to the instructions of my opthamologist brother. But after a picture text consult with the vet, she suggested that it was perforated and would not heal correctly, even possibly with surgery. It would cost us a lot of money or the loss of livestock. Commence painful discussion of what to do. We decided to take it to the emergency vet to have it euthanized. (Being a farmer is TOUGH business. You don't realize it until you face this situation.) A young vet tech in the back room fell in love with the cria and convinced us that she wanted the animal, would pay for the surgery, and take it home to her new farm. We were dumb founded. Really, we did not know what to do with this woman's generosity, it was so unexpected. The surgery was this morning and went really well. We are in shock and missing the little darling so much today (as is its poor mother), but what a gift for us, to know that this little life was spared. We were going to sell it in a year anyway, so the transaction was just earlier in this case.

Life is to be cherished. I am taking nothing for granted for the foreseeable future. 

(Joining Ginny again today. No book recommendations - too drained.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yarn Along - Finished Sweater

I just soaked and blocked the little sweater I was working on last week. Only drying and button sewing remains on this Elizabeth Zimmerman February Baby Sweater. Unfortunately, I did make a bigger error by not picking up stitches under the arms in the body, making this sweater a little smaller than its twin. Oh well, maybe the twins who will wear it will also be of different sizes when the weather turns chilly.

Last week we met some family in Cooperstown, NY. One of the places we visited was the Farmers Museum. I couldn't resist picking up some souvenir yarn made from the museum's own herd of Merino cross sheep. It is dyed with cochenial. I am normally not a "pink" person, but this color spoke to me. A hat for a niece or two. Maybe I'll design a pattern...

My "reading" this week has consisted mostly of the Serial podcast. I know it was really popular, and if you haven't listened yet, I guarantee a fascinating true story. After episode 9 yesterday, I had to take a break. I couldn't stop the waves of empathy for all the people involved, who are all still very much alive today. What a crazy ordeal to go through... I will probably be finished by tomorrow.

Joining Ginny here:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Yarn Along - Baby Sweater

Today's Yarn Along post comes from the road. I am spending my time in the passenger seat knitting one of Elizabeth Zimmerman's patterns: February baby sweater on two needles, while enjoying the rest of the book in between rows. This sweater will match the first of the same pattern that I knit; twin nieces whose sister got the first one will be the recipient(s).

My other book is a biography of Alma Mahler, written in German. Time to hone the multiple language skills now that it's summer! 

Joining with Ginny. Check out the rest of the projects here:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Who Are YOU?!

Last week The Farmer came inside from the barn with the statement: One of the alpacas looks huge...

I ventured out soon after, and there was no denying a sizable difference between the alpaca in question and the other ladies... A few days ago I spent 30 minutes watching her stomach, and decided that I saw some kicking.

Yesterday The Farmer came home after work to be greeted by this cute cria! SURPRISE!!!!

Alien cria at Shady Grove Alpacas
She was already dry, wobbling around, and nursing, so things are looking good for her health.

Why didn't we know about this new cria? Well, we had a male who rolled under the fence last year, and it turns out that the vet's version of the morning after pill is not 100% effective. We didn't give it a second thought until last week.

My mommy is sooo tall!
Unfortunately the genetics of this animal are not up to the usual high standards that we have around here, so we are not naming her in the hope that she will be easier to sell next summer.

      Looking for some fun!

But there was a brief conversation about the name Ripple. I think it is perfect for an awesome little girl cria born on a 90 degree June day. The song and the new alpaca make us happy, but we'll keep the name unofficial. Love you, little one!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yarn Along: Ripping Back

It's been SUCH a long time since I participated in a yarn along, but today I have a few minutes to share my knitting and a book. Joining Ginny, so go check out the fun:

My Trigere sweater for my mother ( is almost finished. I was nearly done with the bind off when I noticed how the edge flipped up. Seed stitch does not agree with the bottom of this sweater, so I will try something different. So close, but so many stitches to go...

Yesterday I spent several long hours at the dentist, so I started The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo, which was a gift from my sister-in-law a few years back. I'm not usually the target audience for a crime thriller, but this one is good enough to finish. At least it kept my mind off dental procedures.

Here's wishing all of you happy summer knitting and reading!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Mill it!

Today I threw in the towel and admitted to myself that I would not have time (or interest) in preparing our alpaca fiber. I am a KNITTER! So we took 5 years worth of sheared fiber to a fiber mill. It weighs around 130 pounds.

We sorted through 72 small bags of fiber to determine how it should be used. There are so many choices...

We will turn 84 pounds of it into yarn, and 45 pounds of it into rug yarn, rugs or felt.

We saw a new-born cria. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but you can take our word for it when we tell you that it was the sweetest little creature!

We are exhausted. But the good news is that we have until January to rest and set up an Etsy shop to sell all these goods from! Let us know if you would like to pre-order.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Thank You For the Music... I Mean... Yarn

I've been feeling very thankful this three-day weekend. We have almost made it to summer vacation after a tough year. My students gave me a nice thank you basket of yarn and knitting needles at the awards banquet last weekend. The personalized gift was thoughtful, and I am using the pink yarn to made some "blankies" for my niece's twin dolls. (She also recently acquired twin sisters, so she might need a little extra something when I see her on vacation in a few weeks.)

In other news, my garden has produced one beautiful red rose so far.

And my veggie beds are a little (OK, a lot) over run by chamomile, which in spite of its amazing medicinal properties, is a weed. 

I was warned to keep this problem in hand by, well, actually weeding, but they are really pretty...

Finally, I decided that if life hands you chamomile, you should make tea.

The tea is DELICIOUS!

And hopefully the little blankets will be appreciated also.

Happy almost summer!