Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Knitting in Peru

I was so fortunate to make a return trip to Peru this month. Peru is a country where knitters sit on every street corner, though they are reticent to have photos taken. The highlands are filled with shepherds and their animals. Here is a posed view of the last rest day in the Cordillera Hyuahuash. I was actually sitting facing the mountains to see them myself.

Thanks to my two beautiful nieces for modeling the fruits of my labor: a second Fortnight hat by Jared Flood. The yarn is worsted weight by our late alpaca, Cassidy. (Thanks to all for expressing condolences after my previous post.)

The second hat: Squish Me by Anne Hanson in DK weight yarn from our alpaca, Moonstar.

Soft hats inspire sisterly love! (Click pics to en-bigger and see whole landscape view. For some reason blogger is not cooperating with the showing of sideways views...)

And lots of silly fun!

Joining the Yarn Along at Ginny's today:

More posts on Peru coming soon. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Missing Your Kisses...

With heavy hearts, we announce that our beloved Cassidy took her last breaths sometime yesterday morning. Unfortunately we weren't home to say good-bye, and our neighbors taking care of the animals for us made all of the arrangements, which included the operation of a backhoe. We are eternally grateful and indebted. They are saints.

Cassidy was born just four short years ago. This was her first wobbly day!

As a cria, she enjoyed pasture time with her Momma Bella and her Aunts Greta and Moonstar.

She was our most sociable alpaca, who always ventured closer to visitors and friends before the others. 

Looking sleek and glossy (middle) after shearing a few years back.

Her photos with me also made her famous in the CHS yearbook in 2015. We wished all of my students "Good Luck" on this page that year.

Her worsted weight yarn had just recently become transformed into some of the most buttery soft hats. 

The cause of death is not known. The vet who performed the necropsy found nothing out of the ordinary. The heat has been horrible, though. Perhaps she got dehydrated or simply too hot.

Sweet, sweet Cassidy, you will be missed.

Shady Grove Alpacas Cassidy
July 15, 2012 - July 23, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

It Takes Less Than a Fortnight

To knit the extraordinary Fortnight hat by Jared Flood of! What a nice surprise to have something fly off the needles at the breakneck speed of a few days after spending so long on the Color Affection Shawl.

This may be the softest hat ever, made from Shady Grove Alpacas Worsted in colorway Cassidy!

I made the version with the "ear flaps" that make the back longer. It is remarkably more comfortable than a hat with actual ear flaps.

As per usual, the fabric grew some after washing and blocking, especially the garter stitch section, and is now super drapey and pliable. Not that it matters with this pattern, since it sits firmly on one's head.

I'll definitely be knitting a few more of this pattern, and Cassidy worsted is my new favorite to work with!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Foundation Herd Shawl

I finally finished my Color Affection Shawl this past weekend! The yarn is Shady Grove Alpacas in fingering weight, color ways Bella, Moonstar, and Greta. These three animals were the first alpacas we bought when we started farming, thus foundation herd shawl.
Fresh off the needles! As you can see by the pucker on the right edge where all the increases are, I should have made more adjustments to make it looser. Do check the advice of other knitters on Ravelry if you plan on making this one. Fortunately most of the tension lessened significantly during blocking.

Blocking... I stretched it quite a bit, which gave it a more sheer texture and longer length. It also evened out some of the stitches a little bit.

More blocking... As usual, the washing and blocking made this yarn so light and fluffy! The drape of the fabric is really wonderful, and it feels airy yet very warming.

A few "candids" - not the best photo shoot. The light was fading, the Farmer was tired and not in the mood to deal with evening mosquitoes, so it is a bit hurried. 

One of the alpacas in the herd is peering at the photo shoot from the barn.

Quite a few friends have expressed "surprise" that we ended up dying our fiber when they saw the yarn. Across the front you see Greta (black), Moonstar (white), and Bella (medium brown). They personally brought us the colors I got to work with, and it is awesome that no dying is necessary! In the back is Cassidy with my brother #2 and his wife. 

Stay tuned for a new project using Cassidy's yarn, coming soon! 

Joining the Yarn Along at Ginny's today.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Bantam Silkie Field Trip

A few weeks ago, The Farmer brought home three Bantam Silkie chicks; so cute!
They spend a lot of time being alarmist and fearfully hiding behind the hen hydrator.

Until it's time to eat. Then, please excuse us while we chow down in oblivion!

On Tuesday, the weather was nice so we put them on the lawn. The confusion was palpable. What do we do now?!

Lookin' around... Hmmmm...

They figured out pretty quickly that grass is yummy and bugs are tasty.

Tomorrow or Sunday, we will have knitting content! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Yarn Along - Color Affection

It's been a while since I joined the Yarn Along at Ginny's: 
Today I have a tiny bit of down time, so here goes.
I started this Color Affection shawl using Shady Grove Alpaca fingering weight yarn in late March, and those rows just keep getting longer and longer. And longer. I'm trying to make a push for the finish before I start another smaller project. I haven't settled into a new book yet. I did finish Outlander on CD last week, which I enjoyed, but did not love.
In the mean time, the garden is flourishing. We enjoyed the first broccoli of the season for dinner tonight.
A visit to my parents' house I got to see my favorite rose hedge burst into bloom over the last few days. 

Till next week. Maybe the shawl will be finished...

Thursday, May 26, 2016


It's been a crazy month filled with contests and concerts and celebrations and auditions and interviews. I feel like life kind of sputtered to a halt while all of that was going on. Today was the last day of school, and I decided to wander out of the cave that is my office and take stock of my yard. Apparently lots of things have been happening in my absence.

I'll be back with more after a long nap. And when I finish writing the last of the pesky emails still on my to do list...