Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Pre-Reveal

I am tired of seeing bags and bags of Christmas wrapping paper go into the trash on Christmas morning, and so I decided to begin taking action.

Presenting, recyclable and reversible gift bags!

These three presents are headed to the Missouri niece and nephews:

Close-ups of the nephew's bags:
Bag A

Bag B

The view inside of the bags:

And the bags in reverse: perfect for upcoming birthdays!

Close-ups of the bags in reverse:
Bag A

Bag B

I also experimented with reversible wrapping paper, this gift for my niece:

As Christmas drew close and time ran out, I just used the two gingerbread cloths like regular wrapping paper. I did manage a third bag.

Will these few gift bags reduce the paper at this Christmas? Not by much, but I hope that throughout the next few years we will have more recycle bags and less waste.

Now that I have pre-revealed the gift wrap, I must confess that I did not knit a single gift item for Christmas... I think that the scarves below will become late presents for some friends who still need a token of appreciation. I am hoping for a more inspired knitting year this coming 2011.

Until then, enjoy the 12 days of Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

More Neck Warming

I do love this Cabled Keyhole Scarf Pattern! Newly matched with souvenir yarn from last summer's trip to Maryland, this is yet another soft and beautiful combination. The yarn comes from a Huacaya alpaca named Smokey, introduced in this blog in July. He lives on the Bluebell Alpaca Farm in Grantsville, MD. You can find more info here:

Pattern: Cabled Keyhole Scarf by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Alpaca from Smokey, Bluebell Alpaca Farm, MD
Needles: Size 7
Colorway: Gray
Size: The larger one
Started: December 22, 2010
Finished: December 24, 2010
This is a great knit project for a road trip!

Merry Christmas to All!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Love for the Neck

I ran across this lovely pattern at the, shortly before Thanksgiving and couldn't wait until she published the pattern. She promised is for after the weekend of December 11th, but the joke was on me when I checked out her blog on Monday the 13th and found that she had already published it on Friday the 10th!! Sometimes restraint on the Internet is not worth it! I hurried to purchase, rooted around in the stash for perfect yarn, and cast on. It was a busy, hectic, ridiculous week, but I managed to finish it up by Friday the 17th.

Here are the details:
Pattern: Cabled Keyhole Scarf by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Schachmeyr Nomota "Alpaka Fashion"
Needles: Size 7
Colorway: Blue with a hint of green
Size: The larger one
Started: December 13, 2010
Finished: December 17, 2010

The yarn was purchased in Biberach, Germany, the day before I went to my first Viola d'amore Congress in Ochsenhausen at the monastery. Very special memory for me, and I am happy that I finally found the perfect project for it. I had two yards to spare when I was finished! I just need to block it still... Maybe after all the celebrating is over!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I was pushing for a strong finish to my shrug, which has been languishing since, well, many months this year...

When I ran out of yarn on Saturday...

And the yarn store had every colorway of this brand and weight, except this one...
So now it's on hold again until my specially ordered yarn comes in...

I guess I'll try knitting something else! Happy Knitting!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday Stroll

Did you know alpacas were animals that liked to take a walk on a leash? Me either, but it is a nice way for them to go out and get some air! We didn't go far, and they did not seem interested in grazing.

If you give a girl an alpaca,
she'll want to take it for a stroll.
If the walk is long,
she will want to feed the alpaca some grain.
The grain will make the fleece grow twice a fast,
and the girl will want to shear it.
After shearing the alpaca,
the girl will need a drum carder.
And when all the fiber is aligned as roving,
she will need a spinning wheel.
When the roving is spun to yarn,
the girl will knit shawls and sweaters.
When many knit goods are completed,
she will demand a store,
In which to sell her goods.
To make more money,
To buy another alpaca...
To take on another stroll...

Oh yes, I'm getting ahead of myself: Happy Knitting!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

They're here!

Yesterday, two of our three new alpacas came to live with us on the farm.

Three attentive beasts, from left to right: Tenny, Moonstar, and 'Greta.

Day and Night

Moonstar is as brightly colored as day and is almost fully grown. Softest fleece ever - YUM!

'Greta, dark as night, is built like a tank. She is also very soft, but her fiber is little coarser than Moonstar's.

Is someone coming to feed us??!!

Bella Oak will be joining us in a few months. Do you see her cute cria peeking out over her back?

Monday, November 1, 2010


We brought our first farm animal home yesterday! I have never been more enthusiastic about an animal, let alone a dog. This young lady is truly magnificent. Her stature is noble, her coat is composed of a wonderful thick white fur that does not get dirty, and her personality is out of this world. I could not think of a more gentle and loving animal. The aura of serenity that floats around her is unbelievable. Nonetheless, she is a guard dog and has an energetic bark. Watch out deer and coyotes! Tenny is still getting adjusted. She is just 14 months old and was in a car for the 2nd time in her life yesterday. It was a rough day for her, but she is already getting acclimated to being with us and going about her duties.

As you can see, the fencing around the barn is also finished! We are ready!

Happy Knitting! (PS - I finished a sleeve on the shrug. Just one more to go and then I'll have a finished object at long last!)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sneak Preview

Pssssst! There might be some knitting!! A sleeve has been sighted on the left side of the shrug.

Close-up of the stitch pattern. Unfortunately the cables are not visible in this shot...

And we went to visit the "girls" last weekend. We are looking forward to welcoming them home in a few weeks.

Work on the barn is almost finished. Fencing is in progress and should be complete at the end of this week or next.

Grass is seeded and now we are hoping for just the right amount of moisture so there is no rotting and no seed swimming away in a torrential wash.

With more news soon, Happy Knitting!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Week in Wool

Last week was very crazy, hectic, exciting, and full of many experiences. (Barn-raising, middle school festival concert, playing the viola in my symphony gig, teaching school and commuting all the while...) It was therefore lovely to get several shipments of woolly yarn throughout the week to infuse some calm moments into all the activity.

First up on Monday was the arrival of the new sock club yarn and patterns.

The photo intentionally does not show the full glory of the dyed yarn, as this color way and its accompanying patterns won't be released to the general public until January. The yarn is beautiful and so soft! The patterns look wonderful too!

Second, I finally decided to finish the Adult Tomten sweater that I started a few years ago. The yarn that arrived in record time on Wednesday from Beaverslide and was an absolutely perfect match! That means I don't need to do any fancy knitting to incorporate old and new colors. It still means that I have to frog the original knitting. Just not happy with what is going on with the sizing and front closure options. This jacket needs to look perfect when finished.

Oh, and don't forget to order honey next time you order from Beaverslide. The honey is DIVINE: light, fruity, and you can almost taste a little bit of the dusty mountains from the environment it was collected in. Delicious!

Third and last, I did make an impulse purchase over the previous weekend.

Jared Flood has come out with his own specially designed yarn called "Shelter"on the first of this month. You can read about this amazing yarn on his blog here: I should have waited to order the yarn, because he published the pattern I want to make (Wayfarer Scarf) the day after I ordered the yarn. So I am one skein of yarn short. Never mind, the yarn has a wonderful texture and color (Soot colorway) and will make a lovely product.

Now, I hear what you are saying: Will we ever see any more knitting from you this year? I do hope so... though I do confess that the output has been extremely limited this year. Maybe the next time I will show you something??? Till then, Happy Knitting!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Barn Raising

The Shady Grove Alpacas need a home, so here is a little photo journal of their barn raising...

Day 1: 10/4 - Posts are drilled and framing begun.

Day 2: 10/5 - More framing

Day 2: 10/5 - Animal entrance framed

Day 3: 10/6 - 48 TONS of fill dirt delivered and distributed

Day 3: 10/6 - Dirt fill raising barn to flood-free level, sub roof installed

Day 4: 10/7 - Front framing continued + window in the back

Day 4: 10/7 - Animal entrance framing continued

Day 5: 10/8 - Three walls of siding installed and agricultural lime delivered

Day 6: 10/9 - Metal roof installed

Day 7: 10/10 - Trim work is starting to make the barn look classy and finished

Day 7: 10/10 - Trim work installed overhang near animal paddock

Day 8: 10/11 - Ag lime spread on barn floor

Day 8: 10/11 - Sliding doors installed on animal entrance, paddock

Day 8: 10/11 - The farmer gesticulating at the paddock and animal entrance side of barn

Day 8: 10/11 - The farmer looking out of the human entrance

Day 8: 10/11 - Awaiting inspection, garage door, water and electricity

And fencing, and pasture, and rain, and guard dog, and alpacas... There's still a long list of things to do around here. Until then:
Happy Knitting!!!