Saturday, April 23, 2011

Three Bags Full

Hum, hum 'Paca
Have you any wool?
Yes ma'am, yes ma'am
Three bags full.

One of the master
And one for the dame
One for the 'Paca-sitter
Living down the lane.

Hum, hum 'Paca
Have you any wool?
Yes ma'am, yes ma'am
Three bags full.

These bags aren't as aesthetically pleasing as Mother Goose's undoubtedly were. However, they held a surprising TWELVE POUNDS of raw fleece!! I don't think our alpaca sitter is that interested in a bag full of fleece, but he might get a scarf out of it some time... All long time from now... Now there are lots of questions about processing and spinning to answer before I can even dream up a knitting project.

The alpacas were shaved within a half inch of their life and look incredibly bald and cold. Have you ever seen such skinny necks?

Here is a comparison photo from a few weeks earlier. So wooly!

Nephews #1, 2 & 5 are here for a visit this week also. Hello, nice to meet you!

Nephew #1 is feeding some grain by hand.

The dog is also a big hit with the nephews. Nephew #1 petting Tenny.

Nephew #2 petting Tenny.

Nephew #5 is still a little small to fully appreciate a large dog and preferred taking it all in on Mom's arm! The other boys took great pride in learning how to take care of the animals and even got their uncle's approval to feed Tenny in the evening all by themselves. We are all having a wonderful time together, and we can't wait to host the boys and their parents again soon!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alpaca Adventures

I'm sure a few years from now this event will have become commonplace, but today provided a fun new adventure. This afternoon, we loaded up a rental cargo van with four alpacas to take them to their shearing tomorrow morning. According to the Alpaca Farmer, it was one of the best days in recent memory. The trip certainly was a small and hilarious adventure.

Emerging from the barn on leashes.

Yummy! Some grass snacks on the way... tasty after all that dry hay this winter.

Surveying the cargo van.

Let's get in!

A big giant case of "WE DON'T WANNA!!!"

OK, the side entrance has steps. Moonstar jumps in.

'Greta is next.

Milling around inside the cargo van. Bella (facing the back window) was humming non-stop, except it sounded more like a cow in distress.

Hanging out, looking out at the cars behind us out of the back window!

A little relaxing makes the trip go easier. Of course 'Greta was spitting at the other alpacas most of way because they were touching her. And Sassafrass never did manage to lie down.

Visitor at the helm! Sassafrass was co-piloting for a little while with the Alpaca Farmer!

We all made it to our destination with no incidents... Unless you count Sassafrass peeing in the van literally 30 seconds before our arrival. Good thing we have mops and buckets to clean off the rubber floor mats... And Sassafrass will stay with her owners after shearing. We were just borrowing her...


Friday, April 1, 2011

Woodruff Mittens

This post is NOT an April Fool's joke. I finished the mittens shortly after lunch, and by the looks of the weather forecast, we can expect temperatures in the 30's during the next two nights. I am scheduling an evening stroll or two, decked out in my new accessories. See, I do need mittens in April...

The Woodruff mittens were a delightful find, though the knitting instructions confused me for the first 20 rows of charting. Then there was a sudden *CLICK* and I noticed the whole pattern, both on the chart and what to expect the knitting to look like. The rest of the mitten took an afternoon to knit up. Likewise, after a small break, the second mitten was born within a day's time. That left me with one last thumb and weaving in ends to finish yesterday.

The yarn, also a creation by Jared Flood, was also a wonderful find. Jared has a very inspiring story about its creation on his blog, listed below. Initially the yarn was an impulse purchase, but a few months later became happily matched with this pattern. There is plenty of yarn left over, and I intend to make my husband some fingerless mitts with the same pattern (minus the bobbles) and yarn. And then I will buy more of this yarn... and another pattern... But I digress... You would like more info:

The Details
Pattern: Woodruff Mittens, by Jared Flood
Yarn: SHELTER by brooklyntweed
Colorway: Soot
Needles: size 5 and size 7 DPNs
Size: pattern size
Started: December 25, 2010
Finished: April 1, 2011

My only hope is that blocking the mittens will not cause them to shrink. They ended up slightly wider and longer than the pattern predicted, and even so, just barely fit. I should have measured my hand first, but for the next mitten project, I will plan ahead for my oversized paws!