Thursday, October 8, 2015

Spinning My Little Fingers To The Bone

Not really.  But sort of.  It's been a stupid crazy week, but tomorrow's looking a little saner so hopefully I'll get a proper blog post up.  What little time I've had free so far I've tried to devote to spinning for Spinzilla since I'm on a team and don't want to let my team members down (and it's fun ;-).  

I'm spinning Baaxter and he's spinning like a dream.  Completely different from Crazy Maisie last year.  I'm hoping that means the Iknitarod will go much smoother this winter!  The plan is a black sweater with a gray patterned yoke.  I picked a combo blend of Annabelly and Emily for the gray. Very soft and pretty.  Emily didn't care when I told her, but I think Annabelly was pretty excited :-).

I have 250 yards of the gray spun and plied (which I think is 750 Spinzilla yards because you get to count the plying - two singles and one plying 250x3=750 until someone corrects me :-).  I have 14.8 ounces of Baby B spun but not plied yet.  I have until Sunday night.  

My goal is to have all my Iknitarod sweater yarn spun and also to break a mile - 1,760 yards. Surely I'm primed for that (she says thinking she hopes she hasn't jinxed something...).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times...

Another Kentucky Wool Festival is in the books.

One of the big highlights of my weekend was Miss B's go big or go home flower arranging.  I'd sent her a text Friday morning and asked if she could bring me a few sprigs of fall flowers when she came up.  She showed up with armfuls (yes, plural :-) of fall asters and goldenrod.  We arranged them throughout the booth and they were fabulous!

Some of the usual stuff...

We put up both quarter round shelves in the "office" corner and that worked like a charm.  Must. Remember. For. Spring Festival.

And something new...

Lamb Camp yarn!

I haven't said much about it because I wasn't sure it was going to be ready in time, but Ohio Valley Natural Fibers did a great job hustling it through and it's really pretty.  I'm very excited about it :-).

In a nut shell, Miss B and I set aside about 75 pounds of wool from the spring shearing at Final Frontier Farm (where Liddy, Blossom, Lila and Keebler came from) and had OVNF spin it into a beautiful two ply worsted weight yarn.

kbdoolin knit a fabulous hat and mittens from it for display and another friend helped me dye some strands different colors to show how happy it was to be bright and colorful as well (if that's your sort of thing ;-).  Both gave the yarn a big thumbs up. Sadly, halfway through the festival some creep(s) stole the hat.  

And my Jester fingerless mitts.


I've been doing this show for twelve years now, I think.  I've never had anything taken.  I wasn't the only one this year.  A hard lesson to learn.  Well, we all already knew the lesson, but I think we like to think the best of people.  At least it wasn't something completely irreplaceable and the love that went into raising, spinning and knitting both items can never be stolen.  And we're going to move on!

I wore the Isle of Purbeck shawl in the evenings.  Perfect!

Took the Renny basket for fun and some "cred".

The 2016 farm calendars were a popular item.

As were the 2016 Lamb Camp calendars and cards.

I sold out of curls the first day.

And even sold some Bird Nesters.  I've been surprised that these haven't sold better.  I love my bag design and seems like everyone loves birds and bird nests and baby birds...  

The mugs sold well.  I had all the mug shots hanging up around the booth and it was nice to be able to put Liddy, Blossom and Lila next to the inside yarn display.  

20 did his usual bang up job advertising for National Hug a Sheep Day (coming up at the end of the month!).  He was hugged and hugged and hugged (and had his nose picked more than a few times :-o) and I wondered if he was really having as much fun as he looked.  Then a family came over and politely asked if they could take some pictures with him and told me they did this every year.  Nuff said.

It's a ton of work to pull this all together.  I'm not just responsible for our farm's booth, but I also organize the entire Wool Tent for the festival.  Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it.  Sometimes I think it's not.  But then when I'm sitting next to 20 or standing in my booth talking to people who come every year to see me and show me what they've been working on, tell me news, good and bad, from their year, talk about the news, good and bad, from my year, offer to watch the booth so I can run to the bathroom or get something to eat, hear Gary doing his spiel about shearing sheep or Alan teaching how border collies work or sharing a cup of hot soup with my friends in the tent, I'm proud of my team here at the farm and at the festival and I take a deep breath...and start thinking about next year.

A huge thank you to everyone!!!

There are more festival pictures on the Wool Tent blogspot and Facebook page.

Monday, October 5, 2015

My Morning View Is Changing

But I'm glad it's my "old" view.  Very happy to be quietly (besides the tractors running ;-) eating my cereal on the porch this morning.  Wool festival pictures and stories later!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Walk With Me Wednesday

I could actually do a Wednesday Yarn Along post.  I finished the second sleeve.  I'm going to try to get it blocked today, but a. I really should be doing other things to get ready for this weekend and b. I'm not sure it will dry.   We sure needed the rain, but at this point, couldn't the rest of the week's forecast have waited until after the festival?  

Still, if it's going to be cold and damp (which is actually perfect for a fall wool festival) it would be nice to have a long sleeve wool sweater to wear in the evenings (we are there until 10:00 p.m. :-o). Plus, it's technically advertising, right?  I usually say the sweaters are there for inspiration...but if it's for advertisement then I'm practically required to get it blocked :-D. 

In the meantime, enjoy taking a walk with Hank, Tilly and Kate :-). 

Spiders have been light this year :-(.

The bees are happy with all the fall flowers.

Liddy likes flowers, too :-).

Our walk out back inspired the sheep to come out.  

I guess it was a good advertisement ;-).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Special Find

I'd been stuck in front of the computer all day (the calendars are done though :-). It was one of those beautiful fall days that, at the end, if you haven't done something to really experience even a tiny bit of it, you just have to hang your head in shame.  I grabbed the dogs and headed back to the Frog Pond.  

The Frog Pond is a small pond near the back of our farm.  When me moved here and started cleaning everything up, the bulldozer guy said we should just fill it in.  I knew though that even in it's humble state, it was home to all sorts of tiny, important to me at least, wildlife.  I would never destroy that.

We ended up just doing some repair work to drainage and dam and I started collecting Kentucky native plants, shrubs and trees to fill gaps and add color around the edge and encouraged as many flowers as possible that support all the bees and butterflies we hoped would stop by.  

While I haven't seen tons of Monarchs this year, I have seen more than "normal".  I walked back periodically to see if there was any sign of activity back there and was, as always, seeing nothing, worried because the majority of our milk weed had already died out for the year.  

Today (Sunday)?  Well, look!  :-D


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Goodnight Moon

I thought for sure we were going to miss the lunar eclipse tonight, but a few minutes before it started, the clouds drifted apart and other than a slight foggy haze, we could see it all.  Very cool!

I did some reading ahead of time to try to learn how to best capture it and one of the top tips was to include something like a building or trees as a frame of reference or set the stage.  Sometimes I get shots with the trees heading up Stella's driveway, but tonight the moon was pretty high in the sky and with no lit up capital building handy, I'll have to use words to set the stage.

I was sitting out on the Grahaminator2000 using the wall as a back rest and my knees, elbows and forehead as my tripod.  Liddy came out there with me and so did Hank, Baaxter, Spud, Woody and Maisie.  I took a few breaks to give everyone back scratches and apparently I wasn't giving Maisie enough turns so she bit me!  Luckily she only got my jeans or it might have been "BANG, ZOOM! Straight to the moon!"*

 I guess that about sets the stage ;-).

Okay, I'm headed out to see how what it looks like now.  I hope everyone got a chance to watch.

* How many remember that?

So What Happened With The Basket?

This might be my favorite thing I've ever put together.  I enjoyed the whole thing - the sheep herself, shearing, washing, dyeing, spinning, picking a pattern, finding the perfect basket, winding the weird circular skeins that perfectly (by accident) showed off all the colors, writing up a little history of the Renny and the project, arranging everything just so, taking a picture and seeing how the yellow and green match the background... 

I kind of hated to send it off to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival, but since that was the plan, that's what I did.  And I'm glad I did!

I'm obviously thrilled with the ribbon, but I'm equally impressed with the really neat tag with a festival button attached.  I love little details like that.  Very classy.

The minimum class requirements were to spin at least a pound of yarn for a project, include the pattern the yarn is to be used for, knit a swatch to verify your yarn will work for your project and put it in an appropriate basket.  We were also to include information on what kind of fiber, if it was wool, what kind of sheep, the grist of the yarn, how it was prepared...  That was all to fit on an index card.  

I managed to do that, but felt that there was also more to the story that should be shared because it was going to play such a big part throughout the entire project.  Why I would pick that sheep, those colors, the journey so far...

"Renny is very special to me. Not only for who she is, but for what she has taught me. You can live through way more than you think. You can have the courage to do the things that need to be done, even if they are hard or scary. People will help and support you. If you are going to tackle dyeing wool and steeking (cutting) a sweater for the first time, Renny’s your girl! :-)"

I can't wait to start knitting.  Well, after the Kentucky Wool Festival.  And Spinzilla.  Yeah, I signed up for Spinzilla (I  really need some adult supervison!).  Baaxter and I joined the Meridian Jacobs Team :-).  If you're going to participate in "A Monster of a Spinning Week", Baaxter's your boy ;-).  

More about that later.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Liddle Blast From The Past

I'm frantically scrambling (as usual :-/) to get the Equinox Farm and Lamb Camp calendars to "the printer" so they'll be ready for the Kentucky Wool Festival next weekend.  Look what I found when I was pulling pictures for the lamb calendar!  

It's cute little Liddle :-D

When she was just little and not yet Liddle (Liddy).

I think she was dreaming of having a real mom to sleep with.  

And her dream came true :-).


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