Sunday, August 30, 2009

Introducing SpinSanity of Wonder

Today we welcomed the first alpaca to be born on the farm. A beautiful fawn male, SpinSanity of Wonder. His dam is CAR Sprite and his sire is Enchantment's Luceros.

We weren't expecting our new bundle of joy today. His due date wasn't supposed to be for another 10 days. As a matter of fact, I didn't even have my cria kit here. I have some stuff but I had just placed an order to get the nitty gritty of the supplies needed. YIKES!

I had been out in the barn all morning cleaning up poo and such when I headed back into the house around 11am. Hubby came in around 12pm so we could eat lunch. He went back out around 1pm, which is when he discovered a little cria standing next to Sprite. From there it was screaming at the top of his lungs to get my attention in the house.

I grabbed the cell and the camera and out the door I ran. I called my friend, Stephani from Tomorrow Farm to get her to come over since she has had a couple of cria already. We determined it was a boy and she brought me a cria coat since I didn't have one. By the way, she makes beautiful cria coats so if you need one, she's the lady to see.

Well, I found the placenta and all looked good so we let dam and cria bond a bit then I dipped his umbilical chord. Once he was dry, I weighed him. 13lbs 7oz.

I did make one other quick call. The call was to my friend Shannon. I had told Shannon that I wanted to name a cria after her. Didn't know when but I would. Well, this cria had SpinSanity written all over him. Honestly, I can tell already that a spinner is going to fall in love with his fiber.

Now why would I name a cria after a friend. Well, first of all, she is awesome! More importantly, it's Shannon that gave me my first drop spindle and taught me how to use it. Shannon who went with me to buy my first spinning wheel and she is the lady who has been guiding me through the process of learning the in's and out's of fiber.

SpinSanity is a true fiber artist. She makes the loveliest spindles and takes the time to teach you, if you really are interested. I can't thank her enough for all the help she has giving me so far and since I'm not having anymore kids the best I could do was name an alpaca after her. So hopefully my little SpinSanity will live up to the name and be a phenominal herdsire in the future like his namesake is at being a fiber artist!

So, Shannon and her kids came over and we just watched in awe as SpinSanity and Sprite bonded. We watched him nurse and even take his first poo. He ran and jumped and even sunbathed for us.

Yet another birth I have missed. I now have two cria and yet to see a live birth. YIKES!

So now I am going to relax and sit back and enjoy the newest Wonder Boy to the farm.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Lot of Glue Goes a Short Way!

I have a beautiful spindle made by my friend, Shannon aka SpinSanity. Actually I have two gorgeous spindles that I am not worthy of. Why not worthy? Well, she makes gorgeous drop spindles and my spinning on the spindle still needs massive hours of work. But if you want to see beautiful spindles check her out! Really, check out her website: SpinSanity Spindles

So, I needed something to store my drop spindles in so they wouldn't get broken while I travel here and there and everywhere and Shannon recommended getting a wine bottle holder. Well, geez, I love wine! Wine also tends to make me spin better (I say with a wide grin) Why didn't I think of that? There weren't too many choices around at this time of year. Sometimes you can find holiday themed ones or ones with grapes covering them. Well, over at Hobby Lobby, which I hate shopping at because they are closed on Sundays, they have a bunch of cardboard containers that people can paint or do whatever with and I found the wine bottle holder so I bought one and have been toting my gorgeous spindle around in a boring brown container.

went the creative way using her handy dandy sharpee and wrote a message to fend off Zombies but alas, I can't do that nor did I get a picture of it. Darn it!

I have must beat to my own drum so I wanted to do something that reprensented me.


I wanted something...WONDERFUL! Can you imagine me using an idea that doesn't have "Wonderful" in it?

Well, what is more wonderful than the Wonder Why Alpaca Farm? Honestly, you really need to come visit the farm.

Well, I decided to try my hand at decoupage.

Yes, I did something non-fiber crafty to make my fiber-crazed crafty self absolutely happy.

I took some of my favorite photos of my herd (this was the longest and hardest part of the process because I have way too many options to choose from) and used the decoupage glue and started to adhere them to the container. Very little cutting or cropping was necessary because I wanted large pictures. I chose to keep the white borders on most of the photos to to create a block look.

Now the tricky part was getting the photos to stick since the container is circular but I was patient, for the most part, and I got them all on. A lot of glue goes a short ways with me (that's me snickering). After the photos dried then I was able to paint another layer of the adhesive on top of the photos to seal them in. my beautiful spindle has a case worthy of it's beauty.

Of course, I am so busy admiring my herd that it's hard to concentrate on spinning so what did I do?

Well, I got out some roving from my beautiful alpaca, Sugar Breeze, and I have started spinning her roving and you know what? I think I am spinning better now. (Big Smile)

All it took was the right atmosphere...and maybe the bottle of wine that was supposed to go in the carrier.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wonder Why Gal Full of...Wonder!

Well, members of the ZPDK got together on Saturday for our final sendoff to Elizabeth who is off to Michigan Tech (way, way, way up in Northern Michigan) to begin her second year of college and to celebrate Em and Crystal starting their first year of college here in Battle Creek at KCC.

Our visit was complete with spinning on the wheels and spindles along with knitting, plying, combing suri, alpaca love (Elizabeth got some love from our cria, Sunshine), doggy love (our two miniature schnauzers), kitty love(the Wonder Cats) and best of all taco love (Yup, the Wonder Why Gal can cook, sort of)!

Yes! We had all of our favorites here...except for Holly because the Ogre was being...well, he was being the ogre.

As usual, the Wonder Why Gal was full of ....Wonder! What were you thinking? Yes, at times I am quite full of "it" too but that is all part of my charm.

So what made this visit so wonderful? Well, first of all, I totally adore my ZPDK friends. Shannon, Emily, Elizabeth, Crystal are great to be around. Not only is the conversation good but I am surrounded by some amazing fiber artist and three of them are still so young. They truly amaze me.

Emily started the afternoon off by Navajo Plying some sock yarn she had spun. Her three ply yarn is as thin as my single ply. She is amazing!

Crystal was knitting her Kidney Kozie in some fun colors! Why couldn't I be that creative? I picked one color, a pretty purple. She took the colors and is making them into a fun kozie!

Shannon was plying her yarn that she had spun on her drop spindle and was also plying it on her drop spindle. YIKES! Now that is amazing! Shannon also found the secret foot warmer of the house. Our miniature schnauzer, Tucker, who turns eleven this year. Now he doesn't just sit on anyone's foot so Shannon was indeed "lucky".

What was I doing? Well, I had been asked by a friend of mine to spin a pound of gray merino and I was like, Oh Yeah Baby! So I had filled up two bobbins full and plyed it! So far I have 460 yards spun. I am curious how many yards I get out of this pound.

It isn't as wonderful as MY WONDER ROVING but it still is a sweet merino to play with.

Oh, crud! I forgot to get a pic of Kai, Shannon's son, who is weaving bookmarks to sell. He took a ribbon at the Calhoun County Fair and sold his first woven bookmark this week to a neighbor. I did, however, get a picture of Abby, Shannon's youngest daughter, who is becoming quite the spinner. She is spinning some nice yarn on a drop spindle made by her Mom.

Elizabeth spun for a bit but her main pursuit of the evening was knitting the sleeves for a lovely sweater she is making. I tell ya, I was surounded by amazing fiber artist.

The best part of the evening was getting out the English Wool Combs that I am borrowing from Cheri Parks at Wind Walker Ranch. I tell ya, these things are NOT toys. Emily has been reading up and watching YouTube, etc. trying to figure out the best technique so we can hand comb my Confetti Reign, Buccaneer and Metallica since their fiber length is long plus their color is so amazing that we wanted to try and maintain the pattern that each alpaca has. We played with Metallica's fiber and it was WONDERFUL! It is a long process though but as you can see well worth it! I am going to let Emily play with the combs a bit longer since it's hard for me to do with my kids home for summer vacation but when the Wonder Kids go back to school I am so going to be helping Emily out!

So that was our amazing send-off to our beloved college gals! May they excel in academics like they do in fiber arts. These ladies are WONDERFUL!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Get your daily fiber!

I have been super busy this last week! Spinning, knitting, skirting, sorting....yes, I am finally getting that bathtub full of fiber taken care of. I might actually be able to take a bath this weekend. Since June, our garden tub has been full of garbage bags full of fiber. Why? Well, because if I put them in the basement my dogs will eat the fiber. NOTE: Alpaca fiber does not make a dog regular.

Well, I have been sorting through the fiber to wash it and prepare it to be made into rugs. This fiber is all the thirds ( belly, legs, scraps) from shearing day. I wanted to go through it to see what is good for making rugs. Well, I am not sure if it's worth it. Literally, there is a lot of crap involved!

I will give it a go though. I also have one boy whose micron count was over 30 so he automatically became rug material.

Well, I am almost done...halfway done. I can only do a bit each day. First because I don't have the largest space to wash it all and second because I only have a couple of sweater racks to dry it all on. Once I am done, I will weigh all the bags and see my overall weight then I will call the weaving company and talk "alpaca" with them about how I want the fiber woven. I am curious how this experiment will turn out. I have felt some nice alpaca rug and also felt some ruff stuff. Using thirds....who knows?

Meanwhile I am still knitting away at my Kidney Kozie. The deadline is Labor Day. I don't think I will have it completed by then but I will do my best to get as far as possible. If I don't make this deadline I will have a great headstart for next years challenge. I am a slow knitter so it's a tough challenge for me. At least I got my Hope Lodge Square done first.

Honestly, I would get a whole lot more knitting done if I wasn't so obsessed with spinning. I love my Ashford Elizabeth a even more I love my Wonder Rovings. I am trying to spin some up so I can sell yarn to people who don't spin. The pics I have attached are the process of the spinning. First is my boy, Baronson's Haze, who donated his blanket to me. Then I had it turned into roving where the mill blended it with merino top and finally I spun it into the yarn you see.

I LOVE IT! I hope someone else does too. I am really happy with how it turned out.

So tomorrow....back to the knitting and back to the skirting and you know there will be more spinning!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Zombies Beware

My first visit ever to Fiber Fest in Allegan was a BLAST! It all started with the Magic Bus picking me up at the Wonder Farm then off to Vicksburg to pick up Snot and Kentucky Irish.

The representatives of the ZPDK, Zombie Prom Date Knitters, were ready in all of our awesome to Rock the Fiber Fest!

Now riding in the Magic Bus with the ZPDK is not for the faint of heart. Our conversations can run on the spicy side but laughter is always a key element.

There was no way we were going to get lost finding Fiber Fest. You see, the directions are simple, turn right at the rooster!

Crystal and Holly, showing off their awesome!

I was so excited to attend the Fiber Fest. I wanted to get my hands on all the different types of wool and see and feel the differences that each one had which I did.

I wanted to meet up with all the nice people that I have encountered since joining Ravelry which I did. All my friends from Ravelry, some new and some not but all awesome!

I wanted to buy my Niddy Noddy, which I did.

I wanted to check out all the different types of spinning wheels that would be on display and try to find a travel wheel that would meet my needs which I did and I really found one I liked that has the different options I want. It's the Lendrum Spinning Wheel. I was so lucky to have Spinny there. Spinny went on the wheel mission with me and I couldn't ask for a better person to guide me on the journey. Even when I stopped because I was hungry she toured the barns looking for the perfect wheel for me. She's the best! So I will do more investigating on the wheel before I make my true decision but right now I like the Lendrum best. Now, I don't want my beautiful "Lizzy" to get jealous but "Lizzy" doesn't have the large bobbin plus she is going to get banged up if I keep carting her around to spin.....

I wanted to have fun! Boy, oh Boy....I sure did! We made sure there were no zombies on the fairgrounds. I can't imagine that there was a person who didn't know we were there either. Yikes! I think we are loud?

We were in our awesome element of fun and more than once we thought someone would pee their pants in laughter.

I learned a lot though. I know that my alpaca fiber is price reasonably and that my processing is far superior than a lot of alpaca that is out there. I found another mill that I might send some of my fiber to. They had beautiful rovings and yarn from all sorts of fiber. I also fell in love with some new vendors. My goodness, some the the vendors had the most beautiful yarn and rovings from all sorts of fiber.

My friends learned that if they couldn't find me they just had to find the nearest alpaca vendor and more and likely I would be there talking it up.

I found out that carrot cupcakes with a rum based frosting are delicous in a picnic and that Holly is a wonderful picnic hostess. I loved Fiber Fest. The fiber, the day and best of all the company I was with.

On a final note, we found Flat Stanley. It appears he had an accident. He was lying in the parking lot, headless. I don't know if someone thought he was a zombie. We couldn't give him mouth to mouth since his head was gone.

Poor guy, guess he should have hitched a ride on the Magic Bus and hung out with the cool chicks from ZPDK.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Suri Sonnet

How do I love my suri? Let me count the ways.
I love them for their confirmation and luster,
Shining brightly in all forms of light,
For their gait and lock structure exhibiting ideal Grace.
I love them in the morning and throughout the day
while watching them feed, or standing at full height
I love them running freely, throughout the pasture;
I love them purely, as they stop to graze.
I love them with the passion of their fiber put to use
In my knitting and spinning, the bobbins of yarn fill my lazy kate.
I love them with a joy with each one I choose
To create the foundation of my wonderful herd,
--- I love them for their beauty,

Genetics, and phenotype! --- and, if I choose,
I shall but love them better after I've paid off their debt.

Is it ok to parody a poem if you totally love the poet? I do! I think Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a beautiful writer. I know her Sonnet was about love and so is mine. You see, all my girls are home now. Sugar Breeze, Confetti Reign and Sugar's Sunshine of Wonder are all home at the Wonder Why Alpaca Farm with my other girls, Morning Mist, Midnight Aire and Sprite.

It was a long few months waiting for their pregnancies to be confirmed so they could safely travel home. I haven't spent too much time on the laptop in the last few days because I have been out in the barn or by the pasture watching my gorgeous suri get used to their new home. My beautiful cria, Sunshine is truly a gem and Confetti is....breathtaking. She really is. My Sugar Breeze is phenominal. My girls are home! I can enjoy them in MY pasture now.

How do I love them? Visit my farm and you too will start counting the ways.