Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Happy Wedding day for my friend Miss Peach

Congratulations to Miss Peach and Mickey!

My friend Miss Peach and her Beloved Mickey got married today.
It has been a much anticipated event in the "Cat Blogosphere".
Take a minute and visit the wedding blog of the happy couple.

Happy Halloween!

This would be Sinda's idea of a spooky movie too -
Thanks to my friend Maria for the great Halloween cartoon!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Shepherd at work

The Shepherd has been working on skirting fleeces to take to Gretchen's Wool Mill on Saturday. He has this Shetland fleece from a couple of years ago and has another from this year. We also have a couple of #1 alpaca fleeces (that is the neck wool I guess) to take down to be processed and/or blended with the Shetland.

He was very sweet and offered to skirt the Icelandic fleece that I got from our friend Nancy. It is the fleece from Lila, who we brought over to keep Violet company while she was getting used to our flock. Icelandic fleeces are definitely a "different animal" from the Shetlands - they are double coated - and we not sure if this one is "cotted" (kind of like matted, or felted right on the sheep) or if this is how an Icelandic fleece really is. I guess we'll find out when Gretchen looks at it.

As you can see, the long staples are a good 8 or 9 inches long, and the shorter stuff, well, it's shorter.... I'm not inclined to separate it, so hopefully Gretchen will be able to work a little bit of magic on this one. I'm keeping my finger's crossed.

One of the alpaca fleeces is almost a complete match for color on the undercoat - Anyone have any comments on blending alpaca with Icelandic?

Tonight I gave my new swift a work out - I had the final 100 yards of yarn for the sweater that our friend is going to knit for The Shepherd plus about 100 yards to sell to my co-worker and I balled up the Possum/Wool that Kathy sent me earlier this month. That Targhee top I got last weekend - spins like a dream on my new wheel - but I love spinning targhee anyhow. I'll take a picture when I get it all finished - it will be going towards a set of wrist warmers and hat for my church auction, plus I promised them I'd donate a couple of skeins of handspun yarn. Looks like I have my work cut out for me, huh?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Looking Back Sunday

October 2004 - Hawaii - gotta love those orchids.

It was so hot even the locals were complaining.

Our condo had fans and no A/C.

The Shepherd had pneumonia.

None-the-less to say, it was a "memorable" vacation...

October 2005 - California, here we come -

Next to the Grand Canyon, the Giant Redwoods are the coolest things I've ever seen!

October 2006 - Every year I think "It can't get any more colorful here in The Shepherd's gardens," and then the next year it is even better.

October 2007 - Case in point.........

October 2007 was also our trip to the Grand Canyon - - see a theme here?

This year it was a stay-cation.

October 2008 -

Breeding group fleece evaluations - this is sure a pretty one.

Hope you enjoyed my October "look-back"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Well, I thought it was exciting...

So here is my exciting news...

I got a new spinning wheel. It is an Ashford Traveler.

The spinning wheel that I have been using was given to me by a lady from our church who had Lou Gehrigs disease and was no longer able to spin. She was a very talented spinner, knitter and weaver, so I know that it was hard for her to give up this part of her life. Eventually the disease took her life, but she was such a gracious and generous person. We still miss her. Sometimes when I get to spinning something really pretty, I think I might be channeling Elaine - I know her spirit is with that wheel.

It's not that I don't like that wheel, it is that IT doesn't like to travel. AT ALL! For days after a trip to guild it will squeak and squark. So I am giving it a rest from traveling.

The Shepherd and I went to the Whatcom Weaver's Guild Sale this morning. I got this pretty hand dyed targhee top for my "maiden" voyage on my new wheel. The color way is called Winesap.

I think it will make something lovely, don't you? So I need to get OFF the computer and get to spinning.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Early Christmas Present

Looks like some kind of wooden sea creature, doesn't it?

It is my "early" Christmas present from my sister. It is a "Glimakra" (being the brand name) Umbrella Swift - Glimakra is a Swedish company that primarily makes looms and weaving kits - it is made out of birch and will open up to hold skein of yarn that is 72" around. - Cool, huh?

It is used to wind yarn from skeins to a ball winder, and I have been wanting one for a year or so - even more so since I had to wind those 10 skeins of yarn for The Shepherd's sweater off on my ball winder. A clothes pin on a music stand just doesn't cut it.

I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but the first trial will be with the skein of New Zealand Possum Fur/Wool blend that my wonderful friend Kathy sent me as part of a late birthday present.

These little puppies run between $70 & $80 new and as much as I wanted one, I couldn't justify it. So I decided to ask the Santa Sisters and was making plans with one of them when this used one came available on my Spinner Guild's newsletter. (And for just over 1/2 of the "new" price) A quick call to the Santa Sister and it was a done deal - she will reimburse me for my "purchase" and she doesn't have to do any shopping for me for Christmas - a good arrangement for everyone concerned!

I have about 1/2 a bobbin to finish of some natural colored merino that I am spinning up for one of the guys that I work with - He is going to crochet himself a helmet to wear under his ski gear. Of all the people I work with he is one that I would have thought least likely to do that kind of project - but I'm certainly happy to help him along with it!.

I have more exciting news - I'll share it with you this weekend.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Our Dinner with Andre

It was a bright sunny day and I was just hanging out with my buddies - when this white pickup drives up into the yard.

"Anybody know who that is?" No one did - so we went back to eating.

Suddenly, Kendra, our shephardess and food lady came out and started talking to the man who got out of the truck. A lady got out too - they came over to admire us.

They looked at me and my brother - but the lady liked me best - she said even though he had a nice fleece, that my brother sounded like a foghorn. "I think we should take Andre," she said. "He has such a sweet face"

The next thing I knew, The Man is stuffing me in this PTU (Prisoner Transport Unit) "Help!" I cried out - the straw in the bottom of the PTU wasn't tasty at all - Yuck. "I think he needs a little bit of hay for his trip home" the lady said - and Kendra gave The Man some hay and he stuffed it in the PTU with me. I munched on some and said "Thank You" - sensing that The Man would be The Shepherd and the new food delivery man. They closed up the back of the truck and off we went.

It seemed like we drove and drove and then, I could hear all this clanking and banging. The Shepherd opened up the back window - "We just made the ferry" he said. I wondered what a "ferry" was.

You see, where I grew up would be a long drive for The Shepherd and the lady, but you can take a 25 minute ferry boat ride across the water from a town called Edmonds and go across to the place called "The Peninsula" where My Shepherdess lives. We were the last car on the ferry to go my new home -

When we got there, he took me out of the PTU and brushed all the straw out of my fluffy coat.

He took me out to a little pasture - "You'll be able to meet all your new friends here, Andre", he said,

Well, I must say, the grass here in this new place is very tasty.

I munched and munched - not paying any attention to the others in the pens around me.

"Who the heck is that?"

"He's kind of short, but very handsome..."

"Oh, Violet, you think all boys are handsome.
Do you suppose he's lonely in there?"

The boys didn't know what to make of this new fellow either.

What they didn't know was that The Shepherd had "Breeding Group" plans set up. Vern (the ram) and Galloway (his wethered brother) would get to be with Violet and Luna.

HB was already in with Jewel and Moni.
That left Cooper to be with Pearl and The Shepherd wanted to put a wether buddy in with him too - That's where Andre came in - The Shepherd is sad that Andre had to be wethered because he has wonderful confirmation but he had a "manly" problem that called for his "hoo-haw-ectomy"

Even though they are the same age, Andre is a little bit smaller - We think he'll catch up with Cooper quickly because, like any teenage boy, he hasn't stopped eating since he got here.

The Shepherd says that you and Cooper are getting along pretty well.

Welcome to your new home, Andre.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oh what a tangled web...

When I got to my spinner guild meeting yesterday, I pulled out the bobbins of wool that I had brought along to ply - hopefully the last ones to finish the yarn for The Shepherd's sweater - and when I tried to find the end on this bobbin - it was no where to be found! And of course, I had pulled and twisted and made a huge mess of the thing.

So I put it back in my bag and worked on some merino that I'm spinning up for a co-worker.

At the end of the meeting, I pulled it back out to try to find the end again and someone walked over to ask me what I was doing - after explaining my plight, she said - did you try rubbing tape over it? No, duh, that would have been too easy (altho these singles are so "sticky" that may not have even worked)

Last night I sat down and decided that I was either going to "fish or cut bait" as the old saying goes - in this case it was cut thread - I pulled out the nice roll of packing tape that we have - didn't work - I'd succeeded in practically tangling every thread on the top layer - so I found what I thought was the most likely spot and snapped the thread - got me quite a ways until I got to another spot where it wouldn't go any further and realized it was where I had rewound some of the other - wound that off, and voila (sp) off I went.

One more bobbin done - probably about 100 yards -

So far I have about 950 yards - like I said last week, I thought I had about 12oo - So I either radically miscounted or lost two skeins - and I don't know how that could have happened as I was keeping everything together - oh well -

Now, I'll have close to 1150 - I hope that will be enough - Don't tell The Shepherd, but I'm really tired of this yarn... Glad someone else is doing the knitting!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wrist warmers for Kay

I have been looking for a "fingerless glove" or wrist warmer pattern for a while. I wanted to make a pair for my coworker Kay.

She is our receptionist/main phone answering person and the spot where she sits gets really cold in the fall and winter from the door opening all the time. In fact, my boss got her a plug in lap-robe to keep her legs and feet warm!

But I knew her hands still got cold, so I've been looking and looking for a pattern that I liked.

I had about a 3/4 of a skein of wool left over from when I made my earflap hat last spring and decided that it would be perfect to make these wrist warmers (WW). I changed the pattern somewhat - there was no thumb hole in the original pattern and if you click on the picture to biggafy it, you will notice the little loops on the top and bottom of the WW - they felt really funny on the palm side of the top, so I left them off.

I got them all finished the other night and gave them to her yesterday. She wore them most of the day - it was timely because it was cold in the office.

This pattern is set up to crochet flat then join - I think I'm going to figure out how to crochet it in the round - I think the joining will look nicer...

This is where I found the pattern that I used - it is a "page a day" calendar with over 100 patterns in it. I pulled out the page and laminated it - but I wish I had just made a photo copy because even laminated, it got pretty beat up carrying it around in my bag.

My next crochet project is a pair for myself using some beautiful possum fur/wool blend yarn that Kathy sent me last week - it is very soft and is supposed to be nice and toasty warm.

I need to go spin for a few minutes before I go to bed. I've been working on some yarn that a friend is going to knit into a sweater vest for The Shepherd. It should take about 1200 yards, and I thought I was all done. When I washed it up and wound it into balls - there was only 950 yards. I can't imagine that I miscounted so badly - but I've got to get a couple hundred more yards spun up before I can give the whole project to her. Sheesh.

And today when I got to work, there was a very sweet thank you card and THIS on my desk. Kay makes the very best pickled asparagus - and they are all mine, because The Shepherd, aka, "Mr. Meat & Potatoes" doesn't much care for pickled things....

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Road trip - part four

In the early 1920's a geologist named J. Harlen Bretz of the University of Chicago proposed that the region in North Central Washington that was to become known as the "Channeled Scablands had actually been eroded by a gigantic flood originating out of Montana 10's of thousands of years ago during the last Great Ice Age.

He was laughed at and ridiculed. For almost 50 years - until images from satellites clearly showed what he had been talking about - he was in his 90's when he received a telegraph saying that his theories had "finally" been accepted.

The lava flows from 25 - 12 million years ago created these layered rocks - creating a solid sea of basalt rock, over 10,000 feet thick in some areas - flowed in some areas over 100 miles long. In places the earth settled, tilting the thick layers, cracking them apart.

During the time of the last ice age, glaciers moved southward from British Columbia into the area now known as Pend Oreille and eastward into Montana. In the process creating ice dams - damming the Columbia, Spokane and Clark Fork River to name a few. These all caused floods but none so great as the Glacial Lake Missoula that formed when the ice plugged the Clark Fork Valley - filling an area about 3,000 miles with about 500 cubic MILES of water (about half the volume of present day Lake Michigan, with a depth of about 2000 feet. The lake that built up behind this ice dam eventually began to overflow, cutting into the ice and the dam was breached sending water through the hills and valleys at over 45 miles & 9-16 cubic miles per hour, roughly equivalent to 10 times the combined flow of ALL the rivers in the world. At first it was thought there was only one or two great floods - in the 1980's a scientist from the US Geological Survey found that there had been about 89 of these great floods.

These floods created channels in the breaks in the lava flows and carried huge boulders out into what is now farmland in Eastern Washington. (some of these boulders, like the ones in our front yard were left there as glacial moraine material. Maybe I should have been a geologist - this stuff is all so interesting to me.

One area in particular is called "Dry Falls" - 3.5 miles of cliffs dropping almost 400 feet - if it was flowing with water today, it would dwarf Niagara Falls. It is now a state park with an area at the bottom of the cliffs called Sun Lakes.

Part of the info I have given you is from a little booklet called "The Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington - The Geologic Story of the Spokane Flood" by Paul Weiss and William Newman. (the pictures are all mine though)

They say that the roar or the waters that came from the Missoula floods would have been heard hours before the water arrived. There is little evidence that men inhabited this area until about 10,000 years ago, so they would have missed the great floods.

This is the interpretative center at Dry Falls - I never get tired of looking through the displays and trying to imagine how it must have looked when the floods came.

This building was build in the 1960's and somehow got put on the national register of historic buildings -- They really need to replace it because it is not ADA friendly and is too small - but they aren't allowed to because of the historic registry.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Road trip - part three

We awoke with a golden light coming through these windows - "What time is it?" asked The Shepherd,

I peered at the clock by my bedside - "7:10", I said.

Although unaccustomed to the freedom from barn duties that comes with vacation, he rolled over and went back to sleep! I was astonished.

Generally I bring my own pillows when we travel by car (or truck) - I like the comfort of my squishy pillow, what can I say? This time, I had the good sense to tuck my little down comforter into my suitcase. Glad I did, as I couldn't find any blankets for the bed. My sister swears they are in plastic bags in the closet but I decided to leave well enough alone - gave The Shepherd the fuzzy green twin size blanket and I had my comforter. It was on the "cool" side at night, so I was glad I had it.

These are the "cliffs" behind our house - unlike the areas that were scoured by the great floods, these giant chunks of rock were scooped out of the Moses Coulee by the glaciers and deposited randomly throughout the country side when the ice flows receded.

Checking out the route - just to be sure.

Honey - there aren't that many roads up here - I don't think we're going to get lost.