Tag Archives: alpaca yarn

WIP Wednesday Finally !!

I’m baaack! It has been way too many Wednesdays to count, but there is no time like the present to get back to WIP Wednesdays.

We took a wonderfully relaxing vacation to the Florida Keys a few weeks ago. We swam, kayaked – yup, even I can do it! – had fabulously fresh sea food and did a bit of sightseeing. This was the view off of our balcony.

DSC_0003_01

I did a bit of knitting, but actually decided that project was not for me. So I took it off the needles to save the yarn for a project I like more.

After I got home I finished the blanket third blanket for a friend at work. The picture shows a big variation of color that is much more subtle in person. I couldn’t get the same dye lot, so I alternated the 2 dye lots of the same color to make a striped pattern. If course I forgot to take a pic in natural light, so the glare of the lightbulbs made it look oddly colored.

Donita blanket #3_2

I’ve started on the lavender blanket she needs next.

The Scoreboard KAL is coming along well. The only problem is my scarf is going to be more orange than navy since the Bears are not having their best year.

Bears_KAL 2

Instead of working on my projects last Sunday, we visited a couple of Alpaca farms. It was Alpaca Days, a yearly “open house” at local alpaca farms, if you key “alpaca days” in google, you might find a local farm you can visit next fall. The alpacas were friendly and cute and of course I got some wonderful hand-spun alpaca yarn and can’t wait to use it for a winter hat. I may not have time to start it until after Christmas, but time will tell. My hubby liked the alpacas why more than looking at the yarn 🙂

Alpaca Farm

My favorite was Waldron Grove Alpaca Farm

http://www.susanwaldronart.com/specialevents/specialevents.html

Everyone there was really nice, They were informative & told us interesting facts about the Alpacas and fiber. If you are in the Chicago area, they are having a Christmas Open House in late November. They have beautiful hand knits for sale, works of art and natural fiber yarns in plenty of time to make a last minute gift.

Hopefully this week I’ll catch up the week and a half I’m behind on the Bears scarf and make good progress on the lavender baby blanket. Time will tell. Hope you all have a great week doing something you love to do 🙂

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Filed under alpaca, art, baby blanket, Florida Keys, Knitting, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Time to Tidy Up

This week I finished the yellow and blue blanket, and tucked it into a Ziploc bag to keep it clean and dog hairless until someone needs a blanket for a baby boy. blue and yellow blanket completed 6.7.15

My possum shawl is coming along. Starting last week I went on summer hours at work, so instead of an hour for lunch, I only have a 1/2 hour. That is fine with me because I get off earlier. But that cuts my work knitting time in 1/2, so I’ve been doing 2 rows a day. It will be done soon, but probably not this week. No pics, it really hasn’t changed much since last week.

Now on to the big project related to yarn this week. I clean out my ridiculously messy yarn/sewing closet. For the last six months, instead of putting the yarn away that I’ve ordered, I have just been chucking the boxes in the closet. It was making me crazy, but apparently not crazy enough to tidy up.

sewing room 2 before sewing room 1 before

You can see it was out of control. I fully expected to open the door one day and have a yarn monster attack me with a shiny set of addi turbos. Since it was a rainy weekend, I decided it was time to find the floor in there again. I pulled everything out of it except the file cabinets and went to work. The cabinets have sewing and knitting patterns in them as well as my knitting magazines. Mea hung around until I loaded up the bed the rest of the way with bins of yarn.

sewing room 1 Mea

After emptying all of the yarn bins, I organized them by fiber or type such as baby yarn and cotton. The special yarns I’ve ordered I keep in Ziploc bags hung by pants hangers, sometimes with the project pattern with it as well. That way they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

sewing room 2 after sewing room 1 after sewing room 3 after

Now  I can see what I have and there is room for both dogs to follow me in to look for yarn for my next project. They think they should go wherever I go, so both were exceedingly happy that the floor was no longer cluttered with yarn. I am banning myself from yarn shops unless there is a specific color or type of yarn that I absolutely have to get that isn’t available in my stash.

The only job I have left is organizing the separate patterns I have downloaded or pulled from magazines. I purchased some plastic expandable folders and am sorting them by type. As soon as I am finished they will go into the files with the magazines. I also want to add all of my books and magazines to Ravelry, but that is a job that might not be done until fall.

As for this week’s projects, I am going to work in my shawl and maybe even finish it 🙂 and make a “no-sew” tutu for my cousin’s little girl.

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Filed under baby blanket, Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, possum yarn, Ravelry, shawl, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn

Setting Goals for 2013

Happy New Year to one and all!

I am not one to make New Years resolutions. Instead I prefer to set goals for myself. These can be lofty, wishful and/or hopeful, but it gives me something to strive for in the upcoming year. This year I have a list of projects I want to complete, some of them are roll overs from last year, these goals are the mean stepsisters of resolutions past.

Since I am sharing them with all of you, any of you, some of you…maybe more of them will be completed this year. I’ll circle back to this post in late December and assess my progress or lack thereof.

I’ll start with my writing goals:

1) Publish at least 4 blog entries each week starting now (I know, already 5 days into the new year) either on this blog or my writing blog (inmywords.wordpress.com) – this will keep me motivated to write, write, write. I write in my head all of the time, getting these words to paper is a long and laborious task.

2) I will get at least one story, book, article or essay published this year. I know one doesn’t sound like a very lofty goal, but if you are a writer, you’ll be shaking your head muttering “Good luck with that, ha ha ha”. Getting published is very, very difficult but wonderful when it happens.

Knitting and Crocheting goals:

1) I will attempt to complete the Knitting Guild of American’s hand knit masters’s program this year. I’ve already downloaded the new instructions (they change slightly each year) and will make Monday’s blog entry an update day. Master’s Mondays will start to appear the first Monday of January.

2) I will complete the Fan Throw I began working on Jan 1 for my girlfriend’s birthday on February 1. Originally I was going to make her a shawl, but decided on a throw instead.  Fan throw first square

3) Left over projects on my 2012 goal list need to be completed. Namely the alpaca hat and buffalo mittens (which may change to a helix scarf because I would wear that way more than mittens). I would be remiss if I left off the third pair of socks that I didn’t complete last year. I have issues making things for myself. They always get pushed to the end of my lists of things to do. All three of these projects are for me, so hopefully I’ll get them done and you won’t see them on my list of goals for 2014.

4) Two baby blankets must be completed by April for the little boy that is due.

5) Assorted Christmas projects. I am not sure yet what Christmas projects I want to tackle. One will most likely be an afghan or throw for my cousin. The problem I see is I have 2 cousins so should make them each one this year. This makes the goal even a bit crazier, but what the heck, this is January and I’ve ordered the yarn for one of them already.

Now that my goals are on cyber paper, it brings life to the list. I’ll keep you all posted which will keep me on task.

Here’s to a great 2013 to all of you. May all of your goals be completed. Reach for them – the whole year is ahead of you. Live it to the fullest and have lots of laughter and fun while enjoying it.

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Filed under Children's Writer, Crocheting, Knitting, TKGA Master's Program, Writer & Book Reviewer

Works In Progress – 2012 into 2013

My work in progress update is kind of early this weekend. I don’t have a lot of progress so I thought I’d just get on with it.

I still have nine squares to finish for the snowflake afghan and will get on that hopefully in a week or so. I want to finish the scarf for my daughter-in-law then will go back to it. I am half way done with the scarf. Check out my progress.

Because our kids were here today, I didn’t go down to Culture Stock this week. Next week I am going back to see the progress everyone has made. While we were there last week, my cousin was talking about the washcloth I made for her daughter last Christmas. She said she loved it, and it was her favorite. How can I not add a couple more to my list of Christmas knitting? They only take a couple of hours to make, so I should not have any trouble whipping them up before the holidays.

So for Christmas I will be finishing the scarf, snowflake afghan and washcloths. I should have plenty of time as long as life doesn’t get in the way. If I have a bit of extra time (stop laughing!!) I got a really cool pattern today for knit ribbons. Some of the gifts would look pretty cool with these – but I am not sure I’ll actually have time to do these. Just the thought of tying up those cute little washcloths in a pretty homemade bow sounds like a plan. We’ll see how this best laid plan works out.

That leaves a pair of socks, the alpaca hat and buffalo mittens undone for the year. I don’t feel horribly bad because I’ve made good progress on all the other goals I’ve set.

The biggest short coming (is that an oxymoron??) is my lack of progress on The Knitting Guild of America’s Master’s Program. I’ve completed three of the swatches, but am going to do them over again because I have different yarn to use. It hasn’t even been wound yet, but will be done between Christmas and New Year’s because I have a glorious 10 days off work.

So I am now getting my 2013 list of projects ready. The Master’s program, two baby afghans (prolific parents in our circles!), shawl for my girlfriend’s birthday in March and the three leftover projects from 2012 are on the pre-list list for now 🙂 And possibly learning how to work my awesome knitting machine that I got from my mom.

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Filed under Crocheting, Knitting, Uncategorized

New Zealand Possum Yarn!

I saw a sign once that life is too short to use cheap yarn. That doesn’t mean you can’t use bargain priced yarn, just not yarn that feels yucky or doesn’t drape nicely when the scarf, sweater or whatever you are making is complete. Yarn fascinates me. I’ve always been a tactile kind of person, so it stands to reason I like to feel my yarn before I by it. Different weights, different fibers and different processing can all make a difference in yarns. The feel of a nice alpaca or silk blend is heavenly. I’ve used bamboo sock yarn and wool that is soft, scratchy, smooth and lumpy.

Lately, I’ve gone for unusual yarns. At Stitches Midwest I bought some Bison yarn. It is hot pink and black – I imagine the bison would NOT be happy with his fur being turned into these colors, but I loved ’em. I also saw some possum yarn. I dragged my friend back to look at it then we must have gotten distracted by something else, because I ended up not buying it. I was picturing the ugly, rat tailed possums we have in Illinois. They are mean looking critters that have short hair. We actually were trying to figure out how they made a decent yarn out of these overgrown rats.

The next day my friend went back to Stitches, and I decided to text her to pick up that crazy yarn. By the time she got out of class, the vendor wasn’t there. Now I’m obsessed with this weird yarn. So, thanks to the internet, the world of wonky yarn is at my fingertips.

On the contrary – the New Zealand’s possums are actually kind of cute. But New Zealand doesn’t really think they are that cute anymore Apparently in 1837 they were released in the bush to establish a fur industry. There are two breeds, Australian, which have have “rich blue grey fur” and Tasmainian which have “red brown fur”. They have interbreed. Because they are marsupials, not rodents like the American possum, their fur is “hard wearing, silky and plush”.

Possums actively destroying New Zealand's native bush and birds

Unfortunately, they’ve overrun the place. by 1980, 91% of New Zealand was inhabited by them. The Australian possum is a marsupial and a very different species to the American possum, a rodent. The yarn comes from feral animals because it is against New Zealand’s environmental laws to breed or farm them.

Now I am totally obsessed with getting some of this yarn. The website tells us it is not only great yarn, but it is helping their fur industry because the more possums are over running the country and killing off the native species of animals and plants.

The website I found sells Supreme Possum Merino. It as 40% possum fur. The yarn was created from the from the “desire to see a world class quality product made from an ecology ravaging pest”. All Supreme Possum Merino yarn comes from feral animals because it is against New Zealand’s environmental laws to farm or commercially breed possums. The collection of possums is humane and according to Department of Conservation regulations.

The yarn is available in 4 ply, 8 ply and 12 ply. The only light color available is “natural”, but blues, greens, a really pretty burgundy and a darker pink was available. The price wasn’t bad – approx 10.80 US dollars. I don’t know about shipping, because I haven’t ordered any yet – but I’m gonna!

Check out the website, even if you don’t want to get some of the yarn. It just amazes me that yarn can be made out of a “ravaging pest” and be soft and warm.

It makes me wonder what other creatures make soft furry yarn. My stash has that wild bison yarn (I’m going to make some mittens for me, but maybe not until after the first of the year). I have a few balls of yak yarn I found online, don’t know what that will become. There is a wonderful hank of alpaca that I bought because it has the animal’s picture on it that it came from. Alpaca is common, but nice, and this one was cool since I almost feel like I knew the animal it came from.

Maybe the keepers at our local zoo will start collection of lion’s mane that litters their dens. I’d love to use some of the fur from the polar bears or the grizzlies that live there. I’ve seen tufts of fur in their dens, I wonder what they do with it? Do you think our founding mothers used these kinds of fur when spinning yarns? (of course I’m not talking about the lion fur, don’t be silly) If I find out answers to these burning questions, I’ll let you know.

 

(Thanks to http://www.merinopossum.co.nz/why_merino_possum.htm for all the info on the yarn and possum history in New Zealand – and the possum pic). All the zoo animal pics courtesy of my wonderful hubby.

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Filed under Knitting, New Zealand, possum yarn

WIP update

It has been a busy knitting, crocheting, reading and writing week. I’ve finished baby blanket #7 for Allison’s coworker this week. I am in love with the Brava yarn. This was crocheted with Knit Pick’s Brava Sport in the color sky. It works up soft yet great stitch definition. This is my yarn of choice for baby blankets these days.

I completed 2 everyday dish cloths. Each one took less than 3 hrs and 1/3 of a skein of yarn. I have enough to make 4 more, but that won’t be for a while.

I started he scarf in Bear’s colors that I got from Stitches Midwest. This was an addition to my WIP list, but I’ve made progress nonetheless. I was going to make it in a more complex pattern, but decided to let the yarn talk for itself.

The following WIP haven’t been touched this week:

The dreaded shawl

The Snowflake afghan

And I haven’t started the last pr of socks, my hat (but I did wind the yarn), the last baby blanket or worked on the Master’s Program. Now I might do my swatches again because my girlfriend and I discovered some great yarn from Canada, Timothy Street,  that is the house yarn for Unwind Yarn House.

  Yesterday I wound the yarn for the Fall Mystery Shawl group (green lace), the bison (hot pink and black (for some mittens for me I think). The alpaca I got on vacation in Oregon (for my hat) and the Bear’s yarn for the Christmas present scarf I started yesterday.

All in all, it feels like a really productive week for me 🙂

 

 

 

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Filed under Crocheting, Knitting