Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New alpaca yarn is here!

We were really excited to get our lastest batch of yarn back from the mill in Phillipsburg. The Shepherd's Mill again provided expert processing for our alpaca fiber. We sent the blankets to Sally and her staff soon after the shearing in April. We got the call just before July 4 that the yarn and roving was finished. The mill does a lot of business and the spring has the highest volume of all types of fiber being sent from all over the country to little Phillipsburg, Kansas. The mill is a great tour - interesting and educational. Plus, you will not meet nicer people than Sally and her husband.
The yarn is really beautiful. Manny, Rugar, Scout, and Wes all contributed blankets. The disappointing return (though expected) was Wes. We only ended up with one skein! He had an interesting coat since he had been sheared in the "llama style" with extremely long fiber on the front and hindquarters with a shorter blanket in the middle. We hope that both he and Magellan will produce well for next year. Wes and Magellan are the two black alpacas that were gifts from a couple in the area.
Carl's blanket was processed into roving and half of Manny's blanket was also processed into roving. Carl's roving is a beautiful puffy white cloud in my living room. Manny is a light brown/dark fawn color. We will need to weigh and package the roving in the coming weekend. My favorite roving is the "ends" that includes all the colors of our alpacas in strands of roving that were the "ends" in the yarn processing.
Scout, our best seller, was processed into yarn. He has sold well at the farm and in the yarn shop in Wamego.
We look forward to having an open house in the fall to show off the yarn, roving, and blankets. We also may have socks from the fiber cooperative by the fall. The fiber cooperative took all of our second (neck and leg fiber, mostly). In return for a contribution, you earn credits that can be used to purchase finished products like socks, blankets, shawls, hats, gloves, etc.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Great Sunflower Project

A few months ago, I blogged about The Great Sunflower Project. A San Francisco State University professor is sponsoring the project and provides Lemon Queen sunflower seeds to participants around the country. Study participants agree to plant the seeds, collect data on bee activity twice a month, and report the data by mail or website.
This weekend was my first observation. We had five bees in less than 10 minutes! The Lemon Queen sunflowers have been an excellent variety for our garden. We had four plants take off and support several buds and blooms at once. I love how the bright yellow plays off our barn wood red garden fence and the weathered white siding of the chicken house.
Looking forward to the next bee observation!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another finished project

I am 100% sold on taking classes to learn new hobbies. It was so great to have an expert at the ready to offer instruction, encouragement, and motivation to complete two - count them - two projects in four weeks. Behold the hat.
While I am far from an expert knitter (more like novice-beginner-prone-to-mistakes knitter, surely there is a class for that group?), I am developing confidence. My new resource to help me navigate my inevitable errors is Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch. The title was good for a laugh from my husband, and I have found the book to be most helpful in fixing my mistakes and offering inspiration for future projects.
We are also really happy to have our newest batch of yarn and roving back from the mill. Sally at The Shepherd's Mill did such a great job in cleaning and processing our alpaca fiber into beautiful skeins and yards and yards of roving. I am so excited to share our new arrivals with my knitting friends.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A finished project

My first knitted project is complete - behold the headband. It has a few holes and some lovely imperfections. It was a good first attempt at knitting.

I am most proud of starting a project and finishing it! I have a quilt that has slowly been inching towards finished - just a few hours of binding left. There is the scrapbook that needs some journaling, page protectors, and bound. Let's see...the pile of stuff that needs to be sold or donated. And, boxes and piles of supplies for aspirational projects, like the zipper flowers I saw on an episode of Martha Stewart. But, one project is finished!

I am on my second week of making a hat. Stay tuned!