Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring comes to the Pacific Northwest!

Yes--although we woke to snow two of the last seven days, spring is definitely here! Snow, sun, crocuses, lambs! Weather changes every two hours!! Yes, that's what spring is here. Yesterday, our Friday spinning/knitting/knoshing group met at a Troy farm to visit the spring lambs! Although this picture only shows white, we enjoyed black, brown, black with white starred foreheads and one little tan baby ram, all running around enjoying sunny weather. Baby animals are all so adorable.

In celebration of spring, I finished my latest pair of entrelac socks in a pastel blend that makes me think of Easter baskets. It's made from Plymouth Zino, a blend of wool and nylon, a single-ply that does have a tendency to split if one isn't careful. You can see them on my Ravelry page.

Spring Visitors
Another sign of spring are the visitors that came off and on this week to enjoy my pond--a pair of Canada goose. This was the first week that the pond was water, not ice, and the pair seemed to enjoy stopping by.

Watching grosbeaks at my feeders, too! One friend saw bluebirds back. Last year was the first year I ever saw bluebirds. I had nesting pairs in my two bluebird houses and I have another house to put up. I'm considering raising mealworms to keep them well fed and loving my place! 

And the alpacas are enjoying the spring sun--instead of moving back and forth from feeders to their shelters, they are spending time sitting in the sun and nibbling at the fresh grass coming up.
Promises of warm days and starting the day outside with a cup of coffee!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spinning (and shopping) with Friends

Saturday, many of my friends headed north through snow and slush (!! a surprise!!) to the Log Cabin Spin-In sponsored by the Northwest Regional Spinners in Post Falls, ID. Lynne and I arrived at 10:09 (or so our German-speaking GPS guide told us!). That's me withthe big butt and thighs at the front left.

It was momentarily difficult to decide whether or not to browse the vendor booths before sitting to spin. But only momentarily! We browsed before we even set up our wheels! So many great vendors with practically anything a spinner/knitter's heart could desire. Many of my alpaca friends from Pacific Northwest Alpaca Association were there, either vending or just browsing and networking.

Lynne, who has yaks along with llamas, alpacas, and dogs, enjoyed meeting a fellow yak farmer from Sandpoint, ID. While looking at her lovely exotic fibers, a large skein of yak and silk lace yarn called out loudly to me! It has joined my stash! Right before we left, it called out to Lynne, also. She also had to buy a t-shirt "Got Yak!"

I also purchased, from another vendor, some extra f ine lace merino that I thought would go with some red beads I bought a month or so ago. I had nothing in mind at the time, except that I had no red beads--it turned out I had no yarn to go witih the red beads. One thing always leads to another!

I spent time with Jayne Deardorf from Me2 Farm (Colville, ID). Jayne has taken my alpaca fiber and made me some beautiful roving over the past five years! She always likes to get the name and picture of the alpaca from which the fleece comes from. She told us that she pins the picture on the wall as she's working and talks to it (nice alpaca!!) She just recently sent me roving from BMCA Elayna (which is now at Yarn Underground) and from one of the early imports from the farm, Esplindida. I'm saving that for me, maybe!

Jane also had some dyes and I bought a "Mother Mackenzie's Miracle Dye Mix kit with 9 basic colors and directions for secondary colors. The only dying I've done so far has been supervised by friend and partner Margo, who took a class on natural dyes and has been experimenting. I really just loved the indigo, but you can't have everything in blue! I also succumbed to temptation and bought a beaded wheel orifice hook.

My friend Jennie brought a young girl with her who is from Germany and currently studying at WSU. Michelle has fallen in love with spinning and knitting and was learning to use a spindle. Shelley was there from Yarn Underground networking like mad when she wasn't buying yarn or roving!

I did spin, though. I brought with me some gray alpaca huacaya roving--my first huacaya. Yes, it is much easier to spin than suri! And it's going to have a very nice gradation of colors. I may use it for a cowl I'm going to knit for a SKAL (spin-knit-along).

I'm planning to head to a Fiber Festival in May in South Spokane. Walking around at this spin-in gave me some ideas of what I could take to sell--maybe I'll have to take Esplendida's roving there!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BMCA Bonnie Selected for AOBA National Auction in May

This is Big Meadow Creek Alpaca's Bonnie!! And she has been selected by Celebrity Sales to be sold at the Auction in Denver, CO, at the AOBA National Show May 19-22 in Denver, CO.
We're not surprised, bonnie lass that she is! But she doesn't have red hair--instead she has wonderfully luxurious, white suri fiber!
She carries genetics from award-winning alpacas from both the east and west coast. Chasqui, well recognized in the show circuit, is Bonnie's maternal grandfather--he is one of the premier herdsires at Ameripaca in Maryland; her fraternal grandfather comes from Alpacas of Tualatin Valley in Oregon.
Neither Bonnie, nor her father ATV Hercules nor mother Ameripaca's Blair, have been to alpaca shows, since my farm focus is on fiber, rather than breeding. I'm currently carding Bonnie's fiber from last year so that I can spin it. It's so nice and soft, I'm planning to knit a cowl with it.