Thursday, April 28, 2011


Sometimes, really wonderful things happen in your life at the same time with some really bad things. And as is human nature, the bad overshadows the good. Its just the way of it. MOPACA held its annual alpaca show in Kansas City on the last weekend in March. They encompass 11 states now and it is a pretty big deal. Several weeks prior, I sent in two entries into their Fiber Art Show. I sent in a blue felted dress that I made for Ava, the daughter of my friend, Amanda.
Its a very cute little jumper sized for about a 1 year old. It has silk and glitz intermingled in the alpaca. It buttons in the back and has a cute little flower made of natural colored fawn alpaca felted into it at the bottom. I am very pleased with how the dress turned out and Amanda loves it, too! And she graciously gave it up for a month in order for me to enter it in Kansas City. Thanks again, Amanda!

The other entry that I sent in was my zebra rug that I made last summer.
I made this rug to resemble an actual zebra hide. I found that natural zebra stripes aren't all nice and horizontal or even. I used a picture of an actual hide to lay out my stripes. The original idea came from my daughter-in-law, Beckie. She was going to decorate my grandson, Eagan's, bedroom in Noah's Ark. I thought a rug like this might tie into the theme of the room. I don't know, maybe she won't think so. I still like the rug. When I start feeling better, I think it will inspire me to make another one to go with it. Anyhoo--I digress. Its a large rug (by my felting standards) measuring about 3 foot x 4 foot.  And it is felted HARD! No wimpy felt here.

 And it payed off because...drum roll inserted here...

So, my hard work payed off. And someone else also saw inspiration in my ideas. How cool is that!? It makes me smile.

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Apple A Day

The latest project I have finished is this Apple Cozy. I have just about finished 3 more and I want to take them to a Green Day Festival I have been invited to set up at tomorrow. I put a red vintage button on each of them. They have really turned out cute! I'm thinking they would also make a great Christmas present for a teacher, too. I'm going to take the mitts and scarves I've made during the winter also. I have finished my Stulpen. I haven't decided whether to take them to sell or not. I like them! I could, in theory, make another pair. I'm not the fastest knitter, though, and it takes me awhile to finish a project. I don't know if its that I'm a slow knitter or if I just don't have that much time each day to knit. I think its more of the latter. It seems like I got alot of knitting done last winter but that was because I spent alot of time at the hospital keeping my mom company and I knitted when I was there. She commented several times it became a comforting sound hearing my knitting needles clicking in the background. She knew I was there. So I think I'll keep my Stulpen (knitted cuffs).   Talk to you soon,  Tammy                                                                                                              

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fiber Dyeing Class

Saturday I taught a Fiber Dyeing Class for 3 Sisters' Workshop. It was fantabulous! There is nothing more fun than spending a day dyeing yarn and enjoying good food--with the help of 'my lovely assistant, Darrell'! Get a group of fiber lovin' people together and magic happens. It was a little chilly outside (not like last weekend when it was 90) so we set up shop in Julie Wier's kitchen. Which by the way, was where all the home made food was. Did I mention that dyeing is hungry work? Well, I am now. Dyeing is hungry work.

We had some handspun yarn from Amanda to dye as well as 20 more skeins of yarns to dye. As is usual with dye workshops, we could have dyed many more! It was a busy day and we got alot accomplished. Dyeing is addictive because once you start, you can't stop! By the end of the day, we had colored yarn hanging everywhere. And I mean everywhere! I'll be bringing some for my booth at the Green Day Festival at St. Clare Hospital on Friday. Everyone went home tuckered out but with a smile on their face and yarn hanging from their arms. That was a good time, I hope to do the class again. Thanks Julie and Amanda for all the help and support! And I can't forget 'my lovely assistant, Darrell'!

And this is the class, there is me, Cathy, Tina, Amanda and Julie. Thank you for ladies for a great day!

 Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Waterloo's 25th Sheep Festival

What a great time we had at Waterloo Sheep Festival! It was a very busy day and the visiting crowd was large! It was so much fun! All the vendors did a brisk business.
'Sheep Pellet Bingo' was a popular game that was played in this pen. In the background you can see the 'Thunder and Lightning Cloggers' getting ready to go on. They entertained the crowd for about an hour. My babies weren't too happy with the loud music, though. But they got along alright.
This my sister, Susie, with my 'lovely assistant, Darrell' talking about the babies. Susie is up visiting from Florida. She said it wasn't even this hot yet back home! It was a warm day. The crias I brought were Autumn, Vienna and Diesel. The girls let alot of people pet on them and let them touch that soft, baby fiber. We talked with alot of people about alpacas. Well, I should say Darrell did. He is an excellent public relations guy. Him teamed up with Autumn and Vienna makes quite an impression! I'm very lucky to have him.
By the end of the day, the crias were more concerned about the hay than they were about all the kids that wanted to pet them.

This is our 3 Sisters' Workshop set up. There is me, then Amanda with GnomeAcres and Julie with Wier World Llamas and Alpacas. We made for a pretty busy corner!
And lastly, this is a picture of me (rare photo! I'm usually holding the camera) with the crias and fiber. I used a new set up for the fiber this year. We bought cardboard concrete tubes, cut them into sections and painted them different colors. They are stackable and we put bumps of roving in each one. It turned out better than we imagined! It is not an original idea, though. I got it from Country Living Magazine. They used them to mount onto a wall for organizing an entryway. Maybe you saw it? I just adapted it. It works very well! I am tired today and my body aches all over from yesterday but I can't wait for next year! It is one of my favorite festivals of the year. Hope to see you next time.

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Halter Breaking

Its been a busy time around the farm (ok, when isn't it?) trying to get ready for the 25th Annual Sheep Festival in Waterloo, IL this weekend. I'm very excited about it as it is my favorite festival of the year! This year I want to bring some of the crias from last year. It is a job, to say the least, to get them halter broken. They need to be able to walk on the trailer and from the trailer to walk inside the building at the Fairgrounds. I have been working with them for a few weeks. I only work them a couple of times a week though. I like to do it gradually. I have encountered over the years several types or personalities if you will, of crias when it comes to halter breaking. The first is Lonestar to the right here. He thinks if he pretends the halter is not on him and he doesn't ever make eye contact with me that he can just stand there and I'll go away. He will plant his feet straight legged and not move. He is figuring out that I'm not going away though.

Another type is Vienna. She's a frogger. She takes a tiny step and then leaps forward into the air. Over and over frogging across the pasture. Even the other alpacas think she looks silly doing it! They will give us an audience while she does it, too.

Then we have Diesel, who likes to play "Dead Baby Alpaca!" He has flopped himself down so many times even his mom, Sara, had to come over to make sure he was still alive! He was the most difficult of them all to break, but he was the first one that would load onto the trailer! As you can see in the last picture, he is very proud now of being halter broken and he thinks he looks very handsome with a halter and lead on. That Diesel is something else! Come to Monroe County Sheep Festival on April 9 and see them. for more info.

Talk to you soon, 


Friday, April 1, 2011

As Time Goes On

I've been quiet lately. Lots going on with family--life. Being outside with the alpacas gives me a feeling of calm and serenity that I need right now.

I've been working on a pair of ruffled 'Stulpen' or what we call cuffs made out of some of Tabitha's cria fiber. They are very soft and I enjoy knitting with the yarn. I used a picot bind-off on the edge to give that bubbled look. I'm pleased with the first one, but have been having trouble matching the gauge for the second one. I've ripped out the first third of it at least three times now! But I think I have it right now. Ahhh...tension
 when knitting.
This is a picture of an antique wheel I have. And now that I see the picture, I realize I need to dust! I date it to around 1900. With very little effort, it would be workable. I bought it as a decoration because the old wheels are hard to find. I think I've had this one for about 15 years. Its only about 30 inches tall with leather fittings.

 Take care my friends and I'll talk to you soon,