Friday, September 30, 2011

The Bellies Of Fall, season 2

Me and Aries have been checking out the status of the alpaca girls this week trying to figure out which ones are pregnant and due next month and which ones are just 'fat'.

And the look to the left is the look that me and Aries have been exchanging all week. Neither of us can figure it out.

We do agree that--weeeell maybe--the girls are getting too much grain. Even though they act like they are starving each and every day.

Me and Aries took some pictures for you to decide for yourself. What do you think?

This is Emmee. Emmee is pretty much a slam dunk for pregnant. She is the easy one. She has milked up already. I guess in about a week she will have her cria.
This is Venus. Not as easy. She is one that we are scratching our head over. She has fooled us before and wasn't pregnant. She is a big belly girl. I really don't think so.
Canela is a big belly girl, too. I didn't breed her intentionally last year. She got caught by Houdini (Levi) before we figured out where he was getting out at. She does have a definite 'lump' in her lower stomach and has quite an appetite. We are undecided.
               Abbey Road has a nice little belly on her. She is a compact girl and she has compact little babies. I did spit test her a couple of weeks ago and she tested positive. Jett didn't even get into the barn and the spit was flyin'. I just don't really know the 'when'. Houdini was making a major performance when we were gone on vacation in Seattle. I guess I'll figure it out in a month or so! lol
An enigma this season is Sara. Shown right. One day she looks preggo, the next, not so much. Today is a day she does. If bred, she would be due Nov 1. The reason I have trouble deciding is that last year at this time she was huge. She stuck out on each side. It was obvious. She is one that makes me and Aries look cockeyed at each other.       One thing is sure. Time will tell us everything we need to know. Its just that I'm not that patient! I may only have a couple of babies this year. sigh........It takes so long for their gestation. 11 1/2 months. Well, I guess its time to start thinking about next year then. I'd like to see some more spots.  I may have a bit of a wait.
Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let 'er Rip!

As you know, I've been working in a production of 'Bye, Bye Birdie' at Christ Memorial Productions in St. Louis. I have been knitting throughout the show. I have a great hat and was almost done with the fingerless mitts to match it.

And then,  when I was almost done with the second mitt, I put the two of them side by side and look at what I found! AAaaaarrrgggghhhh! Tension is so important! And counting rows. So you know what this means!      For those of you in the audience who are sensitive to the graphic nature of the following pictures---well, you might want to turn your head. It is not meant to be viewed by those with sensitive stomachs. This is your last warning.
LET 'ER RIP!!!!!

I do apologize. But sometimes the true nature of the beast has to be shown. When it is not right, it must be fixed. I hope you all have learned a vital lesson here: pay attention to your pattern as you knit along. If you do, you can avoid this gruesome-ness.

This blog has been sponsored by KADK (knitters against drunk knitting. please knit responsibility)

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Knitting Through Birdie

As you probably know, I'm in a production of Bye, Bye Birdie. I'm Mrs. Mae Peterson. I think the part was written just for me! I love this part! And I have been knitting through it. In this picture is my script with a flyer on the front and my knitting in my lap during a rehearsal. Knitting is calming to me and the repetitious motions help me to focus. Like on remembering my lines! lol  I do not do lace knitting or anything like that, usually something I have made before so it is familiar. I knit backstage, too, before and during the show. Like I said, it does help me to focus.

The first thing I worked on was this slouchy hat. Its a new style and I really like it. It is made like an oversized beret. What I like the best is that it is not tight fitting and doesn't squash all your hair down. It sets loosely on your head and still keeps it warm.  Oh! and its pronounced 'slow-shay'. Its French. And no, I don't know why. I am going to finish off the hat with a matching vintage button on the brim. here  --> is a button loop. I am working on the fingerless mitts to match now. They are the same pattern as the white ones I made earlier. It looks like I will have enough yarn left to make a matching neck-warmer, too. It is a wonderful alpaca yarn I purchased from a friend who was de-stashing and took it off her hands. When I started this project, it was intended for the St. Louis Weavers' Guild Annual Sale. I hope I don't like it too much! People do not like to purchase things with tear stains on them.
In all the craziness around here, I forgot to blog yesterday about Autumn's birthday! It is a day that should be easy to remember. Here she is at a year old. How quickly the babies grow up. And another thank you to my friend, Pat Nagy, for naming her last year! She has grown into a beautiful girl.
Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Spinners Help The World Go Round

Introducing! The newest graduates of Saturday's Beginning Spinning Class! Look at those hanks of yarn that each of them spun! Can you tell I get excited about this? Well, I do. I enjoy passing on my love of fiber. I enjoy watching new spinners get the 'hang' of it. On my right are the Stamos family, then on my left are Rebecca and Joanna. We had a great day of fellowship and good food.  And there are 4 more spinners out in the world. I was tired at the end of the day but it was a satisfying tired. I went to sleep with a smile on my face. Thank you ladies!

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Chicken Post

Yeah, that's what I thought, too. Not another one! I want more projects, more alpacas! But I walked out into the barn this morning and found more 'surprise' chicks.

They are so adorable when they are this small. giggle. And don't worry about it being so late in the year. They have a good mother and she will take care of them just fine. Even in the cooler temps at night.

There are 5 new chicks. I am now opening free adoptions of baby chickens. pm me about it.

As a pictoral review, this is a picture of Little John at one day old. Yes, it is the same momma. She is a mother hen and a mother of a hen! I crack myself up sometimes. If you remember, I call her "Birdzilla". Anyhoo-- I digress.....

And now, this is a picture of Little John today. Just 4 months later. Hasn't he grown? He has turned into a fine looking rooster! He has a little crow, too. He will take his rightful place here as "Cock of the Walk". I am cracking myself up today! ((giggle)) Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Monday, September 12, 2011

Twin Hats

I have been doing some more felting. Felting hats. Nice black alpaca hats. I am quite pleased with how they turned out. They have the silky texture that alpaca has and are lightweight. I am tempted to keep one of them but they are bound for the St. Louis Weavers' Guild Annual Sale. While colorful hats are always fun to make and fun to wear, every woman needs a little black hat to match her little black dress. I always seem to make things that are more practical. I am not in my comfort zone in wild, psychodelic colors. Give me my basic black--that I can wear with every coat I own!

I finished one hat with a silk hatband and this one to the right with a rayon velvet that I hand dyed. It came out a nice weathered color that would even work with a steampunk themed outfit. Its a good feeling, returning to hatmaking. I guess I'm a "mad-hatter" at heart! Felting is something I really enjoy. I enjoy taking a pile of wool fluff and after several hours having something like this hat to show for it. I'm teaching a beginning felting class at my workshop next month. If you are interested, send me a message. Or check out the 3 Sisters' Workshop website. Well, my workshop is calling me!
Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Monday, September 5, 2011

So I Had Another Button...

As you know, I love, love vintage buttons. I have a whole drawer full and am always on the lookout to add to my collection. When I made the last little vest with the purple buttons, this little button was runner-up. And I had some of the purple silk left so I decided to make another vest. Its all because of this cute little button.  I'm guessing it is from the 70's. It was in a bag of buttons purchased at an auction. The center of the button matches the purple silk very well. So I added the silk to some brown alpaca roving I had from Emmee's  fleece from last year. I started knitting the vest on our Seattle vacation. I ran out of yarn before we got into the state of Washington!
But luckily I am a spinner. Being a spinner, I got out my wheel and spun more yarn so I could finish my project. All you die-hard knitters out there! This is the best reason to take up spinning.  Since I didn't use a pattern (again) and was making it up as I went along, if you look closely at the two vests together, they do not exactly match. But that makes each of them individual and one of a kind. Right? (she asks tentatively) This one is a few sizes larger than the other one, too. I truly do respect knitters that publish patterns for us to use. All the hours they must put in to make a pattern work. I bow to you.

I enjoyed spinning the yarn and knitting this little vest. It gives me alot of satisfaction to take the wool from my herd and turn it into a finished product. Each step. From shearing Emmee, to skirting the fleece, washing the fleece in my workshop, taking the washed fleece to Bonnie's house (ABC Ranch Naturals) to have it picked and carded into roving, spinning the roving into yarn and then toting the yarn and knitting needles around (sometimes across the country!) until it is finished in its final form. It is difficult to calculate how many woman hours are involved in the making of this vest.

In the end, it is definitely worth it to me. I have my current, finished projects laid out in my workshop so I can look at them. They need to 'age' properly before I can dispurse them. Ok! Truth be told: I like to look at them! Sometimes even I wonder where I got that color scheme from. Its fun having your things about. It pumps up my creativity even more and I continue to work. And at the end of the day or even the end of the week, I like the satisfying feeling of accomplishment it brings. Everyone needs 'atta girls' now and then. Even if you give them to yourself.Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tomatoes Are In

I have been busy, busy, busy with tomatoes! They are taking all my extra time. But I love my Brandywines! They are heirloom tomatoes and take a little longer to come in but are worth the wait. I do have a few other plants out there like a heirloom Italian one our son gave us and one called Champion that we like, too. And don't forget the ever popular cherry tomato. The peppers are coming in, too. We have 4 different varieties of them. I have been making alot of sauce and my hubby made a batch of katsup. or ketsup. I really don't know how to spell that! When he looked up recipes for it, it showed up both ways. I don't know........

I digress...

The past couple of years I have been making sauce out of the tomatoes. I used to cold pack them and put them in a pressure cooker but there was always 'that one' that the lid blew off and made a mess of the pot. So now I make sauce and cook it down by half and put it in hot jars and water bath it for 10 minutes and voila`!  no probems. I usually put peppers in it, too.  Next on the agenda is to make some salsa. I think I have enough sauce now.

I also like canning in the old timey mason jars. No, they do not stack all nice and neat and square on the shelves, but I like the eclectic look it gives. Like grandma used to have. And the old blue jars look a little purple with the red sauce in them. That is fun, too! There are alot of different styles of the vintage canning jars out there. Why have them boxed up in your basement and go out and buy new ones? Just don't drop them and you can use them forever. How green is that?

Well, I hear some tomatoes calling my name!

Talk to you soon,