Friday, April 29, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Shearing Day 2

I must admit  I haven't really done much since our last day of shearing on April 23.  Between Friday and Saturday we helped to shear 95 animals so this week I thought I'd just post some pictures to show what the shearing process is like.

The pictures were taken by Andrea's daughter Emily. We took 8 alpaca's to Wonder Why Alpaca Farm on Saturday and Emily agreed to take photos for me.

Once the shearer is all set up an alpaca is brought out and held in place so ropes can be placed around each leg. 
 Then the animal is picked up and the ropes are pulled taut so they can be laid down on their side.
The shearer starts by taking the fiber off from the middle of the alpaca, this is the prime fiber.  Once one side is done the animal is rolled over so the fiber can be removed from the opposite side.

While the animal is being shorn my husband, Jim, clips toenails and gives any needed shots.

The picture on the left shows the shearer trimming up the hind legs.  This fiber must be swept away to keep from contaminating the fiber we want to keep.  The right side shows the legs after being trimmed.  We like to leave fiber on their legs for two reasons.  One is so people can see what the suri fiber looks like and two is to help keep the flies from biting them.
Here are pictures of the before and the after.  What a difference a few minutes can make.  Now their all set for summer and I'm all set to start cleaning fiber for processing.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Shearing; Day 1

Just a few pics of today's shearing at 4 Musketeers Alpaca Farm.  Unfortunately it was cold today and we had rain most of the day and snow before the day was over                

Suri  fiber is long and twisted like dread locks  

We took our 12 boys over for today's shearing.  We raise Suri alpacas and I was trying to get a pic of their fiber before they were shorn.  I was busy during their shearing collecting  fiber so I didn't get any after pictures taken. 

As you can see we had two 2 men teams going at the same time which allowed us to have 2 alpaca's shorn at the same time. This kept us very busy picking up fiber and cleaning the area after they were shorn.


This is Nancee, one of the 4 Musketeers, with one of their boys.  Nancee and her husband Dave raise Huacaya alpacas, which look like teddy bears.  Mmmmm this boys fiber was luscious.  It was sooooo hard not to come home with more than my 12 boys fiber.  I must admit I did fall in love with one boy named Friday.  He was a beautiful Bay Black and I just had to have him!!!  

Here are some pics of some Huacaya's after shearing

I think this is my favorite picture.  These babies got special haircuts because they will be going to some alpaca shows later this year.  They were so adorable.

Well that's it for me as we will be heading out early tomorrow to Wonder Why Alpaca Farm where our girls are being shorn.  Today there were a total of 69 alpacas shorn so I'm thankful there will only be about 26 to be shorn tomorrow.  My husband and I are looking forward to a restful Easter at home.

Happy Easter to everyone and of course Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday- And the Warp goes on.......

Yeah.... I finally got my you know what in gear and got my loom warped.  I will be attending a rigid heddle meeting this Sunday at Wonder Why Alpaca Farm for a much needed refresher course on weaving.

It's been about a year since I've done any weaving and decided it was time to get back at it.  I'm working with cotton for the first time and am going to be making wash cloths.  I'm hoping the weaving will go smoother than the warping process.  Boy I'm I rusty on that! 

I've only used animal fiber before and this cotton seems to be stretchier than I remember alpaca and wool being.  Hopefully everything will work out fine so I can post the finished washcloths.

This week I've also been working on cleaning a beautiful suri fleece.  This fleece was given to me by our friends at Wind Walker Ranch.  The animals name is Captain's RumStud and his fleece is just awesome.  Once I've got it all cleaned I'll need to decide if I'll send it to the mill for spinning or if I'll process it myself and hand spin it.  Decisions, decisions.....

Dirty, dirty, dirty

Mmmmm, clean, clean, clean

And last but not least, here's a pic of the Chloe top I started a couple weeks ago.  Just finishing up the last of the lace on the bottom, then will return to the sleeves to complete.

So thats it for me today.   I really should get back to finishing the Chloe top but haven't had a chance yet to check out all the other Fiber Art Friday postings.  So I guess you know what I'll be doing for the rest of the afternoon!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Knit a little, talk a little

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!!

I woke up this morning with a little song playing over and over in my head.  It's from the Music Man and the lyrics are actually Pick a little, talk a little but I thought in my case (or yours) they should be changed to the following:  

Knit a little, talk a little, knit a little, talk a little,
cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, knit a little more.

Was this a April fool's joke or what?  The tune is one that will probably keep running through my head all day.  Kind of like being at Disney World in the It's a Small World After All exhibit.  Cute at first... then painful as it rolls around in your head.

 Now on to what I've been able to get accomplished........these are all projects I just couldn't seem to get finished because the Winter's Rhythm KAL (knit a long) CAL (came a long) and I had to GAL (get a long) to focus on completing "My Rhythm" on time.

Ta Da... this is my completed Winter's Rhythm by KellyJ Knits.  When I was working on the caplet I knew my step mom, Carol, would just love it.  As it turns out I was right. So now Carol is the proud owner of her own Winter's Rhythm.

The yarn is called Squishy and was dyed by Studio June especially for this KAL.  The color combo's were awesome and the yarn is truly "squishy". 

The Key to Warmth by KellyJ Knits is the first item I managed to complete.  The lighter shades of lavender are a mix of Suri, merino and silk that I carded together and spun.  The darker accent color is Therapi by South West Trading Company that I purchased at Your Local Yarn Shop.

This pattern lends itself well to smaller amounts of yarn so my plan is to make up several using roving that I've created. We'll see how that goes!

Modeled by the stunning Wonder Why Gal, Andrea

I completed this Town & Country hat by Kalamazoo Knits which was a class I taught at Your Local Yarn Shop. 

This a very fun pattern to knit but not one that is very flattering when modeled on me.  So, Andrea was nice enough to model it for me during our last KAL at YLYS.

Isn't she love-ly, Isn't she won-der-ful...........I think it's going to be one of my song based days.

This scarf, Meadowbrook by Stephen West, was my final completed project for the week.  Yeah!!!

I've mentioned in another post how much I love, Love, LOVE, Stephen West patterns.
This one is from his book, titled West Knits Book One.

I used Knit One Crochet Too Camelino yarn which is just yummy.  I really wasn't making it for anyone in particular. I just loved the yarn and pattern.  While I was knitting it my husband asked: who are you making that scarf for?  When he found out I had no one in mind, he quickly said he really liked it, hint hint. So now it's his but he was being bashful the day I took the pic.

Here's a pic of my current project.  It's a little lacy topdown shell named Chloe by c2knits.  I'm using Sierra by Cascade Yarns which is a blend of 80% cotton and 20% wool.  More pics to come as I progress along.

Chloe by c2Knits
So that's it for my post for today.  I hope you all have a wonderful Fiber Arts Friday.  Don't forget to go to Wisdom Begins in Wonder to check out what everyone has to share  this week.