I hate sock monkeys. Yeah, I had one as a kid but I found it sinister and
frightening and yet, not at all believable as a monkey either. It's just a
scary sock. The Monkey Sock, on the other hand, is far more sinister! This
is a serious addiction and one from which I recommend total abstinence
unless you wish to find yourself unable to concentrate on anything else
until the dreaded Monkey Socks are done.
Sock pattern diva, Cookie A. (that's her name,) created the monkey socks
because she felt that she HAD to. She recognized immediately that they were
a monkey on her back and, in her own words, "There was no other way to get
them off my back than to knit them." In this pattern, which is FREE ON
Monkey Sock Pattern on Knitty
Cookie A. has included a photo of herself lying on the floor with a
high-heeled monkey-sock-wearing foot on her back. So my question is,
Cookie A., genius sock pattern designer ....... or anti-Christ?
Did I mention that the ribbing is knit through the back and I'm using size 0
needles? If you are a knitter, you know what I mean by that. You've heard
of Instant Karma? Well this is Instant Carpal Tunnel. So almost all of my
knitting group friends have already knit at least one pair of the Monkey
Socks and now they are having a Monkey Sock Knit-a-long. I've already
succumbed to the dark side. Save yourselves!
Kate's Monkey sock - Trekking XXL yarn provided by Devil Girl(see photo below)
Meanwhile, back in that other train-wreck-in-the-carpal-tunnel universe,
ie: computer drone world, every time I plan to update my own website,
offers me a job to do THEIR website. We all like money;
it buys more yarn, but I'm starting to feel embarrassed that my old, old,
website looks so dowdy and run down at the heels, while everyone else has
spruced up theirs with the newest tricks and stylistic thrills. As my mother
"The cobbler's children always go barefoot." Or was that the sock knitter's
children wear flip flops? Something like that.
So, if you are thinking of hiring me for your website job, please be aware
that I do, in fact, know how to write the style codes in the external CSS
file and remove any style attributes from my HTML or XHTML code. I can make
my code validate with the best of them - I swear! I just haven't had time
to do it.
If you are not a computer nerd, just ignore the preceding paragraph. It
was not about yarn or fiber or alpacas. It's sad, but not all of us can
make a living as knitters, spinners and fiber freaks. We have to do actual
work to support our habits.
Despite its 1999 look, my website still generates a ton of e-mails with
questions such as, "Do you want to buy my 200 lbs. of un-sorted, alpaca
fleece from my Ebay auction?" That was an actual inquiry folks, not something
I made up!
Then there is, "How can I sell my fleeces?" I get that practically every
week. And also, "Why don't you have more information on your website about
how to spin alpaca fleece?"
My answer is: I have not given very much specific advice on how to spin
alpaca fleece because I didn't realize that that was MY job. I was waiting
for someone else to do it. Don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that in
a snarky, sarcastic way! I really don't consider myself the big expert on
that, but rather, one alpaca spinner among many. However, it does make one
wonder why there isn't more information about how to spin alpaca on the
websites of all of the people who, unlike me, still breed alpacas.
As for the how-do-I-sell-my-fleece people. Please, PLEASE read the cranky
article on my website entitled, Alpaca Fleece Reality Check.
Please! I love you all but I would rather not answer each of you
Not all of my website readers are people with alpaca fleece problems. I
actually had a guy call me from Minnesota last month wanting to tell me how
much he enjoyed my website! He said he could have e-mailed but he felt he
should call. How cute is that!? This is that niceness for which
Mid-Westerners are ever so famous. I was very touched. I stammered and
blushed like a school girl.
But, back to knitting. Some of you apparently read my article in the recent
issue of Camelid Quarterly about joining Ravelry, the online community for
knitters. Some even took my advice and "friended" me on Ravelry. Thank
you. For those who didn't get that issue of Camelid Quarterly, you should
have! Because, if you are not a member of Ravelry but you are in the alpaca
fleece business, then you are very silly and missing a huge opportunity.
Here is a link where you can subscribe to Camelid Quarterly:
Camelid Quarterly Subscriptions
One of the things that Ravelry offers is a place to post online photos and
descriptions of your yarn "stash." Here are a few photos from my
stash, and they represent just the sock yarn part of my stash!
Knitpicks "cochineal" Felici sock yarn
Esprit's "Sock it to Me" sock yarn
Knitpick's "Suri Dream" yarn
Regia's wool sock yarn
Imagination "Damsel" sock yarn
Imagination "Munchkin" sock yarn
Imagination "Unicorn" sock yarn
I thought that, when I had bought all of the yarns in the Fairytale series
of Imagination's, hand painted alpaca/wool blend sock yarns, my sock yarn
addiction might have run it's course. Hah! That's when IT happened, or
A person shows up at another person's knitting club, appearing to be just
another knitter and then, as always happens, someone mentions a certain
yarn. Oh look!, innocent newcomer just happens to have THAT VERY YARN(!)
with her. She tosses it over in that devil-may-care (Yes! this turn of
phrase WAS intentional) way. A few minutes later, another yarn topic and,
Quelle surprise!, she has THAT yarn with her too. What the heck?!
It begins to dawn on the rest of us that Little Miss New Knitter has 2 entire
tubs of yarn beside her chair and they are all for sale! But, alas, it is
TOO LATE. We fall upon the tubs of yarn like jackals. Chilling music plays
in the background....
New knitting girl is named Kathleen, but I like to call her Devil Girl. She
works for a knitting store in Ormand Beach, Florida. She knits and she
enables the knitting habits of others. She probably has a sock monkey in
Friends, Don't let this person come to YOUR knitting group! Did I
mention that it was HER idea to start the Monkey Sock knit-a-long?
Coincidence? I don't think so! She is already on Ravelry of course. Her
ID is "Knits Well With Others," and here is her avatar:
(horns and tail added by me but, believe me, they ARE there!)
Get your torches and double-pointed, aluminum needles ready, because she's
coming to YOUR knitting club .....and Cookie A. may be with her!
1**photo of sock monkey brazenly stolen from the KnitPicks sock monkey
knit-a-long web page here:
http://community.knitpicks.com/group/mr ... yknitalong
Do NOT Click!
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When we last left our intrepid heroine (me,) I was at the Florida Alpaca
Breeders Show in Jacksonville and I was on the prowl for a few nice alpaca
rovings or alpaca fleeces to add to my personal stash. I was dumbfounded to
learn that there was no fleece show in conjunction with this large halter
show! Apparently this group has a separate fleece show -in August! - in Florida!
- not even going to say more on that point.
I saw 1 person who was selling "roving" that was not blanket quality (in my
opinion,) far too many alpaca "BREEDERS" who had no fleece or roving to show or sell and 1 person who had many luscious rovings and yarns on display but he/ she was never around to sell one, and I checked,
a LOT of times!
Marathon Alpacas rovings for sale? - a cruel hoax!
So I started wah wah wah-ing to various people that there were no rovings /
fleeces and poor, already overworked, Jamie Flores - one of the show's
organizers - told me that she HAD rovings there but had been too busy to
bring them out and sell them. Dunh dunh dunh (melodramatic climactic plot
Well, of course I wanted to see all of them and Jamie
obligingly brought some over. They were GORGEOUS! And, are you reading
this alpaca BREEDERS?!, as soon as I started pawing through them, fleece
buyers appeared in my litte booth area as if by magic. "Are you buying this
one?" "Do you want ALL of that?" I fought the urge to drive the jackals off
of my fresh fleece kill for Jamie's sake, but it wasn't easy to quell my
inner fleece demon.
I ended up buying around 3 lbs. of a Suri / Huacaya mix with beautiful sheen, excellent hand and great length. This roving was spectacular and.....MINE!
Suri alpaca roving
I forced myselt not to buy a superfine caramel colored huacaya fleece but it
was bought by the women who had the vendor booth next to mine. Then there
was the pretty gray fleece ....
If YOU, dear reader are needing some of these rovings, here is the contact
info. for Jamie. Happy fleece hunting. Tell her Kate sent you.
Jamie Flores Sh'iloh Alpacas
But, speaking of the lady whose booth was next to mine, her name is Lorie,
and her business is called A Fuzzy Farm. She was selling those PVC Babe Wheels and had the largest Babe wheel I've ever seen, with a HUGE bobbin and an attached skein winder. Pretty cool!, but I can't warm up to the plastic wheels for some reason.
Babe spinning wheel with skein winder
She also had a triangle loom and people were pretty interested in watching
her weave on it. She had a good crowd watching her warp the loom.
triangle shawl loom
So, after we bought some of Jamie's rovings, Lorie and I weighed and sold
the rest of them right there in front of our booths. See Florida people;
That's how you sell fleece!, right next to the people who are weighing it and
spinning it. Here's Lorie and I weighing a fleece for a customer:
selling alpaca fleece
And here I am spinning on my lucky, alpaca-themed Kiwi spinning wheel. Note
that I am wearing a red vest made of ? That's right, NOT polartec but
alpaca in the above photo and an alpaca cardigan in the photo below. OK the
blue jean jacket is not alpaca but it truly WAS colder than I thought inside
of this building.
me handspinning on alpaca wheel
There were many vendors at this show but this is the one that impressed
me the most:
needle felting goddess
Neotique felted art by Andrea Wilhite. Andrea does not have a website but I
can link to her felting photo gallery on MySpace - You don't have to be a
member of MySpace to see this.
Andrea's felting on MySpace
If this gal was living in Vermont or somewhere more "Felty", she'd be so busy
giving classes and winning prizes that she'd have no time to even BE on
MySpace! Here's a photo of some of the artistic felted objects she brought
to the show:
needle felted objets d'art - awesome!
Hey, Andrea, if I had met you while I still lived in Maryland, I'd have told
you to mail me one of these babies to enter in the Maryland Sheep and Wool
Festival's Fine Arts contest. Don't you know someone arty in MD or VA or DC
who could enter these?
Also sharing the hallway with us was a new alpaca social networking website
called, appropriately, "AlpacaSocial."
Alpaca Social Website
They were signing up new members at the show and also live blogging. Yay! Others of my own kind to interact with. It's so tiresome to hang out with people who hate their computers and think Facebook is the reason children can't spell or have no manners or whatever. Of course I joined right up and then I started my own group in Alpaca Social for alpaca people who also belong to Ravelry.
If you've never heard of Ravelry, get the March copy of Camelid
Quarterly. I"ll have an article in there explaining Ravelry, which is like
Facebook or MySpace for knitters and fiber-arts people.
alpaca social signups at FABA show
Every now and again, I'd get tired of hand spinning and blabbing about our alpaca care DVD, and I'd take a stroll into the show ring area to check things out inside. One of the biggest surprises at this alpaca show in Florida was that I saw a bunch of people I knew from the Eastern Alpaca Jubilee in Pennsylvania including this group of heavy hitters from Ohio and New Jersey. Ask anyone who's been in the alpaca biz for more than 6 months, and they'll recognize this group.
the usual suspects
They were good sports about participating in some kind of skit, but I didn't
watch it. I hate skits! I know it's wrong, and bad, and I hate cartoons
too. I usually try to keep these shameful facts to myself.
Skits aside, I was SO impressed with this show and how well run it was.
They had an excellent live auction. I was not tempted to buy a new alpaca
but there was one creature at the auction that I desperately wanted to bid on.
"Crimson Tide" was donated by alpacamagicusa.com. Is there someone reading this who DOESN'T want a mini donkey?! Because look how cute it is!
mini donkey that should have been mine
And, it came right over for me to scratch it on the back and neck! This
little guy would EASILY fit inside the Suburban - no trailer needed. But,
then he might get lonely out in the field all by himself. So I would need
to give him someone to hang out with. Like, this little guy - who's had
enough of the alpaca show and just wants to go home to my backyard.
tired alpaca baby at show
or This guy because he's so teddy bear-ish.
alpaca teddy fleeced
But, then I remember that Florida is pretty hot for Huacayas so maybe this alpaca, with the fleece that's almost lilac colored - for heaven's sake!!! - should go home with me. For the donkey Crimson Tide's sake, NOT for any selfish reasons of my own!
lilac colored suri alpaca
I swear! I did not alter this photo! That's the real color. I'd love to buy a roving from THAT fleece!
In between my bouts of animal coveting, I stared at the clothing of the
others inside the equestrian center. This is a terrible habit that I
believe to be a shameful side effect of too much hand spinning and knitting.
You start to wonder what someone else's sweater is made from, then you're
sidling over to get a closer look and, - slippery slope folks! - next thing
you know, you're reaching out to touch some stranger's clothing. Unluckily
for me, or luckily, as the case may be, there was very little hand made
clothing at this show, but here is one man that I stalked for several minutes,
alpaca hat stalking
When I took the above photo, all I was seeing was the hat but, after taking
it off my camera card to Photoshop it, I suddenly saw the strange fleece on
the alpaca standing to hat guy's left. It is me, or is there something very
unnatural about that fleece!?
Either the alpaca's been coated or the blanket has been shorn pretty recently, like, right before the show?
In an effort not to identify, and/or offend anyone, I did Photoshop out the people who were showing this animal, but I did nothing to alter the look or color of the alpacas in this photo! Look at the back legs.
When hat guy caught me staring at him, I finally just admitted that it was
the hat I wanted to examine. Better to be thought of as a fiber junkie than
a "cougar" I always say. If you don't know that term (cougar) it's like
dirty old man but refers to women and younger guys. Not that this guy was
THAT much younger than me, and he was cute but the hat was all I could see.
crocheted alpaca hat
2 colors of hand spun alpaca and it's crocheted! I have never thought to crochet an alpaca hat but I loved the way the stitches looked on the hat.
I just may have to make one myself.
Bret Jesse (hat owner) not only (graciously) allowed me to photograph his
hat, he offered me a seat at his table and we had a glass of wine together.
He WAS sort of cute in that hat!
However, it turns out that his WIFE has the same name as my daughter.
So Bret and Cassandra Jesse of Moontide Alpacas in Clermont, Florida, if you had a website, I would have linked to it just now!
Then, as if it was not bad enough to be wandering around in a frenzy of desire -
wanting every animal I saw, there was also a really good silent auction
at this show, with everything from alpaca socks to computer printers and
weekend getaways and, of course, alpaca care DVDs.
All of these items were donated as a fundraiser for the show. So, doing my
part, I bid on a few items, and got the only 2 things that I desperately
wanted, alpaca and horse jewelry!
hand made, glass alpaca charm w/ earrings
hand made, glass horse charm
These are hand made by Holly Hartman Williams at Lardworks Studio in
Georgia. She is a lamp worker. Apparently "lamp working" is what you call winding glass objects with a torch instead of blowing glass. Holly is also into alpaca felting - a girl after my own heart!
I kind of want both of these beautiful charms, but I will be good and give
the horse to my niece (also a horsey-lovin' girl) for her 16th birthday in
May. Shhhhhhhh - don't tell her!
Ever feel like you've been blathering on and on and your kids are going to
expect something for dinner soon? Yeah, I have to stop gushing about the
Florida Alpaca Breeders show, but I still have a few more photos. Hey, wait,
what's that saying about a photo being worth.....something or other?
Another combo of my favorite things - Star Trek & alpacas!!!
very professional apres-showring photo set up at the show
small brown Suri with my name on it
furry alpaca faces are one thing I miss very much
2 of my favorite entries in the "What do you make with your alpaca?" contest at the show.
woven alpaca throw
alpaca lace shawl
Whew! I HAVE to stop now, BUT.... I know I never finished a previous
post about my old neighbor in MD and her pregnant Icelandic horse and that's
been bugging me for awhile so, if anyone out there in blog land wondered,
here is the baby:
icelandic horse baby
To all of the organizers and workers who put on the Florida Alpaca Breeders
Show 2009 - thank you! You did a super job.
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Suri alpacas Valentine theme
Florida's Full of Fabulous Alpacas!
Tom and I decided to, briefly, leave our retirement from the alpaca show
world and check out the Florida Alpaca Breeders Show in Jacksonville 2
weekends ago. You didn't really think we could stay away forever did you?
Me neither! We rationalized our trip by saying that we wanted to make some
business connections and check out the potential market for our alpaca care
Of course Florida tends more toward the Suri variety of alpaca as opposed to
the fluffier (and hotter) Huacaya. I say variety with my dear, yet
controversial, friend Ingrid Wood in mind. Ingrid, of Stormwind Alpacas, is
both an alpaca breeder and an expert in alpaca genetics as opposed to a
self-proclaimed expert in alpaca genetics, of whom there are far, far too
But, I digress. Ingrid claims that the Suri alpaca, pictured above,
and the Huacaya alpaca, pictured below, are incorrectly named as different
"breeds" of alpaca when they are actually two "varieties" of the same breed.
I agree. We don't call smooth-haired terriers and wire-haired terriers two
Huacaya alpacas at FABA show Feb. 09
So, it was almost like old times for Tom and I to be heading out to
an alpaca show but we were not hauling a livestock trailer
full of alpacas or two kids fighting in the back seat of the truck and -
weirdest of all - it was February! I guess it wasn't that much like old
times. The kids are now old enough to stay home alone and the alpacas have
all grown older and moved on too. Change is part of life but we can't
always make ourselves like it.
It was actually a little bit cold in Jacksonville, like less than 40
degrees, which Floridians consider to be bitterly cold to the point of
dangerous. The deejay on the radio station we were listening to kept
warning us all about - I swear that I am not making this up! - "wind chill!"
What happens if there is WIND CHILL at around 40 degrees?, you can't go
swimming or you have to put on socks or what?
But it WAS chilly! I had on my usual show attire, a handspun, hand knit
alpaca sweater, hand knit alpaca socks and a handspun, hand knit alpaca
earwarmer headband - all made from the fleece my own animals. I do admit
that the fingerless, alpaca gloves I wore were hand knit from commercial
alpaca yarn. The gloves are Fair Isle-patterned and I don't like to dye
yarn, so I buy it just like regular people.
Tom wore a polartec jacket, of which I did not approve, but I will spare you
my customary rant about alpaca breeders who never wear their own "end
product." As you will find out, if you keep reading, he later regretted
that sartorial decision.
We finally arrived at the Equestrian Center in Jacksonville and were bowled
over by the huge size of this place!
Equine Center Jacksonville, FL
The barns for the alpacas were wonderful. I was worried that the alpacas
would be housed in traditional horse stalls from which they couldn't see
out, but I needn't have worried. They were able to look around and there was
plenty of air and light but also shade.
barn at Equine Center
alpacas in barn at Equine Center
The inside of the Equestrian Center was just as amazing. There was really good
seating, a nice mulchy floor for soft-padded feet and a lot of room to
They even had fancy-dancy heaters that looked like old fashioned lamp posts!
beautiful space heater
After all of the freezing cold shows I have been to in Northern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, I had to go to Florida to find one with space heaters!
I will admit here that, upon taking my first glance inside, I freaked out a little and did a double take. I thought I saw two of the largest alpacas ever born. Whaaaa?, I blurted, walking closer, only to find out that I'd been looking at cardboard cutout alpacas?!
alpaca cardboard cutouts
I've been to a lot of shows but this is the first time I've seen this
weirdness! The more you look at these things, the more you flip out because
they look very real but just tooooo large. I wasn't the only one who found
them unnerving either. Check out the body language on this poor guy penned
up next to them. I do kind of want one for my house though.
note alpaca on right side of photo
Tom and I set up our booth outside of the arena on a concrete floor in the
wide, shady hallway and it was pretty cold in there! Everyone had on their
heavy sweatshirts and polartec jackets except for me, of course. It never
fails to amaze me that you can go to an entire show of "alpaca breeders" and
find not one other person wearing something made from the fleece of their
After a few hours, Tom's feet were freezing and no wonder; He was
wearing boat shoes and cotton socks! He started to get a little whiney if
truth be told, and wanted to know if I didn't have another pair of alpaca
socks with me and/or what about the pair I was knitting in the car, were
alpaca blend socks
Well, they were an alpaca / wool / polymide blend and pretty warm but there
is no way to knit a sock that fits both a 7 1/2 narrow women's foot and a
men's 7 super-wide. I scoffed at the idea of his wearing my newly knit
socks! If you recognize the pattern of these Tibetan socks from "New Pathways for Sock Knitters," then, yes! they ARE wrong. The swirlies are supposed to go in the opposite direction from each other. However, if you knew how Tom drives, you'd understand how I could make this error and not even notice it until the socks were done. Let's just say that he's not afraid to let out his inner Nascar Driver.
But, alas, I soon began to feel pity towards Tom and his cold feet so I
explained to him the old trick of sticking un-spun wool in your shoes and
walking around on it until the slight dampness and rubbing of your feet
creates warm, woolen shoe inserts. I just happened to have some lovely Cormo
roving with me, so Tom stuffed his shoes and soon felt happier than he had
all day. At the end of the day, he had half of the wool "inserts" stuck in his shoe and the other half melded to his socks.
woolen shoe inserts
If you are wondering why I was spinning Cormo, I had actually run out of
alpaca fleece! The leftover fleeces of my own animals were all gone but I
was certain that I would have a thrilling time looking over all of the
fleeces and rovings for sale at the show, so I wasn't worried about being
without my favorite fiber fix.
Next Installment - Where's the Fleece?!
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my dog, Blair - hating to wear the blue scarf!
Well, if you are thinking that it's been a long time since I have posted on my blog, you are not alone. Several people have complained to me about my laziness and I take that as a great compliment. It always amazes me that anyone even reads this thing!
We left Mt. Airy, Maryland at the end of July and moved to Scottsmoor Florida (which could not look less like a Scottish moor for crying out loud; The person who named this place must have had a wicked case of heat stroke!)
I have been missing our farm and Frederick County very badly ever since. It's hard to get used to a new place when you lived in the old one longer than anywhere else in your life (14 years.) We loved our alpaca farm but it was time to move on. Can't go on about that any more or I'll start to blubber like a baby. Wahhhhhh!
Thankfully, my alpaca farmer friends keep me in the loop by sending news about my former alpaca children and what they are up to now. Campion, for instance, just became the dad of this beautiful young lady, "Sheeza Miracle" for his current owners at Virginia Rose Alpacas
in Beaverdam, Virginia.
What a doll baby! but I would expect no less of my boy Campy. Thank you Tara, for sending these photos!
And, what do I say in our Alpaca Care DVD over and over again until you yell at the screen for me to shut up? Even though if it takes the alpaca cria (baby) up to 4 hours to find the "right place" and they suck everything from the wall to the wrong end,
You will just enrage the mother and make the cria smell wrong. Then you'll be mad at the mom for "refusing to nurse" the cria that you handled and claimed as your own.
Whew! Sorry, but I still feel strongly about that topic. Of course little Miracle figured out which end contained the milk spigots in plenty of time.
Meanwhile, at another lovely alpaca farm in Virginia, "Champ", the son of my old girl Pinka, lived up to his name by winning a shiny red ribbon for his owners at Wildwood
Alpacas. His pretty face is just like Pinka's.
And here is a photo of Wildwood's girl PacaBelle's newest daughter out of sire Jasper Black.
Pacabelle is the daughter of my old girl, Latte - the first alpaca I ever picked out to buy. Thanks for the photos Sue n Judy! Your new girl is a beauty!
One of the latest customers to buy the alpaca care DVD was this alpaca farm in Quebec, Canada:
Alpagas du Domaine Riviere
(If I could figure out how to add the accent grave with this keyboard, I would. Sorry fellow French speakers!)
I love their photos and website background, but "ALPAGAS with a G??!" That's how you say it in French? C'est étrange ! (how weird)
As for me, I have been invited to an alpaca show in Jacksonville, FL next month and I just may go and do a little spinning and sell a few copies of the DVD. It's finally cool enough here that the very idea of spinning and knitting isn't repulsive. And by cool, I mean below 80 degrees!
alpaca Kiwi wheel
I brought my alpaca / Kiwi wheel to a local craft show last weekend and, since I no longer have about 50 alpaca fleeces waiting to be spun up at any given time, I spun up some pretty blue Merino from my stash. Unfortunately, my stash is not noticeably smaller so I'll have plenty to spin up for the next few years.
If you're confused about my "alpaca / Kiwi wheel," Kiwi is the model of wheel and the maker is Ashford, but it is painted with alpacas so I call it the alpaca wheel - not to be confused with the "Alpaca" model of a wheel that Majacraft recently started selling.
Alpaca Wheel by Majacraft
That one's basically the same as my old Majacraft Suzie Pro wheel but they have changed the fly wheel color to black, added a cartoony alpaca engraving and - here's the part I don't get - They say, "A slow speed whorl has been used to make it easier to spin lofty light yarns from fibres like alpaca."
I spun alpaca for years on the Suzie Pro and didn't think it was too fast for lofty yarns. Not wanting to be argumentative but don't we want our wheels to spin fast and can't we make the yarn lofty by choosing the correct preparation and type of draw?
Again, I am not trying to be snarky - I really AM asking this out of hand spinner's curiosity. If you think you know the answer to this, pls. e-mail me.
Since the craft fair was for charity, I donated a black shawl and a blue/green scarf( see dog photo above,) both hand knit, but made from "fantasy fur" rather than alpaca. I still have a bunch of alpaca yarn in my yarn stash (not to be confused with my FIBER stash) but it's nice to have the chance to knit with some other fibers.
Speaking of other fibers, I ended up buying a shoulder bag made of crocheted, trash bags at the fair. What a great recycling idea! Wish I'd thought of it myself but, now that I do know about it, I plan to make a few of these too. They're great to take to the beach and the same booth had golf-type hats and cup holders with handles made from plastic bags too. And, of course, it keeps the bags out of the landfill!
purse made entirely of plastic bags
You can find out more about crocheting with plastic bags here:
Crocheting with plastic bags
Of course, since I can no longer terrorize my alpacas with my camera a few times a week, I've been forced to seek out new victims including, manatees (they live right down the street from me and they are sooooo cute!):
The neighbor's parrot on my fence:
Hawk on a tree by our road:
They're all adorable but I still miss my farm in Frederick County!
If you ever go to Frederick City, do not forget to visit the Community Bridge, just trust me on this one!
The entire bridge is covered with Trompe L'oeil painting (French again folks - that means "fool the eye") that looks like 3D carvings, plants, statues, etc.
tell me this doesn't look like a real statue!
Of course I could not tie this neatly into my alpaca-fiber-themed blog unless I point out one, particular design on the bridge, the good old spinning wheel:
As much as I love this artistic rendering of the spinning wheel, I still have trouble figuring out where the treadle is supposed to be or, in other words, what turns the wheel?
Is this a case of artistic license or did the artist use an antique wheel as a model? Many antique wheels are missing certain key parts. Just wondering.
And now, I have one more photo that I am dying to share but it has absolutely nothing to do with alpacas. Here is my photo of the space shuttle Endeavor lifting off on the evening of November 14:
shuttle Endeavor lifts off from Cape Canaveral
How do I justify using this completely un-related photo? Well, I was going to say that it's very cold in space so maybe the astronauts need alpaca socks but, according to the "Naked Scientist" Website, Space isn't as cold as we've been led to believe. It says,
"The outer space around Earth is around 20 degrees Centigrade. (68 degrees F)
If you go out to Pluto, you're probably looking at around minus 220 degrees Centigrade.
(-364 degrees F)"
Clearly, our astronauts don't go to Pluto, so whether they get cold up there is not clear to me but I'm keeping my shuttle photo on the blog anyway.
Finally, for all of you who asked about my husband, Tom, whose Sarcoidosis was the reason we gave up the alpaca business, he is doing quite well right now - THANK YOU! If you know anyone who has Sarcoidosis and wants to discuss Tom's treatment using the Marshall Protocol, please contact us.
Old friends and new, Please, Keep In Touch!
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