Monthly Archives: March 2012

Spring Knitting: Bunny Egg

Watching and Waiting

We are now officially in the lambing and kidding window, which means that there are at least three frustrated people at the farm at all times. This happens every year, so I expected it’s arrival and I know that it will end, but it’s still my least favorite part of lambing.

We only bred 13 (I think) sheep this year, and I think there is a strong possibility that one of the colored yearlings didn’t get caught, as they say. We know that she was bred by Aldo, the ram we rented, but she may not have actually gotten pregnant. I hope I’m wrong, but she doesn’t look bred to me and she has none of the udder development we expect to see in a sheep this far along. So we are waiting for 12 sheep to lamb, and maybe one will surprise me.

Of course we also bred two of our dairy goats, Sam and Bertie, and they both look like they could go at any time. And the geese are sitting on 9 or 10 eggs that should be getting close to hatching.

So we wait. And while we wait, we find other things to do that have needed doing for a while. Fixing fences. Cleaning out stalls. Clearing away the cobwebs of winter.(I mean that one both literally and figuratively- you would BELIVE the cobwebs in out run in shed! Like something from a horror movie.)

Today we have dedicated to the kitchen gardens. Zac is outside tilling as I write this and Caroline is tending her precious seedlings, preparing them for the journey from the greenhouse to the garden beds. We have some lovely guests right now and my sister and Aunt Ann will be arriving in a couple of hours for a few days at the farm, and we plan to put them all to work.

So it’s not that we have nothing to do while we wait for lambs. Far from it. But the waiting itself gets exhausting very quickly.

The bright spot in all of this, of course, is that we have little Camembert to entertain us while we wait. He’s a bit of a cheat, since we bought him, but he is a delicious cheat.

My friends Jen and Tessa were here earlier in the week and Jen took loads of cute pics of the peanut. Here are a couple of my favorites.

We are also eagerly awaiting our T-1 line’s arrival. All of the equipment has been installed and now they just need to turn on the tap, as it were. We were promised it would be operational by April 1st, but I don’t think that’s likely at this point. I will let you know when it’s in, so that you can turn on the lambcams and wait with us.

Caution, will stain

80 superwash merino/ 20 nylon 80 superwash merino/ 20 nylon 80 superwash merino/ 20 nylon 80 superwash merino/ 20 nylon

I plied up the red yarn this week. It’s 20% nylon %80 superwash merino from MadColor. Unfortunately, this yarn really bleeds even after 2 washes in Synthrapol and a vinegar rinse as well. No color bled onto my hands as I worked with it so I think it’s safe to make a shawl or something wearable with it but I will have to remember to always wash it alone.

Still Here!

Sock Madness Round 2 - Submitted last night
After a week of knitting and planning to exhaustion, I'm happy to sit at my computer to take a break.  I found out this morning that I've made it on to Round 3 of Sock Madness!  After completing the first sock using US 0 sized dpns, I nearly kicked myself because I'd forgotten that gauges change with cables.  My right sock ended up way too small around my ankles, but fortunately was long enough for me to continue without frogging the sock.  I plunged forward using US 2 dpns and ended up with a sock that didn't cut off my circulation a day and half later.

My first "official" pattern - Garter Stripes Cardigan
for 0 to 24 months
This particular round was interesting, as it featured an afterthought heel which I'd heard of, but never tried before.  I used to be one of those who, after reading the specs of a pattern, would not attempt a pattern if it featured a technique I didn't know.  After this past year of picking up skills left and right, I've changed that behavior.  I guess I've found that it was much easier to learn something new than it was to find a pattern with techniques I'd already mastered.  Not to mention that it makes me feel better if I make a mistake because, hey, I'm learning.

My favorite design - Falling Leaves Jumper
I'm also in the midst of putting together crafts and yarn for a few craft/vendor fairs.  One has already passed and a HUGE one is coming up on April 24 at Potowatomi Casino in Milwaukee.  I'm very excited about this one, as I'll be setting up an area almost like a booth at a yarn trade show in hopes of raising some additional capital for the shop.  After the first show, I did figure out the yarn capacity of my car and got some very funny looks while travelling.  

And as if I didn't have enough to do, I've been convinced by my mother to write a book of patterns for baby clothes.  To raise money for that venture I started a Kickstarter campaign, so if you like my designs, please contribute to the cause (and there are some great rewards out there too).  I've got quite a few sketches ready and some other ideas that need to make it onto paper, but funding is mainly to get materials for testing patterns, making swatches, paying a photographer, etc.  I have also made plans to attend the publishing workshop at Stitches Midwest in August.  I will be booking the class soon, just have to price hotel stays etc.  Wish me luck!

My son, Peanut, modeling a few of my impromptu
child hat designs.  Above - Groundhog ; Below - Packers/Sport Beanie

Knit Local

If you're in the DFW area, you might really enjoy the first class fiber event going on in Grapevine this weekend:  The DFW Fiber Fest. 

President Anna Hulse (with mini mascot, Ike), has put together a wonderful event for knitters and spinners featuring lots of excellent vendors, top drawer national and local instructors, and admirable fundraising projects, all in one weekend.

Her army of volunteers makes the details come together seamlessly.  At least, I haven't heard about any seams showing.  Just today, I saw hundreds of happy spinners and knitters come through the convention center, beaming from learning new things and nabbing great bargains on treasures.

A busy home school family of knitters and crocheters takes in the sights, and takes some of the sights home with them.

Brenda, one of my former tri-loom students, shows off a gorgeous piece of weaving she completed with her homespun yarns.

We met so many wonderful friends today, and sent them home with yarns, rovings, sheep magnets and more.  We're right by the food concession, so you can stop by on your way to grab a nice bite to eat.

This evening, we were proud to help sponsor the Ravelry event, "Unraveling Ravelry," with speakers Mary-Heather and Sarah from our favorite knitting website.  The place was packed.

As much as I have loved and used Ravelry over the years, it seems there are whole truckloads of good stuff I have yet to plumb there.  We learned how much the site changes and grows, with the help of user suggestions and updated technology.  The power of this functional and aesthetically pleasing website is easy to underestimate.   Take some time to poke around on Ravelry if it's been a while since you checked out the search features, or the new abilities we have to catalog our patterns, stash, libraries, etc.

I looked down my row and spotted longtime friends of the farm, Dawn Bahr and Amy Semifero.  Ravelry has brought so many of us knitters and spinners into friendship and community.

Did I mention world-class instructors?  My spindle hero, Abby Franquemont, is here at the festival, teaching all kinds of spinning classes I should have signed up for, but didn't.  Thank the Lord she has them out on DVD, so all is not completely lost...  I hope to get the chance to thank her for her book, "Respect the Spindle" which has helped me so much advance my spindling skills.

Mary Heather visited with the hoi polloi after the presentation.  She tells me that they won't be attending the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year, which is where I usually run into them.  It's been fun having them in our neck of the woods this time.

Tomorrow is Day Two, of three, so I hope to spend a little time in the main vendor hall and get some more photos where the real action is.  The trick is to watch your check book while you're in that huge room of temptation.  No one is around when you need support to curb your stash enhancing.  In fact, most folks are happy to encourage you to go ahead and pick up that amazing treat.  After all, we deserve it, right?

Andromeda’s …



BOOK REVIEW: The Woman Who Wasn’t There

The Woman Who Wasn't There: The True Story of an Incredible DeceptionThe Woman Who Wasn't There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two years after the attacks of 9/11, a survivor named Tania Head started posting to survivor's forums online. She was one of only 19 people who had been above the point of impact in the South Tower of the World Trade Center and survived. Her remarkable story of escape -- her arm nearly torn off, her assistant decapitated, the fireman who led her to safety as the tower collapsed, her days of unconsciousness in a New York City burn unit -- was made all the more heartrending by the fact that her husband died in the North Tower.

In a short period of time, her forceful, magnetic personality, combined with her amazing story, made her the face -- and the heart -- of the survivors' network. She helped found and became the beloved president of the World Trade Center Survivors' Network and lobbied successfully to have the 9/11 survivors recognized on par with rescue workers and the victims' families. She gave tours of Ground Zero to visitors and dignitaries such as Rudy Guiliani and Eliot Spitzer. She was instrumental in the saving of the "survivors' staircase," which had been slated for demolition. She got the survivors admitted to the official anniversary ceremonies.

In time, though, discrepancies in her stories started to be noticed. She grew increasingly paranoid and wary of the press and started to have something of a split personality, being unimaginably cruel at times to other survivors -- people who were supposed to be her best friends. Eventually her story was entirely discredited, and in September 2007 the New York Times revealed her to be a true fraud -- she had not even been in the United States on the date of the attacks, and not a single part of her story was true.

I know a couple of people who I believe to be pathological liars, and as bizarre as their fabrications are, this blows them out of the water. Perhaps the strangest part of the story is that Tania Head made no money off of her deception -- her motivation has never become known, but she received no monetary benefit (and, in fact, spent sums of her own money on the survivors' cause) and collected only acclaim, concern, and love.

I couldn't put this book down. The first part of it goes into Tania's (fabricated) story in great detail. The reader knows from the beginning -- from the title and the information on the book flap -- that none of it is true, which makes it even more compelling. The amount of research about the attacks that Tania must have done in order to concoct her story had to have been astounding. By the time I reached the end, I couldn't decide whether I should be angry, sad, disgusted, or some combination of all of the above. What would ever lead someone to do something like this? Did she do it out of cruelty to the true survivors? Was her own life so sad and meaningless that this was the only way she could feel loved and appreciated? Mostly, though, I felt betrayed right along with the real survivors.

Publication date 4/3/2012

View all my reviews

Vineyard Blues …

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Do you know where  these places are?  How about picture #8, do you know what that is? Leave a comment if you wish :)

Falkland spun


I’ve been a busy bee this week. I also finished spinning the sea colored Falkland roving and it’s waiting patiently to be plied.

My Lunch was Pretty

It was so pretty I had to share.

Two eggs, brussel sprouts in butter. Very simple. Very delicious.