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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Trash Can Kids

Remember Jellybean and Krissy from the last batch of foster kittens we had earlier this summer? They are the only two kittens left for adoption now and they are being "marketed" as "The Trash Can Kids". Here's the flyer one of the Team Cat members made up for them. Sara, another foster home and Team Cat member taught both Jellybean and Krissy to "sit pretty" and then used that photo for the flyer. Aren't they adorable?!
Remember how much like Yoda little Jellybean looked when we first got her?
Well, take a look at her now!
Isn't she gorgeous?!

I just hope that these girls go to a really good, loving furever home. They deserve a better life than how theirs started.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Foster Kittens Update

The foster kittens are getting more and more playful with each passing day. Today they are everywhere! They are running, jumping, wrestling and having a grand time. There's still one that is very touchy and if you pick him/her up when they aren't expecting it he/she yowls like you're hurting him/her. It is just a fear based reaction so this one will need additional handling. In my spare time...

One of the females is the smallest of the litter and I call her Booberry. I don't like the names Inky and Soot for two of them and wanted to change the female's name to Blueberry but the shelter nixed it and told me I could call them whatever I wanted to. So, Booberry she is. Her favorite place is to lay in the windowsill above the kitchen sink.

I think this is one of the males but I'm not certain. We'll call this one Ace of Spade (instead of Soot).

And Raven's newest favorite thing is to snoopervise while I spin. He sits on the treadle or puts his paw on the wheel as it is spinning. Needless to say, spinning has been a slow venture today with his "help". He's obviously decided that the spinning wheel is HIS!
I tried to get more photos today of the kittens playing but the flash was turned off on the camera and the shutter speed was way too slow to catch any action shots. Here's one where I tried. Magpie is in perpetual motion! I took another one after this but by the time the camera clicked I got just the wad of tissue paper in the photo - the kittens were long gone. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Finished!

Back in April I purchased a merino roving from Spinning Awesome Good on Etsy dyed in her Zinnias colorway. I loved the bright colors of this roving and thought it would make an awesome bright yarn for summer.

I started spinning the merino roving and ended up with two skeins of yarn from it. I started spinning thin and smooth but it was taking forever so I decided to navajo-ply the first half of the yarn and spun the second half thick and thin and plied it with a rainbow colored cotton thread.  The skein at the top of the photo is the one I used on this project and I made another knitted scarf out of the bottom skein (more on that project later.)
Shortly after I purchased this roving, Esther at Jazz Turtle posted photos of a skein of yarn she had just made using Teeswater locks that she tailspun into an exquisite skein of art yarn. I fell in love with the yarn but balked a bit at the price (not that it wasn't worth the price she was asking because spinning tailspun yarn is a labor intensive and time consuming process) but when Esther wanted to order some of my dyed fibers to use in her fiber art batts we decided to do a trade for the Rainbow yarn. So, I added this incredible skein of art yarn to my stash.

So, with the yarn already spun into two skeins and the navajo-plied skein already knitted up, I decided that the scarf I knitted with that yarn was too lacy to work well with the weight of the tailspun yarn. I decided that the tailspun yarn was such a masterpiece on its own that it really just needed a small piece of "canvas" to display it so I crocheted up a long skinny scarf with the second skein of yarn and then crocheted the tailspun yarn across one edge of the long scarf to create this stunning scarf that I am calling "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".

Somewhere Over the Rainbow is just over 7 feet long and the fringe varies from 6 to 9 inches in length. You can wear this scarf so many different ways: draped around your neck and shoulders as a long fringed boa, draped around your neck with both ends wrapped around again (as shown in these photos). You could drape it to hang in front as shown or turn it around so that it cascades down your back. Imagine this with a little black dress - and if that little black dress has a plunging back, this would look awesome cascading down the back!

I hope you enjoyed the insight into the creative process that goes into designing and creating fiber art!

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is available for sale in my etsy store. If you would like to purchase it but don't quite have the cash reserves at this time, I would be happy to do a layaway plan for the purchase. Please send me an email if you are interested.

UPDATE: Somewhere Over the Rainbow is Reserved/On Hold!
If you like this scarf and would like to discuss having me make you something similar, please contact me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Foster Kittens!

Can you believe it?! We acquired four more foster kittens last Wednesday afternoon. These four were born under somebody's deck and they managed to catch them to bring them into the shelter. All four are black and look just like Raven. There are two males and two females and I haven't named them yet so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I was thinking of using Star Wars names for them - Luke, Leia, Amidala and Anakin, but I'm open to suggestions.

As usual, Uncle Munchkin has taken to his job with ease and spends the majority of his day kittensitting. He's in seventh heaven right now.

Sorry for the crummy photos. The sun coming through the sliding glass door creates a harsh glare and that door is filthy! Dixie and Bandit love to put their muddy paws on it - I've given up trying to keep it clean.

Raven and Magpie were a little tweaked with the new kittens invading their territory but they've settled down quite a bit and now play with them. These kittens were scared half to death when they came in and did a lot of hissing, spitting and swatting at first so I just left them in the crate and set the crate in the bathtub in the bathroom and gave them food, water and a little box and peeked in on them. The first 24 hours they would scramble back to the crate whenever I would open the door. After 36 hours, I left the door to the bathroom open so they could venture out into the hallway. Within 48 hours they had figured out how to climb over the barrier and had joined Raven and Magpie in the great room so we just blocked off the area around the wood stove near the sliding door and let them roam wherever they want to. They're making progress on taming down so hopefully we got them early enough to get them tamed down enough to be adoptable.

UPDATE: The shelter just called to let me know they picked out names for the kittens. They are Blackberry and Inky for the females and Black Jack and Soot for the males.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Custom Dye Order - Fall Leaves Re-Deux

I just finished the first of three braids of custom dyed Polwarth roving in a revised version of my Fall Leaves colorway. I love how this turned out - so rich! I will be spinning this one Navajo ply, where you basically chain ply the single strand of yarn onto itself. Spinning in this manner creates a yarn where the color pattern of the roving is retained and you get longer runs of one color rather than the "barber pole" effect of doing a two-ply yarn. I still have another skein of Treasure Chest on the wheel right now (I've completely sold out of that colorway with custom orders for it spun into two-ply yarns!) So, I'll start spinning this one early this next week.
Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Delight Yarn - DONE!

I finished spinning the Chocolate Cherry Delight merino/bamboo fiber blend batt into yarn. I ended up with 260 yards of a DK weight two-ply. It is really soft and squishy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What's on the Spinning Wheel - Finished Yarns

I've had several custom spinning orders lately so I've been pretty busy at the spinning wheel. I love to record my favorite shows and then watch them while I spin and fast forward through the commercials. It really saves time when watching TV shows and gives me something to do while I spin.

First up is a 50/50 Superwash Merino/Tencel roving in my India Spices colorway spun two-ply into a DK weight yarn.

Here is the roving.

And here is the finished yarn. I love how this turned out!

The next custom spinning job was to spin 4 ounces of my Treasure Chest custom fiber blend batts (romney wool, yearling mohair and tussah silk). I ended up with over 300 yards of sport weight yarn and I love the luster and drape to this!

Here are the batts before spinning
And here is the finished yarn
And now on the wheel is Chocolate Cherry Delight - a mixture of milk chocolate merino and cherry bamboo.
Next up is a custom dye order in my Fall Leaves colorway on Polwarth roving. Then I'll spin 8 ounces of it up into a two-ply yarn and 4 ounces into a navajo-plied yarn.

What are you creating?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Another Llama Goes to a New Home!

Last Thursday morning I got a call from someone interested in one of our male llamas. They were interested in Duke of Pearl, who will be 7 towards the end of August. Duke is a bit of a challenge. He was born several weeks after Jim had his last heart attack and then Jim was involved in an auto accident that December. He was hit from behind at a stop light by a 3/4 ton pickup fleeing the scene of another accident. The accident tore the L4 and L5 vertebrae in Jim's lower back so he was unable to do any llama wrangling for quite some time. Therefore, when the time came for Duke to be weaned and halter trained we were unable to do much more than get a halter on him and lead him to the little boy's pasture. Years went by before Jim felt up to attempting to do much with the llamas so by the time we finally got a halter on Duke again he was a full grown adult full of testosterone. Duke loves to "stir the pot" with the other adult males and he is often the instigator of most of the tussles between the males. So, we priced Duke extremely reasonably but stressed that we would not sell him to first time llama owners. This woman's husband was on a business trip to Boston but they found Duke on our website and fell in love with him. Her husband wanted "a challenge" - hmmm, seemed like the perfect fit!

Duke at weaning

So, last Thursday morning I got up and got chores done and got Duke sorted into a catch pen then had Jim catch him for me. I can usually handle the smaller and tamer llamas all by myself but the tall ones that you really have to reach up to get the halter on I need help. I'm also leery of having the llamas step on my left foot because I don't want to re-injure the broken foot again.
Duke as a yearling

Duke had never been sheared so his fiber was extremely long but amazingly clean of debris. When I sheared him I was shocked to see that he was a gorgeous rose gray and silver color! His fleece has matted tips but I'm going to cut the tips off and that will leave the rest of the fleece the perfect length for spinning and it is sooo soft and such a fabulous color.

Duke was very well behaved and he went home with his new owner that afternoon. I haven't heard from them yet as to how Duke is doing but I am fairly certain that if there was a problem I would have heard about it. They plan to train Duke to pack. Their current llamas are over 15 years old so its time to put a younger boy to work. Go Duke!

Duke after shearing