Monday, April 25, 2011

A quiet week

Pre-shearing season sure makes for a quiet week! 

We did find a few things to do though.  We had an order that included 12 1/2 lbs of what I call kitchen sink blend:  multi-colored, multi-micron, multi-length fiber.  We all get it.  But what to do with it?  We were asked to make felt.  Ok.  But, as you know, the felter has been, well, tweaky.  And when I put the kitchen sink blend into the tumbler, it scared me!  It got fuzzier and fuzzier and hairier and hairier!  Something like this:

We added a couple of pounds that had fallen out of the tumbler from other batches of the fiber in the order, bringing the total to something like 14.5 or 15 lbs.  Given the quality of the fiber, a bit of it ended up under the carder.  The shorts and guard hairs end up there.  We lost about 4-5 lbs of the starting weight but the flip side to that is, we did not think anything would make it through.  And 2/3 did.

Surprisingly, it made kind of nice batts, like this:

And then it made, with everyone's fingers and toes crossed that the felter would work, pretty nice batts.  Ok, not nice like for a purse or a blanket but just fine for insoles or a boot mat.

This is a laborious process at the moment.  In order to get a 14 or 16 oz piece of felt, we need to create 3-4 smaller ones, hope they make it through the first time, then put 3-4 pieces of felt through to join together.  This is why we have called a moritorium on making felt for you at the moment.  But come July, what a breeze it will be!  Otherwise, Craig will look like this all the time (and no one wants this!):

Zoe was a huge help over spring break.  And she had some great ideas for colors and yarn ideas.  She really liked the tricolor yarn we did earlier for a client so we did some because she wanted to.  Fawn, med brown, and bay black were the colors she chose.  We also did another nice yarn at her suggestion but somehow I missed getting a nice photo. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Harrisburg and MAPACA were fun!

All of us enjoyed MAPACA a great deal.  Except no one warned us that the interior of the Farm Show would emulate the temperature of a mountain top in Peru....there were actually many, many people walking around in parkas (they were warned!!)  Not that it was overly warm outside either but it was colder inside.  Next year, we will pack accordingly.

Now, you may or may not know, but I do not own any alpacas.  Craig does, so I can see them outside the mill window everyday.  I have no desire to own alpacas (or sheep or horses or cows or chickens).  I spend a lot of time with fiber but not the actual animals it comes from.  So I was thrilled to finally see a "paca cow" in person!  If I was inclined to own alpacas, I would go out and buy an entire herd of suris.  Maybe just the cute, young ones were at the show, maybe it was just that they were a novelty for me, I have no idea.  But they are so cute and small and the fiber, oh the fiber! 

But, I can buy a lot of suri fiber from good suri owners as opposed to buying a actual animal.

We (the kids and me) were at the alpaca show Sat and Sun morning.  Then we had time to be tourists.  We went to the capital building and teh National Civil War Museum.  Both trips were requested by Brigid but no one minded.  She is a huge history and Civil War buff and with the 150th anniversary of the war starting, it seemed appropriate to go to the museum.

Craig and Grey Medea heading (one
unwillingly) to the show ring.  She
took a 3rd place ribbon.
Brigid gets and gives Starbuck kisses.

White alpaca?  Nope, haven't seen one.
Playing tourists at the PA Capital Blg.

Statue outside Nat'l Civil War Museum

Elmo has been to many hotels.
We have no idea how he got
in this state!  A nice giggle
at the end of a long, chilly day!

My favorite sign at the Farm Show.  Very subjective....

Friday, April 8, 2011

Off to Harrisburg

Nope, I didn;t forget about the blog site.  There are just not enough hours in the day lately.

We are at the lull before the storm.  Shearing season is just around the corner.  We are looking forward to it.

We have been process our own fiber and working on a few new things.  We tackled suri for the first time last weekend and it wasn't so bad!  We are also working on a 3 ply sock yarn that is a blend of alpaca and nylon.  I have a prototype made but before I get too excited, I want to actually knit socks out of it and be sure it is ideal for tootsies. 

And I will try to get some knitting done this weekend at MAPACA in Harrisburg.  Craig thought it would be nice for me to experience an actual alpaca show.  Since things are quiet, why not.  The girls are very excited to be going.  Me, well, I get to do all the driving, which really isn't that bad as Harrisburg is kind of close (2.5 hours or so).  And the hotel has a pool and hot tub, which will be nice.

seriously, he chose to sleep with his
nose between the pin drafter turn tables! 
And, no, they are not on!
I do not know why I remember this
but if yoru pirns or cones are
plying badly, put them in a box.
No more tornados in your plys.

The needle felter working correctly -
but not for long.
The secret to happy equipment
is someone watching it run.  Take
away the sitter and bad things
happen.  Hence, Brigid sits with Luigi.
Beautiful sock yarn was spun.