Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WIP-It will all get done

My WIPs this week are many. I got so frustrated with my capelet that it now looks like this

I would get my mojo and then someone would ask "Where is my green sweater?" or "Is there anything to eat?" and it would mess up my flow. It isn't a complicated pattern. What it needs is QUIET. A difficult thing to do with anyone in the house. The first few rows were good and then I think I had more mistakes than not. So I pulled it out and started something else. I did not give up ..mind you. I just will wait until I am retired.

I started on some mitts instead. I got the pattern off of Lion Brand Free patterns. I am using Classic Alpaca in dark blue and heather purple. I better have more success with this one. I have finished 3 shawls and really am getting back into the knitting groove.

As for spinning:

An Indian Bling Yarn that I have never plied. It will be done!

And I have this striped alpaca in purple/rose gray I am still spinning.

Some pink alpaca I bought from Hamelink Farms. I am thinking to ply this with dark rose gray or dark fawn.

And I am working on this beauty....again...alpaca... Did you think it wasn't?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday-Knitting Lace

I finished 2 kerchiefs and a small shawl. Now I am moving on to a capelet. I found a really pretty pattern in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller. The pattern is Spiderweb Capelet by Erin Weckerle on page 110. I chose Classic Alpaca Yarn in the color of cinnamon.
I love knitting with alpaca and I had this yarn stashed on a shelf. It will be perfect for this project. It is a lovely light, lacy pattern. Lace is a new step for me as I never have knitted anything this "complicated" before so I am looking forward to the challenge.

I have started just a wee bit. I need to sit and concentrate on the pattern..not much quiet time around my house. I will probably be blabbing on about this for a few weeks!!

Photo taken in my new photo light box.

For those of you who submitted a suggestion on how to get wrinkles out..Kathryn and Ally...please send me your mailing address and the color angelina you would like to play with!! I will get that out to you!! Thanks for helping me out!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday-Wrinkles

I am writing once again about photography. Photography has been the reason that I haven't posted too many blogs. I don't really enjoy taking photographs. I find it time consuming, annoying and basically irritating. Kinda funny because my husband is an amazing photographer.
A while back I made a really lame photo box. It was not too sturdy and when I was rearranging my fiber stash I inadvertently dropped a box on it. Oops. It was crushed.
I decided I needed to get serious. I finally found one on Ebay and ordered it. Pretty good deal I think at $32.00 + shipping. So here I am with this awesome photo box and actually some excitement about taking pictures and I cannot get the backdrop to cooperate.
See how wrinkled the backdrop is???? GRRRR.

The worst faux pas in closeup photography is a wrinkly background. The kit came with 4 different colored backdrops and I want to use the white one for my rovings and yarn. I have been working on trying to get the wrinkles out all morning. This is why I am so late posting today. I stuck it in the dryer with a damp towel (3x because I kept forgetting to check when the cycle was over). I ironed it with steam, water spritz, magic sizing, and lavender spray. Each time I increased the temperature on the iron. I don't want to burn the synthetic material.

Go natural fibers!! They are so much easier to work with.

I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?? I will send an 1 oz of angelina, in your choice of color, to the person with idea that works! Help....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who Knew Playing With Goats Was Dangerous?

A few days ago I was running up and down the hill in the goat pen and I injured my ankle. What was I doing? I was playing with the goats. I run up the hill and they follow. I run down the hill and they follow. They usually run in front of me to knock me down I suppose. My buck is getting big and he likes to run sideways down the hill. It is pretty funny actually. He usually tries to be in front and often crosses my path as we careen downward. Three of my goats have horns so I am careful about how fast we are going. Horns can be dangerous!

I must have hit a small hole in the ground and my ankle just twisted a bit. Not too badly but enough to make me howl. The seven of them were a bit shocked and stood there looking at me. They weren't too sympathetic and wandered off after a minute. So much for playtime.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday-Tweeding

I am having an obsession with tweed. I have been taking my natural rovings and spinning them with another color alpaca (dyed or natural). I have been coming up with all sorts of color combos and am wondering if I actually will be able to spin them all!

This is what I have done so far. I have on my bobbins fawn with purple and fawn with pink. That about wraps up my fiber arts week!

Pop on over to Andrea's blog for more fiber arts!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP-Knitting A Kerchief Shawl

I am actually knitting. I know...I can hardly believe it myself. I think my daughter inspired me. She has been knitting as source of relaxation from her studies at the university. She is turning out to be pretty good too. In 4 weeks she is far beyond cables and is looking to knit a bag with the fair isle technique.
Meanwhile on the farm, I knitted this wonderful pattern by Cabin Fever #083 Fern Kerchief in wool.

I decided to not to mess up my hand spun alpaca. I didn't make one mistake in the pattern and was so happy that I right away knitted this kerchief

in my very own hand spun. The roving I spun was some from my own alpacas. I had it processed last year in a 50/50 blend of alpaca/merino. I sporadically spun in some beads. I will add more of the beads to the lace edge when I get there.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday-My redesigned booth

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Fiber Expo in Ann Arbor. A few weeks before the show I redesigned my booth with antique props. I staged the booth in my husband's studio before I left but as all vendors know a 10 x 10 space at home is not a 10 x 10 space at a show! It was a bit cramped. I also forgot to change the portrait lens on my camera. Oops. I couldn't get a wide angle picture. I guess it wouldn't have mattered because the aisle was too small to get a good shot anyhow.

Notice the ironing board (got it at an antique store for $10!) and the ladder. Happily I did not have to paint either the ladder or the shutters as they were already weathered vintage green.

Head on over to Andrea's blog for more Fiber Arts Friday happenings!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP-Just About Everything On My Farm!

I am not working on fiber projects this week. I do have several spinning projects and a shawl I need to finish. Yes, I said shawl. I am actually knitting! I can thank Paula for that one!

What I am working on is the garden, the barn, the shed, the front porch, the back patio, the yard and the paddocks. I am trying to get things in order before the weather looks like this:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Areiya has begun to reveal an interesting pattern of white spots on her rose gray blanket. Her dame is Tula has white and brown spots sprinkled throughout her fiber. Her sire is NL Smokey from Ashton Stone Farms. She is sweet girl and I hope to bred her next fall.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Picture of the Day

I have decided to try something new on my blog. I am really terrible about posting regularly. I feel as if I need to write a book every time I post. I came up with a new plan. I am hopeful that I will feel obligated to write on my blog and improve my photography skills. So here we go....

Picture of the Day At Via Verde Farm

Really Cute Goats on Spools

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday-Fiber Expo in Ann Arbor

This week found me scrambling to get all my inventory marked and ready to go to the Ann Arbor Fiber Fest. I also did a makeover on my booth. By now one would think I have the hang of hauling all my inventory and props to a show and setting up. Lots of vendors bring small trucks full of their props and inventory. I have seen creative ways to display skeins of yarn by hanging them from oversized drying racks to stacked neatly in large baskets. When you are one vendor in 100 standing out is difficult. It takes a few expos to figure out what you need and what is the best way to display your items so that your booth stands out.

I decided this year to keep my props simple. I mean simple in the fact that I can lift them by myself. My theme has always been vintage but I added a few pieces to pull it all together. I did purchase an antique wood ironing board for $10--great purchase!! Sorry I cannot show pictures yet. I have all my things packed, stacked and waiting in the garage for loading. But here is a really cute alpaca instead:

If you are planning on attending the Fest stop by and visit us. Darlene is coming with me to help out. I am looking forward to a weekend of fiber immersion!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday-Sumac, Goldenrod, Marigolds..Oh My!!

Natural dyeing is such a wonderful experience. Every step is enjoyable from gathering of the materials to the finished product. I have become quite adapt at identifying plants that can be used for dyes and even have had a few surprises in my quest for dyeable materials. For example, the Cornus Kousa Dogwood has beautiful pink berries. I wondered if these would be a good source for dye. I was surprised to learn that these brilliant fruits are edible!

The berry that is used in dyeing is found on the Red Osier dogwood.
I have not yet tried to dye with the Red Osier berries. However I did do plenty of dyeing the other weekend with a friend, Darlene. We choose sumac blooms, goldenrod, marigolds and indigo to dye our fiber. Darlene had spun up quite a few skeins of polypay and a few alpaca. I played around with locks. Here are our results:

That about rounds up my fiber week. Why don't your pop on over to Andrea's blog for more adventures in fiber!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday- What to Dye..What to Dye

This week found me running from this and that. I was completely unorganized and all over the map. Part of the reason is that I am finally losing that exhausted feeling from the virus. I actually have energy and just don't know where to start! I should be in my paddocks cleaning up....but my fiber stash beckons.

With several fiber fests coming up I am trying to work my through my stash. I over dyed some fawn alpaca that I washed/picked a while ago. I used ruby red. I really love Greener Shades Dyes. The colors are clear and soft on white fiber. I am finding that the ruby red does over dye on fawn or light/medium rose gray nicely.

Amethyst purple dyes beautifully over medium or dark silver gray.

But I am not getting a darker color from Greener Shades and some colors of alpaca do not like to be over dyed. Do any of you have experience with Greener Shades? Or any thoughts?

Besides dyeing I spent some time spinning. I just need to ply the skein with the beads from last week. I still have my Indian bling skein which I am still spinning. And I started another bobbin of toffee colored alpaca.

This weekend I am headed Tealwater Ranch for National Alpaca Days. I will be setting up a fiber booth and if you are in the area stop by and see us. Cora has a lovely farm with beautiful alpacas! On Sunday I will be natural dyeing with a friend here on my farm. We are going to be using goldenrod, pokeberry, sumac and indigo. I cannot wait! If I can find another large pot I might sneak in dogwood berries.
That is all from Via Ver1de for the week. Enjoy your FAF and head on over to Andrea's blog to check out more fiber fun!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday-Spinning, Dyeing, Carding, Photography and Salsa!

Fiber Arts Friday this week found me busy. I just couldn't decide what to do so I tried it all. I have been sick for about 3 1/2 weeks now. Before that I was on vacation for 2 weeks. In between I dropped my daughter off at college and my other two started their busy schedules at school. As I was feeling better and everyone is off at school I hit the pavement running. Here is what I did this week:

First I thought I would spin 2 skeins. I did not quite meet the challenge. One is done and the other is on the bobbin. I still need to dye the fawn skein. The pink/brown skein has purple beads incorporated into it.

Don't look too closely at my uneven bobbin. I was talking to my daughter and got distracted!

Next I wanted to dye some fawn alpaca. I used Greener Shades Dyes in Ruby Red. Got a nice variegated look. I also dyed in purple, but it is currently on the drum carder.

Then I wanted to card a bit of Nightengale, my dark silver gray paca. I have about 2 oz and am seriously thinking of recarding it with some black angelina. We will see.

Finally I needed to take pictures for my Phat Fiber sample. Sometimes I find taking photos a pain. There are days when the light is just right, the battery is charged, the card is not full and I have inspiration. Others, as in today, I couldn't get it together. I had to postpone while I charged the battery. Finally I managed a few shots.

What I did not finish:

1. I still have several, actually more, fleeces that I need to skirt. I really, really need to finish them. Just not too excited I guess. I get bored. So yesterday I popped over to the library and check out Orhan Pamuk's book Red. I am going to try to listen to that while I skirt away!

2. Salsa that has taken me 3 days so far because I keep stopping to work on fiber. One day it will canned in jars.

I think I about covered my week. I hope you all had a good one. Head on over to Andrea's blog to read about what all the amazing fiber artists have been up to this week.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hand spun Socks

Last year I processed some of Captain Cavalier, my dark fawn male. He has a bit of a reddish tone to his fiber. It is quite beautiful. And he is cute as you can see.

The roving I had made I mixed with 50% merino in begonia (pink). I had spun some into a fine strand.
One day at Peaceful Knitters I met Joyce. She loves to knit socks on her vintage sock machine and invited me over to take a look. It was a beautiful piece of machinery. She knew all the ins and outs of its operations. We tried a commercially processed alpaca fiber first and it broke one of her needles. So we thought maybe a thinner hand spun would work. I sent some home with her and she knitted up these awesome socks. One is ribbed and the other not. She knitted both with 1 strand alpaca/merino and 1 strand of lycra. Lycra will help the socks to stay up and not slide down to my ankle.
I have worn them a couple of times. I am curious to see how my hand spun is going to hold up. The socks are super soft and comfy. My toes will be nice and warm this winter!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bantam Chicken and her peeps

I am really not a fan of Bantam Chickens. I prefer my Rhode Island Reds and Black Austrolorpes. They are good and consistent egg layers. I originally bought bantam chicks because I thought they were pretty. I purchased 5 chicks and ended up with one rooster. He is a tough little guy. I carry a stick when I enter their territory. He can really hurt you when he attacks. One time I was feeding my feral kits and I didn't see him creep up behind me. He jumped on my back and dug his toes into my shoulder. I nearly fainted with fright!
Anyhow one of female Bantams disappeared for about 2 weeks. I couldn't find her anywhere. Her wings haven't been clipped so I knew she could fly about if necessary. One evening during feeding chores, I lifted a flake of hay that had fallen and there she was nesting! I decided to leave her alone and to see what would happen. I have caught her before trying to nest, but she never stayed long on the eggs. This time was different. A few days ago I lifted the flake of hay to find her and a chick. I guess it takes about 24-48 hours for all of the eggs to hatch. I will move her to a safer place in a few days.
Update: I did move her and her 4 chicks. It has been fun to watch her feed her chicks and to see them jump on their mother. She sings to them at night while they are tucked under her feathers. Who said farming was uneventful??

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday-Weekly Roundup

Have you ever spun something you weren't satisfied with? I am not very pleased with this purple skein and crystals. I spun the strands too thick and I did not add enough crystals. It looks rather sparse. Definitely not what I had in my mind. My daughter graciously asked if she could knit something from it.
On another note, I did card up my Pakistani batt and began to spin it. I spent quite a bit of time add "beads" to the skein and it didn't work very well. I tried to spin them in with gold thread and then wisps of fiber. Neither worked very well. I will now ply the beads on gold thread. I think it will be really pretty. I still am plugging away on this skein so I will post photos at the finish. Have a great weekend and happy Fiber Arts Friday! Pop over to WonderWhyGal for more fiber fun!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday-Weekly Roundup

I started off the week with good intentions...but I didn't progress on my spinning at all! I spent most of the week pulling my hair out trying to capture, humanely, a raccoon that keeps breaking into my chicken coop. It does help to have a properly working trap! Figured that one out the hard way. I also battled an eroding hill and found a Bantam chicken that had been missing. She is currently hatching 10 eggs. I will post photos next week. So here is what I did not get done.
Purple locks spun with crystal beads

Punjabi sunset, yet to be carded. Components are all assembled but no sari silk. I guess I could've added Shalwar Khamise silk!

Juxtaposed.This one is going to be interesting. Pink alpaca for the beginning then black and will be plied with a strand in the same colors but black then pink. I need to dye more pink paca.

Hopefully I will have some finished skeins to show off for next week. Check out Andrea's blog for some really amazing fiberistas! Happy FAF!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Fiber Arts Tour De Fleece

I confess that I have not spent too much time this week spinning. It has been so hot and miserable for my animals. I have been running down to the barn multiple times a day checking on them to make sure that they have water, spraying them off and adjusting the fans. I managed to sneak away yesterday and I attended the Ag Expo in Lansing. I had a great time and learned a lot! My little Kubota tractor is a toy compared to the huge ones that were on display!
Anyway back to at the beginning of TdF I showed a picture of silver gray alpaca over dyed in purple. I have been spinning it and planned on adding crystal beads. It is taking me forever to finish as I have to dye and card the batts as I spin along. I am finally on my second bobbin and spinning in the beads.
I am excited to see how this will be plied.

One of the techniques I have been working on during TdF is plying. I was rummaging around my fiber stash and found many small balls of yarn that I have spun and did not yet have a use. I decided to ply them all together.
Overall I like the effect. Not sure about the pink/black section. I may end up taking that part out. Well off to take advantage of the rain and spin! Take a tour of more Fiber Arts happenings at Andrea's Blog.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tour de Fleece Day 8, 7 , 6, 5

Welcome to Friday Fiber Arts and Tour de Fleece. We have all been spinning a lot this week. Check out Andrea's Blog for more Tour De Fleece updates and to see what is happening on FAF.

I am really mixed up on which day we are on in our TDF and therefore will just post what I did this week. I had a lot of fun experimenting and testing out some new skills.

I finished plying 4th of July Alpaca Style. I need to find the right pattern for this one.

I spun up this whacky and fun yarn using thick n thin. The pink strand is merino and the white is alpaca from my girl White Lace. The nude babies, pacifiers and safety pins are obviously about a baby hence the name of this skein "It's A Girl." I wanted a structurally sound yarn. I used some beading thread to secure the babies onto the yarn. I followed Dutch Hollow's advice for stringing glass beads onto a skein. I, of course, took liberties with the word "bead."

And finally I used a technique I read about in Spin Control. I used two roving processed identically. One was a natural silver gray from my alpacas Nightengale & Tula and the other was a fawn roving from Quito. I over dyed it in Flame Red from Greener Shades Dyes. I took both rovings and lightly pre drafted them. I spin them simultaneously to create one medium thick strand of yarn. This skein is 100% alpaca and so soft. I let the fiber meander as it pleased while spinning and it created a lovely yarn. I am not sure how much is on the bobbin. I have yet to remove it onto the skein winder.

I didn't get much spinning done yesterday or today as I was getting my beloved Tractor fixed and repairing the chick coop. Hopefully tomorrow. I have the plans for an Indian inspired yarn. Off to dye up some yarn. Have a wonderful weekend.