Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Fiber Arts-Felted Purse

Welcome to Friday FIber Arts! This week we had snow days and lots of non-fiber related projects going on so I did decided to post a purse that I made when I first learned to knit about 4 years ago. I took a class at a local yarn shop and we knitted this purse. I picked my out my colors from Lamb's Pride wool. We learned to knit and purl and felt. I also learned how to mattress stitch, make an i-cord and cast on/off. Not in that order of course! But it was great for a beginner as it taught all the basic techniques for me to go out and knit on my own.
I use this bag a lot in the winter from carrying books around or as a... purse! The pattern we used for the class is Fiber Trends Fabulous Felt Totes designed by Leigh Radford. There are three sizes that you can make from this pattern. This is the medium size bag. I found the button at the yarn shop. It is made of clay and stamped in the exact color turquoise blue. That never happens when you are looking for something specific! I couldn't believe it myself. That is all from VVF this week. Enjoy FAF!

Check out all the other great Friday Fiber People at Wonder Why Gal or Natural Suburbia.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Baking a Cake

Taima and I baked this delicious cake I found in my favorite cookbook by Joanne Harris. The recipe is called Gateau Lawrence and is on page 124 of this book. It has ground almonds and bittersweet chocolate. Two of my favorite ingredients. We used 4 eggs from our chickens that we raise here on the farm. I love fresh eggs. The yolks are dark and rich. The taste beats any organic egg in the store. The cake turned out to be deliciously rich. It doesn't look exactly as the photos in the book, but that is fine. It tastes wonderful.

Joanne Harris also happens to be one of my favorite authors. She is half French half British. She wrote Chocolat which was made into the movie starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. Great film if you have not seen it. She has quite a few books and I have read them all but one. I loved Gentleman and Players and Five Quarters of the Orange. Both novels have twists and turns that you leave astonished as you turn the last pages. Most of her writing includes amazing descriptions of food. This is a passage from Five Quarters of the Orange "From them I learned to be mother again, cooking pancakes and thick herb-and-apple-sauges. I made jam for them from figs and green tomatoes and sour cherries and quinces. I let them play with the little brown mischievous goats and feed them crusts and pieces of carrot. We fed the hens, stroked the soft noses of the ponies, collected sorrel for the rabbits." The entire novel is woven with wonderful references to food and recipes. It is beautiful. Don't read it though when you are hungry.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My kid goats

I was searching through my photo files and I came across these adorable pics of my baby goats taken last summer. We have a Nigerian Dwarf goat that delivered in late spring of 2010. These two cute things ran all over the barn and caused havoc. They bothered the cats and the people. They would jump onto your lap and nibble your hair or actually eat it as they got older. Kid goats are hilarious to watch and are notoriously ornery. They were boys so we decided to sell them. I was lucky enough to find two little sisters who wanted to be in 4H. They purchased them and now they live happily up in the Coopersville area. I am anxiously waiting for our Nubian to deliver in March.I am looking forward to Spring and the sight of little animals exploring their new world. I will post the new photos of the babies when they arrive.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alpaca Rugs

As shearing season quickly approaches I am happy to say that this year I don't have bags and bags of unused fiber. I still have a lot of fiber but it all has either been processed or will be soon. I have a few show fleeces from last year that I am hand washing and posting on my etsy store. I also have some bags of naturally colored seconds left from last year's shearing which now also have a final destination.
When I first purchased my animals they came with bags of fiber and then I had my first shearing season as well. I wasn't sure where I was going to go with my fiber so it piled up a bit. This past summer I was able to move it all and get it out of the bags and into a product. This will be my third year of shearing. I have already marked the animals that will get show fleeces and the which animal's fiber will be made into roving, yarn, etc. All of the animals can contribute to these beautiful rugs. I sent out the fiber a while back to Ingrid's Texas Rugs and just received them this week. I chose simple patterns of mostly stripes or solids. Each one is 2 x 3 trimmed with cotton fringe. I think I need to keep one for myself.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dyeing and Spinning

I had a lot of fun dyeing, blending and spinning this skein. I started with Alpaca, of course. I have a couple of pounds of white pencil roving from our pretty girl, White Lace.

I took about 1 1/2 oz of fiber and dyed them in two hues of pink. I then blended the darker pink with merino, cashmere, peony angelina, silk noil, banana silk and small amounts of colored merino. For the lighter pink yarn I started to core spin with an acrylic yarn. It is actually 50% wool/50% acrylic. I ended up wrapping it around my pink single. I had a bit of twist that relaxed when I plied the yarn. I ended up with 70 yards. Still deciding what I am going make from this skein.

I also had so much fun dyeing alpaca locks. I took 1 oz fiber from each of Floreanna and Delphine, my two yearlings, and over dyed the fiber. I used purple on the dark silver gray locks and flame red on the rose gray locks. I am planning on dyeing some more this week. I got busy with taxes and reorganizing my office and never got back to dyeing. Hum. I should have thought taking my office apart before I actually did it. I cannot even put one foot in the door. It looks as if a tornado swept through the room!

That is all from my farm for this week. Check out lots of wonderful fiber people at Wonder Why Gal and Natural Suburbia!

Friday Fiber Arts-A Great Fiber Find

A few months ago I ran into Salvation Army and lo and behold there was a pile of cones of yarn! I was so excited. I quickly grabbed them and tossed all seven in my cart. The price was great! At .99 each it was a chance I couldn't miss. When I got home I found some of the yarns had a tag on the inside of cone. I was able to determine that there was some wool, acrylic and wool, and cotton. I looked up the manufacturer online, Yeoman Yarns, to see what was the content of the boucle yarn.
Twirly Curly Bird pointed out some uses for the yarn from core spinning to felting add ins. There is quite a bit so I am sure I will keep busy with it for awhile.
I love great finds especially when they are fiber related!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This is a picture my husband took of Sienna our mini horse. I love the way her mane is tousled by the wind. It is as if she is a model for the cover of Vogue.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Friday Fiber Arts and Creative Friday-Dyeing Silk Noils/Spinning Alpaca Fiber

This week was spent mostly digging out the barn from the huge snow storm. We ended up with about 15 1/2 inches of the white fluffy stuff. When I wasn't shoveling away I managed to take some new fiber I bought last week and a purple cabbage to dye up some beautiful purple silk noil.

It was quite easy to do and once I had mordanted my silk in alum/cream of tartar the entire process was smooth. I used the immersion method and allowed the dye pot to just reach the simmering point. I let the silk remain in the dye for about an hour and then it was pretty late at night I turned off the stove and let the silk stay in the dye bath overnight.

I had a really deep purple/blue color and then I added a dash of vinegar to the rinse bath to set the dye and remove the smell of any lingering cabbage. The vinegar brought out the red in the cabbage and gave the silk noil a variegated blueish-purple finish.

I also finally finished plying this skein of yarn. In another blog I showed the orange batt with some brown alpaca and banana silk. I ended up using my hackle to blend the fibers together.

I spun the orange mix and plied it with some dark brown alpaca. And I did not like it at all! I basically un plied it and this took forever. And plied it again using only the orange fiber. I guess that happens sometimes. How you might think two colors look together actually don't look great when plied. Oh well. Next time I will do a test trial. That is all for FAF this week. Click on Wonder Why Gal's and Creative Friday's Button at the bottom of my blog to see what other fiber people have done this week!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Big Snow Storm

We had quite a bit of snow last night. And finishing chores this morning was a bit challenging. I will let the photos speak for themselves.