Sunday, November 18, 2007

Aw! Sunday Morning Sunshine!

The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure."
D. H. Lawrence

Actually the best zoo poo is elephant. If you live in a city that has a zoo, and they sell zoo poo, the best kind to get is elephant. I think I read somewhere rhino is good too, but not as nutritious as elephant.

Of course, if you are not a gardener, this is not the thing you want to read about on a knitting blog.

Yesterday our spinning group met at the alpaca farm of Bill Shaddox. Remember last month I posted the picture of the fleece I got from him- Evening Sonata. I never got a picture of her, but I am supposed to get a picture emailed to me. I'll let you know what she looks like. I like to know where my fiber comes from. Bill and Bruce are so very gentle with each of the animals, and they know the animals very well. The barns are immaculate, even the shearing shed. Everything is well organized and well run. These are important things to me to know when I get a fiber.

I used to have a friend that asked for my help on shearing day with her sheep-some 90 head. It was an all-day affair, so I would stay overnight. The shearing shed had a huge table on it that we skirted the fleeces before they went into the bags. We did those so fast, but I got to pick my own fleece as payment. So I got what I wanted, and I got to see the animal sheared. We ate our supper sitting on the back steps talking to the geese. One of the geese loved to "talk" to me, and I guess he was a pet favorite. After showering, we both just fell into bed and slept until a new day dawned on the farm. I woke up once in the night and saw the pyrenees' going around the perimeter of the fence. But, otherwise, I slept the sleep of a tired, worn-out farm worker.

Raising any farm animal is a lot of work. But I think my experience has shown that fiber animals require so much more. Especially if one raises the fiber for handspinners. Not only breeding them is important, but the feed, the pasture, the predators, the shearing, the marketing is so all consuming. So my hat is off to anyone who has the nerve to want to raise fiber animals.

Knitting- well, let's see. My friend gave me a pair of handspun, handknitted fingerless mitts yesterday. I'm sorry, no picture yet. I started my own mitts last week. Rather than use a pattern, I thought I could just wing it. Well, I have ripped out more than I have knitted. But once I do complete one, I will know how to do it. What a lesson in pride or vanity or something. I also taught myself how to make a thumb gussett. In the past, I have simply just knit to the thumb opening, placed some stitches on a thread, and knit on to the end. Then I went back to pick up the thumb stitches. The thumb just kinda sticks out there. But they were comfy. I read the instructions for the thumb gussett, but they did not make a lot of sense. I had to rip that out twice. And it did not look right yet. But I went on with the mitt. When I mentioned it to my friend, she suggested to decrease one row, and knit the next. That clicked as right in my brain. So I guess I am learning something here. My poor brain is so muddled with this mess right now. I will assess the lessons later.

I am spinning some alpaca that I had dyed and blended. No plans for it yet. It was such a small amount that I thought I would just spin it up and get it done.

Another friend of mine in Kansas called me at 7 a.m. when I was getting dressed. The reason for her call - someone gave her an Angora rabbit. But she is convinced that it will not give her much fiber. I suggested enough to blend with something else to get mittens. She laughed and said that I always thought she could do more than she really can.

The lady that gave her the rabbit rescues wild birds. My friend's husband had taken a wounded great horned owl to her, and she told him that her vet friend fixed the wing, it mended, and she released him back to the wild. A great success story! Anyway, she saw my friend in Wal-Mart, and told her she would give her some rabbits someone had given her to rescue. So when my friend went over there, one of them was an Angora. My friend was estatic.

So a long blog today. I have to go do chores now. Have a great day!

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