Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Whole New Product Line - Purses!

I've been busy over the last few weeks. I've been putting the new sewing machine that I purchased to hard work. What makes it a pleasure is that it can sew through anything, thick or thin, delicate or tough. This means that I have been able to create some great purses.

Here are some of the purses I made.  Some are hand felted and some are out of my fabric collection.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Customer Creates Beautiful Bonnets with my Thick and Thin Yarn

Today I was thrilled to see what one of my customers has done with my yarn.

Jessica, of Knitz by Jessica, sent these pictures.

I almost wish I had a baby to stick these on.  Too bad they don't come in adult sizes.

You must check out her Facebook page.
And her shop.  Absolutely awesome.




Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring is Sprung - And It's Beautiful

Spring is here in a big way.

Last week, you read about our new lambs.  They are coming along very nicely. They are experimenting with eating grass instead of nursing, and they are so mischievous and playful that their mothers get a little annoyed at times.

But we are seeing more and more signs of spring everywhere we look.  Our greenhouses are brimming with green plants.  Here are some examples.....

A beautiful Clematus with morning dew glistening off the petals.

More Clematus's opening to embrace the morning sun.

A baby Artichoke just beginning to grow.

An Agave plant surrounded by a lush carpet of chocolate-mint tea plants.

Beets and carrots - the vibrant colors hint at the densely packed micro-nutrients.

Seed trays with baby cucumbers.

Rainbow Swiss Chard - a family favorite.

As you know, we also have our own bee hives.  They are prolific this time of year.  As they out grew one of their hives, they swarmed onto a nearby tree.  We caught the swarm and installed them in their new home.

Our newest hive.

Stay tuned for future updates...we've got a lot going on and are eager to share it with you!

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Lambs Make Their Arrival

It's that time of the year again.  The days begin to get longer, the grass begins to get green, and every sheep herd gets bigger.  Yes, our flock has several wonderful new additions now.  These lambs are our new Cotswold-Romney / Border Leicester crosses.

Here a couple of them say hello to you.....

"Baaa"  (translated mean "Hi there!")

We had nine total babies.  Four ewe lambs and five ram lambs.  What makes this so exciting is that the father for all of them is my premier Ram Ceasar.  He is a registered Border Leicester, so he has wonderful wool that is high luster curls that most people mistake for mohair.  It's an unusual trait, but one we love him for.

The lambs all show great promise with their wool too.  The ewe lambs will be held over, re-bred to Ceasar, in an attempt to reproduce his unusual wool.

Here are some pictures of our new additions....

Just a couple of hours old here.

Stay tuned, next week brings Shearing Day!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Warping the Ashford Knitter's Loom

I just love my Ashford Knitter's Loom.  Talk about easy!  I have been able to make lots of great things.  I have run into a few people who, for some reason, were shown a very difficult way of warping.  They became extremely discouraged.  There is a very simple way to warp this loom.  The instruction book that comes with the loom shows the method I am about to describe.  Additionally, they sell an optional DVD that demonstrates the process, and it really helps too.  I strongly suggest their DVD.  At any rate, I took a lot of pictures showing how I warp my loom, and you will find this helpful.  You will see how easy it is,  I bet you will get a loom and start making your own beautiful things.

The very first step is selecting the yarns.  You need to pick out colors and textures.  I just pile my yarn up and walk by for several days adding and subtracting until I get something I like.  For the warp, you must choose some very strong and smooth yarn.  Your reed is going to run back and forth over it and there will be tension applied to the yarn.  Any yarn that can't hold up to the wear or tension is definitely out, and any yarn that is very bumpy is going to just kill you when you try to slide the reed up and down.

Now I will tell you a tip I discovered when starting a project.  I actually used a 3-ply alpaca yarn -- this is a very delicate yarn --  and didn't put much tension on it.  Instead of using the reed to open the shed and pack the yarn, I used a batten (a stick for opening the shed) .  This cut down on wear and tear.  It took longer to make sure I opened the shed correctly each time, but it was well worth it.  Don't try something like this for your first time.  Use something slick and sturdy.

Now, you would usually take your loom off the stand and clamp it on the table with the clamp set that comes with the loom.  I'm lazy and showing you the easy way.  If you have your loom on a stand, just place it against a table like I have it here.  Put your reed in the top most cradle in the middle.  Make sure the notched side (right bottom) is on the far side of where you are going to pull your warp threads.  I'm going to pull my warp over to the far left and loop it on a chair ear.  Don't forget about your brakes to keep your winder things from unwinding.  As you see, the one on the right is in the correct position, while the one on the left is just hanging there.  Also, turn your winding bars in so that those warp stick are toward the center as pictured below.  Be sure to take note of the boot shaped latch and the notch under the reed there by the camels neck.  You will need to know this for way later.  This picture also reminds me that I have to make some wine.  The equipment is just sitting there.


Okay.  Now I am making a table runner for my sister, so I just happen to use my table and the measure for my warp.  Remember, you are going to waste a foot of warp on each side.  You can make things real complicated and get a warping board, but I just eye ball the length and add a foot on each end.  It's not exact, but close enough for me.  I have that chair ear (yes that thing sticking up from the chair is called an ear) centered right in the middle of my reed.  Hope you can tell that in the picture below.

That brings me to picking the reed.  You must pick one with slots and eyes big enough to accommodate the size of yarn you will be using.  Mine is a really fat yarn, so this is a 5.0 reed.  To measure, you can just stick the yarn in the eye and if it fits, it works.  Easy right

Here's another picture of that chair.  Hopefully you can tell that the ear is almost dead center of the reed at the bottom of the picture.  If you don't have a chair like this, you can always use that peg that comes with the loom and clamp it to the end of the table.  But why do all that when you have a chair?