the Intrepid Fiberwizard

adventures in spinning, knitting, gardening and life

Thursday, December 29, 2005

four kittens...

A Joyous New Year to all!
Here's the photo of our four kittens all enjoying each other over Christmas. They joined our family last August .
two belong to my daughter and two to us.
They were a delight over Christmas weekend, and they frolicked and played joyfully together. more pictures to follow.
This is a picture of them enjoying one of their christmas presents... a swirling ribbon toy. We were lucky to catch all four in one place together!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Socks complete! (and some new baby goats!)

I'm posting a photo of the socks as they were almost complete - I did succeed in finishing and blocking them before Christmas! I was down to the wire - and did not take a photo of both together. They turned out great. I am hooked and will knit more! This was done with the colorway abalone.
I had to concentrate pretty hard to remember the pattern throughout the first sock, but then by the second one I was on a roll!

I'm joining a small group who
are doing a sock exchange - yeah! This will be fun!
I just hooked up with this great group of folks, and can't wait to get to know them better!

Since December 16th, we've had 19 new baby goats born to our farm. Now, some of you might not know, but this is not normally the time of year one plans to have baby animals arrive. The operative word here is plan. Like all good shepherds, my husband kept the male goats (billies) away from the female goats... until one day (or maybe two) last July when one of our illustrious billy goats decided to play houdini.
He dutifully led him back to the males quarters, and thought nothing more of it.... "the books say that goats do not come into heat until the days grow shorter.." Hah! (as we all roll around on the floor laughing!) Four of the 14 females must have known it was still technically summer, and they have "waited". We expect they'll give birth sometime in March :-)
We've had several first time mama goats this year. Most of them did pretty well, and followed the more seasoned Mama's to the barn and gave birth there. Yet a few did not.
We were fortunate to have arrived just as this young new Mama was licking her newborn. We watched, and were applauding her success.. when suddenly we heard a small noise out in the middle of the field... oh my... she had two! My dear shepherd walked out, and wrapped the other baby in his fleece coat. He brought her to me, and I rubbed and rubbed her to warm her up. We coaxed the new mama into the barn cubby with her babies, and helped the little ones to begin nursing. fortunately they both lived and are now merrily bouncing around the big nursery section of the barn with the other babies!

The other exciting adventure occurred when my husband went to the barn for afternoon feeding and discovered one of the mama goats struggling to give birth - and lying on top of a newborn goat.. he rescued the one underneath, again wrapping it in his coat, and then delivered the baby goat from the mama. He thought he was done, but then out popped one more! This gal had triplets! whoa. Mama and all the babies are doing well and growing fast!
It was a rainy day when I tried to snap my photos, so there aren't too many yet. My daughter took a bunch more on Christmas day - which we will post on our website under the photogallery section about our farm. Stay tuned over the next week for updates! Baby goats are the best!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas is coming - the socks are getting knit.

Christmas is arriving at our house! The tree is up and decorated, and presents are arriving by mail each day from our family all across the country. The cards are all mailed, and we sent off our last gift in today's post. Whew!

I even selected a new ornament for myself this year... hope it shows up on this blog: (for those of you who cannot see her, it is a little hen knitting a long stocking!

It was a busy week of knitting and spinning. Like the little hen, I finished one of the socks I was making and blocked it (I hope to have some pictures of it tomorrow), AND am almost to the heel flap on sock number two.
I spun a batch of fiber for a customer - pictured here is Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks Bombyx Silk/Merino (a 50-50 blend) in colorways "More Teals" and "Opal". What you are looking at is about 450 yards of yarn . Can you tell that I'm in love with spinning this yummy stuff?

It has been a blustery week here at Crown Mountain Farms - we awoke the other morning to no power and a temperature of 50 degrees -inside! Burrrrr... My dear husband bundled up and went out to start the generator up. Soon we had hot coffee and a cozy warm house. (A rousing hand of applause and gratitude to the kind soul who invented generators!) Since that day, the highs have been in the low 30's with an average nighttime temperature of about 17 degrees. Yikes. While this is not all hat cold, relative to other parts of this country, it is about 20 degrees colder than our normal winters. The goats and sheep are all huddling in the barn these days!

It's a good time to stay inside and knit !

Last, but not by any means least, Mount Rainier is showing all her glory again recently. I could not resist these photo opportunities last week.

This last photo is the view from our deck looking southwest. The hills you see are some of the "foothills" of Mount Rainier. The mountain is off to the left, out of this picture frame.

In one week, it will be Christmas Eve. I hope that the socks are done by then and dry...( well, let's settle for "done") My oldest daughter is driving down that day to stay with us for a few days, and bringing her 2 kittens. These are the siblings of our two kittens - let your imagination begin to create this scene: 4 all black, six-month-old kittens, ...all adults sound asleep on Christmas Eve,... a solitary Christmas Tree standing alone in the living room - lit, awaiting Santa..... hmmmmm...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Mom's felted bag

Well, I enjoyed my felted bag sooooo much, that I bragged all over the place! My Mom decided to knit one too, and she ordered some pencil roving to make it - she chose the ol'blue eyes colorway with twilight as an accent color for the bottom.

She knit and knit, calling me every once in awhile to make SURE that she was doing it right (aren't Mom's wonderful! - they make us feel so smart!)
I reassured her and told her to keep on knitting.

She called and reported that the folks in her knitting group were astounded at how big the bag was (pre-felting of course) and she asked them if they had ever accidently tossed a wool sweater into the washing machine! laughs all around, and she kept on knitting.

I told Mom that she should have
my Dad take a "before" picture... here it is:

whoa - get aload of that huge bag!!

And now, just in case any of you might have wondered where the intrepid part of "intrepid fiberwizard" came from, now you know! (genetics rule!) My Mother bravely knit and knit, trusting that it would work!
She called and we conferred about felting directions, and then into the washing machine it went!!
She checked, and washed some more, checked and washed some more.. I can just hear her, opening her machine saying "how are you doing little bag?" (grins)
finally after what seemed like hours, the bag was complete!


And here's the close up of just the bag!
Didn't she do a fabulous job?!! Yeah Mom!

So for all of you who have never tried felting - now is your chance! Be bold! Be brave! and above all else, have fun!

We sure are!

Here's to you Mom, its beau-tee-full!!!

(and thanks to Dad for the great photos! Yeah Dad!)

Thursday, December 8, 2005

more color!!

You know, it wasn't all that many years ago that I swore off knitting socks.
The dreaded four-to-five needle, spear me in the hand, have ladders throughout, hole in the heels, kind of groaning, what-was-I-thinking- kind of vow.... you know what I mean?

Well, right around thanksgiving, I decided that I reeeeaaaaally needed to knit a pair of socks again. I was swept up in the amazing colorways that our friend Lisa creates. And you know what - it was a GREAT idea!
I am about halfway through the first sock, just turned the heel. I figured out how to get rid of the ladders (woo-hoo!) - and now am going to pick up all those side stitches on the heel flap (whilst praying, holding my tongue just right inside my cheek and whistling Silent Night) I figure that one of those things might help me avoid the little hole that would always appear...
I'll let you know!

Meanwhile, our Friend Lisa, owner of Dicentra Designs has done it again.................. created a gorgeous new colorway for sock yarn! This one is called Mazarbul, and it will be available on our website within a week or so (right Lisa?! :-)
The second pair of socks is already being cooked up in my brain... yummmm. Does anyone out there ever finish two socks?

Sunday, December 4, 2005

family thoughts

It was a lovely holiday here (turkey day tra-la-la!) My oldest brother Peter, came in from Los Angeles, and brought his new girlfriend - Beth, and my oldest daughter, Erin came down from Seattle. My husband, Ramdas, and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I found that I was a bit nostalgic after they all went home on sunday - and I found myself saying many silent "thank you' s" for the gifts of my family. I am the third of four children - three brothers and me :-) I have always considered myself lucky to have such a great family. Mom and Dad are in Florida - too far for a weekend visit.. but then again, maybe someday...
Here's a photo of my brother Peter and Beth: The turkey was huge and yummy - Peter brought champagne from upstate New York (where we all summer since our youth), Beth brought homemade ginger cookies, Erin brought wine and specialty beers (she turned 21 last year) .... I bought some german Stollen, and baked until I could stand no more.. and the laughter filled our home.
We ate, talked, laughed, read, went for walks, scoured local artsy stores and went to Seattle to visit my daughter at her apartment. Life should just always be this sweet!

The kittens are growing - in fact, I actually caught them on camera last weekend (no small feat!)
Here's some updates of Miss Emily and Lady Di:

Today we lumbered out in the snow that is lingering here, to gather this year's Christmas tree. It is a beauty - an 8'Noble that is currently filling our home with its amazing green smells. I think that the tree is my most favorite decoration. Pictures will follow in my next post.

My thoughts are beginning to turn towards Christmas - it must be time to start playing carols here - I wrapped a few gifts today to place under the tree.. the magic of this season is beginning once again.