Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New toys!

Some new toys ordered recently arrived today!

The first is a collapsible one-yard Niddy Noddy, from Katrinkles on Etsy.  It's made from bamboo; ingenious design!  I borrowed one with a similar design, made of plastic, at the Topsfield Fair spinning bee, and when I went looking for one, this is what I found.  I have a few other items from Katrinkles' Etsy shop, and have been quite pleased with them.

The second is a travel lazy kate.  This is also from Etsy, from a shop called Ogledesign.  I saw someone using one of these - this exact design and maker - at the St Distaff's Day gathering in January, and really liked it.  This photo shows it in use.  This is mine (maple) when closed.
This is what you see when you open it.  The pegs that form the supports for the kate and for the bobbins are stored inside.  A strong magnet keeps it closed.  The two shorter pegs support the kate; the three longer ones hold bobbins.  It is wonderfully compact, and a very clever design.
This is what it looks like set up.  The pegs hold the bobbins.  They are lightly tensioned due to their position on the kate.  It might be possible to add a little more tension with a string or rubber band; I'll have to experiment.
Both of these will be useful for spinning gatherings or competitions in the future.  I’m looking forward to using them!  For now they will reside in the Zuca case, with my Hansen Mini spinner and all of its accessories.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Updates everywhere

It's been a busy time, with lots of crafting and critter news happening.

In cross stitch news, I ditched the Guitar Strings pattern, and started one from Artecy - a rendering of photographer Dorothea Lange's Depression-era portrait, "Migrant Mother", in cross stitch.

The pattern has 9 pages.  I finished all of the first page, then did all the black on pages 2 and 3 (across the top) before I was distracted by something else.

My new distraction was a Star Wars chart, from Tilton Crafts.  They have both a website and an Etsy store.  I came across a charted creation based on Star Wars artwork by Tsuneo Sanda, called "Master".

There's also a Darth Vader companion piece called "Dark Force".

I bought both charts, and materials, and have started "Master."  I adore this piece!

Of course, my creative streak was interrupted by something else - the Deerfield Fair.  For quite a while now (about 14 years, I think) I spend all four days of the Deerfield Fair spinning in the Farm Museum.  I love it!  I'm also glad, after four days, to be done, but always look forward to doing it again.

After the fair, the Pygora goats were sheared, and the same day, I put the sheep coats on the two Jacob ewes.  The Pygoras are now 6 months old.  Still small enough to cause trouble, and still stinkin' cute.

Before and after of the goats!

I managed to get out to the Topsfield Fair spinning bee last Wednesday, for the first time!  I took a 3rd in wheel spinning (advanced) and first place in spindle spinning!  I know the procedure now, what's being done and what's being judged, and plan to do better next year!

Last weekend hubby and I (along with the grandchild) managed to visit three of the four stops on the NH Wool Arts Tour.

I didn't end up buying much, but had a great time visiting with friends and vendors!

The puppy, Jasper, continues to get bigger and remains almost impossibly cute!  He has reached 5 months, and is very busy!  Penny is his best friend.

I finished a couple of spinning projects, too!  The first was a cafe au lait colored Polwarth I was using as my demo fiber at the Deerfield Fair this year.  I ended up with 4.73 oz and 590 yds.

The other finish was my fine-spinning challenge, from my class with Abby Franquemont at the 2015 Fiber Revival.  After sitting around for a year, and surviving moving around and several puppy attacks, I ended up with 103 yds of two-ply, weighing just over 5 grams. Getting somewhere, but I still need some practice for the Longest Thread contest. I have learned several techniques for dealing with very fine spinning, however, so it is definite progress.

Another finish was a baby blanket.  This just needed to have the ends woven in, before being delivered to the recipient.  This was the ABC Baby Blanket, a free pattern from Ravelry.   It has now been finished and delivered.

I'm now working on a Pumpkin hat.  I couldn't find the exact pattern I wanted, so I am using a combination of two patterns - one called the Citrus Hat for the base, and substituting the pattern for the Berry Baby Hat for the top third and topknot of the hat.  This should be a very quick project - I'm hoping to have it done today, and ready to deliver to the mom.

Next weekend I'm off to the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival.  I am very excited to be able to go, and looking forward to an entire day to myself, without grandchild or other family!  I do wish hubby was coming, but the 3-1/2 to 4 hour drive each way is too much for him.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Goats in the henhouse

I went out to the barn to retrieve something in the "milking room" and found two hens and a BIG pile of goodness-knows-how-old eggs! The hens ran outside; I removed all the eggs and tossed them, then opened the chicken coop to let the chickens free range for a while (so the two lost ones would rejoin the flock, actually). Next thing I know, the two goats are IN the chicken coop, eating the grain! I moved the chicken feeder out of reach before I came back to the house.  Hopefully the goats left when they couldn't find any more food. Goats do NOT belong in the chicken coop!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Cross stitch progress

It may not look like much, but it's my first stitching in at least 10 years.  I should be able to go a little faster with some practice.  This is the beginning of my "Guitar Strings" chart.

This is what the chart looks like.

Looking forward to making some progress!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Puppy and cross stitch

The puppy has been home for a week now, and is doing well.  Crate training is progressing nicely.  If we need to put him in the crate during the day, he does sometimes yell for a bit but he does settle down and nap.  When I go to bed at night, he's in the crate next to the bed, and generally goes right to sleep.  He does occasionally wake me up in the middle of the night to go out; in that case, having the crate next to the bed is perfect.

Sleeping on the couch:

After taking a walk with Penny!

Up on a hay bale, while "helping" with barn chores.  (It was the only way I could get him to hold still long enough to get a picture!)

In other news, I have started a cross stitch project, for the first time in about 10 years!  I had given up cross stitch (but still had some projects kitted up that I just could not part with) and pretty much given up applique, mostly because of my eyesight.  Even bifocals aren't helping enough for such close, detailed work.  I came across some cross stitch blogs the other day, and some of those people were using lighted magnifiers (large ones!).  After some comparison shopping, hubby bought me a floor-standing OttLite lighted magnifier!

At this point I have dug out my floor frame (it's called a Grip-It Plus, but is apparently no longer in production - although it looks very much like the Edmunds company floor frames).


I have set up a new project, and I have been watching videos on YouTube about things like gridding your fabric for projects.  I'd love to get back to some of the very intricate artwork patterns I collected years ago!

My new project is an inexpensive downloaded pattern for a close-up of a guitar and strings, called "Guitar Strings" that I got on Etsy.

Here is my floor frame setup.

Here is the lamp set up over the floor frame with my project.

And here is my project, seen at my eye level through the lit-up magnifier!

It really makes an amazing difference!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Puppy is home!

My youngest child (almost 19) and I traveled almost all day Friday up to the Northern Kingdom of Vermont to pick up our new puppy.  This is Jasper!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Yesterday was a long day...

We traveled up to Vermont - all the way up 93 to 91, then north for a bit longer.  We went up to view some puppies and put a deposit on one.

This is a red merle male mini Aussie (they now have their own registry as North American Shepherds, or something like that, but this particular guy will only be a bit smaller than a regular Aussie - not in the "toy" category).  He is not yet named - in fact, he is not yet home, as he still needs to receive his puppy shots.  We're hoping we'll be able to pick him up by the end of the week!

In other news, Penny starts classes at American K-9 Country in Amherst, NH tomorrow, to further socialize her and help her be more comfortable around new situations (as well as people and other dogs).  If she can be happy instead of stressed in new situations, we will definitely do more hiking together.

I haven't done any more hiking since the rail trail; we've been hit with a heat wave, and I have no desire to hike in that.  I have been working on a few puzzles in the last few weeks, in the nice air-conditioned bedroom.  I need to work more with the dogs (trick training) as well as work on my guitar more!  Guitar lessons have moved to Wednesday afternoons for the summer, and there are fewer of them, but they will continue nevertheless.