Last of August

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Miss Mess’s new favorite question is “is it a fall day yet?” We are ready now. She has her sweater, and a hat, my sweater is on the needles, as are a tot sized pair of mittens (complete with mitten strings because I wanted to learn to use my spool knitter.)

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We are both dreaming of falling leave, picking apples, and pumpkin pie. She is talking about Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving with her cousins, and I am ready to be cozy in handknits.

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But even as we look forward to the seasons changings, I’m trying to figure out where this big girl came from. We have her open house at preschool tomorrow, and I’m not sure how that’s possible. She is so ready though, and I am comforting myself with the thought that it’s still only two days a week, and only three hours at that. I’m hoping to use the time helping my mom out with her book keeping and knitting at the Panera just across the street (there’s not enough time to go home and back.) Wish us luck!

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Alys

 

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Meet Alys. She is the beginning of our very own fiber flock. That’s right, we are adding Angora goats to our heard. Alys is 9 years old, so she is an older girl, but is coming to us bred, so next fall, I will get to try my hand with kid mohair! I’m very excited. She has dropped twins three times out of her six pregnancies, so we have a good chance of getting two new arrivals in spring. Angora bucks come into rut later than some goats because of the heat of their fleece, so it will be a little bit longer before she joins our farm.

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Very friendly, she warmed up quickly when I visited, especially when I shared a fortune cookie. Although, the pumpkin really captured her attention. Her fleece will be coarser because of her age, but it gives me a chance to learn without fear of spoiling a fine fleece, and her color is still very pretty. Angora goats are sheared twice a year, so I don’t have to wait long to try spinning the results.

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This are her kids from this year, I was introduced to them as proof of what she has in her. Aren’t the curly bangs cute? I will also be bringing home Pansy when we pick up Alys, but she was more shy and I didn’t get any pictures. She is 2 years old, and cream colored. She has a few more clips of ultra fine fleece, so I’m looking forward to seeing the results. Hopefully I will be able to win her over quickly.

 

 

Yarn Along

I’m loving Ginny’s Yarn Along

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Knitting: a Shaun the Sheep hat for Miss Mess. I’m almost done with the color work, but still need to watch some tutorials on how to do decreases with double knitting.

Reading: I’m brushing up on my fiber basics with Clara Park’s The Knitter’s Book of Wool, a much appreciated gift from my dad.

Listening: Woolful is back after a short break, and I’m thrilled.

On the kindle: more K.M. Shea, now I’m enjoying her take on King Arthur.

What are you doing?

The next great adventure

wpid-wp-1440451208529.jpegSo the mailman was eagerly awaited this week. Thanks to trading services with my mom and mother-in-law, I have been able to buy forty (!) skeins of undyed yarn in order to start my etsy shop. I am so excited. I have twenty 100gram hanks of both 100% merino and organic cotton. Miss Mess was also very excited to see my treasures, but wasn’t thrilled with the color or the fact it wasnt going to be something for her.

wpid-wp-1440451196089.jpegSo this past weekend, I gathered all my dried flowers as well as whatever I could find around the property and threw them all into the dye pot. (Note to future self, buy more dye pots.) This batch is mostly marigolds, but also a lot of black eyed susans, some mexican sunflower, and the few heads of goldenrod Miss Mess picked for me on our last walk.

wpid-wp-1440451184135.jpegThe cotton did not take the dye as well, and I’m trying to decide if I need to over dye it. It’s a pretty, but very pale, yellow green, and not much of a change from the undyed color. It would make a great neutral though.

wpid-wp-1440451178275.jpegI was very very pleased with the wool. It’s a beautiful warm chartreuse, slightly variegated, and looking like the newest tips of leaf buds in the sun. It is soft and springy, but spun with enough twist that I think it may not pill as badly as some merino.

wpid-wp-1440451172222.jpegThey dried all day in the sun, and all in all, I am very happy with the result. I’m also going to try poke berry, black walnut, and indigo.

Kids

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A few more pictures of the kids of our herd. I love how universal King of the Hill is, Miss Mess and the youngest three babies instinctively all play on the milk stand, occasionally head butting and pushing to gain the high ground. No feelings are hurt, and everyone just clambers back up.

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I don’t think there is anything more curious than a friendly goat. They immediately want to know what you and anything you bring into the field is made of. Did you know goats don’t have upper front teeth? I only learned after bottle feeding for a season. It makes it easier to let them suckle your fingers, but we have all learned the hard way not to let them pull your fingers too far back, because those back teeth are made for grinding, and that hurts.

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This is Charlotte, she is Miss Mess’s best playmate, the bravest and biggest of this summer’s babies. She is one of our bottle fed kids, and is still not happy to have been weaned. She is one of the first voices you hear when coming out of the door, and certainly the loudest.

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Darla has only recently been moved into the playschool pen, since we turned our buck Shemp in with the older ladies. So she is not used to us being in and around as much as the younger babies, but is naturally friendly and quickly warmed up even to Miss Mess. She loves greeting the cars when we drive up, and always calls hi.

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My buddy Hugo. The only one of our first set of triplets to make it, he is still a little runty. (Hugo is short for Humongous, since he was so tiny at first.) He is the sweetest boy, content to be cuddled and loved on, although he is starting to get too big to easily do so. His mama is Lucy, our oldest and most personality-filled goat, she is a milk goat but way too stubborn to be milked. He was my induction to the not so pleasant side of farm life, as I helped with the wethering process.  However, he doesn’t hold a grudge, and didn’t hesitate to climb on up to be held and eat my hair. I think he will have just as much character as his mama, but with an easier going disposition. I’m glad he is staying on for now as a companion animal, its hard not to get attached, and makes it even harder than normal.

Emily is Charlotte’s twin and the middle goat int he top picture, but is a little more skiddish than he sister and I don’t have a great recent picture of her. Minnie is also in this back field, but high-tails it to opposite end when we come in. We have our older girls in the big pen, and Ill see if I can’t get out there soon to do the introductions.

Yarn Along

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Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along again.

Reading: I’m working on making Miss Mes some school clothes. She is starting two days a week preschool this year, and I’m bouncing between being terrified and thrilled. Sewing helps, and so I’m browsing through Wear Stitch Play and Weekend Sewing for ideas and patterns.

On the Kindle: I’ve fallen for K. M. Shea’s fairy tell rewrites, and her newest, Puss In Boots, is no different. Sweet and simple, but with fun twists, they are a quick but entertaining read. They are also in the Kindle Unlimited library, which is wonderful.

Knitting: I’m a little over halfway through with Miss Mess’s fall sweater, Bitty Birchbark and am loving both the pattern and the yarn. It will be very light weight as its knit loosely from a mostly cotton yarn, but will be great for the transitions of fall.

Listening: I’ve just found A Playful Days’s podcast and am working my way through the archives happily. With plenty of knitting and crafting chatter, making inspiration, and just life moments, they are hitting the spot of lightness I seem to be craving lately.

Then Again, Maybe Not

So, I probably brought this on myself, mentioning how easy double knitting was. I’m normally not very bothered by mistakes in my knitting, but I had a bunch here, and the stark contrast between the yarns made them rather hard to hide.

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So I took a deep breath and ripped it out to my second row. As I was picking up stitches back up, I realized I had picked up a stitch on my first row that was probably causing a lot of my troubles. So I watched a few more videos, including one on fixing mistakes in double knitting that would have been very helpful before i ripped out. I think I have a much better idea on how to read my knitting now, so that’s another benefit. I’m a process knitter anyways (instead lf a product knitter) so this really didn’t bother me too much.
Thirty minutes outside with yarn while Miss Mess played happily in the dirt really couldn’t be misspent truthfully. At least it not fabric, and can’t easily be redone without buying more.

Drying Dye

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My mom’s garden is exploding with marigolds lately, and I just don’t have the yarn available yet to take advantage of this abundance. So I’m experimenting with drying the flowers for later use. Most of the pictures I’ve seen online have used old screen doors or a dehydrator, and I don’t have either. Old school as it is, I simply strung these on a thread with a needle to hang and dry. I will let you know how it turns out.

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Has anyone had any experience with drying dye flowers for later use?

A Creek Runs Through It

 

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There is something magical about our big rock. It is not the first big rock, and isn’t even half the size of my grandparents big rock, but it is as crucial to our summer days as sunshine. No matter how hot it gets, down in the shade it is comfortable. Put even just your toes in, and everything is cool again.

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Miss Mess digs and splashes and explores while I read or knit or both. The dogs cool their bellies and then nap on the banks.
Walking to the mailbox become a half mile journey as we side track across the bridge and through the woods. I’ve started packing snacks and a water bottle, knowing we will be down here at least an hour. But I get more steps in, and she wears thorough a small fraction of her boundless energy.

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The running water, the singing birds, the chirpping tree frogs, even the toddler questions blend together to the most wonderful music, and my hands, heart, and mind are at peace.