Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mini-Vacation Ends

Slow getting this post up...I've been back for 8 days and I need another mini-vacation (warning to "the Nancy's" not to answer the phone!)

After saying my goodbyes to Nancy and Paul and leaving the Silver Cloud Alpaca farm, I drove over the beautiful countryside to Stirling to visit Marj Brady at Amazing Graze Alpacas. Boy, the sky was blue that day...a perfect day to go and check out Marj's fine herd. Just look at this shot...isn't that a perfect fall day?

Following a nice but too short visit at Amazing Graze Alpacas, I drove over to Enniskillen to Spinning Wheel Alpacas, farm of Nancy and Garth Hutchinson. For the past two years, I've joined Nancy in a booth at the CreativFestival in downtown Toronto. This year, I couldn't participate, but thought I'd pop down with Garth to the show, in time to help Nancy dismantle her booth.

The CreativFestival was a smaller footprint this year, but from my quick scoot through before closing time, it looked like there were more fibre and yarn vendors.

It was too short a visit with Nancy this time, but I did get to check out her new critters! Her alpacas (of course), angora rabbits, new LGD puppies, rescued pot-belly pigs...and ROCKY! Rocky is a young male camel that Nancy is fostering for a local zoo. Nancy is committed to training Rocky on halter and to trailer.

You might have seen Rocky and Nancy in the Toronto Star earlier in the month. It's like a love story...which is a bit twisted (but well...you have to know my friend, Nancy, to understand that:)).

Anyway...visits to the Hutchinson's farm is always interesting and always too short.

What I appreciate about the time spent with these other alpaca fibre producers, besides their warm friendship, is the information and knowledge shared about our product improvements and discoveries. (Sometimes, seeing the great things that others are doing keeps the fire under us to work harder!)

Home again, home again....jiggity-jig.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mini-Vacation Starts...

Where does an alpaca-farmer-slash-fibre-artist go on a mini-vacation....

Friday, I started out heading east along Highway 17. I stopped at Deep River where there is a really wonderful Artisan cooperative shop where I bought a few little gifts. Then a meandering drive south-east to the Wilton Road Mill at Oddessa where I picked up my new yarns, rovings and felt. I'm loving my replenished supply of rovings and this new yarn pictured below. This lofty 2 ply yarn is a blend of several colours in my herd and blended with 30% merino.

Then I carried on to arrive at the farm of my good friend's Nancy Carr and Paul Ropp of Silver Cloud Alpacas in Elginburg. Nancy's a well-respected alpaca breeder and knitter. Paul is a serious baker of things that delight me. Here, I get to wake up in the quiet farm house bedroom to the aroma of coffee and cinnamon buns.

On Saturday, I was fortunate to be able to go to a fibre arts event in Napanee, where several talented fibre artists were have a show at the historical McPherson House. One of these talented women was Tracey Asselstine, a handspinner,knitter,weaver,fibre farmer. Tracey is also the person who I entrust with producing yarn from my fibre, as she also works at Wilton Road mill. Her work is beautiful. Even I couldn't resist picking up a little handspun hat for my daughter.

Saturday night, Paul and Nancy treated me to a the light-hearted play 'Letter from Wingfield Farm' starring Rod Beattie at Ganonoque's 1000 Island Playhouse. What a treat!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A New Hat!

Yeah, I finished my hat from my hand paint handspun. I kinda just winged a pattern. It ended up a bit big, but I'm happy with it. I like the little I-cord with tassels from the top. It's not a style that I would typically wear, but I've grown attached to the yarn and want it on my head :)

This long weekend, we all wore off some turkey and pie by clearing up some deadfall and bush from the pastures to top up the woodshed. It's the kind of work that makes you feel good physically and mentally.

We've been watching the Weather Network's report of snow in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I guess we are next!! So warm hats and stove wood are good things....

We've been watching this little industrious guy stripping the pinecones off the trees around the house lately.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's a time to be thankful for all we hold dear. Have a safe weekend and hug the ones you're with.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Hat Project

After spinning some of my hand painted rovings (70% my alpaca/ 30% somebuddy else's merino), I had a hard time deciding to try my hand at Navajo Plying. (For those non-spinners, it's a way of plying that uses one strand looped within itself like a crochet chain. For painted rovings, it allows colour to stay together in lengths of the 3 ply yarn.)
Well, I ended up with a useable yarn, but I'm going to have to practice this. The yarn was quite overtwisted.

I've started knitting a simple hat for myself.

Yesterday, we went to the Sturgeon River Museum in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario for their annual Cranberry Festival. We had a great breakfast of pancakes and sausage there, then took in the museum and visited the artisans on display. We skipped the expedition to the cranberry marsh, as we had an outside day planned at home. I was pleased to run into a fibre artist friend who had a booth there, along with several other quality artisans. The museum is worth a day trip any time, as they displays of the history of logging, the fur trade and the people of the area are very educational.