Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter Bones

It's February! More sunny days and longer daylight hours are noticeable. I notice in Facebook that many friends are posting spring and summer pictures to give us all hope. I was listening to the CBC radio program about gardening the other day. The expert was telling us how to plan your garden, so that even the 'winter bones' of your garden are appealing. Well, I'll have to work on that. However, it did make me look at things differently while walking back from the barn.

Sumac in the winter is quite lovely.
My sumac study didn't last long before I noticed that some wild critter (either a fox or a martin, likely) had dug up a dead muskrat that had been buried in the snow. Ahhhh, the 'winter bones' of my rural garden need some refining, for sure.

I have been busy with all things and accomplishing nothing, it seems. I hope to have some finished projects to show you soon.

I was invited to give a presentation at the Powassan Public Library at the end of January. The topic began as 'yarn', but soon transformed into an evening to expose new or previous knitters to many possibilities of knitting with the new fibres and colours available. A couple friends really helped out by bringing their great sample garments. Obviously, I am biased with my alpaca yarn, but I did want to showcase all the possibilities. We also explored some of the environmental and fair trade considerations when buying yarn. Thanks to a friend made through, I was able to show slides of some very funky wearable art made with novelty art yarn. I was pleased with the large turnout and hope that the evening helped the library to start a knitting program in this community.

I shared a few pictures of harvesting alpaca for my yarn. The audience loved these "before, during and after" pictures, as usual.

A good friend, Suzanne, and I have been planning a project for well over a year. I had some black alpaca yarn that was more suitable for weaving material than knitting. Suzanne and I had decided that there was probably enough there to weave two black jackets if we put them on one loom. We've talked a lot about this over many months. Suzanne grew tired of talking about it. So, we've picked out patterns. We've consulted with Ralph, our weaving guru. We've gone shopping for some colour accent yarn (of course, after shopping, I discovered the perfect Noro novelty yarn in my stash). We've planned the warp (apparently in a garment, even random colour needs to be planned carefully). We made the warp. Suzanne is weaving the material at her apartment.

I am really looking forward to having something made from alpaca handcrafted by my friend Suzanne. Besides being an accomplished weaver/artist, Suzanne is a very special person in my life.
Alpaca are a huge part of my life. This garment will be so special.

Suzanne is very focussed on this project. I think it might be consuming her! We have already discussed hand-crafted buttons for this garment.

Here's a picture of Aurelia. I've shown you pictures of her beautiful fleece before. She actually is a brilliant white although the picture looks like she is fawn. I'm sure it is just the overcast lighting, because she couldn't possibly be that dirty.


Azure Islands Designs said...

Hey Norma...

Your sumac actually look lovely against the snow.
I absolutely love this statement!!!
"I have been busy with all things and accomplishing nothing, it seems." could be talking about me... :0)

I love the Alpaca fur harvesting they feel "exposed" at mother used to have a long haired cat, whose hair used to matt terribly and couldn't be combed out so the only solution was to shave him just like the Alpaca and when Max cam home from the groomers he would hide for days...poor fellow!!!

I look forward to seeing your jackets, I'm sure the will be gorgeous...

Enjoy your weekend Norma...

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Hi Heather,

Well, you have to shear all the boys one after the other. Otherwise, they'll pick on the skinny guy.
When you start shearing the girls, the guys get all frisky - don't know if they think they are new girls or if they think they've got their 'clothes' off.
The young ones who get sheared for the first time are very cute. They don't know what the breeze is...since they are born with so much fibre, they don't feel it until they are sheared for the first time (usually about 12 months old.) After they realize it feels good and start running around.
The studs do look pretty pathetic and skrawny after all the fluff is gone.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

The Sumac looks so pretty with the white snow in the background.
I like the before and after pictures too. I think my fuzzy cat Lionel would look like the after picture with his long hair shaved.
The black yarn is beautiful weaved. I can't wait to see the jackets. It will be so special.
Have a great weekend.

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

It's funny that you like the picture with the SNOW in it! I've been following your blog and trust me, after 3 months of snow...I envy a Georgia farmer!
I hope to have pictures of the finished material soon - it is unbelievable.

marj. said...

I love before and after photos - the crias look especially tiny and pathetic but still very cute.