Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back from My Break!

I was at a workshop for my library work a couple weeks back on maintaining your web presence.  Apparently, a blog should be updated regularly.  I'll try harder! 

May has proven to be a busy and stressful month around here.  And that was BEFORE the blackflies started!  If you are reading from afar and aren't familiar with the Northern Ontario blackfly...a word of advice...don't plan to visit between mid-May and July 1.  Here in Corbeil, two weeks after the snow has gone, we are praying for a freakish drop in temperature that might kill the blackfly population and mosquito larvae.

But I am looking forward to harvesting the fibre from our alpacas.  Since I only own a small herd, I also buy fibre from other alpaca farmers as well to make my yarn. 

At this time of year, I like to figure out whose fibre will go into what batch of yarn.  Vivaldi's will likely go into a batch of lofty sport weight knitting yarn, blended with 30% merino.  Would you like a Vivaldi hat and scarf set?
I've been spending a lot of time walking in the fields around twilight time, just when the temperature cools off and the blackflies have settled down.  The alpacas are grazing on our side of the fenceline and the deer are grazing on the other side of the fenceline.  A peaceful end to my day.

 I made a recipe from the Foodand Ontario recipe flyer that I picked up last week.  It's a Maple Ham and Asparagus Strata.  It uses 6 eggs (the chickens are popping eggs out like crazy)!  I had wanted to get Ontario grown asparagus, but had to settle for US imported asparagus.   Even though asparagus is supposed to be in season in Ontario, my grocery store didn't have it.  Time to switch grocery stores?  Maybe the Ontario crop isn't ready yet?

Today, I took a machine knitting workshop with Carloyn Barnett .  I was so excited.  Four years ago, I had bought some used equipment from a friend of a friend, who was clearing out her late mother's stuff from her garage.  I had taken a chance and had no idea what I had bought.  The boxes have sat under my bed, while waiting on my 'Some Day' list.

I thought that the price of a one day local workshop was worth the price of just finding out what I had in the boxes and see what was missing.
Wow!  Within the first 45 minutes of the workshop, the participants had put their pieces together and found out what parts needed to be regularly maintained.  Then we actually started on a toddler's pullover.
It was a great day.  Even though I got pretty messed up on the shoulder and neckline shaping, I finished the back of the sweater with Carolyn's help.  I also gained the confidence that I could start making some rectangular scarves and shawls at home.
I have wanted to take a week-long machine knitting course at Haliburton School of Arts during the summer, but didn't want to make the commitment without knowing that I had a working machine.  Now I can sign up for courses when I please, because I know this equipment works.

Besides being a great learning experience, the workshop provided a nice mental break.   And some days those are needed more than others.


Wooly Knits n Bits said...

Oh my! Those alpacas look so fluffy and soft! Yes, a Vivaldi hat/scarf would be great!
That course sounds like it was a lot of fun. Now I wish I had a knitting machine too! Ok so what shall I get first? Knitting machine or spinning wheel?

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

The course was fun, indeed. If you want my vote, it would be a spinning wheel....well, for enjoyment and relaxation, anyway. I guess if you want to get to finished product sooner, the knitting machine would be it.

Azure Islands Designs said...

I hear ya about the black flies...fortunately I'm not bothered by them in least not right now.

What about Vivaldi socks??? My feet get cold in the winter!

Your Strata looks delicious...I'm not much of a cook so I'm always impressed by what others do...

A knitting machine sounds like fun...I look forward to seeing what you learn to make on this machine.

Yes...a mental break is a good thing...we all deserve those on occasion!

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Well, I should have clarified before the Northern Ontario Tourism people called me...PEOPLE, it is Safe to come to Northern Ontario during blackflies season. Just wear white and stick to the urban areas.
Heather - Vivaldi is too soft for socks. I have lots of sock guys though ;)
and never, ever be impressed by my cooking. I'm the gal that brings a sliced pineapple and Cheetos to a potluck.

Val said...

Norma is partially responsible for me getting a spinning wheel. Its lovely and relaxing.

I do agree with her about the bugs tho, a group of blackflies got into my shirt this week and apparently I am allergic if the resulting bites are anything to go by.

Stix and Stones was lovely on our visit on Tuesday, next time I will give you a call Norma and see if we can't get together....I did buy some of your fiber and am sorry I didn't buy some of your yarn also, guess I will call Rae and order it..LOL