Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pet Peeve

You know what I want?

I want a knitting book that shows what a finished product looks like. I want to see it from the front, and I want to see it from the back. A side shot would be nice.

You know what I don't want?

An extreme close-up on a sleeve, rather than showing me what the HELL the *whole* damn thing looks like.

Artistry has its place, and hooray for having interesting shots, but don't sacrifice showing me what the fuck I'm making for an artsy shot that tells me nothing about the finished product.

Monday, September 27, 2010


In something that could be ironic, but actually is just irritating, I hired a personal trainer in August, just when the fruit crop share that I'd signed up for was picking up speed. Guess what wasn't on my diet? Sugar! This includes fruit. So, this has forced me to Learn Stuff. Specifically, I've been canning like it is going out of style.

So far this year:
2 pints of apricot preserves
4 pints raspberry jam
7 quarts (and 1 pint) of peaches in syrup
12 half pints of honey spiced peaches

And today? Today brings pear port compote. 4 pints so far, and another batch on the stove. I was planning on putting some of the pears in syrup, but Daven isn't a fan, and this just smells so heavenly that I'm going to use all of the pears for it.

At some point in my future, I am going to have some really awesome food. In the meantime, I will preserve and look forward to fruit again.

(Is it worth it? Since I moved to CO at the end of May, I've lost 30 lbs. The majority has been on this program. Hell yeah it is worth it!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

As long as it's practical, right?

...I don't think I approve of this.

Tuesdays are for...something or other.

Mostly for random updates, I think.

The yaks are settling in well.

Grunt is full of The Frolic (TM), which is funny as hell to watch. He's so bold and friendly, until Snort beats him down a little to keep him in line. He always comes over to investigate when we go into their paddock, in hope of treats or a bit of a skritch.

Snort may have been misnamed (even though he really does snort a lot)...we're thinking we should have called him Cookie Monster. *grin* This boy is totally addicted to his wookie cookie/yak snacks. It has been a while since I've been around livestock that were this clever. He knows what the bucket that we keep the cookies in looks like, and when we tried to use an identical one to distribute the calves' feed, he came lookin' for treats. There are a lot of meaningful glances towards the cookie bucket then back to us whenever we're outside, and some disappointed snorts when he does not get a tasty treat.

He does not approve of the creep feeder-type setup we've got in place to keep him out from the calf food. The post setup we had was insufficient, so it got reinforced with some spare wood pallets we had laying about. Snort has managed to get his horns and upper body between the setup, but couldn't reach the food, and then got a little stuck on his exit, so he is grumpy about the whole thing. He's got a bit of green on his horns now from trying to outsmart it. Distracting him with cookies/COB whilst the other person goes to distribute the very anise-scented calf manna works pretty well.

Maria and Millie are both pretty shy. They'll eat cookies that are tossed in front of them, but they aren't bold enough to get past the cookie hog boys. Hopefully everyone will get more used to us and friendlier as we get to know each other.

I love the inevitable question of "So, how did you end up with yaks?" from people. Our insurance guy sounded really entertained by our purchase. They are enjoyable critters. I'll get more picture of them soon; I always seem to see the most adorable antics when the camera is safely in the house.

On the fibre front, I've been spinning up a bunch of dyed alpaca lately. I'm trying to decide what I want to do with it...I have two bumps of a dark teal, and a bump of light teal that compliments the dark very well. I'm spinning it relatively finely (not laceweight, but not bulky, either), and debating between a couple of options.
- I could do a two ply of the darks against each other and try to figure something out for the light to achieve an equal amount of singles to get a 2 ply out of.
- I could do my favourite navajo plying for a slightly thicker, but shorter length of yarn, leaving me with two yarns that I could work in contrast to each other.
- I could spin all three at about the same thickness and get a three-ply yarn going with the single contrast of the light teal. I'm not sure if I like this as much, as I tend to prefer more solid colours when working, but it could work.

Once I get the singles spun up, I'll take a picture and ask for opinions.

I've also been churning out hats like they are going out of style. There should be a few photos for my end of the month wrap-up, you lucky people.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Sunday was a busy, busy day.

We woke up a little later than our usual 0700, which was unfortunate, as there was fencing to be done. Our house guests were drafted in assisting as we threw a bunch of 14 gauge 2x4x4' wire mesh fence on to a little paddock to prepare it for the new arrivals. Luckily, we got it all up (I love you, zip ties. You are awesome.) with time enough to spare so we could actually eat breakfast and get the food and water set up.

At around 1100, a huge pickup with a big trailer arrived. After a small mishap involving getting a teeny tiny bit stuck, the driver was able to maneuver into place. No livestock were visible, as it was an enclosed side trailer. The door was opened to reveal:

Our wee herd!

Checking out the lay of the land is important, as this is our lead bull. He is Mr. In Charge, even though he is only a year and a half old. Good boy.

Leading the charge out of the trailer!

This is Sir Snortimir, or Snort for short. Snort is very good at defending the babies, and is only a little bitey when fed wookie cookies. To acquaint you with the terminology, Snort is a Royal yak.

The pack of wee ones.

Gruntulus Maximus, or Grunt. Grunt is a sweetie, who also loves his wookie cookies. We have plans to train him to be a pack yak. Grunt is a trim yak.

Maria. The boys get silly names, the girls get musical-based names. Hopefully she will have a nice brood of Von Trapp calves in her future. Maria is a black yak, which you can tell because she has a grey nose. Yak colour conventions are kind of...odd.

Millie, who is the littlest one, named after the little spitfire from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Again, naming conventions should be easy with her starting us off. Millie is an imperial yak, as she is all black with a black nose. You'd think that would make her black, but, no. Crazy yak people.

The chickens aren't sure what to think of their new neighbours.

We have another 10 year old cow named Kate Grey-Nosed coming around Thanksgiving, once we're assured that she is bred.

So, lo! We are yak owners! We have a business and everything! Yes, we've gone into business with my family. My dad fronted the herd money, and my sister inadvertently named it...Because it is us, our company is The Silly Yaks, LLC. (Yes, Jen has celiacs, thus the pun. She had demanded a photo of a silly yak, and, well, one thing led to another. We love puns. See also: Off Kilter Designs for the leather kilt business. Jackasses are us!)

Expect lots of yak photos, for they are sweethearts and fuzzballs. I'll be collecting their fibre to spin/sell, and we'll sell off additions that don't fit on our 10 acres. Anyone who doesn't sell and isn't pulling their weight (ho ho) will go to the freezer, since, wow, yak meat is YUMMY. Leaner than chicken, with a flavour that is kind of a cross between beef, bison and elk, but tastier than any of the above.

Yay yaks!

Edited to add: Go check out the folks we bought the herd from. They are super friendly, full of great information, and their sense of humour is nearly as bad as ours! I knew I had missed something when I made this post...I was being rushed off for an exciting evening of watching Crocodile Dundee and spinning alpaca fluff. I am a party animal, I tell ya!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I finished the super-ribbed skull cap that I was knitting out of leftover red-based sock yarn today. Unfortunately, I overestimated on the sizing and though it fits, it is a little less clingy than I would like. C'est la vie.

I also finished an impromptu birthday hat. Photos will be included in next month's wrap up! (Spoiler: It is cute.)

Whilst my sister was down visiting me, I got her to pick out a pair of socks for me to make her. She chose purple (shocker), and the pattern I'd paired it up with should be...uh. A challenge. I think I was feeling adventurous when I threw that one into my sock kit box.

The swirl shawl will be a scarf after all, since I'm more likely to use a scarf. I'm plotting to make a matching hat, which ought to be adorable, if impractical.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Oh, right, there was that thing I was doing...

Remember when I used to do that monthly check-in thing to keep myself honest on my knitting and spinning? No? That isn't surprising, since I stopped doing them in April. What I've been up to since I moved. (Warning: Ravelry link heavy post.)

656 yds of mohair/wool blend of some description. Somewhere between worsted and bulky, depending on how "rustic" it got. This was some of the first fluff I bought; I got it at the same time and place as my wheel, and figured it was time to stop dragging it around and do something with it!

204 yds of the same mohair/wool blend, from the same purchase time. I have another 236 yds of this same colour that I should be able to use with it, but I spun that a while ago.

Not pictured FOs:
Some 2 ply purple stuff I was working on back in VA, and finished off here.
86 yds of some of the flame coloured navajo plied stuff that finished off the ball of roving I'd been poking at since January.
44 yds of drop spindle yarn for a shawl that is mentioned below.
Not pictured WIPs:
Half a bobbin of gray and white angora; my first attempt at it. So soft! I have another bag of white angora. I'll probably spin that and ply the two against each other.
The spindle is darn near full again with the shawl yarn. I need to actually work on that.

From my ill-used sock of the month plan. These two were both unique snowflakes that I had not knit before. I'm counting the green as May and since I just finished them, the blue/purple as August.

Jaywalkers started out as unique, then my mother liked them, so I knit the pair on the left for her. Jaywalkers 1 were knit in May, Jaywalkers 2 in July. See, I got my pair of socks a month thing in!

Not pictured FOs:
One striped sock that is plain stockinette. This is purely "blind" knitting, so it only really gets worked on if I go to the movies, thus the lack of progress on it.
A red and blue ball, because it was hilarious.
An arigumi 'gator for Daven.

Not pictured WIPs:
Shawl 1 (currently waiting on finishing the spinning for it. Using my drop spindle, which is a bit slower, so it has been stalled for a while.)
Shawl 2 was just cast on yesterday, as was Shawl 3. I'm in a mood. Shawl 3 may end up as a scarf, depending on just how much of a mood I am in.
Also actively knitting two of these in varying yarns. The second one is using up all of the left-over red-based sock yarn, striped against each other, and it is looking pretty awesome.
I've got another pair of these going on, in some yarn that involves pink that makes me happy. This is my default pattern. What do I mean? I mean I just had yarn with me, and had a social call to make. I stopped by a shop and picked up new needles (Hiya Hiya 5" bamboo, which I think I have a crush on. They fit my hands so nicely!) and this is the pattern I carry around with me in my wallet. That's normal, right? Everyone...carries a knitting pattern in their wallet...just in case. Hm. Maybe not "normal".
I still have Daven's sweater to work on, but I haven't been feeling the urge lately. Urge to cast on 3929374 projects, not so much to finish them.

Maybe I'll take pictures of some of the other FOs eventually. I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. :)