Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pictures of things that have been finished!

 My tattoo was finally completed on 11/2! 24 total hours under the needle. Oy, vey.

 Longitudinal socks, with my always adored Zauberball, were knit sometime in September, I think.

 Just finished up this Nyan cat scarf this morning for my friend Megan. It is stupidly cute.

 Men's size 11 Longitudinal socks, finished on 10/28 for a classmate who always loudly admired my hand knit socks, and had the presence of mind to actually *ask for a pair*. He was proudly wearing them last Tuesday and declared them to be the best socks ever, and wondered how much another half dozen pairs would be. I made a o_O face.

 Yggdrasil blanket, on the needles for years, was finally finished! Yay!!!

 I broke out my dyes to mess with some yarn for the first time since I moved to CO.

This was the 4th place prize for the Hot Summer Knits yarn crawl I participated in! This would be the yarn that is dyed in the picture above. I need to do more dyeing!

And then there has been a ton of spinning. I'll get photos of that up eventually. I participated in the Tour De Fleece back in June and have fallen firmly back in love with my wheel. Whee!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

EHD sucks.

The last post ended where I was waiting for results on the cause of death for Snort. He ended up testing positive for EHD, or Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, a virus that causes, surprise, hemorrhaging and death. Typically this is carried by deer and spread by gnats or flies.

Sadly, this was not an isolated incident. Herds of yaks all over Colorado and up into Nebraska have been coming down with this virus, with multiple fatalities in various herds. It is speculated that the extremely dry summer caused the flies to jump to yaks, but right now, we're not sure why the heck this is happening.

Also sadly, I lost Kate yesterday morning. She had been fighting this for almost two weeks and had gone up and down in how she was doing, but she died Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I brought her into CSU's vet hospital to get a necropsy done on her as I highly suspect this is the same thing. As I said to the vet who took her, if this is an epidemic, it needs accurate statistics, and I am willing to pay for a necropsy to make sure they know just how bad this is.

So, I'm down to 5 yaks now. Kai is still recovering, and is probably at 90% of his old self. Maria also came down with it, and was roommates with Kate for the last two weeks, but she seems to have recovered sufficiently that I put her back in with Grunt. No more snotty nose, no laboured breathing, no swollen eyelids. Enthusiastic desire to eat and drink to regain the huge amount of weight that she lost. Grunt, Millie and Squeaky have not shown any symptoms thus far and I'm crossing my fingers that they do not. At the moment, I have a 50% fatality rate for critters who get this. Since it is a virus, there is nothing much to do for it aside from treat the symptoms and try to keep them eating and drinking. Kate wasted away to just skin and bones.

This has been a pretty terrible month in a series of bad months. I'm exhausted, but thankful for the aid and support I received from so many people. For those playing along at home, the body count from the last 6 months has been 3 yaks (Kate, Snort and their calf that didn't make it 24 hours) and about a dozen chickens. Farming. Sometimes it sucks. But then I go and feed Squeaky and he gives me so much love that I can't help but be reminded why I have all of these critters in the first place.

To leave off on a more cheerful note, here is the silliest photo I've taken in a long time. Yes, we are sitting on my front porch, he's wearing my hat, and trying to eat my hair. Silly Squeaky.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What's the buzz, tell me what's a-happenin'...

Lots of fiber stuff has happened, and I will post about it eventually. For now, I'm posting what is at the forefront of my mind.

On Thursday morning, Kai (last year's bucket baby) was down and wouldn't get up in the morning. I fretted, but had to go to clinic. When I came back, he was in the same damn place, but with liberal applications of COB, I was able to bribe him over to the water tank and some hay.

Friday morning, Kai was down again. I called the vet, who said he'd be there around noon. As I continued my morning chores, I saw that Snort was laying next to the stock tank, and as he'd been kinda stand-offish lately, I went to go say hello to him. What I saw was alarming. He was down and had strands of snot hanging from his nose. When I encouraged him to get up, he went to get a drink but was clearly unable to do so. He would put his mouth in the tank and just blow bubbles, then make strange contortions with his mouth as if he were in a great deal of pain from it. It was absolutely heart breaking to watch. I offered him COB and he ignored it. Considering this is the yak we nicknamed "Cookie Monster", the fact that he was ignoring treats was very bad. I called the vet back and said we had a two-fer. I described Snort's symptoms and he said the dreaded R word...rabies. At that point I pretty much lost it. I texted a good friend of mine (hereby known as Miss Supportive) from school, who came to stay with me so I wouldn't just fly apart. The hours before the vet arrived were interminable, but helped greatly by having company. The last four months since Daven had to move back to DC have been very hard, with a lot of horrible crap happening that I couldn't do anything about, but I think this was just about the worst thing that has happened thus far.

When Miss Supportive got out, I was able to jolly Kai back into standing up again, at which point he ate and drank a little. The vet was not able to arrive until after 1430, at which point I'd just about gone numb from being overwhelmed. In a day full of memorable moments (some good, most bad), one that stands out was when the vet (who I am just going to call Dr. Awesome) was there and we were first discussing Snort. He was doing his "I can't drink, but I desperately want to" routine, and though my day was filled with tears, I hate crying in front of someone I don't know...well, I was trying to hold it together, but some tears escaped and I had to look away from Snort before I totally lost it. At that point I looked at Dr. Awesome and his face was wet. It meant so much to me that he was not numb to the pain of those around him. So many people build up a thick boundary to insulate themselves from what is going around them; I really appreciate that he was still moved.

The vet and I discussed how to treat Snort, and Dr. Awesome crawled into the pasture to see if he could try the straightforward approach. Snort did not appreciate it and charged him. After that, Snort seemed tuckered out, and laid down, at which point Dr. Awesome snuck around behind Snort and whilst I made soothing noises and held onto one of Snort's horns, a temp was taken and stethoscope was utilized. Snort had no rumen noises, which is a very bad thing. Dr. Awesome decided that since I didn't have a chute, we'd need to transport Snort to the vet school hospital down at CSU. I made noises about not having a trailer, and he said not to worry about it, he had some ideas.

At that point, we went to check on Kai. He was much more reactive to the temp check (funny how rectal thermometers can make critters RUN RAPIDLY AWAY from them) and bolted whilst Dr. Awesome held onto Kai's tail. Kai got a couple of shots, one of painkillers and one of steroids and it was declared we'd watch his symptoms and treat him as we find out more about Snort. Another excellent moment was when Dr. Awesome was trying to find out the basal temp for a yak and was sure Google would help him. I said that I doubted Google knew, because Google doesn't know a damn thing about yaks. He mentioned Wikipedia and I said though there is an excellent photograph of a man riding a yak, there were no temps there. Eventually, after some very amusing phone calls, it was decided that the yaks were probably running fevers, but he wasn't sure. And then, thankfully, we remembered Squeaky. You know, the house yak? Yeah, he stayed Squeaky (Sir Maximilian Squeakulous the Mighty, thankyouverymuch), and he's a bouncing big 2 month old who was able to be checked over (yup, he's healthy) and also got to experience the joy of a temperature taking. He was at 102'ish, so the two with temps over 103 were declared to indeed have fevers.

And lo, Dr. Awesome did have to bolt off to his next appointment, promising to return with transportation for Snort. Miss Supportive and I had time to eat a teeny amount of leftovers and a pudding pop before he got back with the woman who had been his next appointment. I'm going to call her Ms. Incredible.  Ms. Incredible was already in the pasture and had backed up to Snort by the time that someone honked to let us know they were there. Loading Snort took a bit of doing, but eventually we got him in. (Interesting fact: it had been almost a year since I last set foot in the pasture due to the whole teenage bulls being crazy thing. That morning after finding Snort, I'd captured Grunt and Kate in the small paddock so we didn't have to worry about Grunt being aggressive.) Ms. Incredible was totally fearless, and it wasn't until later, when we were down in town that we found out why a bull yak didn't intimidate her: she raises Texas Longhorns. As she put it "Snort's horns are only a yearling's to me!" She was frustrated that he didn't respond to a whip at all, but then I brought out the Stick of Conversation that Daven had used to get Snort's attention, and that got him moving into the trailer. So, off Ms. Incredible went with Snort, and I got to transport a lovely fresh stool sample.  Miss Supportive and I drove off down to town, with both of us making phone calls to update various people of what was going on.

Arriving at the hospital was a little confusing, and there was much driving around wondering where the people who were supposed to be meeting us were. Eventually the truck and trailer were correctly positioned and the swarm of vets and vet students started tentatively poking at Snort. Snort had laid down and was not having it with moving. They tried to get him out of the trailer by rocking him and eventually using a cattle prod, but that just pissed him off, which isn't the best idea ever. They got a blood sample and the lead vet seemed ready to try and send us home, which I protested against. They seemed honestly afraid of Snort, and if you are afraid of an animal, it bloody well knows it and will use that against you. After more shenanigans, including when they declared that they were going to tie his head to his leg so he couldn't get up, which of course made him get right up and swing his head at them, much to their consternation, I finally said that no, we were absolutely not leaving with him, he needed medical support and there wouldn't be a damn thing I could do for him at home. Throughout all of this, I was very rattled and Ms. Incredible was a fantastic advocate for me. She was pretty sure it wasn't rabies, as she'd been a wildlife officer for years and was used to being around rabid critters. Finally, they decided they would sedate him and roll him out of the trailer once he was passed out. I got the "sedation might kill him" conversation a couple of times (that's OK, I was rambling about everything to anyone who would stand near me at that point; I was barely holding it together at all, which was not helped by the fact that I'd had a bowl of granola, about a cup of leftover HuHot Express and a pudding pop to eat all day, and it was after 1800 by this point.) but I approved said sedation so they'd get him the hell out of that trailer. So, they gave him what they thought was enough to knock him out. Nope. It was just enough to get him to stand up and walk his own damn self out of the trailer. I made a point to give him skritches and tell him what a good boy he was before they led him out and started working on him. At the point where they tipped him onto his side to start examining him more closely, I decided I didn't want to see any more and Miss Supportive and I went to get some damn food, finally. Pancakes happened. They were glorious and filled with blueberries.

I'd forgotten my phone in the car whilst we had dinner, and returned to a couple of voice mails. I called the on-call vet back and she briefed me on what was going on...basically, she spent 10 minutes couching things in the most technical terms possible to say that he seemed to be in respiratory distress and they had NFI what was happening. She promised to call back in the morning with an update. Miss Supportive and I went back to my house, watched The 13th Warrior (which is basically like comfort food for my mind to me) and crashed out at midnight.

This morning at 0800,  Ms. Incredible called to find out what was going on. I didn't have much of an update for her, but promised to call her back when I knew more. She made a point to say that I needed to let her know when she was going to pick Snort up from the school so she could take him home for me. Seriously. I didn't know this woman at all and she was absolutely one of the most gracious, kindest and most giving people I can imagine, doing all of this for a stranger. I am truly touched by the people who came and supported me through this, thus why they get funny nicknames that really reinforce how fantastic they were for me when I really needed that support.

The on-call vet called at 0900 to let me know that Snort had some water overnight, but hadn't touched his food. She said they were going to see about doing a rumen transfusion after they had put some more fluids into his system. I told Miss Supportive of what was going on and said I was fine, so she headed home. I got another call at 1000. I knew this was bad. That was too fast.

I was right. After they'd introduced more fluids, it had rehydrated his system and he started passing blood. He grew weaker until he gave up and stopped fighting and died. I wasn't sure if I had any more tears, but I found them. I called Daven and then my folks and told them what was going on. Then I ran away to Wyoming to take part in a Yarn Crawl in hopes it would take my mind off of things. When asked how I was enjoying it today, my response was "It is somewhat distracting", which was not what the person asking the question expected to hear. I had enough time after Cheyenne and Laramie to head back and finish off the two shops in Fort Collins I hadn't yet hit, and then returned to Your Daily Fiber, where I'd started my crawl last Saturday when I took an art yarns spinning class. (I told you I have fiber updates. I'll get around to them soonish.) These are the folks who inspired us to get yaks 2 years ago, and who I often go and commiserate with about yak follies. I needed to talk to someone who had these critters and could somewhat understand what I was going through. I bought what the shop owner jokingly refers to as my "comfort yarn" and headed home.

Kai is spotty in his recovery. He grazes, but he lays down a lot. He seems to be breathing very heavily at times. I hope he recovers.

There will be a necropsy on Snort tomorrow and hopefully we will learn more (such as if this is something I need to worry about with the rest of my herd or not) soon.

I'm just so sad. I miss my Cookie Monster yak. The herd looks so blasted monochromatic, as he was the only royal we had (aside from wee Squeakster). *sigh* Now I wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, June 15, 2012

House Yaks. They are a thing.

Maria, our first heifer to give birth, rejected her baby. I have more adorable photos of the day he was born, but the really relevant part is that he was rejected and I managed to snag him and now I have a house yak. I speculate that Maria's milk didn't come in. I came home from school yesterday to find the rest of the herd in the paddock, and this little guy standing very far away (out of eyesight) from the rest, next to the water tank, looking wobbly and lost. I'm extremely thankful that he was close enough to the fence that I was able to grab him and drag him through, as his tummy was tragically empty. I've never heard a critter's tummy growl before! 

He has no official name for the first week, since he could still go downhill, so I'm generally calling him "Squeaky". Yup. Squeaky the House Yak. 

 And since Blogger won't let me upload it here, this is the video of why I call him "Squeaky".

Monday, June 11, 2012

Session 4

Another day, another 4.5 hours under the needles. Curtis got a whole lot done with this session, between the details on Nidhogg (and many many scales) to colouring the deer and Ratatosk, who I have decided is representative of my inner mischief maker. He even has the same colour hair that I do currently. :)

2 more sessions scheduled at this point. We'll see what more we can get done in those parameters!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Work in Progress - Session 3

Another 2'ish hours, and I'm sprouting foliage! Also, my falcon is starting to get a little colour. Next session is scheduled for June, unless we can sneak another one in before then.

Monday, March 12, 2012

WIP - Second Session: Shading

Another 3 hours under the needle today. Seriously, I am amazed that this is part of me. It is fantastic. There was a guest artist from Switzerland working in the shop, and he was able to ID the various critters by name: Nidhogg, Ratatosk, Huginn and Muninn...I'm glad to know it was recognizable to others, but even if it isn't, it is a gorgeous piece of work. Sadly, no more updates until June, unless he has a cancellation. I think he's into it, so I'll just have to hold out hope for a phone call. :)

And I was totally screwed over by either the time change or my own incompetence. For whatever reason, google calendar and my phone did not have the same time on them, and I had chosen to trust my calendar. That was a mistake, and I was half an hour late to the session. I HATE being late; it is absolutely a pet peeve of mine, so I was a little twitchy to start off, but things settled in pretty well.

I can't wait until the next session!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


This is the first quilt I've designed. It is for my nephew, who I keep buying shark stuff for. If it seems like it took me an unreasonably long time to get to this point, considering the last post was of the sharks together, let me tell you a little bit about why. See all of those nice horizontal blocks? Well, when I first put part of it together, I suddenly hated those. Couldn't stand 'em, just were boring and non-dynamic. So, hey! I'm going to put together with the blocks at a diagonal, so they will be diamonds! It will look like waves! Yes!

No. Math said "Oh ho, you foolish woman. You took great care in charting out the horizontal version, and randomly decided to change things up at the last minute on a whim. For this vanity, you shall be punished." And yea, verily, I was. I got three of the sharks together (ripping apart all of the bits around the fins so that there would be diamonds instead of triangles) when suddenly the math went entirely off the rails. I'm not entirely certain what happened, but it was bad. After staring at it and cursing a great deal, I ended up tearing it out. Everything but the fish and sharks themselves, and then going back to the original design, which, funnily enough, worked just fine. Now that it is together, I think it is cute, and think the diamond version might have been a little too busy, what with that super busy (but adorable) border.

I'm still debating as to if I want to embroider little faces on the fish, or add white felt teeth to the sharks. What do you think?

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I missed National Sweater Day on February 9th. Aw.

A different kind of WIP

Yesterday I had the first session of my back piece. This is being done by the same amazing artist who did my phoenix, and I'm super excited about it. I've got 3 more appointments scheduled (March, June and July), but will hopefully sneak in for April or May, as well, if he has any cancellations.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fishes and trees

My world is fixated on blankets right now. I've been designing a quilt for my nephew for longer than I'd like to admit, and after deciding that no, this is not a new breed of self-finishing project, I brought it back out and did the hard parts. I'm debating if I want to sew or draw little faces on these guys or not. Keep in mind, it is intended for a 3 year old. The grey, red, yellow and green are all flannel, for a little contrast in touching the blanket.


Sharks! (The tail was a particular PITA, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.)

And a now-already-outdated pic of the Yggdrasil blanket I'm working on. Finished the leaf border a couple of days ago, and I'm doing another cream stockinette border before finishing it off with the grey knotwork. I'm messing with this border a bit to try to make the finished blanket a rectangle instead of a square. It looks a little strange and lumpy around the middle, but I'm hoping that'll block out. Blocking this will be exciting, since I don't actually have anywhere larger than a queen size bed to block on. Ah, well. I'll worry about that more when I'm closer to finishing.

Edited to add: It was only after I posted these pictures and thought "ah, just squares left on the middle part of the quilt!" that I had that Bad Feeling(TM). Upon checking, I found that yes, all of the sharks were made to be facing the same way, when two of the 4 needed to point the other way. Stupid non-interchangeable shark faces. *tears them apart, fixes and puts back together*

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More pics and project progress

Sometimes, when you have a really complicated project (or two), you've just gotta do something quick and fun. This sweater? Totally quick and fun, and used yarn from the stash, so, bonus on that!
Please excuse my hair. I had just put on the sweater and Daven is not good at telling my my hair looks like I've been attacked by static monsters. I also look stoned. I was not. (This is a V neck sweater, I was just wearing a mock turtleneck shirt under it.)

This is the inside of the Fair Isle sweater. It is a lot of ends. The pattern had said "leave a long tail and braid them all together to finish", which I thought sounded clever. In reality, that turned into a big clunky mess. So, after several iterations of attempts, what I'm doing is this:

That would be making a billion tiny braids (typically 3 strand, occasionally a 4 or 5 strand will sneak in if there aren't enough buddy strands for it to fit in elsewhere). Then I weave those little bastards in:

And ta da! I think it looks pretty good and there won't be the threat of the holes between colours opening up due to teeny knots and then neurotic braids. The downside is that, well, this is REALLY SLOW GOING. Mostly due to the fact that it totally messes with my left wrist, which has been rather tetchy recently anyway. So, I can only work on it for about an hour at a shot. Eventually it will be done and will look wonderful and hopefully fit. I'm really not sure on that point, and since there are no arm holes, it isn't like I can try it on. If it does not fit me, I will gnash my teeth, shake my fists at the sky and give it to my mother, who loves Fair Isle sweaters, is much narrower than me and shares my tastes in colourways. I'm kind of hoping it will fit me, though. Funny, that.

My next update will include photos of the progress I'm making on the bigass blanket I've been knitting for over a year. Strangely, when I stopped working on it for about 10 months, it failed to grow at all. Now that I'm working on it again, it is once more growing. Funny how that works. :p For the curious, I got hung up about halfway through the first side of the leaf border. Now, after about 2 weeks, I'm approaching corner 3, with only one more side to go on it. I finally memorized the damn pattern, which helps. It is a little wiggly, so it took a while to get into my fingers, especially with the 10 month break.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another project

A feather and fan scarf pattern (I actually have never done one of these before; I figured it was about time) that I picked up from Knit with a single Zauberball, this turned out really fun, and I got a ton of comments on it from people when I knit it in public. Usually people just ignore the crazy lady, but man, did they love this. I did modify the pattern by making it one repeat narrower than they called for. I don't like exceedingly wide scarves, and I prefer longer ones, so that worked out nicely. I knit this over a couple of weeks in December. (Yes, I have a backlog of projects to take pictures of. I'm getting to 'em slowly.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Look! Pictures!

Admittedly, not very many pictures, but pictures nonetheless.

I chopped off all of my hair, making my neck cold, so I knit a cowl.

My first Cowl(TM)! I didn't like any of the patterns out there, so I made something up as I went along. Undyed handspun silk/alpaca blend. I might dye it eventually.

The front of the Fair Isle Sweater. I now have an ends-weaving-in strategy, which I'll poke away at when the mood strikes me. After all, I have the steek and neckline left to do!

The back of the FI sweater; you can see the upper pattern a little better here.

It is apparent that I am totally unable to finish projects. The colours on this are a little off; the purple isn't quite so blue blending into the pink. Baby surprise jacket made with a bunch of "sock bites" I picked up at a local yarn shop.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

*random post to be snarky*

Am I allowed to redact someone's yarn privileges? Because these people should not be allowed near it anymore. These people, on the other hand, get as much yarn as they can handle. It is all in the execution!

Eventually more photos will happen. The fair isle sweater hit a snag...the finishing portion. I don't like weaving in ends for a normal project, this thing has an inner mane. I'm trying other options, but it is almost all knit...just in two bits.

Lots of other knitting has happened. More will happen. Maybe you see it, maybe you don't! Depends on my sense of whimsy! WHIMSY!

...I'm in a strange mood. Fleeing the keyboard back to project 1239784 now.