Monday, March 7, 2016

a compilation of many thoughts...

First of all... Spinning. I have severely neglected my spinning practice. I don't exactly remember the last time I sat down at the wheel, but I think it was shortly after the start of the new year. And that's bad, bad, bad, because the only way I'm going to get better at spinning is if I practice every day. Fifteen minutes a day, at least, they say is a good amount of time to spend at the wheel to improve your spinning practice. Fifteen minutes is not too much to ask, is it? I do stay on Ian to practice his guitar at least thirty minutes a day, so it shouldn't be so grueling for me to commit to fifteen minutes a day. I recently placed an order for over two pounds of merino wool, and so I have a nice amount of wool to last for a bit and no excuse not to practice.

I'm still on the lookout for an old large stockpot that I can use to relax the yarn after it is spun and plied. It's crazy that I haven't been able to find one at the thrift store. So in the meantime, I do have quite a few loops of yarn waiting to be relaxed, yarn that I had spun during the fall last year. It's another thing I want to accomplish so that I can actually knit something from the yarn I have spun. And, oh my, I still have so much alpaca fiber that needs processed. I would really, really love to send it out to a mill to be cleaned and made into roving, but it's so expensive. So for now, I need to just plan on doing it all myself. It's not hard. Just very time-consuming. And considering that the fiber needs spread out to dry, and it dries best on a warm day, well, I have not processed any wool this winter besides small amounts to make some dryer balls which I dried indoors.

And speaking of alpacas, shearing time is again just around the corner. This year we are having the shearers come right to our farm which completely elates me! No more renting a cargo van to transport them. No more rounding them up and smooshing them into the van. This will be so much nicer and convenient!

Our goats are seriously such a source of joy and entertainment. I would love more, but Brad lovingly says "no" unless we unload some other animals first. The alpacas are not his favorite. They are definitely my pets. It's not that he doesn't like the alpacas, he just doesn't like that they are not cuddly and friendly, and I do agree. I wish that they were easier to handle, but that's just what alpacas are like. They are not like goats or sheep who come right up to you and let you pet them and hug them and love on them. But they do love in their own way, on their own terms. And I honestly couldn't imagine sending my four buddies away to another farm. I have heard of too many farms that take on alpacas not realizing what they are getting into and then the animals are neglected. Friends of ours own a large alpaca farm and they have done many animal rescues, and I have heard the horror stories, so I don't know how I could give my animals up. I would have to have extensive background checks done!

So there are no plans to give up the alpacas. I think Brad mostly just teases me. And I do believe that we will end up with more goats eventually because I plan on breeding our two girls this year. (I really, really want baby goats. They are so mischievous and fun!)

In knitting... I finished my first pair of knit socks yesterday! I love them. I'm not sure how long they'll last since I used 100% merino wool. I've heard that it's best to use a tougher wool or a blend of merino with nylon for socks since that will make them more durable. But I used what I had on hand, and I will wear these socks on days when I won't be out trekking all around. I'm just so thrilled to have knit socks, and I feel as though I may have developed an addiction to sock knitting. One skein of fingering weight and about a week later, I have a pair of handknit socks. It's a lovely thought.

After finishing the socks yesterday, I immediately cast on for my Harvest Cardigan. The collar is knitted first and then stitches are picked up and the body is knit afterwards. I worked on the collar last evening while visiting with my in-laws and got it about halfway done.

This past Friday, I received sample yarn cards from O-Wool. I had ordered the cards for their "Local" yarn which is a blend of merino wool and alpaca and is sourced from farms in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I found this extremely exciting, since I am a Pennsylvania girl and I do enjoy working with local yarns. I am in love with these colors. I typically do not order sample cards, but I just knew that I was going to love and really use this yarn in the future, so I wanted to see the colors and texture in real-life rather than just through the computer screen. These samples are truly beautiful, and I find myself frequently picking up the cards just to admire the colors and finger the fiber. I've picked out some favorites that I will definitely use when the perfect project rolls around in the future.

I finished copying the book of Luke this morning. I started this back around Thanksgiving of last year, I believe, so I started the practice copying about the birth of Christ right around the time we were celebrating Christmas. And then, of course, the book of Luke ends with His crucifixion and resurrection which has fit perfectly again as far as timing goes considering Easter is in three weeks.

I have found this practice of copying the Scriptures to be very good for me, very therapeutic. I read the passage, copy it, and then meditate on it. It's a good way to read through the Bible for a visual learner. Not only am I seeing the words when I read them, but I'm seeing them for a second time as I copy them into the tablet. That seems to help tuck those words a bit deeper into my mind and soul. I'm now wondering which book I will copy next. I thought about doing John, another Gospel book, but I've also thought about Ephesians which really is one of my most favorite books of the New Testament.

Ian and Lily have their last class at the museum this afternoon. I admit that I will miss it. I would drop them off and then head to the Carnegie Library, grab a coffee, some books, and settle into a big leather chair and spend the time reading. That's pure bliss to me. Sometimes, I would pull out my yarn and knit for a bit. Last week, I took my mom along and we enjoyed a very yummy Greek lunch while the kids were in classes. I've already decided that we will make a trip to the city at least once a month so that I can continue to take advantage of the hugely expansive library. That library is a dream to me. Floors and floors and stacks and stacks of books. Oh my, the books they have!

My sister and her two children are going with us today. I am going to take them around the museum while my kids are in their classes. I took her son with me a few weeks back and he enjoyed it immensely. I anticipate a very enjoyable day, and the sun is out, there is blue sky with fluffy white clouds and the temperature is supposed to be near 70! Oh joy!

Have a most blessed day!


Andrea @ This Knitted Life said...

Great photos and lovely new socks. I grew up with pet goats and will always have a fondness for the funny little critters!

living from glory to glory said...

You inspire me! Your socks are beautiful! Your goats made me smile. Yes, you have made a home...
I love libraries and books! Happy March!
Hugs, Roxy

harknessangels said...

Fabulous art work! Love the color of your new socks! Those sample cards are awesome! The goats gave me a giggle! Hope you are having a great day!

Leslie Kimel said...

Gosh, you have such talented children. I love their drawings. And your goats are just adorable. I'm glad your alpacas have such a good home with you, that you're so understanding of their personalities. I think that's so cool. Copying Scripture does sound very therapeutic--I would really like to try it. I really enjoyed this post!

Mereknits said...

Your socks are fabulous, I can't believe they are your first pair. As for spinning I have never ventured there but I would love to, but as you say it takes time, time I don't have right now. The children seem to be working hard on their artwork and it shows, great class and Mom time just for you is so important.
Hugs and have a great week,

Emily said...

I squealed when I saw the goats! Loving all the yarny goodness!