Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Felted Purse

Last week, Linda and I went to Backstitches in Lynchburg. I picked up a skein of Cascade and a skein of Arucana hand dyed Alpaca to make a felted purse for spring. I had 2 skeins of Arucana in hand dyed purple in my stash and combined them all to make this cute bag. The pattern for the flower came from Knitting Little Luxuries by Louisa Harding. I hand felted the flower in the sink and machine felted the bag in the washer.

The pattern for the bag started out as the brown bag pattern that came for free with the yarn. (It can also be found on, just do a search for brown bag pattern and it should come up) I decided as I was casting on that the little bag would not be big enough to haul all my stuff around, so it went under major alteration.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am not a fan of knitting ICord. In fact, I will do just about anything to avoid ICord. Really, it sounds like some sort of disorder. Did you hear, Mary has ICORD??? She is undergoing treatment for it. So, I decided to see how a non-knitted twisted cord would felt up. It went so well, I think I will be doing them from now on.

The picture is not great, I couldnt seem to get the color right. It's a beautiful lavender and green. Shown here on our rosemary bush.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Washing Alpaca Fleece

Friday, I met JoAnn of Fishwood Farms for lunch and she brought me a gift of beautiful alpaca seconds. The fiber pictured below is from Pintura one of their female alpaca's. Be sure to check out their web site for a sales list if you are in the market to purchase an alpaca, or alpaca products.

Not having any experience in washing raw alpaca, I did some reading on the net. What I found said to wash the fleece in cold water, no agitation, using gentle soap, and on a screen. I decided to be creative and used our fire pit screen to wash the fleece on. It's curved so the fleece stayed on it nicely even though it was a breezy day. The holes are larger than a screen that is used for windows, so any debris easily fell through but not so large that any fiber was lost through the holes.
  1. Lay fiber on top of screen, tips down, remove any vm before washing.
2. Using cold water from a hose and the shower setting on the sprayer, wet the fiber thoroughly

3. I then took Dawn Odor Reducing Liquid Soap (alpaca does not smell strongly like sheep's fleece, but it does have a light "farm" smell) poured about 1/8 cup in my hand and used the sprayer to evenly distribute the soap over the fleece. Both of my hands were busy doing this, so no picture.

4. Rinse the fleece thoroughly, turning over gently if necessary to ensure all the soap is removed.

The result is a nicely cleaned fleece that is ready to lay out to dry. I put this fleece on our deck in the sun to dry and gently fluffed the locks while it was drying.
Pintura is multicolored which is why there are some reddish brown areas in the fleece pictured.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from the Easter Sheep! He is standing on top of felted bowls that I can't seem to stop making. They are Plymouth Pattern P537. I walked into Backstitches in Lynchburg a couple of weeks ago, and there sitting on the table, were two of these adorable bowls. They were made by the nicest lady, Robin. She is an avid knitter and spinner and hosts a knitting get away every January. You can check it out here:
Backstitches didn't have the pattern (they don't carry Plymouth) so Linda and I took a trip up to Charlottesville to It's a Stitch and got it there.
These bowls knit up in an hour or less and are so much fun to do. Im going to put gift cards in them this Christmas. Much better than the store bought card holders, don't you think?
From bottom to top: 2 strands Norro Keuron, 1 strand of the same Norro and 1 strand Cascade, 2 strands handspun stash, 2 strands Cascade, 1 strand handspun stash and 1 strand Cascade.

This is a cute little needle felted Easter egg that I made out of some left over rovings. The light green has some angelina in it which gives it a nice sparkle.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

First Day of Spring!

Today is the first day of spring! Time to start enjoying the outdoors again. Bike riding, fishing, hiking and driving out on the Blue Ridge Parkway to name a few things my husband and I enjoy doing together.

Best of all, since spring is finally here, that means
Here are a few that might interest you:

Sedalia Fiber Festival coming up on May 24. Check out what they have to offer at: If you are a fiber person, or just enjoy seeing some super cute animals like alpaca and sheep, this is a great family oriented event to go to. It's set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains near Bedford, VA. There will be ton's of fiber vendors and some great food too. Be sure to mark your calendar and come check it out! Also, if you are new to knitting, spinning, weaving, and felting this is a great way to start out. It's low key and not overwhelming.

Maryland Sheep and Wool May 3 & 4 at the Howard County Fairgrounds in Friendship, MD. This will be my first year going, and I can't wait! Everyone has said this is the biggest and the best. Information can be found here: I'm already planning my shopping attack: which backpack's we will take, how much they can hold, can I really use ALL of the tax return money on fiber? Do we really need a new deck? After all, fiber is so much more fun....although the new deck is going to be awesome and well worth the money that could have been spent on fiber ;) Plus, this summer I can take my wheel outside and spin in the evenings while enjoying the sunset.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The 2008 Virginia Classic Llama and Alpaca Show

This is my first blog post, so bear with me! I started spinning in March of 2007. My friend Linda, gave me a quick lesson and then I purchased a wheel of my own, a beautiful Kromski Sonata. This year, I entered a skein of beautiful llama that I spun at the Virginia Classic Handmade's Derby. The roving that I spun came from Posey Thisisit Farm here in Virginia. The llama who it came from is named Lucky Star and is quite beautiful.
Here I am with the skein of yarn from Lucky Star that I entered in the Derby. I was so excited to see that it won first place and got great marks from the judges!
I do some spinning for the Hall's who own Posey Thisisit Farm. Jamee' wove a shawl out of the handspun that I did for her, and her shawl won first place in the hand woven didvision. She also did a needle felted fruit bowl which also won first in the felted division. Here is Jamee' with her beautiful shawl and needle felted fruit bowl.