Nothing like a little blog break, eh? I know that humans are basically creatures of habit. I know that intellectually. But there's nothing like an abrupt, forced change to the "normal" routine to wake me up to just how attached to a habitual schedule I am.
The whole jury duty thing really put me off kilter for a while. I'm still trying to get back into a "normal" grind, but I think it's gotten a bit better.
Anyway, there has been knitting here. I finished a pair of Malabrigo Loafers. And am planning to make quite a few more pairs to hold for Christmas presents. The pattern is really well done and works up very quickly. Depending on the size you make, you may be able to get a pair from one skein of Malabrigo. For my big feet, I need two skeins. Anyway, I highly recommend this pattern for a useful, quick item to work up without much hassle. I just need to get some leather patches for the soles to make mine complete.
Let's see, what else? Oh, yeah, the Secret Shawl KAL project. I'm happy and proud to report that this is the first shawl/stole KAL I've participated in that I actually finished on schedule! I bound it off last night and it's soaking as I type. I'll block it later today and then get pictures. I'm very pleased with the results. I did a crochet beaded bind-off that took, literally, hours, but I think the results will be worth the effort. Anyway, come back this weekend for details and pictures!
On a recent knit night, we celebrated the Rachel's and Angela's completion of the February Lady Sweater by posing together. You can see in the picture that we've all done little things differently with them. Rachel took my cue and added a crocheted chain of ribbon through the eyelets as an accent. She also opted for short sleeves. Angela added some contrast color at the hem of both sweater and sleeves. I used clasps to close mine, while they both used buttons. The versatility of this pattern is great! Oh, and I don't have a picture of it, but Rachel made a matching February Baby Sweater for the little girl who will arrive towards the end of June. Too cute! There's a pic on her blog.
Since the weather finally changed to spring (we actually have NO rain forecast for this week), I dug out the pieces of my Hey Teach sweater and finished it. I love this sweater! I've already worn it several times. I don't know why I delayed putting it together earlier, except that I was afraid I'd screw it up. This is my first foray into seaming set-in sleeves. I had to back up and redo it in a couple of places as I went along, but overall it went together really quickly. And I love how it looks. I've actually had people ask me where I bought it, which is music to my ears! The yarn is Sirdar Breeze, a cotton/acrylic blend that, sadly, was discontinued almost as quickly as it came out. I love the way this yarn worked up and how it feels and would gladly buy more if I only could.
Anyway, I'm very, very pleased with this sweater and I will get lots of use out of it this summer, I'm sure.
Last Sunday, Tami, Bobbie and I went out to Islay Hill Alpaca Ranch where Jan and Jim allowed us to observe (okay, we helped a little, but not that much) while the trio of professional shearers worked their magic on the llamas and alpacas. It was so much fun! By the time we got there, they were finished with some of the llamas, but hadn't started the alpacas yet. Both Bobbie and Tami posted some pictures (Tami even has video) on their blogs, and I took a bunch of pictures, too. You can see them all on my Flickr page here.
Look at this fiber! Seriously, this is some super soft stuff. Bobbie couldn't resist it and started spinning some of it right then and there on a drop spindle and it made beautiful yarn, even though it was "in the dirt."
There were bags and bags of fiber at the end of the day. Each animal first had their blanket sheared -- the "saddle" from their back and sides -- which is the softest, most valuable fiber and that went in a bag labeled with the animal's name, date and "blanket" notation. Then a secondary bag was filled with fiber from the heck, legs, and everywhere else. They get to keep the cute mop-top hairstyles.
Basically, they go from this:
To this (although most were sheared standing up -- this one just refused to):
I mean, how could you NOT have a good time watching that transformation? They make a lot of interesting vocalizations in the process. Oh, yeah, and some of them spit -- a lot. We got sprayed a few times. Mostly it was bits of vegetation with the slime staying more on their bottom lip. They sure are good at aiming! We started recognizing the stink-eye and getting out of the way. One gal was so mad that she kept spitting at anyone that got close to her well after she was turned back out to pasture.
Anyway, it was a very fun way to spend a Sunday morning. Thanks to Jim and Jan for inviting us out! :)
Well, my Secret Shawl is awaiting me. Think I'll go do some blocking.