Friday, August 9, 2013

Goat Babies, Chicken Babies, and a Primitive Rug, too!

Happy Chaos has ruled the summer but I am eager to get back into a more disciplined routine since Fall Show season will soon be upon me and there is work to be done! 

I was tickled to spend a few hours with Nick Regine, AKA the "Professor of Crystal" for Create-Your-Style with Swarovski Elements.  We filmed a short "how to" video on embedding Swarovski Crystal Elements into a felt project.  Check it Out!

Nightmare of nightmares....Shortly after I returned from my visit with Nick,  I learned that Swarovski has discontinued its line of Crystal Yarn.  This is a REALLY BIG DEAL in my world because all of  my felted cuff bracelets and necklaces feature Swarovski Crystal Yarn.


You know how you feel when your favorite lipstick is discontinued?  That's how I am feeling about my crystal yarn.  The fear of not having it available is making me stingy with what remains in my stash.  What is a gal to do?

Learn to spin her own glitzy yarn, of course! 

I have been a Hand Spun Yarn Groupie and Spinner Wannabe ever since purchasing a used wheel at SAFF three years ago. I maintain a selection of beautiful hand dyed merino wool  for felt making, so spinning seemed a logical craft  to pursue.   I took one lesson and left feeling overwhelmed and uncoordinated.  I tucked the wheel in a corner where it looked lovely but did nothing further with it until this summer.   The Great Crystal Yarn Crisis forced my hand....the only way I was going to get crystal yarn was to make it myself.   Fortunately, my weekly fiber group is bursting with talented Spinners willing to share their knowledge.   Special thanks to Kelly Agrue, whose work makes me swoon.  Her patience and sense of humor helped get me over the hump, while Barry's calming influence reminds me to slow down a bit.   I  channel his words of wisdom when I start to panic and spin out of control:

  "...Don't are allowed to stop the wheel."  

So I do. 

I stop, take a deep breath, gather my wits, and begin again.   Although I have not produced quality hand spun YET, I know it is only a matter of time and practice before I get there!  My collection of poorly spun yarn has grown beyond reason; fortunately, my friend Deb brought a pillow to a guild meeting that provided just the inspiration I needed!  She used her own gorgeous hand spun yarn with some commercial yarn to weave the stunning pillow pictured.  A spectacular Swarovski Crystal stone in Crystal Volcano makes the pillow POP!  Deb gave the group a quick weaving lesson  and then gifted me with a loom of my own.  

Deb's spectacular pillow

SHAZAM!   I am hooked!  It has truly been a summer filled with wonderful opportunities for creativity.  I never thought I would enjoy weaving, but find the folk art quality of loomed rugs to be particularly appealing.  I made my first primitive rug from my poorly spun yarn --- I love the process and the look.  The rug was a bit small and somewhat crooked,  so I crocheted a trim to extend it and even things out a bit.  YUM!  It is soft and fluffy...a new favorite hangout for the pups.

Lampshade in the works

Next on the list...a crochet lamp shade featuring my own version of  Swarovski Crystal Yarn.  I  strung random crystal beads and pendants onto my plying thread and, with some trial and error,  managed to ply a bit of sparkle into the yarn.  I am finding my way and enjoying the adventure. 


Ruby meets her little girl

Ruby the Nubian Dairy Goat finally delivered her babies.  Every birth is a miracle and this one was no exception.  I happened to be in the pen when she went into labor so I got to be there for the big event---what a gift!  Despite the fact that Ruby was a bottle baby who had never been nurtured by a mama goat, she has done a splendid job with little Abner and Annabelle.  The video shows her with them moments after they were is all cuteness and sunshine---nothing gross, I promise! 

I am glad that I bucked dairy goat tradition and let Ruby mother her kids.  It has been a total win-win!  There is plenty of milk for the babies and for me... they are growing like weeds and, at seven weeks, are starting to eat hay and grain.   Poor Ruby is becoming impatient with relentless biting babies tugging at her teats.  (...and seriously, who wouldn't?)   They will be going to new homes once they are weaned.  Poor Mama has taken to running away from them when they approach  from behind so I figure that the weaning process has officially started.

We have some new chicks, too!  Remember Teeny Tiny Mutant Hen?  We had pretty much given up on her ever laying an egg, but then she surprised us.   It took her an extra year to catch up, but she is now laying teeny tiny eggs with delightful regularity.    She went broody in May and turned into a real warrior as she sat

Teeny and her babies.  She's on the lower right. 

on a clutch of eggs, daring anybody to come close.  Three healthy, regular sized, chicks hatched and, at two months old, they are already bigger than Teeny!  Despite the matter of size, she is very much the mother hen, clucking and fussing over her brood.  Should one fall behind and peep in distress----as lost little chicks so often do---she marches over and gives the straggler a loud verbal dressing down, followed by a sharp peck on the head.  She keeps her brood away from the other hens, preferring to hide under the goat barn.  She

Teeny scouts the yard to make sure it is safe to venture out.

comes out periodically to survey the yard and if it looks safe, she leads her babies out for a spin around the garden. 

Interestingly, her three chicks are more nervous and skittish than any others born here.  I am guessing that, as is often the case with humans, this nervous chicken has managed to pass her dysfunction along to the next generation.   

Thanks, Ma! 

Where is a chicken therapist when you need one?



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    1. Ya got that right, Caryn! I love seeing all of your colorful work on Facebook!

  2. Love, love, love your posts. Beautiful weaving and of course animals.
    Enjoy ! I know that you do. :-)


  3. Always love your blogs! Hope to make it to a Tuesday meeting again soon.

  4. I didn't finish what I wanted to say...I think your yarn is beautiful and I love your rug. You are one talented lady! Hugs!

    1. You are such a sweet cheerleader, Tami! I hope we can connect the next time you are in Florida....when will that be?