Friday, December 12, 2014

Knitted Cowl

52% silk/48% acrylic cowl, knitted, washed, and blocked. The top and bottom edges are picot. I'm pleased with  how it turned out. It's about 25" around and 9" high and weighs only 2 ounces.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Handwoven Towels

I finally finished weaving these hand towels. The warp had been on the loom for longer than I care to say.

They came out quite nice. I used unmercerized 8/2 cotton for both the warp and the weft. The warp contains three colors -- sage, caramel, and blue indigo -- which I threaded randomly. I used the sage green for the weft. The pattern is a twill.

I like generously-sized towels. These measure 18" x 29" hemmed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sierra's Trip to the Vet

I had to take Sierra to the vet last week, and she traveled in the back seat of my car.

When I fed the sheep last Tuesday, everyone except Sierra hurried out of the barn and rushed to the hay. Worried, I entered the barn and saw Sierra laying down. She looked at me as I approached but didn't rise. As I petted her, I noticed her breathing sounded odd. I went out, grabbed some hay, and returned, putting it in front of her. She didn't eat.

There are only a couple vets within 50 miles that treat sheep. I called the one in Chino Valley. The vet was already scheduled for a visit 35 miles in the opposite direction. They suggested I call an office in Prescott that now has a sheep vet. Their vet was unable to make a farm call but could see Sierra if I took her into the office.

I now had the dilemma of transportation. My truck has a bed liner with no tie-downs and no place to insert stock racks. I started calling friends and acquaintances in the area looking for options. The first two weren't home.

The third person I called offered to lend me a horse trailer, but my truck doesn't have a trailer hitch. (Note to self: remember to get a trailer hitch and tie-downs when I'm not in immediate need of them.) She recommended I try to find an extra large dog kennel.

I called a friend who has large dogs. She said her dog kennels wouldn't be big enough. However, she suggested I transport Sierra in the back seat of my car. She said she's moved livestock that way several times out of necessity.

I called the vet again and arranged to bring Sierra in two hours.

To ready the car, I spread a shower curtain liner on the back seat and put large garbage bags on the floor.

I called a neighbor and asked for help to lift Sierra into the car. I drove to the barn and parked as close as I could. By that time, luckily Sierra was on her feet, so we didn't have to pick her up. I put a dog collar and leash on her. We coaxed, pulled, and pushed and got her into the back seat of the car. I thanked my neighbors, and Sierra and I set off.

She was amazingly good. In fact, she seemed quite interested in the view; I've never taken her anywhere before. I rolled the windows down a few inches, and in my rear view mirror I could see her wool blowing in the breeze.

It's a winding road between Wilhoit and Prescott, so she had a bit of trouble keeping her footing on the turns. But then again, so does Logan, my dog.

We drove through downtown Prescott on the way to the vet's office. While waiting at a stoplight near the courthouse, I heard a woman say, "That's a sheep. That's a sheep!"

When we arrived, I entered the office to check in, leaving Sierra in the car. She baa-ed once as I walked away. It was the first time she'd said anything during the trip.

Two vet's assistants and I pulled and pushed and tugged and got Sierra out of the car. She left a trail of manure on the way to the building's door, which was no big surprise. She stayed in the exam room with the vet's assistant while I parked the car.

As I was about to re-enter the exam room, the assistant warned me to watch out. Sierra had had major diarrhea in several places. Over the next 40 minutes or so that we were there, she continued to have diarrhea every few minutes, including explosive diarrhea that hit the walls. It was not a pretty sight.

They weren't even able to take her temperature. Since Sierra was not having this problem before she walked in the door, I asked the vet if it could just be nerves. She said she didn't think so, considering the extent of the problem.

The vet determined that Sierra had pneumonia. They also took fecal samples (there was certainly enough material all over the floor to sample). She gave Sierra two injections, an antibiotic and pain/anti-inflammatory meds. The vet said she didn't envy my drive home with Sierra's diarrhea problem. I didn't want to contemplate it.

After getting more pain medicine to give Sierra over the next few days, I paid the bill and, with trepidation, pulled the car near the door of the building. We pulled and pushed and got her out the door and headed for the car; she continued to have diarrhea all the way.

We tugged and shoved and got Sierra onto the back seat. The moment she was in the car, the diarrhea stopped. And there was no recurrence the entire trip home. Thank goodness.

Our drive home was very pleasant. Several times Sierra stuck her head between the front seats so I could pet her. She spent the rest of the time looking out the windows. She didn't make a sound the whole way back.

When we got home, I parked near the barn. The other sheep baa-ed at her. She baa-ed in return. I opened the back door, and she jumped out. She trotted over to some grass and started grazing.

I got a scoop of COB (corn, oats, barley, and molasses), which she loves. She gobbled it up and followed me into the pasture with the rest of the sheep. I fed them hay, and she ate.

The vet's office called the next day to say her fecal test came back negative. She doesn't have any internal parasites.

Over the next few days, her appetite came and went. I gave her the pain medication injections, and by Saturday she was eating normally again. She seems fine now, for which I'm very thankful.

We still have no explanation for the crazy intestinal problem at the vet's office. However, I think it's safe to say that the staff there won't soon forget us!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Explaining Weaving to My Dog - Lesson 1

As I was winding a weaving bobbin today, it occurred to me that I've only done tablet weaving since I adopted my dog, Logan.

My bobbin winder is kind of loud and squeaks. I was just wondering what Logan might think of the noise when he came hurrying up the stairs. He kept trying to sniff the bobbin winder, and I had to tell him to watch out every time the handle reached the down position so that I wouldn't hit him on the nose.

He was quite interested in what I was doing, although a particularly loud squeak sent him to the far side of the desk to find cover. After a minute or so, he returned, though, to investigate further.

Just as I finished, he decided to walk to my other side, stepping across the yarn extending from the cone on the floor to the bobbin. After several confused seconds during which Logan turned twice and managed to get thoroughly tangled, I was able to cut the yarn at the bobbin and then unwind it from the dog.

Next lesson - the loom.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The monsoon rains began almost two weeks ago. It's so exciting! The plants are loving it. It's great to have green grass again.

I know most of the pictures I post of my sheep show them on dirt. They really do get to graze sometimes. Below are pictures to prove it.

When the first lush grass sprouts, I can allow the sheep to graze for only 10 minutes or so. Then I put them back in their enclosure and give them some fairly dry alfalfa hay. If sheep get a lot of rich grass or alfalfa suddenly, it can lead to gastrointestinal problems and actually kill them. So right now my sheep get to graze briefly each afternoon. I'll extend their yummy-grass time a little each day, until their bodies get used to the richer feed. Then they can graze for much longer periods.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Knitting Books

I came across this website, http://www/, today.

They publish some interesting-looking knitting books, such as River Ganseys, Subversive Socks, Hitch: Patterns Inspired by the Films of Alfred Hitchcock, and Librarian-Inspired Knits. Check them out.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Washing Wool

A friend and I washed most of three Cotswold fleeces yesterday. We ran out of soap before we were quite finished, so we had to stop. A single Cotswold fleece often weighs about 15 pounds; that's a lot of wool.

Below are pictures of some of the drying wool.

And here are pictures of the sheep whose fleece we washed (plus the other sheep just because).




All the sheep but one.

Petra and a couple lambs


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Knitting Needles are NOT Chew Toys

As I said in my previous post, I adopted a new dog, Logan, recently. He's very sweet. He's also very different from Dierdre in many ways. She was about five or six years old when I found her. I had her for almost five years. Logan is two. Untrained. Exuberantly still a puppy. And will chew almost anything he can get his large, furry paws on.

That's where my partially-knitted socks come into the story.

You'll notice the toe of the one on the right is unfinished, yet there are no knitting needles holding the stitches. That's because Logan pulled them out. And then he chewed one to pieces.

These happen to be Crystal Palace bamboo needles. (I usually don't knit with bamboo needles; I find it slows me down. I prefer Addi Turbos.) Anyhow, luckily they come five needles to a package, and I knit with only four double-pointed needles, so I can still finish the socks without buying another set.

This little tale, though, is only the tip of the iceberg. Logan has been busy. And, yes, that is my dining room table that he's lounging on, using it as a vantage point to look out the window. No guilt at all.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Weather, Sheep, Dog, Etc.

The wind has finally settled down. Not that it's still, but at least large, heavy objects aren't flying around anymore. The very strong winds we had through much of May and June were exhausting, both physically and mentally. Almost continuous wind gets on a person's nerves after awhile.

Now it's just hot and dry. We haven't had any precipitation since April, and even then it was a below-average amount. There's a slight chance of rain this weekend.

I didn't plant a garden this spring. Too many things have been going on. I think I'll put in some squash, though; pumpkins would be fun.

I've sheared all but two of the adult sheep, Minerva and Gimli. I'm going to try to shear those two this weekend. I know they're hot, but they were the last ones sheared in the fall, so their wool isn't quite as long. I had delayed shearing because of the heavy winds, so now I'm catching up.

On December 28, I lost my amazing, beloved dog, Dierdre, to degenerative myelopathy. It was an incredibly difficult time. About four months ago, I adopted Logan. He's two and still very much a puppy. He's doing well with the sheep, though, and even behaved pretty decently during shearing.

I'm taking advantage of the hot weather and decreased winds to wash wool. It dries fast in the sun, but I have to be careful that it doesn't blow away (even with less wind). I also have to keep Logan from taking it to play with, which is an even bigger challenge. He'll learn, though.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Donating to a Dog (and Cat) Cause

Exciting news! I've arranged to donate 10% of my sales of hand woven dog leash add-ons and dog collars to United Animal Friends,

Below is the leash add-on I recently made for my dog, Logan. The second picture is one I made to sell. It's appropriate for a small- to medium-sized dog.

Here's a picture of Dierdre wearing her leash add-on. One end attaches to the collar; the other end hooks to the leash.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Handwoven Pacifier Clips

I thought it was only fair to let babies (OK, well, their parents) tell the world what they like, so I'm weaving pacifier clips. It's great to watch people's faces when they first spot them.

Send me suggestions for more phrases. I'd love to hear from you!

Let's see, "Future Browncoat"....

Friday, June 13, 2014

Card Weaving and Phoenix Comicon

Wow, I spent last weekend (Thursday through Sunday) at Phoenix Comicon as an exhibitor (vendor) in the Artists Alley. Exhausting but fun.

For months now, I've been card weaving (or tablet weaving) bracelets with sayings from or references to science fiction and fantasy books, shows, and movies. I've also been weaving material (on a four-harness floor loom) and sewing it into bags, particularly drawstring dice bags.

You now know the truth: I'm a sci-fi/fantasy geek. Firefly, Doctor Who, the Harry Potter books, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings -- they're great.

Here are a few of the bracelets I've woven.

Bad wolf in Welsh!

I used 40 cards and 160 threads for all of them except the TARDIS bracelets. For those, I used 54 cards and 216 threads because I needed  more width to make them look good. I wove all these bracelets with sewing thread. I know, I know. I'm kind of crazy, but it's fun.