AJ Knits






June 2019
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Episode 42: Alpaca and Ewe or “ “

  1. Production Scheduling

    1. Suddenly out of the blue my calendar has filled up with fibery events! Yay! During the winter there really wasn’t much to do but knit and surf yarn on the internet. Spring is here and even though it’s hotter than a 2.00 pistol it’s time to get back on the road!

      1. Events

      2. Production

      3. What’s in the Tea Pot

      4. Materials Sourcing

      5. Shipping

      6. After 5

  2. Events

    1. A day with Alpaca and Ewe

      1. A while back Gloria from Alpaca and Ewe invited me to a podcaster gathering she was having while her Alpaca’s were being shorn (sheared?). I drove down to Palestine and spent Sunday morning with Gloria and family, the Wool Junkies, CA Shearing, and Karen (who I never got a last name for but has a serious eye for fleece grading!)

      2. I got there about 9:30 and the shearing was already in progress. This was a really organized process. When I got to the barn all the boys were in the barn and in the pen. The C A Crew ( April, Pat, Willie and Connie) Had their shearing Table up and Various laundry baskets labeled for various sections of the fleece. The blanket went in one for sure, I’m hazey on the exact labeling on the others. I know the legs were separate as they were more coarse. As the baskets were filled they were sent over to Karen for grading. While the Alpaca was on the table the shearers trimmed toe nails, filed teeth, and checked for health issues. Gail also took the opportunity to treat for Meningeal Worm infections. The animals are sheared in color order from Lightest to Darkest so as not to contaminate the fiber.

      3. Fiber Sorting – I found Karen working on her sorting table fascinating. So I asked her a bit about how to become a certified fiber sorter. She had to take a 4 hr class and pass a test (later research tells me she had to pass with 80% or higher), then she has to sort 200 Huacaya and 50 Suri fleece over the next 2 years. I’m not sure who she’s taking her course or test from but the certification program I found online also requires NC state textile modules and webinars followed by a final written exam and a final assessment. WOW! She made it look easy!

      4. While all this was going on around me I was trying to soak it all in and still appear halfwise intelligent and not give into the urge to hug an alpaca while yelling “ooooooh FLUFFY” My favorite Q and A of the day Q: April, Do you shear sheep? A: NO Cover yourself in Vaseline, veg matter, wool and biting flies on a 90 degree day and see what you think. Plus sheep are shorn on the ground so your standing in poop. I’d rather shear a steer. If I’m ever blessed enough to be in a barn with April again I’ll ask about how exactly you shear a steer. She said something about it being for a show…. But still boggles the mind. Those cowmoons better look out!

      5. Many Many Many thanks to Gloria and her family for the hospitality and the invite. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed it. I hope to be able to return the favor someday!

    1. Coming up this weekend… The Great Lakes Fiber Show in Wooster! I’ll be there, the Wool Junkies will be there, some of my knitters from Knit group will be there, and I think some of the Algonquin Spinners and Weavers will be there! Fun should be had by all.

  1. Production

    1. Juno Regina By Miriam Felton

      1. I was casting about for something new to knit on when I saw this languishing in my project pile.

      2. Unfortunately I had to scrap my previous progress. I’m not sure what happened but it looks like a stole the needles leaving it on the cord of my interchangeables and from there I have no Idea but it looked as if the dog had chewed on it. Which of course could have happened but in reality I think it was just jumbles about, may have had a run in with B and came of the cord. It was a snarly mess. So I started over again. I’m through the 1st repeat of chart 2. I’ll throw in a life line and work through the second repeat. So far so good and I think it look much better than the attempt I scrapped. It’s a wonder what another year of experience will do…

    2. Vanilla socks – Nichol’s B-day or AJ can’t part with them.

      1. Nichol is my best friend from high school. She is usually running with me when I head up to Ann Arbor to visit Melissa. She saw melissa’s socks and has put in an order for a pair of her own; I went stash diving for this pair since she and I have similar color tastes. I pulled out a Conjoined Twins Flat in Purple Aqua grey and olive green. Sounds crazy but it’s really cool. I really love how this flat it knitting up. The socks are predominatly Aqua with purple stipes but have a green /grey spiral through the cuff that has worked it’s way into a thicker stripe on the leg. She doesn’t know I’ve cast these on yet. I may have to keep them for myself and but something for her B-day socks… Decisions Decisions.

  1. What’s in My Tea Pot

    1. It’s beastly hot here. I’m a die hard tea drinker but even I won’t drink tea in 90 degree weather unless of course it’s iced. So instead of reviewing a tea this week I decided to talk about that staple of summer iced tea.

    2. When it get's this hot I remember my grandmother putting out a jar on the porch for sun tea. Now a days we know that sun tea can be hazardous to your health. The water in the jar never gets hot enough to kill bacteria but can stay at a temperature that is warm enough for bacteria to breed. There are many people out there that say the suns UV rays kill the bacteria...yadda yadda. I personally don't take the chance. If you gotta have it. Make sure to clean and sanitze your jar. Remember that spigots can harbor bacteria, and only brew 3-5 hrs.

    3. Sweet tea... Sometimes I wish I was southern. Mostly for the sassy comebacks, the real butter in the food, and of course sweet tea. A good sweet tea is always made with simple syrup. I use 2 parts sugar to one part water. Boil the water and siolve the sugar in it. If I want peach syup I'll cheat and add canned peaches to syrup whilbe it cooks and sub out someof the water for someof the peach “Juice”. This is one of Nate's favorite things. I store my syrup in a seperate container in the fridge and use it to sweeten to taste.

  2. Materials Sourcing

    1. The cormo is off the wheel. Once again I had to learn to surrender to the fiber. The cormo wanted to be stripped down and spun woolen. The sweater pattern that I want to knit calls for a gauge of 4 stiches by 6 rows to the inch. I came out 4.5 stiches with a three ply before blocking. I washed the swatch and the yarn bloomed nicely. I really love the finished yarn. It would take finding something fantastic to make me not have a sweater from this. Though this fiber is a bit on the pricey side.

    2. I also fin ished about 4 ozs of mystery fiber from my christmas stash. What ever this wool was it was very longstapled and spun up really fine. I had the idea to hold singles double and n-ply for a monster 6 ply yarn but I coulb't fit it through the orafice and it kept catching on the hooks. The yarn swatched up well As a 6-ply, a 2 ply, and a N-ply. In the end I picked the 2 ply,. Ended up at 356 yds.

  3. Shipping

    1. Drop stitch Scarf by Lisa Buccellato found in the spring and summer 2012 issue of vogue knitting. Knitting this our of Cascade Ultra Pima.

  4. After 5


Direct download: Episode_42.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:48am EDT

  • I've been following your blog for 2 years or so... And it's been exniticg to wait for the next post, a lesson on good taste each one of them.I thank YOU.BTW, my email is nu.iglesias@gmail.com

    posted by: Amira on 2013-10-30 07:01:57

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