Do you have a passion for making things entirely by hand or appreciate it in other people? In my teens and twenties, I got a thrill out of being my own mechanic on my old '75 Mustang. Yep, I've changed a few water pumps and brake pads. I have sewn every stitch of handmade rag dolls with a needle and thread (no machine stitching), and I prefer to cook from scratch. Isn't it much more rewarding to gather family and friends to put in fence posts, and raise barns? So naturally for me, prepping the fleece, learning to spin, and then making things from the alpacas' luscious fiber is my idea of happiness! -Kaylen

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunshine and Mud

I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I love winter. Aside from any serious trouble it is cozy and pretty to me and puts me in a  knitting and spinning kind of mood.  

The weather warmed up enough over the weekend to melt the latest snow and ice.  This means we go through a lot of shoes and deal with a dirty kitchen floor.  I slip and slide in the hilly pastures a bit and it means lots of baths for my daughter's dog, Sunshine, aka Sunny.  He is a little low to the ground. Handsome Hubby snagged him and dumped him in a box to bring him inside yesterday.

You can tell Sunny knows what is coming next...
see how his ears are back?

But it's not long before it is all better...

As we brace for the next round of storms heading across the country, I managed to get a propane delivery.  They had their mud boots on, too.  

Here's hoping the electricity stays on!  I don't think Sunny is going to want a cold bath.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Treasure!

Like much of the country, we've been inundated with snow.  The alpacas are quietly keeping warm in the run-ins.  Much of our days are spent inside so it has given me time to knit more pouches. Treasure pouches, rosary pouches, what-not holders, coins....  I'm writing out the pattern so I can list it in my shop.

First they look like this:

Then they becomes this:

As you know from my previous post, I've also been working on cross-promoting other talented people from all over the world.  I communicated with someone from Latvia yesterday!

Thursdays are when a new challenge is presented to create a treasury around a certain item.  Here is my entry this week.  There are lots of beautiful things to discover! 

We have our yearly meeting for the Kentucky Alpaca Association coming up this weekend. I'll get to mingle with fellow farmers, share ideas, and start preparing for the Kentucky Classic. Everyone is supposed to bring their best "winter woe" story. I don't have one! Which I guess is a good thing. I am truly blessed.  Oh, wait!  Does kids being home for a gazillion snow days count?  I am about to eat my young!

P.S. I haven't forgotten about the Cranberry Swirl Coffee Cake I promised to share. I have to make it to the store to get nuts and getting out of our long, hilly, icy driveway might take a few more days.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


As part of my Etsy experience, one of the things I like doing is making "Treasuries".  It connects me with other Etsians, and I have found the neatest things!  Here is a treasury I was recently featured in:

My Cup of Tea  by shop owner Zebina

My item is the alpaca tea cozy at the top left and I have that tea wallet on my wish list!

I've been making treasuries, too.  Each week there is a challenge to design a treasury around one shop owner's item.  This week it was a cute salt and pepper illustration by FlourishCafe.  Here is my entry:

I've made other treasuries too, which you can see here. 

I find I've become an avid Etsy buyer, too!  It sure has changed how I feel about the gift I am giving.

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mumble, Grumble, Humble

Today I am mumbling inside about where I need improvement with my knitting and crocheting skills.  I came up with this adorable bootie, but trying to figure out the pattern in order to duplicate it has left me humbled...thus the mumbles.

So.  The left bootie came out smaller.  Now, do I make a third and keep fumbling through?  I might.  Do I (gasp) use a pattern? I think I need to be okay with the learning process and that I'm not going to be that good without investing time into the knowledge that is already out there waiting for me to use.  I am mumbling to myself that I don't have to reinvent the wheel.  Right?  I do raise the alpacas, hand card the fleece, spin it, and knit it!  It is okay to use a pattern.  It is okay to use a pattern.  It is okay to use a pattern. Mumble, Grumble, Humble.

P.S.  I should clarify that I mean it is okay to use existing patterns, not always my own.  I beat myself up when I can't come up with my own.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thrummed Bunny Slippers

Thrummed.  I hadn't heard of that until I made an online friend, Deb.  She is a fellow alpaca farmer and we've become great pen pals...what DO you call pen pals these days when it is all via the internet?  She posted a really neat blog about thrummed slippers she made for her family.  They are much needed in Canada where they live!  Thrummed slippers have unspun, fluffy, fleece making the inside of your slippers all cushy and soft....and warm.

Just a few days ago I came across this incredibly sweet pattern for thrummed bunny slippers!  

Oh how CUTE! 

You are thinking "link, give me a link please!" right?  
Here it is: Bunny Hop Slippers

Here is a link to Deb's blog post, too, so you can see her slippers: 

These will be on my needles for sure.  Maybe in time for Easter?

"Kool" Valentine Hearts

I figured out what to do with that little bit of "Kool" dyed yarn....

I made "Kool" little Valentine hearts!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I have been resisting dying my own fiber.  Fear of chemicals, the mess, and the fact that I just love the natural, pure colors alpacas come in has kept me in a brown and beige world.  Well...I took a tiny little plunge last night and tried the nifty trick of Kool-Aid dying.  I thought it was an easy place to start, simple, and I'm not afraid to do it in my kitchen.  Who knew Black Cherry would turn Sabrina's fleece into this lovely shade?

Here is where I learned how:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Neck Wrestling

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  Our Christmas has been joyous and peaceful, and I'm really enjoying the start of the new year.  I joined a spinning group. Yay! Making new friends!

It was severely cold for a few weeks and our boys found a way to keep warm!  Peruvian Mystery is two now and has decided to show his dominance. He even takes on Ringo, our llama, who is three times his size!  

When the machos face off they neck wrestle, 

chase each other around the pasture at breakneck speeds, try and bite each other in "private areas", 

and squeal loudly.  

When it gets really heated this happens! 

Males grow fighting teeth that can seriously injure another animal so those have to be filed down when they come in. So far our boys don't have their fighting teeth, but we'll have to keep an eye out for them.

I can only imagine what Mataeus might be saying now that things have calmed down.... "Do you think the girls were watching?"

The weather has returned to normal temperatures for January and it is time to return to quiet winter days.  Ahhhh!  Oh, and I have a new favorite cake!  I will post the recipe for you soon.  I want to make it again and take pictures.  It is a Cranberry Swirl Coffee Cake and heads to the top of my list for easy and scrumptious!