Today’s post is a mish-mash of what I’ve been working on for the past week or so.

The Shetland yarn saga continues. I received the new Jamieson’s Spindrift skein I ordered and worked on swatching some more. The new stuff felt slightly thicker than the old (Mr. MmmYarn did the twist-the-strands-around-each-other trick and I confirmed with my eyes shut that the new stuff is a little thicker) and also worked up to fewer stitches and rows to the inch. But still not what I need. Tonight I measured my swatches and as I write this they are going for a swim so I can measure them after blocking, too. Perhaps one of them will turn out to be the gauge I need. Obligatory swatch photo:

2008Apr30_SpindriftSwatch

I also swatched with the Black Water Abbey yarn with hopes of turning it into a Must Have Cardigan. Here is the blocked swatch:

2008Apr30_BlackWaterAbbeySwatch

Neither yarn is working up to the needed gauge exactly, which means either more swatching or more math. Or perhaps I Must NOT Have this cardigan. At least not with this yarn.

On Saturday, Mr. MmmYarn and I went to my stepsister-in-law’s baby shower. I knew I was going to give her the Tofutsies Baby Surprise for the little guy but had to whip up another pair of matching booties quickly on Thursday. She liked them and the sweater, too:

Booties_2008Apr24_TofutsiesTanGreen

Pattern: own
Yarn: South West Trading Company Tofutsies; 50% superwash wool, 25% Soysilk fibers, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% chitin
Needles: size 2
Size: newborn to 6 months

Last Saturday (gads, 11 days ago already) Mr. MmmYarn and I went to the open house at A Star Alpacas. I have to say it was a long drive for not much bang. The drive was 2.5 hours each way and we were done there in about 30 minutes but stretched it to about 45 with the bit of shopping. The animals were lovely and the owner allowed us to get up close and personal with the females and youngsters in their pen. I counted 29 but they kept moving around, so give or take a few:

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2008Apr19_Alpacas_1885

One female and one male were not shorn yet. They were scheduled to go to a show, but the owners heard of an illness going around so the alpacas stayed home and will be sheared in the next few weeks sometime. Here’s how fluffy an alpaca is when not sheared:  

2008Apr19_Alpacas_1888

They were generally more interested in food than in us:

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One approached me and touched her nose briefly to my hand but when I lifted my hand in an attempt to pat her side, her ears went back and I took that as a warning and stepped back. The owner explained they don’t really like to be petted. That was OK, as I am OK with going along with whatever makes an animal comfortable. Pretty much I held still and watched them and Mr. MmmYarn worked the camera and watched his back:

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This one is a mother-child photo. The owner explained to me that usually when they breed a white female with a white male they get white offspring, but with the other colors it’s sometimes a surprise:

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The male alpacas were in separate enclosures on the other side of the barn. They came up to the fence but did their best to stay just out of reach:

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All of the animals were a little eager to get out of their areas as they usually go to pasture for part of the day, but because of the expected human visitors they were kept in their pens. I was a little disappointed by the open house, or by my expectation of an open house. I definitely enjoyed seeing the animals and I still am enjoying sticking my hand in the bag of fiber I bought, but I had hoped for something more. What, exactly, I’m not sure. Perhaps information about their daily care or what goes into selecting who goes to a show, or some walking around the farm. The owners were both very available to answer questions but I wasn’t sure which questions to ask.  

California gold country is pretty, though, so it made for pleasant scenery for about the last 45 minutes on the way there and the first 45 minutes on the way home. I haven’t been there since I was a kid.

Non-alpacas:

2008Apr19_GoldCountry_1905

On the road:

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This week on the bus I am knitting on yet another purse to be felted (sorry, no photos, as this is the one I hope to get published eventually) and I also worked on ply 4 of my planned 4-ply merino and silk yarn. What a busy week!

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