Monday, April 28, 2008

It's a Girl!

We came home today to a new set of little feet in the girl's pasture. She is a very healthy 18.5 pounds and a beautiful luminous maroon. She was 30 days overdue and we were beginning to think she would never get here. The only time her Mom has quit eating this evening is when she's been nursing; she even tried to eat then. I guess delivering a big ol' girl works up a big ol' appetite. I always get so nervous while the little ones are trying to find the milk bar for the first time. They are all over the place suckling on everything but the right thing. But in the end she found the spot and latched on. She nursed for so long that she developed her own style. Who says you can't keep drinking when you're just too tired to stand up? The nap you see in the first picture was taken immediately after she finished her meal.
I just went out to check on them and Mom is still eating and little girl is nursing again.
We put the cria coat on her because the temps have cooled off again and we don't want her to get chilled. The newborns can't regulate their body temp right away so they get to wear a coat at night.
Now we have to come up with a name for her. So far on our farm we have Sabrena (her Mom), Sancha (her Aunt), Miss Rosevelt aka Rose (her Sister), Princess (her cousin), and Tyra (I guess we'll call her God Mother since she seemed to be looking after her when we got home and got very upset when DH picked up the little one to carry her into the barn). DH and I always play the naming game until one just sticks. We'll toss names back and forth until we both go "yeah, that's it". Of course we both usually have a favorite that we try really hard to sell to the other. But, in the end the best name wins.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Even though I haven't been blogging lately I have been knitting. Cobblestone was finished a while back and has been worn several times. It's an incredibly comfortable sweater. But, being alpaca it does pill and shed. No biggie, I can live with that. It's nothing a good shave won't take care of. I love the fit of this sweater. I'm seriously considering changing the neckline though. I don't find the current neck to be very flattering. The pattern for this was so well written that I didn't really have any issues while working on it. I would like to knit another one in a very pretty color. Something bright and cheerful. After shearing this year I got a very nice white blanket off of Princess. I'm thinking of carding and dying it and spinning it up for another Cobblestone. She had nearly 5 pounds of blanket fiber so I should be able to get a Cobblestone and have loads left over.

I dyed two skiens of Sabrena's light fawn yarn and knit up a cozy scarf. I tried numerous patterns before settling on Stefanie's One Row. This is the second time this pattern has come to the rescue. It's an easy knit-while-watching tv pattern. I learned a valuable lesson dying this. This was dyed with Gaywool dyes using the cold method and letting the yarn sit in the dye bath for 24 hours. The colors didn't come out as vibrant as they do when using the stove top or crock pot. So from now on I know if I want intense color to use heat, for soft color use no heat. Everything I have dyed since has been on the stove top or crock pot. There are three skiens drying now that I dyed today. Two plum that will become a scarf and one dark blue-green that will be a hat. The green started out as a herd blend of dark rose grey, silver grey, dark fawn, and light fawn. I love dying this yarn because it produces a nice heathered yarn and the outcome is always a surprise. It's really hard to predict how a particular color will be taken up by the yarn. I used indigo on one skien and got a nice charcoal color with hints of blue. On the next skiens I used watercrest (a medium intensity rose) and got what I call Rosewood. It reminds me of a weathered mahogany. I have enough of this color for a scarf and am still experimenting with patterns.

Before I leave you tonight I'd like to share a picture of little Coco taken before shearing. Isn't he a little doll??? We showed him at the end of February (which is about when this picture was taken) and he placed 5th. He may have placed a little better if he hadn't been so jumpy with the judge. Can't say that I blame him though. It has to be pretty stressful the first time these little guys go in the show ring and some stranger starts handling the jewels. Don't you just want to reach out and smoosh his cute little face.