Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why "3 Sisters' Workshops?"

When I was 61 years old I learned how to spin fiber into yarn, thanks to Tammy D.

I learned how to make hats on the "knifty knitter" loom shortly after that, thanks to Amanda.

I took a class at Hillcreek Fiber Studio and learned how to weave on a tri-loom, thanks to Carol Leigh.

I can't believe it myself. If anyone would have told me about the road I would travel to learn these things -- I would have laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

"Me?" I would have said, "making hats? Weaving shawls? No way."

I make hats every week now. I love it. I made a lovely little blue hat for our newest grandbaby -- Lincoln Benjamin. My son and daughter-in-law used the picture of him in the hat for their birth announcements. You can't make a grammy much happier than that!

I get so much enjoyment from spinning, too. I have gone from an Ashford Traditional wheel, Ashford Travellor, Hitchhiker, and now my love affair with the Louet wheel brings me full circle.

Before I left for work this morning I did some Navajo plying on my wheel. What? Me? Yes, me.

I am so excited about these new abilities. It's all part of what I call "life long learning."

It's what we're trying to do, Tammy, Amanda and I -- with "3 Sisters' Workshops." We want to share the knowledge of how to spin, weave, process fleece, cart with llamas, pack with llamas, dye yarn, felt -- all of it. We are (as our logo boasts) "Doin' what we love and lovin' what we do!"

Check out the opportunities at

Come join us at my house. Bring a dish to share for lunch. Learn something new. And then take that skill into your life. Who knows where it will lead!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The trouble with Pink Pinafore

This little doll of an alpaca cria has been trouble from the beginning.

She was born on March 20, 2011, a bright Sunday afternoon. She was born out in the back pasture -- with her mama, Sanya as an attentive, doting mama. This was Sanya's first birth and by all accounts, things went well.

When Pink Pinafore (so named because of the "glow" that emanates from her fleece) was about 3 weeks old she began racing through the pasture -- at around 30 mph. She would leap and twirl, almost giggling as she left the other crias "in the dust" in her escapades. Gosh, could that gal run.

At around 4 weeks of age I noticed that she was limping. I took a deep breath and thought -- probably a sprain -- as she got busy running. A few days later -- not better. My heart sank. A broken leg alpaca? Could it be? Please God, no.

I took her to my vet -- only to discover that she had broken a bone in the "growth plate" of her leg. Bummer. No way to cast it. And by then it was infected. Dr. Liz put a drain in the joint -- and I put Pinafore and her mama in a separate pen so I could clean the gunk out each day and get it healed.

Then shearing happened. I knew that Pinafore couldn't be stretched out on the table with ropes -- so we chose to hold her down instead. Oh my, that didn't work. She jerked and pulled and it might have made things worse as she struggled not to be shorn. Lesson learned.

After shearing she was back to limping again. Bummer.

Two weeks ago I noticed that she was beginning to use the leg, but there was still pus coming from the joint -- so I took her back to the vet to "take a look."

This is where it gets ugly. I took her (and several others) on the hottest day imaginable (over 115 heat index). The vet was at the Monroe County Fairgrounds, so she called and suggested I bring the alpacas from the trailer inside the office into the AC.

When I handed Pinafore to the office staff to set down outside the trailer -- I wasn't fast enough grabbing Sanya's rope and Pinafore's mama leaped out of the trailer and LANDED on Pinafore's broken leg. Well, if it wasn't broken before -- it surely was broken then -- as it spun around like a pinwheel (ooooooouuuuuuuucccchhhh!).

I cried like a baby. Bawled. Sat in the grassy area by the trailer and just wailed. Sobbed. You get the picture. This was to be my pink showgirl. My alpaca that I would take to shows and WIN with. That was her future. Ahh -- but the best laid plans of mice and women . . .

Dr. Liz found the new break (from the long top bone by her hip to the first joint) and now we are sporting a cast people. The other break has healed. Of course. Bummer.

Pink Pinafore is doing amazingly well. We go back in three weeks. I asked Dr. Liz if I should go ahead and register this girl. "Let's see what she does next," was her reply. Spoken like a wise veterinarian.

In photos: Pinafore the day she was born; during her first broken bone; holding up the bad leg in the pasture; getting her cast; and with my grandson, Andrew, right after she was casted.