Thursday, December 6, 2018

New focus for the New Year coming up

After much thought about it, I've decided to really change the direction of my little business.  Since there are only so many hours in a day in which to get things done, I am going to simplify and concentrate my efforts in fewer places and perfect what I do.

In 2019 I am going to focus on improving both my spinning and my weaving.  I won't be doing any needle felting, or crocheting, or at least very, very little of each.  Those two crafts are okay, but what I really, really love to do is spin yarn, and now weave.  So those are the two crafts I am going to do from now on. 

I also want to get this farm really looking nice, get my flower gardens re-done and expanded.  The goats are going to get more care next year, and I am going to ride my horse a little!  The last few years I've been trying to do too much and therefore, nothing was done well.  Since my husband is the one working off the farm to pay the household bills, I stay home and keep the place going.   My income only comes from what I can make and sell.  And that has to be enough to buy all the animal's feed and care, plus any supplies I need, etc.  I've been falling a bit short every year, so I really need to concentrate on making things that people want and need, like kitchen towels, wearable accessories, etc..  Kitchen items out of cotton and or linen, and cashmere, silk, and combinations of those for scarves and shawls.  Once in a while there will be something made out of wool or even acrylic for those people allergic to wool or cashmere.

So be watching for changes to come to my website soon!  I have changed up a few things already, but I'm thinking of overhauling the whole thing.  Any ideas for improvements would be appreciated!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Having fun weaving

 Here are some of my weavings.  The top one is a silk cashmere scarf.  I sold that.
 This one is a yak/silk blend scarf, with the warp being commercial silk yarn, and the weft is some yak/silk that I spun up.  I was a bit nervous using this nice handspun yarn in my second scarf made from handspun, but it turned out beautifully and is for sale on my website.
This third one is the first one I wove out of all my handspun cashmere, both warp and weft.  It's a nice dense (translate very warm!) short scarf perfect for tucking into the open collar of a jacket to keep you toasty warm. It too is for sale on my website.  There are a few other items on there also.  All have a holiday discounted price. My website

  We are having a mild winter, compared to last year.  Only a little over an inch of snow on the ground, which came last night and today.  I guess since it's the first of December, a little snow is in order.
  November was quite the month physically, for me.  The first week I slipped and fell flat out on my back.  That actually re-aligned my entire spine, I felt pops and shifts all the way up and down.  The second week I had a metal t-post for fencing fall over and hit me square on the bridge of my nose.  I did not even see it coming.  That hurt!  Thank Heavens it didn't hit either of my eyes or break something!  Third week I pulled a groin muscle reaching with my leg and foot over to let the friction brake on my floor loom loose.  That only lasted a day and a half.  Then I fell asleep at my computer and hyper stretched my neck as my chin went onto my chest, and totally froze everything.  I'm still recovering from that.  I went to an acupuncturist on Thursday, which helped immensely.  I'm almost back to normal.  Except I can't turn my head to the left or right.  I have another appointment on Wednesday coming up, which should get me completely flexible again. December has got to be an easier month on me!
  All but one doe who I'm waiting on, are now bred.  I only bred 7 does this year.  I don't need a bunch of new goats next year, I have too many things going on to take proper care of a big herd now.
  I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season this year! 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Almost Thanksgiving already

Man, this year sure has gone by fast!  T-day is next week!  We just have a little bit of snow on the ground in places.  There is a lot of bare ground now.  Sunshine is in the forecast from now until Thursday, when there is a slight chance of a little snow shower.  The forest service road is icy in a couple of places.  I had the studded snow tires put on Wednesday, but when I went down today, the truck still slid a bit in a couple of places, and I was going slowly.  Luckily it's only a couple of short sections that have ice, the rest is pretty bare. 

We got the puddle/pond filled in with gravel!  It is sooo nice to drive through there without having to go through water, which would be there now, if it wasn't filled in.  The neighbors pitched in and helped pay for it, too, which was nice.  Now when we have hipcampers next spring, they can get to our place with no problem, in any kind of vehicle. 

Today I put some plastic up around the top section of the hayshed where the plywood didn't quite reach the top, and also put a couple of tarps over the two openings so when it does snow and blow, the whole shed won't get covered in a layer of snow in there.  That will also keep it from being a wind tunnel in there whenever the wind blows.  My dream is to have a real barn one of these days!   Next project is to rebuild the west wall in the animal part of the shed so there is more room in there for the horse.   Since my husband seems to slide backwards down our driveway every year and take out a portion of the fence, tomorrow we are going to take the whole fence down and move it back behind the line of trees so that doesn't happen any more.  My poor truck is looking pretty beat up. 

My weaving is improving little by little.  For the rest of the month I need to focus on getting 9 Christmas ornament bears needle felted for a couple of orders I have for them.  Then it's back to weaving and spinning cashmere!

My thoughts and prayers go out to the people and animals in the path of the wildfires burning in California.  Seems every year CA either gets mudslides and floods, or more often than not, forest and wild fires!  It makes me think we have to do some more thinning around our place so if/when we get a forest fire out here, we will survive it!  We've done a bunch of thinning, but the trees have grown quite a bit in the 5 years since the first area was thinned, and there are some more trees that need to come out in that area.  Since we are supposed to have a drier, milder winter this year, I think we should be doing that all winter so we are prepared for next summer.  All the surrounding land is thickly forested, so we need to have a good buffer zone around our perimeter to counteract that if we do have a fire up here.

If you would like to see lots of pictures of the goings on around the farm, please check out my Instagram feed @cashmereannie.  I have over 1000 pictures on there now. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans reading this!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Fall musings

Time to downsize the buck population around here.  Moonshine and his son Thunder are looking for new homes.  They are related too closely to 99% of the does here, so I can't use them.   They need a new batch of girls to go to.  Moonshine is only 3 years old, and Thunder is just a yearling.  He does need his feet trimmed, which I will don my coveralls to do so I don't end up stinking like him.    

 I made 3 of these "farmhouse" towels recently on my rigid heddle loom.  They turned out quite well.  I'm in the process of making a new warp for my floor loom and using the warping board for the first time to do it.  So far it's working out pretty good.  As long as I remember which way to go around the pegs at the cross, I'll be okay.  Once nice thing about having a sectional warp beam is I only have to do 48 threads at a time.  Each section gets wound on separately, so I think I'll be okay with this!  I must say, warping a rigid heddle loom is much faster and easier I think. :-)
We are, after 24 years, finally getting the driveway graveled!!  This year is mainly filling in the big puddle/pond we have to drive through every spring.  No more having to drive through water!  Yay!!  Even though we are supposed to have a warmer and drier winter than last (thank heavens!) I still think we will have enough snow that in the spring there will be standing water, at least for a little while.  But, not in the driveway!  That is going to be so nice!! I will post a picture or two after it's all done.  If you follow me on Instagram @cashmereannie you can see in progress photos, plus about a thousand other pictures of happenings on the place. 

Jimmy, the boer/nubian buck I had went to a new home and batch of girls this week.  It is so much quieter and less smelly around here now that he's gone!  He was the noisiest buck I've ever had.  He makes some pretty strange sounds when in rut. :-)  He is also a very manageable guy.  Even in full rut, with a doe in season, he let me put his collar and leash on, lead him through the pen, down the driveway, and he jumped right in the back of the truck to eat his little grain treat I had for him.  Then when we got to the veterinary to get his blood drawn, he was patiently standing around waiting for over a half hour without making a fuss, and stood perfectly still while the needle poked into his neck and the blood was extracted.  Then when we got to his new place, he jumped out and walked beside the new owner to his new pen, taking in everything calmly and curiously.  Too bad I couldn't use him around here anymore, there aren't too many bucks that calm and easy going out there!  None of my cashmere boys have been, anyway.

I am now the president of our local weavers and spinners guild for next year!  This could be interesting.  I have a really good vice-president, so between her and I it should be a fun year.  The rest of the board is very competent, too, so I will have an easy job, I think.

Well, that's it for this session.  Hope you are having a great autumn and winter won't be too hard on you, wherever you are.  I am seeing the east is supposed to have a bad winter this year, so I hope it isn't overwhelming to anyone!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bye, Bye Facebook

I feel so good right now!  I've been thinking about leaving facebook for a while now, and today my account got hacked, which was the last straw, so I deleted my accounts.  I'm on Instagram @cashmereannie, I have my website, email, phone/text if anyone wants to contact me.  Now I won't be wasting so much useless time, and will be more productive on what really needs doing around here!  I might even start posting on my Youtube channel and make some useful content on there. :-)  I think I might get serious on Pinterest, too. We'll see.  Anyway, Bye, Bye Facebook!

Autumn is here!

Autumn is here, my favorite time of the year!  The fall colors are pretty, the bugs are disappearing, the temps have cooled off, it's a great time of the year.

                                              Pretty sunsets, which happen all year, actually.
               The last of the flowers in bloom, they make me happy every time I walk by here.
 The onion harvest this year.  Not a bad one at all.  I made an onion pie last night and it was quite tasty!
 And most exciting, I got a floor loom!  A four-shaft older Leclerc Nilus.  I am having fun exploring all the possibilities with it.  This is my first sample.  I got the loom at an estate sale, along with a rather substantial stash of yarn to go with it, plus some other fiber related items and books.  Quite a haul!  The loom hadn't been used in quite a few years, the woman had been dead for a good two years, and she hadn't been able to use it for a while before she died.  It needed a good cleaning, and it was ready to go.  In the yarn stash I found some already chained warps, so I decided to start with one of those, and use the tie-up she had on the treadles as is.  Since I don't know what I'm doing on this yet, I decided that would be a good way to go.  Turns out it was set up as a twill, and I really didn't warp the loom right.  It has a sectional beam, and I didn't know that was done differently than a regular beam, so I didn't get enough of the threads on there to begin with.  I was wondering why there were left over bundles, now I know. :-)  But, by the time I figured that out, I was too far along to unwarp and start over, so I went with it.  It's okay, but I know what to do a bit better for next time.  It's a 15 yard warp, so I have lots of sampling to do with it yet!  I think I will re-tie the treadles in a different way and see what happens.  So much to learn!
This is from a person who said not too long ago, "I will never take up weaving, it doesn't interest me at all, the warping is way too hard".  Ha!  Never say never.  It was strange, I went over to a friend's house that has a floor loom and was helping her tie up her treadles and get it ready for weaving, and the fear seemed to melt away and everything became an interesting challenge to figure out and do.  So, here I am, with both a rigid heddle loom and a floor loom.  Once I get a studio so I have room for everything, I will probably get a table loom, too!  I'm going deep down the rabbit hole with this!  Our little 765 square foot house has been taken over by my fiber things.  We don't have a living room anymore, the looms have claimed that.  Every room is half full of fiber related things.  I think the kitchen is the only room that doesn't have something related to fiber in it at all times.  I do wash fleeces and dye yarn in there, though.  I just get everything cleaned out and up before I do any cooking of food.  Anyway, I really, really need a fiber studio so I can everything in one place and we can have the house back! 

It's looking like we are finally, after 24 years of living up here, going to get the puddle/pond in the driveway filled in and the driveway graveled!!!!  No more lake to drive through in the spring!  It won't be so dusty, either.  The dirt around here turns to talcum powder when it's dry, so everything is thickly coated in dust.  It turns to slime when it's wet, too.  Gravel is way overdue!   The one new neighbor is willing to pitch in to get it done, so away we go.  Before this, nobody else wanted to spend the money to get it fixed, even though all our lives would be much better and easier with it done.  Now finally someone besides us is willing to do it.

Anyway, happy fall to everyone! 

Monday, August 27, 2018

A little rain!

We finally got a little rain overnight!  1/4 of an inch.  It was quite chilly today, one can tell summer is on it's way out.  The air is clean today.  No smoke here for the first time in weeks.  I have the wood stove going.  The heat from it feels good.  It was nice today to be outside with no yellow jackets around!

 A week ago last Saturday, I got stung right in the inner wrist on my blood vein by a yellow jacket.  The venom got main-lined into my bloodstream and I had an interesting reaction to it.  I was in the middle of doing chores, luckily I had finished with most and only had the dairy goats to feed and milk, and the eggs to gather.  After a couple of minutes, I started itching and burning like mad.  I went in the house and looked in the mirror and saw I was getting hives all over me!  I put some of my magic lotion on that, and it took care of the burning and itching.  Then I decided to soak my wrist in some Epsom salts to see if that would draw out the venom a bit.  As I was doing that, I all of a sudden got quite dizzy, the world started to fade around the edges.  I barely made it to the recliner, where I kicked back and either passed out or fell asleep for a bit.  I had a weird whooshing/ringing in my ears, too.  I sent up a prayer for the healing angels to come down and remove the toxin from me.  I checked in with muscle testing to see if I was dying.  It said I wasn't, that I would be better and able to milk the goats at the proper time, and that I would be fine by the time John got home.  Since I wasn't going to die, I decided to just deep dive into the experience and see what happened.  It was an interesting experience, for sure.  When I came to, I felt good enough to go milk, etc.  By the time John got home at 11 pm, I was feeling pretty much back to normal, except for my forearm was very swollen and itching like mad.  The hives were completely gone, couldn't even tell I had had them.  I think I was "out of it" for about 15 to 20 minutes.  The next day my arm was still really swollen, it looked deformed.  By Tuesday, it was back to normal and everything is good again.  I've been stung twice more since then with no reaction at all.  Those yellow jackets are mean little buggers!   All the traps, ammonia water, etc, is finally starting to noticeably thin out their numbers.  They still are plentiful around any water source, but are gradually getting out of the garden area.  The hum isn't nearly as loud as it was a month ago.  I also got stung by a Bald Faced hornet on the back of my neck.  Except for the initial sting, that got no reaction at all.  Not even very painful.  Seems every year we get some kind of pest/plague around here.  Last year it was rodents, this year buzzing beasts.  Deer have been plentiful in past years.  Stink bugs.  Always something.  At least it's only one kind at a time! 

The hay shed is torn down and the new section put up.  It looks so much better.  We have decided to add on one more section again for the ATV and trailers that go with it.  The hay bales need a bit longer space to fit in, so one end won't be out in the weather. 

The Hipcamp thing went well this year.  I think we are done for the year now.  We don't have any more bookings, and it's getting late enough in the year, that I doubt anyone will come now.  It was fun meeting all of them and visiting with them a bit.  All were very nice, and left clean campsites.  The extra income came in very handy, too!  And, if there hadn't been yet another fire in Glacier Park that closed down the west side, we might have had one or two more campers.  Oh well.  Hope next year there aren't any fires anywhere!

Well, back to needle felting 12 little bears for an order I got.  I'm almost done with the 4th one, so I will finish that tonight, and work again on them tomorrow.