Wicked Witch of the Wool

My adventures in knitting and my daily life on the farm.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

48 Things......

48 Things Tou Could Care Less About

1. FIRST NAME? Ellen

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Nope. My parents looked for a name that would be pronouncable in several languages, as they were from 2 different countries and I was born in a third.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Wow, that's a surprisingly hard one. I don't cry often. I had a short, good cry 2 years ago when I had to make the decision to put down my first-born foal, Milagro, at 6 days old. Other than that, I have had a few tears running down my cheeks at the end of the movie "The Notebook". I must say, I feel embarrassed when I cry. Don't know why.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yes I do, but I find that it is getting worse due to under-use.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? I LOVE roast beef, especially if accompanied by a good mayo or horseradish dressing.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I hope so. I am very loyal and will go out of my way to help other people.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Other than this blog, no. I've never been one to write down my thoughts or emotions before.


9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Heck, yeah! Funny, this is about the only crazy thing I haven't done yet. I'm a scuba diver, I've sky-dived, I've jumped from one speedboat to another while going REALLY fast.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? None, I don't like cereal.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Yes, 'cause you still need to untie them to gt them back on. So why not do it right away?

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Emotionally yes, physically yes. Carrying 70 lbs bales of hay does wonders for your strength.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Actually, I don't eat much ice cream. If I buy some, it usually ends up stale in the freezer.

14. SHOE SIZE? 8 1/2

15. RED OR PINK? I like them both, but if I had to choose, pink.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I let people take advantage of me.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My mom, who lives 3,000 miles away with failing health.


19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Black sweatpants, black and white sweater, no shoes.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? 2 gummybears.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Lisa Gerrard's Duality. Absolutely gorgeous music, highly recommeded.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Silver, matching the silver-white snow outside.

23. FAVORITE SMELL? Puppy-breath, patchouli, fresh-baked bread.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My husband, letting me know he arrived safely at work.


26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON YOU STOLE this FROM? Yes, I stole it from Anne

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Diet Pepsi. Hands down.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Speed skating. How can a half dutch, half norwegian not love that?

29. EYE COLOR? Blue.

30. HAT SIZE? I have a fairly small head, don't know the exact size.


32. FAVORITE FOOD? Sushi. Nothing comes even close.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Both. Especially if the end makes you THINK.

34. What happened to 34, Anne?

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Neither. Fall and spring are my favorites.

36. HUGS OR KISSES? Depends. The big question is when to do what. It's so much easier in Holland where you always kiss 3 times; left-right-left cheek.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Crepes suzette, but I rarely eat desserts anymore.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? I echo Anne's response: To what?


40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? I used to read 3 or 4 books a week, but lately I've been knitting more. I'm currently reading 2 books. Bob Woodward's State of Denial, and Susan Holloway Scott's Duchess.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don't have one. My mouse is wireless and I drag it across the armrest of my comfy chair.


43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? A heart-rendering cello-solo, the horses nickering when I enter the barn, the click-clack of knitting needles, my husband whispering that he loves me.

44. ROLLING STONES OR THE BEATLES? Both, depending on the mood du jour.

45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? As far as I can go without entering outer space.

46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Healing sick animals.


48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I stole it from Anne.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's a Beautiful Morning!

This is what I woke up to.

I tend to get up at the crack of dawn. Being post-menopausal can be a b*tch. However, this morning was just beautiful. I had a little added incentive to get out of bed as well. Nugget, my Anatolian shepherd had jumped the fence last night for the first time in 3 years. I could hear him barking and chasing coyotes all night. I finally caught him around 8AM. He was exhausted, but happy.

So, what has been going on since my last blog entry? Last Friday, Christy came up to use the drum carder. She had this gorgeous alpaca cria fleece (named Burt), and it came out beautifully.

We also got to play with the goats. They are suckers for anything edible. Christy had some fun on the deck feeding them bread out of hand. Speaking of goats; I had hoped that my doe would be pregnant by now. But yesterday Leslie began to be extremely amorous towards Lancelot. Poor Lancelot does not quite seem to understand what to do with her. She is flagging her tail and presenting her hind end to him. Lancelot is trying to mount her, only he favors doing it sideways. I had a long talk with him this morning, explaining the finer details of baby-making. Hopefully he'll get the picture soon.

I had to miss Saturday's knit meet. DH and I went out and got some more cattle panels and t-posts to make the billy pen. Once the does are confirmed pregnant we're planning on separating the goats to ensure the billy does not head-butt the does and thus jeopardize the pregnancy.
We also stopped by the Apple Store to get the new Apple Mini. My laptop had been working non-stop for 3 years, but was getting a little old and sketchy. I love this new computer. It has a large screen and all kinds of cool features.
Sunday was spent building the billy pen and watching football.

Yesterday Maus came up to visit, and we went to The Red Wheel where she will be taking weaving classes for the next 6 weeks. We also went to Knitty Cat (sadly closed on Mondays) and Strings, where we looked at Twisted Sisters knitting kits. Unfortunately, Maus didn't find a colorway she liked for the Jaywalker cardigan. I did go away with 2 balls of Louisa Harding Kimono Angora, enough to make a fabulously decadent pair of socks. It is 70% angora, 25% wool and 5% nylon, and I have no clue if it will make a good sock or not, but I'll give it a try.
Then today I whipped down to the Llama Store for a quick morning knit group. I had to fondle all the new fibery goodies, and of course I had to make a little purchase. I bought 2 handpainted skeins of 100% alpaca by Lonesome Stone Color Collection. It's Breastcancer Awareness Month, so I have to think pink.

On my way back home the weather had turned nasty. I encountered freezing rain and thick fog. At some points I could see maybe 20 yards ahead of me. Yuk. This is what it looks like now....

And, lo and behold, I just went out to put the horses in the barn and out of the weather. This is the sight that greated me:

Maybe we'll have little kidlets in March after all!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Bad Case of Starteritis

I know, I know. I have too many things on my knitting plate already. I'm working on the Phoebe jackets, the plain blue neck warmer, the Qiviut scarf, and I need to get more of the Alapaca with a Twist spun. If I'd had half a brain I would have put my Twisted Sister Cardigan kit downstairs in the basement with the rest of my stash, but no.

The kit sat there, in my basket, luring me to cast on. I was totally defenseless. I've made a deal with myself; 1 stripe a day. Then I have to knit one or two items for the Phoebe jackets. I need to spin at least an hour. The rest of the time I can knit whatever else. Phew! Whether any housework will be done or if we'll be eating anything but pizza remains to be seen. I'll keep you posted.

As if that isn't enough, I found this ubercool shawl online:

This is the Heere Be Dragone Shawl. The designer, Sharon Winsauer, from Aurora Alpacas has a website with a shawl gallery, but this pattern has not been added yet. You can contact her personally, and she will send you the pattern for $12.

Sigh. I need another project like I need a hole in my head.......

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Learning to Link....

Thank you so much Brie for teaching me how to make a link show up on my page. As I've stated previously, I'm a complete novice when it comes to programming and such.

In knitting news, here are some recent F.O.'s. I tried my hand at a Moebius wrap that was big enough to cover my head and still go around my neck. It is made out of Crystal Palace Merino Frappe and is oh so soft.

Please excuse the early morning uninspired picture. This was my second Moebius, and although I love the result, I think it will be a while before I make a third. I just don't enjoy knitting them.

Another quick knit that I do enjoy is this:

I found it on this blog. I'm currently making a second one in blue....

In other news; I feel cheated. The local meteorologists had predicted a lot of snow for later today. It ain't gonna happen. No fair! We might get a little dusting for a couple of hours, but then it's back to sunny and 60's. I had really hoped for a good amount of snow. I'm sure I'll be sick and tired of snow come April, but at the end of a season I'm so ready for something new.

Yesterday I had the farrier come out to trim my horses' feet. Rayo is my yearling horse. He had a very rough start to his life. He spent 6 days in ICU on oxygen when he was born. Then a few weeks later he was back in ICU with a colic, and we didn't think he was going to pull through. He did, though, but has been a tough nut to crack ever since. He simply does not like to be messed with. I'm not afraid to say that he is more horse than I know how to handle, which really needs to be remedied as he is a very big boy already. There was no way we were going to get his feet trimmed. He was supposed to go to a trainer a while back to be taught some manners, but circumstances intervened that caused a delay. I hope we'll be able to bring him to the trainer soon.

Here he is hiding behind his mom on the far right. This picture was taken 3 months ago, and he is even bigger today. His half brother (the other brown "baby" is a year older, but Rayo has already passed him in size. He is going to be BIG.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Snow, snow, here we go!

Albeit much less snow than forecast - I expected to wake up to several inches this morning - it is still snow! Tomorrow might bring more. I hope the dratted flies will die soon. They are feeling the cold and are trying to worm their way inside. I guess that's the beauty of living rural with a lot of livestock.

Last Saturday we held our KnitMeet at the lovely fiber shop Table Rock Llama and Fiber Store. If only I knew how to make links work, I would surely make something "clickable" to direct you there. The ladies brought all kinds of goodies to eat and knit. Funny how yarn and food obsession always seems to go hand in hand. Fab Phoebe brought the samples of the fur-trimmed jackets. I fell completely in love with a raccoon-trimmed jacket, but the jacket itself didn't fit me well. Bummer! After the KnitMeet, my DH and I went down to Douglas County fairgrounds and visited with the alpacas there. If I had gone by myself, I would most likely have done some more fibery stash enhancement, but, oh well. I have enough fiber to keep my wheel going all winter long.

My Kromski is parked in front of the window and I'm busy spinning up enough Alpaca with a Twist roving to knit up a scarf for the DH. I'm kinda on a deadline here, as the scarf needs to be done in about 3 weeks.
I did do some more stash enhancement, though. I bought this:

And this:

I had been oggling the gorgeous Quiviut (Muskox) yarn at the Llama store for several months already, and since I had a $4o credit at the store I finally bit the bullet and made it go home with me. I'm making the Tiger Eye Lace scarf with it.

Sunday was a very dreary day, spent inside by the fire and in front of the tv watching football. I managed to finish yet another Phoebe jacket, this time in pink. I've got enough angora yarn to finish 2 more pink ones, and a white one. That will make the grand total of 8 jackets. It's a fun, quick knit, and the angora is so soft to knit with. The added bonus is that I make a little bit of money knitting. I have my eyes set on some gorgeous snakeskin boots............

Yesterday was spent partially at the hairdresser. I then had to run home and get all the critters taken care of before the snow. Today I'll be out in the barn holding horses for the farrier. What's left of the day looks good for some serious knitting and spinning.

I'll leave you with a final picture. Moby wan Kanobi was none too pleased by having his sleep disturbed for this photo.

Friday, October 06, 2006

And now on to something completely different....

.....can I have the Letter B, please?

I know, 2 posts in one day. Re-reading my rant from earlier on today I feel the need to put out some more knitting related stuff.
Recently I finished a Noro felted bag. Even though I have a sizeable stash of Noro, I had never knit with it before. I liked knitting with it, but was a little scared of accidentally breaking the yarn. It seems so fragile. Watching the colors unfold was an amazing experience. I used 5 skeins in different colorways. Here is the B for Bag:

Close-up on the B for Button on the Bag

I can't really show you the B for Bobbin, as it is empty right now. I'm supposed to be spinning some more of the yummy Alpaca with a Twist to make enough yarn for a scarf for the DH. He leaves in 4 weeks to go visit his family back home, and it will be really cold there. So I need to get going on that. There's just too many things to do right now.

B is also for Basement. I have my office/storage space down there. Here is a picture of my fiber stash in plastic bags, handspun fiber, and self-dyed yarn. You can also see my meager knitting library.

This is the old couch that got a little facelift and now does duty as my knitting seat whenever I am down in the basement.

And finally, B is for Buck. As in Lancelot, my cashmere buck. He is two years old and raoms around with his two wives. We still haven't seen any "hanky-panky" going on, so whether the does are pregnant or not is still a mystery. I had a gay german shepherd once, so maybe I have a gay goat? Who knows. The earliest due date if he got the deed done right away would be the end of December. The does don't really start to show until 6 weeks pre-partum, so I might see some progress in a good month or so.

Oh, just one more; B is for Ballade. My first horse, who always keeps me on my toes.

Ok, I'll stop after this one. B is for Blue. What shade of Blue are you?

You Are Periwinkle

You're very intuitive and sensitive. You often know other people better than they know themselves.
You're also quite optimistic, and you think well of yourself and others. You know your dreams will come true.

To Hell in a Handbasket......

That's where the world is going right now. Why do people feel the need to go into a school and kill innocent people? Why are elected officials allowed to inappropriately pursue young boys for years without being held accountable? Why can politicians lie, steal, and cheat with seemingly no repercussions? And then why is a young boy in Boulder, Colorado slapped with a $250 fine for playing hackiesack (sp?) in the Pearl Street Mall? C'mon, guys! According to the police officer he was "releasing a projectile". A hackiesack, for crying out loud. A small bag filled with beans!!! That's not a projectile.

So, this is where our hard-earned tax dollars go? I am paying the salary of police officers who are too busy harassing hackiesack players to focus on the real issue at hand. Being a foreigner in this country, it is sometimes hard to understand how things work here. One of my favorite sayings is this: "America is the land of unlimited possibilities and impossible limitations". I can pay taxes, but I can't help decide what happens with the money I pay to Uncle Sam. I guess I could renounce my dutch citizenship and become an american, but with the current animosity towards americans in the world I am a little hesitant to relinquish my dutch passport. It makes me feel a little safer when I'm travelling abroad. To parafrase a line from the Austin Powers movie "Goldmember"; "nobody hates the dutch".

I'm climbing on my soapbox again. Here's why. I came to this country the legal way. The legal way involves jumping through a lot of legal hoops. It takes years, several trees were sacrificed for the copious paper trail, lawyers were paid sums big enough to send 3 kids to college, and I was subjected to medical tests, background checks, etc. That's fine with me. However, it irks me to no end that so many people are not doing it the legal way. I end up paying for their health care, I put their kids through school, I am SOoL if they crash into my car and carry no insurance. Don't get me wrong, I understand their need to better their lives. I know where they come from. I have travelled extensively in central and south america, and in the far east, and africa. I even got married in Guatemala. My mom used to live in Guatemala, Colombia, Hong Kong, and Suriname (former Dutch Guyana). I have seen extreme poverty, and my heart hurts for the people there. I am so incredibly blessed to have been born where I was born, into a life of plenty. That said, I think we are going about the problem in the wrong way. We need to help improve the situation for millions of people in their homeland, thereby eliminating the need for them to tear themselves away from their loved ones to make ends meet in a land far away. Having illegal aliens eeking out a meager existence in the fringes of our society is nothing more than a bandaid solution if it can be called a solution at all. Building a 700 mile long wall along our 2,000 mile border with Mexico is a spectacular waste of taxpayer money.

Election time is upon us. Nobody with a tv set can doubt that. We are inundated with negative campaign ads touting the various character flaws of the opposing candidates. How this practice can be allowed is an enigma to me. I just hope all you legal voters are dedicated to get to the core of the issues at hand and select the right candidate, being it left or right. Most of all; let your voice be heard. Get informed, and vote.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Stash enhancement is a beautiful thing

I broke down and went yarn shopping yesterday. With the full intention of only buying a skein or two, I succumbed to the beauty of the Twisted Sister's "Jaywalking" cardigan. I have never done entrelac knitting before, so that will be raising the bar for me. I fell in love with the blues and purples in this variation (different from the picture on the pattern book), and can't wait to get started. However, I still need to finish my second moebius cowl/scarf. It will probably be done either today or tomorrow. Then I need to knit the trim to 3 more Phoebe jackets before I'll allow myself to cast on for the cardigan. I also need to get started on a scarf for the DH out of my handspun Alpaca with a Twist. I've spun maybe 15% of the roving I have, and I've plyed 2 bobbins' worth of gorgeousness. The 2-ply is very nice, but I might have to double up and make a 4-ply out of it, as knitting a scarf in fingering weight might take too long.

Yesterday's weather turned really weird. It started to rain heavily in the afternoon, and once it stopped, the sky turned an ominous red and yellow.

This is the view of my deck, where all of a sudden the leaves had fallen from the trees and are now blowing around on the ground. The ambient light is really erie. After a while, the skies cleared up and blessed us with a gorgeous sunset.

The evening ended with a rare display of feline friendship. George and Cobweb are not friends by any stretch of imagination. However, last night they decided to share the couch without fighting. Feline bliss!

Monday, October 02, 2006

A is for Autumn

I know it is kinda late to be jumping on the ABCalong bandwagon, but since I'm a relatively new blogger I'll give it a try. In the coming posts I'll try to show you what rocks my world.

Autumn always seems to be a very brief intermission between triple digit summer days and biting cold winter nights. I wish it would last a little longer, as I really cherish those temperate days. We have 35 acres of scrub oak on our property, and this time of year they turn a brilliant red and gold. Unfortunately the turn of color only lasts a few days. My DH has been busy this weekend cutting down dead wood, and we now have plenty of oak to keep us in firewood throught the whole winter.

A is also for Apollo. We have had our llamas for a year now. Apollo is the guy I instantly fell in love with. His fleece is very fine, but he doesn't have a lot of it. This past summer was our first time shearing the llamas. Lisa and Linda from the knitting group came out for the occasion. I had hoped to get a lot of gorgeous fiber from all 3 of the boys, but only Apollo had fiber worth saving. Bummer. Llamas are very weird animals. They are extremely aloof animals, and tend to want to keep some distance between you and them. However, they are very curious and they were watching the DH this weekend while he was out cutting down dead scrub oak in their pasture.

A is for Anatolian. Nugget is our first Anatolian shepherd dog. The breed is from Turkey, and they are used to guard the livestock. At a skinny 160 pounds and the size of a Great Dane, he is a formidable character, but he is a sweetheart.

A is also for Andalusian. I have been riding horses since I was 6 years old, but I was always riding other people's horses. When we moved to Colorado 6 years ago I was finally able to realize my longtime dream of owning my own horse. Andalusians had always fascinated me, and Ballade is my first horse. We now have 5.

Agapito de Luna is our first surviving foal. The story of our first foal that didn't survive will come later on in the alphabet. "Pito" is a heartbreaker. He is 2 now, so next year we'll be able to start working him under saddle. He is so sweet and gentle (very unlike his half brother, but that story is for a later time as well).

Finally, there has to be some more knitting related content in the ABCalong. Below is a picture of some of the Angora I am currently working with. This angora is handspun by a co-op of chilean women, and it is a dream to handle. This is the stuff my jacket is made of (see previous post). When I'm knitting with it, I keep having to stop and fondle it. That's how soft it is.