Visiting a Small Alpaca Farm

The other week when I was in Pagosa Springs I got the chance to hang out with these cute little guys at Hummin’ Heaven Ranch!IMG_9299

The couple that started this little farm fell in love with alpacas when they visited the Pagosa Springs Fiber Festival a few years ago and now they have 5 of their own.  IMG_9320

They had just been sheared the day before we visited, so you could easily see the shearing lines, but not all the long hairs had been cut, look at that eyelash!IMG_9318

After they shear the animals, they send the fiber off to a mill and it comes back to them in yarn form.  Each of the labels have a picture of the animal it was spun from.  Handling the different yarns was really interesting because I’d just visited the animals themselves.  The ages of the animals, the softness of the yarn, their individual colors – it was a great educational experience!IMG_9333

If you’re in the area, I strongly suggest you visit this cute little farm!  They don’t have a website, but are located at 2112 Roberts Place, a little more than 10 miles south of the town center in a gorgeous little valley with a little creek nearby and lots of friendly neighbors.

On an unrelated note, Tomorrow is Race Day!  I’m not taking my computer with me this weekend, so if I don’t respond to comments or emails right away, just know that I’m running up, and then down, a mountain!

Pints & Purls Edition 6: Alien Amber Ale

This is the sixth in a series of installments that will highlight  some of my favorite brews and which knits to go with it!  Read more editions here!

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Brew: Alien Amber Ale

Brewer: Sierra Blanca Brewing Company

Malts:

Hops:IMG_9359

Flavors: Malty and crisp, but light, a little bitter, carmel-y although there are no real sweet undertones.  Easy to drink with a medium finish.

Knit Pairings:  This amber ale would be good for projects that have lengths that need attention, but then a break – long rows with a lot of stitches, or lengthy, complicated lace repeats.

Notes:IMG_9358

Let me know what you think!  Suggestions for future beers, more/different information to include, this is a work in progress so I won’t be offended by constructive advice!

WIP Wednesday

It feels so good to have that big ol’ box sent off and that shawl pattern published.  But don’t be fooled!  The knitting still goes.  I’m actually quite happy to be back to working on this project:IMG_9655

In my head I’m calling it my “growing summer storm” because the piece is finally getting bigger (and I like it, so I won’t be ripping out. again.) and because the dark grey purple-y colors look like storm clouds to me.

This is the last project in a collection I’ve got coming out in August, so it feels awesome to be coming that milestone!  Not that the work on the entire thing will cease once the knitting does, these babies need Tech Editing, and they need it bad.

Linking up with Tami as always!  What are you working on this week?  Making progress on long-standing projects? Or starting something new and sweet?

Pattern Release: Mottled Daydream

I’ve been teasing,IMG_8840

and taunting,IMG_9135

and not letting any real details out about this piece…IMG_8838

until now!

IMG_9439

This little shawl is part of the Malabrigo Quickies Program and, let me tell you, the yarn is to. die. for. It’s soft and it’s gorgeous and it’s subtle and it’s absolutely perfect for summer knitting and year-round wear!IMG_9446

The entire shawl uses just shy of 2 skeins of Malabrigo’s Silkpaca, but ends up a generous size that looks great wrapped around your neck bandana-style or draped over the shoulders with a nice evening gown (or at least I imagine it would look nice this way, I don’t have any reason to wear evening gowns…)IMG_9645

I’m especially pleased with the shape this shawl makes,IMG_9444

The center point is deep enough to add extra coverage or warmth, but isn’t as deep as most shawls which can be overwhelming sometimes.  I think it’s good practice to have a variety of neck accessories in one’s wardrobe.IMG_9649

The shawl pattern can be found on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy.

Pints & Purls Edition 5: Rampant Imperial IPA

This is the fifth in a series of installments that will highlight one of my favorite brews and which knits to go with it!  Read more editions here!

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Brew: Rampant Imperial IPA

Brewery: New Belgium Brewing

Malts: Pale, Black

Hops: Mosaic, Calypso, Centennial

Flavors: Although there is abundant bitterness, there is also a slightly sweet malty taste that rounds out the beer’s big personality.  A clean finish keeps it from being too overpowering and heavy.

Knit Pairings: This beer is complex in aroma and in taste, as such, I think it’d be great paired with an exotic blend of yarns – yak, camel and bamboo? hemp, cashmere and merino? – or an exotic stitch pattern.  Try something new! Have fun! Enjoy both the complexity of the beverage and the complexity of your project.

Notes: This beer has a strong point of view, no need to coax conversation, he’ll open right up!IMG_9075

Let me know what you think!  Suggestions for future beers, more/different information to include, this is a work in progress so I won’t be offended by constructive advice!

Pattern Release: The Radish Hat

Remember that seekrit project I was talking about earlier this year?IMG_8220

The pattern has finally been released by Fancy Tiger Crafts!

The Radish Hat features simple cables and lace and knits up super quick on US 10.5 (6.50 mm) needles.  Fancy Tiger’s Heirloom yarn is quite pleasant to work with and will definitely give you a warm product in the end.

The colors are really quite pretty and varied also, and I think this hat would work up beautifully in any of the colors.IMG_8222

The two pictures of the hat in it’s final form were taken by the lovely ladies of Fancy Tiger, the others are mine 🙂

Pints & Purls Edition 4: Something a Little Different

Today’s Pints & Purls Edition is something a little different!  My friend Vanessa, who blogs over at Mixed Martial Arts & Crafts, is guest blogging for me and covering one of her favorite beverages – coffee!

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Brew: Gevalia Kaffe ground espresso roast

Brewer: Me, Vanessa from Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts. I drink this espresso with warmed up vanilla almond milk. I don’t bother frothing it, so it’s more of a cafe au lait than a latte. In Spanish, we call this a cafe con leche or coffee with milk.

Aroma: Out of the bag, it’s a very rich smelling coffee with a hint of nuttiness.

Taste notes: On its own, the espresso is creamy. If you brew it right, there should be an upper layer of foam called “the crema,” it’s similar to the head on a well poured beer. You don’t want too much crema nor do you want too little. It gives the coffee a smoother flavor if it’s done right.

Since I take my coffee with flavored almond milk, there’s a slight almond and vanilla flavor to the espresso. However, it pairs well with the bolder flavor of the coffee. There’s also a mild vanilla scent to the coffee itself making it taste slightly sweeter without having to add more sugar.

Yarn pairing: Candy Skein’s cafe au lait yarn comes closest to matching the color of how I like my cafe, two shots of espresso and a half cup of milk. And two raw sugars, of course.

Pattern pairing: Since two shots of espresso packs quite the caffeinated punch, you’ll be feeling energized. However, I think a good cafe should be savored. For that reason, I suggest that you pull out that complicated and heirloom quality project while sipping your latte.???????????????????????????????

Let me know how you feel about this series!  If you’d like to see more of a variety of beverages, suggestions for features or if you’d like to guest post, feel free to contact me!

WIP Wednesday

Another week and more seekrit projects!  The deadline for a lot of these is coming up soon and I hope to be able to share them with you as soon as I get the A-ok, promise!IMG_9368

I can tell you that these yarns aren’t ones that I’ve shared with you before, they’re all totally new to me.  Also, the projects that I’ve been working so hard on lately aren’t ones you’ve seen from me before either, it’s all new stuff – new genre of patterns, new yarns, new everything!IMG_9369

Linking up with Tami, as always 🙂  Go check out all the other WIPs this week and share your own.IMG_9370

What have you been working on lately?