Thursday, March 28, 2013

Llama Biography #9: Autumn Hill's Charity

I was all ready for a fiber-filled post, but my camera died as I was taking pictures of my 4 new skeins of yarn, so I'm forced to use what I've got on my computer already.  Which means it is time for another llama biography!

Llama #9 is one of my all-time favorites...Autumn Hill's Charity.  We had a lot of ups and downs together...she was a great girl!

Spring 2003, after her first haircut.

What a beautiful face!

Charity was born May 25, 2002.  Her mom was our first llama...Casa Loma's Little Sheba.  When Sheba was old enough to breed for the first time, we sent her (and April) down to Yellow Wood Llamas in Martinsville to be bred to the handsome LW Captain Curry.  A little over a year later the adorable Charity was born, and she looked just like her dad!

Casa Loma's Little Sheba, Charity's dam.

LW Captain Curry, Charity's sire.

Newborn baby Charity!

Charity was the first llama born on the farm after I had started 4-H, so I had a better idea of how to start training her.  And I started early!  Charity was doing obstacles at only 2 weeks of age...she was awesome!

Charity practicing squaring up at only a few weeks old.

Charity didn't have the best conformation, but she had amazing fiber and performance abilities.  I showed Charity in 4-H for 2003 and 2004, and we really cleaned up.  She had a bit of an attitude, but most of the time we got through it.  My favorite Charity story is at the 2004 Hamilton Co. 4-H Fair, where Charity decided to spit on me while backing in the obstacle course.  Somehow I managed to take it in stride, and we finished the course...going on to win the class and Grand Champion Senior Performance!

Charity at her first show, the 2002 North American International Livestock Exposition.  She was just 2 weeks over 5 months!

Our first Grand Champion in performance!  2003 Hamilton Co. 4-H Fair.

We really cleaned up at the 2003 NAILE!

Winning costume at the 2004 LamaFest.  We were skiiers.

Charity's beautiful fleece.  She won numerous awards for her shorn fleece!  Walking fleece wasn't available back then.

Even though Charity and I did great in performance, her attitude started to get to me, and I loved training new babies, so I decided to retire her.  Charity ended up at Alpaca Jack Suri Alpacas in Ohio.  She eventually was bred to another Autumn Hill llama that we sold to Jackie, and had a beautiful baby boy that looks just like her!  Charity still has a great home, and I couldn't be happier!

Blaze of Glory, Charity's son.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

New Yarns, and a Giveaway!

I've been busy this week, spinning like crazy to get more yarn to take to the yarn store in Ithaca.  I finished 2 new yarns:

The first is a gorgeous bright yarn...a 50:50 merino/yak blend from Abstract Fibers in the Chocolate Rainbow colorway.  I split the roving vertically, and spun each half into singles.  I then plied the singles in the same order, so that the colors matched up.  They didn't match up perfectly, but the stripes are pretty good.  This is the finest double ply yarn I've spun yet...366 yards from 4 ounces, measuring at 15 WPI.  It is destined for the yarn store, but if you'd rather knit with it yourself I'm asking $70 including shipping in the US.

The second is a really unique shiny yarn...a 50:50 superwash merino/tencel blend plied with viscose (bamboo) thread.  I was aiming for a spiral ply, which didn't quite work out, but the thread ply still makes it a gorgeous art yarn.  It will knit up beautifully!  This one is 276 yards from 4 ounces, $55 including shipping.

I also have (almost) finished pictures of my sweater!  I blocked it last week, and seamed up the back.  Now I just need to decide on closures for the front and finish it!

And finally, a giveaway!  I'm trying to build up my fan base on the farm Facebook page, so I'm having a giveaway once I reach 150 fans!  I think I'm only 7 "likes" away, so please "like" and share the page, and you'll be entered into the giveaway!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Lots of business-oriented progress this week!  I tend to get really focused on one thing, and spend all of my waking hours thinking about it or working on it, but at least that is good in this case!

First and foremost, I got a NY sales tax license!  I still have a few more things to figure out in terms of sales tax and other NY rules, but I'm hoping to figure that out in the coming weeks.

I also placed part of my handspun yarn on consignment at a local yarn store!  Cornucopia Yarns in Endwell, NY (outside of Binghamton) has agreed to try and sell some of my yarns, and I couldn't be more excited!  Now I need to spin like crazy so I can try and get yarn ready to sell at another yarn store, this time in Ithaca!

One of the yarns that is on consignment at the local shop!

Speaking of, I finished spinning the singles for my newest handspun yarn today.  It is a beautiful blend of merino wool and yak from Abstract Fiber!

One bobbin of merino/silk.

And last but not least, I just ordered a bunch of mill end roving from the Sheep Shed in WY!  I bought white roving, brown blends, black blends, and random colors.  I may order a pound of their dyed Cotswold locks later, but they were sold out.  Now I just need to find some dyed shiny stuff (silk, tencel, bamboo, etc.) to blend, and maybe some curls/locks, and I'm all set to start blending with the drum carder.  Then spinning!

Oh, and I finished my sweater!  Just need to block and seam the back panel and it is finally all done!

Back of my gorgeous sweater (pre-blocking).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

We've Moved!!

Here I promised that I would update more over the past couple of months, and I failed miserably!  Unfortunately, even though I was home on the farm for all of February, it was a pretty nasty month weather-wise, so the llamas and dog didn't get much outside attention.  But, circumstances have changed, and I'm really going to try my best to keep up with this blog!

Because...we've moved!!

Yes, Abby and I finally have moved to our new home in upstate NY.  We're now living on a beautiful old farm, and I can't wait for spring to arrive so I can start doing farm-life things outdoors!

The temporary llama barn.
Abby's not quite sure if she likes her new home or not.  She has been pretty much cooped-up in my bedroom.  There are 2 resident dogs that have to get used to her, and we're going really slow with the introductions.  Hopefully in a few more weeks they will all get along and she can have free-reign of the house.  She does love being able to run around and play fetch on 60 acres though!

One of the 2 resident dogs...a gorgeous Great Pyrenees!
I have lots of great things planned for the farm in the coming year.  First and foremost is to fix up the beautiful bank barn and get fence up so I can move the llamas in June!  I'm also hoping to continue to cultivate my green thumb with some of the flower gardens around the house.  Should be fun!  Of course, the forecast is predicting 4" of new snow tonight, so the idea of working outside seems pretty far off...

The top of the barn is currently home to pigeons, so it needs a lot of work!
The bottom was an old cow milking parlor, and it is in pretty good shape.  Just need to test the paint for lead, clean the surface, fill in the drains, and build a couple pens!
Back of the barn, where the llama pasture will be.  The big metal thing has to get moved too...
Hopefully we don't get this much snow!