Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I took these photos a couple of weeks ago.


Does anybody else sense a colorway coming on, or is it just me?

I'm busy with some other projects and Mom has been getting up early, so I can't do any dyeing right now. (I don't dye while Mom is awake, too dangerous.)

Monday, September 29, 2008



needs to go into this.

Any volunteers?

That's ok, I already did it. The sad part is the hole on the left isn't even completely filled. That is my neighbor's truck with 3/4 of a yard of gravel. I'm going to need a little more. Ok, a whole lot more. Like 5 to 10 yards, probably. I'll have to wait until I have something mechanical to spread it though, I'm not spreading that much gravel with a shovel.

Speaking of volunteers, I had a group come out to help eradicate the burdock on Saturday. We managed to clear two pastures. The crap is everywhere.

The sizzle, pop of all those burdock seeds exploding in the fire is a highly satisfying sound. Burn, you seed of Satan!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Art of Alzheimer's Twofer

She seems to be exploring balance in her last few installations. There is enough of an angle there that the potato would fall out of the carton but for the pencil. I snapped a few just before Mom grabbed the potato. I put my camera away. You'd think I'd learn, right?

She wasn't done yet. She needed the potato as the final touch to another installation.

The dishtowel is the one I had used to strain the juice from the grapes. It started out white. I had rinsed it out, but hadn't washed it yet. I like how she has the red on one side, the blue on the other, and the shorter ones in back, sort of peeking out between the tall utensil and the carton.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Adventures of Judy

Judy was so exhausted by her close encounter with the spinning wheel, all she could do was sprawl on the arm of the couch with a wet (precisely folded) dishcloth on her head.

Many have told me the Art of Alzheimer's photos should be in a book. I think Judy needs a book too!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beans and grapes

Soybeans are hairy.

The whole house smells like grapes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Blame Charley and Ewan

Boorman and McGregor, that is. Have you been watching Long Way Down on Fox Reality channel? Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor rode motorcycles from the northern tip of Scotland down to Capetown, South Africa. It is fascinating to me. A combination of travel, food, culture, adventure, and music show. (And, ok, it's Ewan McGregor! Come on!)

A few years ago they did Long Way Round, where they went from London to New York, by riding east on their motorcycles. I was fascinated with that one too. So much so that I actually signed up for their newsletter, and got updates as they were filming Long Way Down. I never knew I was such a TV geek.

I blame them for my wanderlust.

Saturday's episode showed them in Rwanda. They spoke of the genocide that happened there. They were speaking with their Rwandan fixer, and asked why they had never heard of it. The fixer said that at the time, Kurt Cobain had just died, the US was in the World Cup, etc. So the death of a musician and a sports event were more important than the fact that hundreds of thousands of innocents were being slaughtered. But apparently the British media were no better, since Charley and Ewan hadn't heard about it either.

Why do I bring this particular episode up? I have a friend in Rwanda right now. She is French, (oops, actually recently got her American citizenship) and her American husband are working there, doing agricultural education. She is working with the widow's association, and her husband is working on the dairy situation.

They had lived/worked there before, in the 80's, before the genocide. They were looking forward to their return, but feared that many of their friends there were lost to the genocide. They were looking for one man in particular, but they were right, he was a victim of the genocide. Imagine their delight when they found his son still living. The little boy they knew was now a young man, but they were so happy to find this connection to their friend.

When they were there in the 80's, they were working on building terraces on the hills of Rwanda. When the episode aired, I was searching for signs of terracing, knowing that my friends had had a part in it.

When I mentioned to my friend that I was having the llamas do the mowing, she replied that she has hippos doing hers! Can you imagine?

There is a standing invitation to come visit them. Don't think I don't want to. To visit a country is one thing, to be shown the country by someone intimately familiar with the people and culture is a wonderful opportunity. However, the $2500 price tag on airfare means it won't happen.

So instead I'll watch Long Way Down, and read the travelogue/diary/newsletter my friend e-mails every few weeks.

(I also loved Feasting on Asphalt 1 and 2, and now Feasting on Waves. I am a sucker for shows involving food, people, travel and motorcycles and boats!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Questions, I have questions

But first, an update on the chickens. There's Georgina on the left, Esther on the right, and the two chicks in the middle. They are always together. Even at night, they crowd into one nest. Mind you, the nests are designed for one chicken at a time, or a chicken and her babies. They basically stack in there, babies on the bottom, mamas on top. I guess they're all warm! The two of them are very protective mothers. The cats give them a wide berth, and the dogs do that I'm not looking at you thing, very carefully looking away if the chickens come by.

Ok, on to the questions. Does anybody know the relative R value of baled hay versus loose hay? Really, it's more straw than hay, nothing nutritious in there, just stems. This is different hay, not my hayfield hay. Ok, back to my question. I have an old fashioned cellar door to the outside. You know, the kind that lay flat, covering steps down to an upright door at the bottom, which leads into the cellar. Those steps are only about a foot away from my pipe from the well into the house. I have had problems with that pipe freezing. In other words, no water in the dead of winter. I want to fill the whole step area with this straw/hay, in the hopes of insulating it so my water doesn't freeze. But is it better to leave it in bales, or open the bales and fluff it up? I am thinking of keeping it in bales where I can, and then filling in the rest with flakes or loose straw/hay. Anybody have an opinion?

Next question. Mom has been putting stuff in her mouth. Anything from stones, paper, marker caps, pen caps, just anything. She has done that off and on, but recently it seems that it is a constant thing. I swear I am feeding her, so I don't think it is done out of hunger. Of course I am paranoid after the whole coin ordeal, but I need to find something edible that she can keep in her mouth, without fearing her choking on it. Partially cooked green beans? Carrot? But what is the right size, big enough that she doesn't just swallow it right away, but small enough that she won't choke on it? Any ideas? Gum might be an option, albeit a sticky, messy one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Art of Alzheimer's

Can you tell what the yellow object is? It is the top of a milk jug. The company gives 5 cents to your school for each jug cap, so I save them for my nephew. I have a glass canister on the counter I throw them in, and Mom likes to empty it out and play with them every once in a while. I'm surprised this is the first art installation I've seen using one.

I was standing at the sink when I saw Mom carefully balance the strainer in the cap. She must have seen me looking, because she asked, "Do you like that?" I heaped the praise on heavily, but casually tried to steer her away from it. I hesitated to run to the other room where my camera was, because I feared she would take it apart right away. I took my chances, and sprinted for the other room. As you can see, she hadn't moved anything yet.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tragic Spinning Wheel Accident

Not really. Mom was sitting in the chair next to the wheel, and very carefully placed Judy there. It just looks bad, her limbs all tangled in the treadles.

Thirty four more bales of extremely nice green more grass than clover hay stacked into the granary yesterday. I'll save this stuff for those extremely cold days when they need a little extra nutrition. We each got 34 bales. There are also some loose piles and stuff to be raked that we can feed now. Some of it was just too short to go into the baler correctly, but is still fine as loose hay. We'll finish that up this afternoon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Signs of Fall

The sun was going down when I noticed this patch of leaves growing on the fence. The sun back lit just a one foot square of them, the rest was all in shadow.

I may have gotten a little carried away with the picture taking here.

I just couldn't seem to stop.

I also noticed that the soybean field had changed to all yellow leaves, and planned to take a photo the next day. Mistake. The wind picked up overnight, and now all the bright yellow leaves are gone.

There are just stalks and beans left to dry down until harvest.

We will be baling this afternoon. There isn't a lot there, but it is really nice hay. Now I have to find/make room to put it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Grapes as Dye

Who knew so many would have grape envy. These hardy Concord type grapes were here when I moved in eight years ago. I imagine that they are very old. I am in southern MN, considered a northern state by most. You even more northern folks might want to check, I know the U of Minnesota has come out with many northern varietals of grapes. There is a burgeoning wine making segment in Minnesota.

Rick asked if I have ever used grapes as dye. As a matter of fact I have.

This capelet was one of the first things I knit with my handspun yarn. The dark bands are natural rose gray alpaca. The purplish bands are mohair curls dyed with commercial dyes. The rest is made of white/off-white fibers (alpaca, merino, silk) dyed with grapes. I mordanted the fiber with salt, as per instructions found on a natural dyeing site. (Mordanting just means to prepare the fiber to accept dye. Depending on the dye, vinegar, alum, many other things can be used to mordant the fiber. Different mordants may create different colors with the same dye. I don't do a lot of natural dyeing, but that's the gist of it.)

This was made several years ago. When it started out, the grape dyed parts were a silvery, barely blue-gray color. I absolutely loved it.

As you can see now, it is a sort of icky splotchy brown-beige-dirty white color. I don't absolutely love it anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still wear it as it is incredibly warm, and keeps the chill off the neck, and looks great with a blue, purple or gray sweatshirt.

In my experience, grapes don't create a lightfast dye. This was that pretty silvery blue color for only a few months, if I remember correctly. I probably won't dye with them again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Most of the grapes are ready. The problem is protecting the ones that are ready from the chickens, while still allowing the ones that aren't to ripen.

I'll be making jelly again, I suppose. I don't really even eat grape jelly. I don't eat much bread, and even rarer have jelly or jam on it, so why do I make it every year? Sure, I give it away as gifts. But there are only so many people that I can give it to.

I still have several pints from last year, even after giving a whole case to my sister. Last year the crop was so heavy it tore the arbor down. This year there are fewer, thanks to the llamas who pruned the vines, and ate some grape flowers too.

So in the next few days I'll be making jelly. The orioles will be happy.

In sad news, poor little Charmin didn't make it. I don't know why. I found him this morning. Georgina is sad and trying to steal the other two from Esther. I guess the two of them will raise the two chicks now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

3rd Cutting!

The neighbor decided to try for a third cutting, and mowed the hayfield yesterday. The leaf is sitting atop the mowed grass, not that you can really tell. We are forecast for a string of warmish (mid to high 70's) weather, so the hope is it will dry down ok. There are two rows by the tree line that are always difficult to get dry. They end up in the shadow of the trees even in mid-summer. Those I am raking up and feeding to the alpacas now.

This is the yarn I spun up at the threshing bee. It is still wet in this photo, so it will be a little lighter than shown. This skein is only 3 oz. I still have about 8 oz or so to blend up to spin. My plan is to knit a simple, sort of lacy stole with it. I say sort of lacy, because lacy might be beyond my concentration level. It will probably end up mostly stockinette or garter stitch with a few random holes here and there. It is intended as a replacement for one of the tri-shawls that went missing thanks to the post office. My check protest for the insurance claim was denied, so now I have to write an appeal. Such bull.

Mom was watching a kitten playing on Animal Planet last night. She said, "Hm, she sure is sassy." Mom only rarely speaks in full, coherent sentences anymore, so when she does, I have to write them down so I remember.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bored Hen Wives

Hey everybody, meet Charmin. My sister named him/her. He is the only hardy little thing to have survived the not terribly attentive nest sitting of Georgina the Flighty Hen. I discovered him late Thursday night. He was stuck in his shell as the membrane had dried around him. I pulled it away, and he was fine.

Georgina may not have been the best nest sitter, but she is being a good mama. When he is chirping loudly because he is cold, she stops eating, settles down, and lets him warm up under her wing. She is showing him the food and water, and he follows her around dutifully.

I wasn't sure how Esther (the other Hen Wife) and her two chicks would react, but they seem to be leaving Georgina and Charmin alone.

And now for a Mom story. My sister picked her up from the AD facility after the respite weekend, and brought her to her house for a while before meeting up with me. She had a few tomatoes sitting on her table from her garden. Mom was messing with them, she likes to stick her thumb in them and split them open. Mom told my sister, "Ann has a lot of these."

I was completely dumbfounded when my sister told me this. For one thing, she used my name. She remembered that I have a lot of tomatoes. And she expressed that thought. She really is in there. It's hard to remember that sometimes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Scenes of a Bee

We had an annoying drizzle/mist for most of the day on Saturday, just wet enough so no threshing could take place. Of course the steam engines were fired up anyway. They got the saw mill operating.

This is what happens when too much pressure builds up because the machine wasn't being used at the time. It is called "popping off". Basically it just blows out the extra steam out the top. I got a little lesson in steam engines when my friend gave me and the blacksmith a ride around the yard. He steered, she operated the gears, and my job was to hold her skirt out of the fire. (I think my job was pretty important!) I also learned you have to keep water over your crown sheet because otherwise the machines innards get too hot and could disform. There is a gauge to watch. You have to think about that when you have to go up and down hills. Even if they are really small hills, just slight inclines even.

This is James the blacksmith.

He is all of 16 years old.

He is still learning, but he has set up his own forge at his place, using equipment found at auctions. He was doing his homework during the music jam on Saturday night, even though he feels that school is just government sponsored daycare for teens. It gives me hope for the world to see teenagers like this.

Usually the music jam is outside on the little stage they have set up by the granary. Ok, it's a low deck attached to the granary, but when you string Christmas lights on it, and hang old stuff on it, and put up a sign saying Live Entertainment, it becomes a stage.

It was too wet to do it outside though. So we just moved chairs into the blacksmith shop, and the show went on. Luckily, the shop is wood-lined, so the acoustics really weren't that bad.

Kids (and adults too, for that matter) had fun making rag dolls.

I had fun spinning this.

Natural rust brown alpaca carded with wool/silk dyed in deep oranges and reds. I have one small skein done, but no photo of it yet.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Scythe

Well, it looks like we won't get a third cutting after all. The weather has been too cool and damp, there is fear that it won't dry. The neighbors had cut their alfalfa field, and it didn't dry down well at all. Plus, the field is growing back slowly. Parts are knee high, but others are only maybe 5 inches. The mower wouldn't even reach those parts.

Still, I hate to see those knee high parts go to waste. I got out the scythe.

Here, go watch this video . Everything I am about to say will make much more sense. Plus, it's really cool. It is kind of long, but totally worth it. Pay particular attention to the quote at the end.

Does that girl rock the scythe or what?

I can't make the scythe sing like she does. Yet, anyway. Nor do I mow barefoot wearing a white skirt. I also don't twirl it about my head. I'm not at all like her.

The scythe is a recent addition to my collection of tools. Mowing around here is difficult. If she is up, Mom tries to follow me around when I get the riding mower out. If she is inside watching tv or still in bed, then I can get outside, but I can't use a power mower because I can't hear the monitor.

This is a European scythe, much lighter than the American version.

Here's the business end, along with my sharpening stone and holder. You fill the holder with water to keep the stone wet. Not too much though, otherwise you wet your pants whenever you bend over.

This was my first attempt yesterday. I couldn't mow a straight line to save my life. It isn't cut evenly either. I have to work on my swing. I find myself wanting to operate it like a rake, raising it up at the end of the swing. Keep it on the ground, fool! I also need to lower my stance and follow through on the swing.

I went out this morning to try again. It is raining on and off, and actually that is perfect weather because the blade runs through the grass smoother.

Here is the second row. Still not straight, but the cut is more even, I think. I already raked up the grass and put it in my garden cart, so you can't see the windrow that it left. I forgot to take a photo of the amount of grass this was, I already fed it to the animals. It was a pile about two feet by four feet by two feet high. It only took maybe 10 minutes to cut, another 10 to rake and pile it in the cart, and another 5 to give it to the animals.

As I was mowing this morning in the rain, I thought, this is like spinning. The rhythm, the coordination of feet and hands, and the soothing sound of the blade running across the top of the ground through the grass. Meditative. I can hear the monitor, so I know Mom is safe. I enjoyed it very much.

The quote at the end of the video? Ghandi. He was a vocal proponent of spinning, and was a spinner himself. Mowing and spinning, who knew?

Speaking of using the hands, I am going to be doing spinning demonstrations at my friend's Threshing Bee in St. Charles this weekend. If you're fairly local, come on down. There will be all kinds of demonstrations, blacksmithing, steam engines, a saw mill, antique tractors, spinners, knitters, weavers. All kinds of things. A bluegrass jam Saturday night. All that and more. Just head to St. Charles and ask. Anybody can point you in the right direction.

Now please make this rain go away for the weekend!

Oh, and have my fellow caregivers heard about this? This is a snippet from an e-mail I received.

"The Copper Ridge Institute, affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University, is a leading provider of dementia research, care and education. The Institute has developed the first training resource of its kind for caregivers, providing a step-by-step method for caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. Available as a DVD and webcast, the FREE program (http://www.alzcast.org/) recreates many of the daily situations that caregivers may encounter and provides coaching for each of these activities based on best practices developed by The Copper Ridge Institute."

I haven't checked it out yet, but thought it might be of interest to others.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stuff you find in ditches

I have been taking care of the neighbor's dog for about a week. When the weather has allowed, Mom and I walked over to feed and water her.

When you're walking down the road with an elderly woman, you see things that you might not notice whizzing by in a car.

Like a stray stalk of corn. It either got planted by a bird, or the seed may have fallen off a passing planter or grain truck. It grew back to about a foot and a half tall, and even tassled.

I don't know what kind of flower it is, but there it was. This clump was probably 3 feet tall.

I don't know what this is either, but it is a burnt red color.

Wild asparagus. There is a lot of it growing in the ditch between our places. I wish I could find it in the spring, but I can only tell where the plant is when it turns into this wild tangled mess of feathery fronds.

All of these plants survived getting cut down at least once, and possibly twice. Yet they all grew back, and strong enough to flower or tassel. I admire the tenacity.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Drying Rack

I can just about see the eyes of the non-fiber readers glazing over. Seeing another photo of fiber on my drying rack is probably about as much fun as, well, watching fiber dry. Bear with me, there is a story behind the drying rack, and I'll tell it after I'm done raving about the fiber. Look, I even waited until there was a chicken in the frame to snap the photo. There are also little blue flowers in the lower right corner you can almost see.

I have one more load of fiber soaking right now, and the Cormo fleece is all washed. I think it turned out nice, even though I didn't flick the tips first. I didn't felt anything, so I consider my first sheep fleece washing a success. It is so soft and so white.

Now I have to figure out how to use it. How much to blend with which alpaca fleece. I don't know how many pounds are there now that it is washed. I think a 50/50 blend with some of my rust colored alpaca would create a light fawn color that would be beautiful natural, but also dye well to create heathered yarn.

Ok, it is now safe for the non-fiber readers to rejoin us. Give your eyes a moment to unglaze.

The story of the drying rack. Or, the generosity of strangers.

Spring of 2007 found Mom and I at Fleet Farm (a farm store where you can buy anything from building materials to jeans to toilet paper to chicken feed) wandering around the garden area looking for peat moss. It is usually something you get the little tag for and then pick up in the yard area. We couldn't find the little tag though. So we were wandering around with our cart, and a lady comes up with her cart, saying, "I can't find anything here today!" I laughed and told her I couldn't either, what was she looking for, because maybe I had seen it in my wandering around. So we commiserated for a while, and then I realized that Mom was headed around the end of the aisle, so I basically left the conversation mid-stream and bolted after her, leaving my cart behind.

I caught up with Mom and headed back to retrieve our cart. The lady had moved on. So Mom and I continued to wander, when I stopped in front of a pile of mini-greenhouses. I had heard of other people using them as drying racks, and had been looking for one to use for that purpose. Meanwhile, the lady wandered by again, so I apologized for running off like that and explained the whole AD thing. She understood, her uncle or other relative had AD. Then she saw what I was looking at. She asked if I was going to buy one, and I said yes. She said, no no no, I have one just like this that I wanted to get rid of because I don't use it anymore and it is just taking up space, where do you live you can come get it. Well, it turns out she lives about 5 miles away from me as the crow flies. In other words, her place is on my way home. So we stopped on our way, we load it into my truck, and she wouldn't take anything for it. Nope, she said that we just saved her money for not having to pay someone to haul it away.

I brought her some eggs my next time into town.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tomato Harvest

I had an odd dream the other night. I was watching the newscast, and they were doing the weather. There was the outline of the state, with double digit numbers all over, followed by this ". My area said 11". Snow, they said we had 11 inches of snow. This was the first I heard about it, so ran wailing outside. Yep, snow all over. And under that snow, were my tomatoes!

Maybe I should have called it a nightmare.

Back to reality. The forecast is for the upper 30's tonight. So while I'm not worried about 11 inches of snow, a frost/freeze isn't out of the realm of possibility. I picked tomatoes.

Two 13 by 9 heaping pans of them. There are more green to slightly orange ones out there, but I'll take my chances on those. Some of these are oranger than I like. I prefer to let them ripen on the vine, but have to make concessions to the weather and critters who might like to eat them at night. I'll give them a few days in the house to ripen a little more. (Oh, that reminds me of a funny [may be considered slightly risque, so if you're delicate about such matters, skip on to the next paragraph] story I found on a greeting card of all places. I'll try to reiterate it as best I can. "There once was a beautiful woman who was having trouble with her garden. No matter what she did, she couldn't get her tomatoes to ripen. Noticing her neighbor's beautiful red tomatoes, she asked of him his secret. He said, oh, all I do is go outside and expose myself to the tomatoes, and they redden right up! So, she went home, and did as he suggested. Every day, she went outside and exposed herself in the garden. After a couple of weeks, the neighbor came over and asked how her tomatoes were. She replies, Oh, the tomatoes haven't changed,...but you should see my cucumbers! " ) That cracks me up every time! Now, where was I?

Puddin (one of the cats) decided she should help by jumping on my back and taking a nap. The chickens also all gathered round the garden. They have learned that I will throw any damaged ones to them. Apparently there weren't enough damaged ones.

One brave chicken decided to help herself to a bite of one right out of the pan. I don't think so, honey!

It's kind of ironic that I am worried about a frost or freeze, considering these are going in the freezer anyway! Works great. Just wash them, pick off the stem, and let them dry. Then I stick them in freezer bags and into the deep freeze they go.

To use, take as many as needed out of the bag, run them under warm water for a couple of seconds, and the skin slips right off. You wouldn't even need to do that if you don't mind the skins, but I've found that they can cause some digestive upset for Mom, so I always take them off. Anything for Mom, you know! Then just use them as you would in any recipe calling for canned tomatoes. You might want to check out the Farmgirl Fare link over there on the sidebar. She has some terrific tomato recipes. I think some may even be geared toward the frozen variety.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


No, I haven't been shearing sheep in my kitchen again.

I did buy my first raw sheep fleece though. Over 9lbs of Cormo. It was discounted because of dirty tips.

Since I have never washed a sheep fleece before, I did wonder if I should do something about those tips first. A little experimenting was in order. Taking just a few locks, I got out the dog brush, and flicked the dirty tips open. Then I washed them in the sink. I also washed a couple of locks that I hadn't flicked.

Flicked on the left, unflicked on the right. To my eye, there is barely a difference. Certainly not enough to make me flick the whole fleece anyway. Look at that bright whiteness though. It will blend wonderfully with my alpaca fiber. The staple is about the same length, too. Did I mention it is incredibly soft?

It almost makes me want to add a few Cormo wethers to the farm. Tempting as it is, I have enough to take care of now though, I shouldn't add more. I guess I'll stick to buying fleece for now.

I am hoping to get everything washed and ready to go to the mill by Friday. I will be in her area, so I could drop it off. Better get back to work so that can actually happen.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Last year about this time, I was looking for a new place. I wanted to move closer to my hometown, closer to my sister.

Alas, the same housing slump that brought the prices down in that area so that I might actually be able to afford it, also meant that the value of my place was down. There wouldn't have been enough equity in my place to come up with the down payment.

I found a house I really liked. The house itself was kind of odd, it was decorated in what I call a combination of Mexican restaurant/OK corral. That is the only way I can describe it.

One whole wall is a massive fireplace and brickwork on either side with built in niches. We have a sneaking suspicion that my Dad may have actually built it. He was a bricklayer, and the house (a couple of owners ago) used to belong to a friend of my brother's. I sort of remember talking about it, but I would have been in maybe 7th grade or so. That's a long time ago.

Anyway, so the house was kind of odd, but it had several nice outbuildings, and a really nice barn. I have barn envy.

This would have been my neighborhood.

The house would have been around the bend and slightly up the hill.

Up there on the left.

This one is looking the other way. I would have to drive 8 to 10 miles through this valley to get to town. Would have been an awful commute, huh?

I'm not sure why I even brought this up. Something about this time of year always makes me homesick, if that's the right word, for my hometown. Always has, and I never know why.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Guitar strap

I finished both of them last night.

The alpaca was needlefelted onto a foundation fabric, then the lining fabric was fused to it. I ran a line of topstitching down all of the edges just to make it look purdy.

The friend that one of these is going to had to explain how the adjustable connecting strap thingy worked. I've never actually seen one in person, (at least not when I was trying to examine it to duplicate it, anyway) so I can only hope it is right. It seems to work the way he described.

The (deer) leather for the connecting tabs are scraps that I purchased from a glove company nearby. I thought it should be a harder, stiffer leather, but my friend said it would be fine. I originally got the scraps to make soles for felted slippers.

I don't know if the company still does it, but it used to be that you could bring your deer hides there, and they would tan the hides and make gloves/mittens/coats for you. I don't remember if they used the actual hide that you brought, or if they just gave you a credit toward what you purchased. I just remember receiving warm lined deer skin mittens from Dad. I remember it as an honor, because he wouldn't give them out unless he thought you were responsible enough to take care of them and not lose them.