Got cold feet?


One sock, two socks, red socks and blue socks.  Only 5 days left to shop until Christmas! Don’t forget our barn store is open, and we’re here just about all of the time. This year we are selling alpaca socks and more alpaca socks. Our close friend Cindy, tells me, Momma, the socks just seem to sell themselves.

Caption

Our work socks are made in the USA from alpacas raised locally. They come in a boot sock and a crew sock.

Actually we gave Cindy alpaca socks last year for Christmas, and she loved them so much she gave them to her students and friends, and they loved them so much they gave them to their friends and family, you get the idea.

Caption

Our dress socks are made in Peru. We obtain them through a free trade organization headquartered in Denver.

We have two kinds of socks: work socks which have microbial silver knit into them for keeping sweaty, smelly feet warm and happy, and we have dress socks which are great for keeping your toes toasty and they’re mega soft.

Caption

The microbial silver knit into our work socks fights bacteria which causes athlete’s foot. Sweaty feet don’t smell bad, and your feet stay warm.

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When inspiration strikes


Hi all, Kirstin here. Thanks for your concern about my shoulder. It looks like it’s going to be a slow healer, I’m afraid. Anyhoo. I’m close to driving myself nuts, since I can’t do any of the things I normally do, but I have had time to collect some reference pictures for inspiration.

I’m thinking my next project will be a large felted scene. For such a potentially long project, I want to choose a subject that I love. I went through all the pictures I have from backpacking with Dad and my brother, and hiking with my friends.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I think I’ll start with the above scene. We took this picture on a trail named “Endlich” (which means “finally” in German) in the Weminuche wilderness area, in southwestern Colorado. It was long trip and this was our last pass. We were really in the groove, our packs were light, and we beat the afternoon storms to the top. As we rested before heading down the other side, we turned around and took this shot.

I think it would really fun to play with perspective and dimension, having detailed flowers and grass in the foreground that fade to more impressionistic splotches of color in the background.

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I’m less certain about the other scene. It will be some amalgamation of the pictures above, with lots of granite and snow (ideal, since we have grey and white alpacas). I’ll probably add a high alpine lake to the foreground. That one will require some sketching before I nail it down. I don’t improvise well when I’m felting.

Actually, that sentence could just say: “I don’t improvise well.” 😉

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“Big Wheel Keep on Turning”


Then sometimes the wheel just falls off. Dad here with today’s blog post. Our compost pile is quite a ways from the house and barn. This means we have to use a dump wagon to haul the “goods” to the pile. This trip happens at least once a day and sometimes more, and in turn puts a lot of miles on the wagon. On Sunday’s second trip I lost my wheel. One minute it was there, the next it wasn’t. I walked back down the road and there it was.

Wobble in Wheel Made It Back

Turns out (pun intended) that the wobble in the wheel wore out the hub. Luckily I keep all of my worn out wheels and tires for one reason or another. I have another wheel with a good hub, but a bad tire. So I’m off this morning to Big’O Tires to swap the rims and we should be back in business.

Off it goes Blown Tire

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Cliff House Barn Store ready for Christmas!


Happy Friday everybody! If you’re like me you still have some Christmas shopping to do.  We’re finished with our holiday craft shows, and I finally have our barn store set up for any Christmas shopping you might have left to do. I know, I ‘m running a little late, but Thanksgiving came late this year, and I can’t think about Christmas until Thanksgiving is over.

Getting started with setting up the store

Getting started with setting up the store

If you have a certain someone who is difficult to buy for, there’s nothing more unique than something made from alpaca. As you can see from the pictures, we have something for everyone. We don’t have set hours, but I’m rarely off the ranch. Please just give me a call before you get on your way. My phone number is: 303-842-0173.

Hand knit scarves for one and all

Hand knit scarves for one and all

Reasonably priced free trade items from Peru

Reasonably priced free trade items from Peru

We still have some of our alpaca rugs in inventory

We still have some of our alpaca rugs in inventory

An alpaca blanket will keep you warm and toasty

An alpaca blanket will keep you warm and toasty

 

We have a wide selection of hats and hat and scarf sets

We have a wide selection of hats and hat and scarf sets

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Peruvian Style


Aunt Geri here with my latest hat design which is an ear-flap Chullo hat.  It is made with a super bulky, hand painted baby alpaca yarn that is yummy soft.  Our friend that helps us take care of our foster horses always wears this style of hat, so I thought I would attempt to make one for her for Christmas made with alpaca.  It turned out pretty good so I will make some for Cliff House too.  One more gift completed.

Geris Chulo Map of Peru

blond woman in chullo Man in Chullo

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Baby it’s cold outside


Yes, I know, we’ve all been talking about the cold. Dad here, and the cold affects more than just us. Not only does it take longer to do everything from cleaning, feeding and watering the Alpacas, but we also have to make sure that everyone is comfortable and that they can get to their food and water.

The heater in the stock tank "Trying" to stay ahead of the cold.

The heater in the stock tank “Trying” to stay ahead of the cold.

Marseille looking over Brittany's frost covered shoulder.  Brittany's thick coat of fiber keeps her warm!

Marseille looking over Brittany’s frost covered shoulder. Brittany’s fiber coat keeps her warm!

The barn door wreath - Happy Holidays!

The barn door wreath – Happy Holidays!

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“The Heart of the matter…………”


Aunt Geri here, plying yarn and watching the snow – feeling sorry for the creatures living outdoors dealing with these bitter temps and strong winds.  Selfishly, I’m glad our few morning chores for our foster horses are complete – knowing Momma and Dad are behind on their chores because of the storm, and the holiday craft shows they’ve been participating in. I never take these things for granted though – they work hard caring for the animals and owning/managing 3 businesses and the ranch!

Foster Horses

Plying is pretty mindless, my thoughts wander – I think of how much our small tribe has learned and accomplished in a few short years.  I’m honored by Momma and Dad’s friendship, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to partner with them in the fiber arts.  We all share a passion for the animals and for creating beautiful things.  We also share a strong work ethic, and I wish Uncle Jerry and I were closer to help with some of the daily tasks – which are endless.  Those of you who know them understand they’re constantly working, but they always find time to open their home and their hearts to share time with family and friends.  This caring, sharing and giving is just who they are, and the work will still get done!

heart_filigree1

This yarn is a dream to work with – a super soft 80/20 alpaca/silk blend from a small alpaca ranch outside of Laramie, WY.  It is a lovely dark taupe/brown color with a great sheen-I ‘m determined to weave a scarf with it (after I learn how!).  I have no idea how much yarn I will need but I have 394 yards of this fingering weight 2-ply…………..  I’ll keep you posted!

Yarn

p.s. Momma here, I posted this blog out of chronological order. Frankly, I felt unworthy to post it, but I talked to Aunt Geri on the phone yesterday, and she asked me to get it up on the blog today. We consider ourselves to be very blessed to have Aunt Geri and Uncle Jerry in our lives.

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“Bring it on Beka”


Last Saturday, Uncle Jerry went to the last Wyoming football game of the season.  I, Aunt Geri, couldn’t go because I had my first weaving class.  Since it was at my house and I’m the student as well as the instructor, missing it would have been double trouble!

Loom

This is my little Beka rigid heddle lap loom.  The instructor knows I’m a “kin-esthetic” (hands on) learner, so she wasted no time in making my first assignment – a belt.  We used cotton yarn for learning and went with all the primary colors plus green for the warp (vertical) strings.  This teaches how the weft yarn (horizontal threads) blends into the warp to create secondary and tertiary colors.

lOOMED bELT

Once you get into a “rhythm” you can almost weave in a continuous motion.  Being fairly ambidextrous, I moved right along, which is a good thing since I must say my instructor is a little short on patience!

Belt

The belt will be a Christmas gift for a friend who is a waitress at the local cafe.  Now I have “warped” the loom to start my next project using a yarn that was hand-spun by Kirstin.

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Walking off Thanksgiving Dinner!


Happy Monday everyone. Our Thanksgiving was wonderful, and we hope your holiday was as well. Momma here, with an apology for “going dark” last Friday, but our family spent our “Black Friday” walking away our Thanksgiving calorie intake by caring for my Quarter horse, Boogie, who was suffering from gas colic.

Boogie

Jared did the barn chores for me this week-end, truly a holiday for me, and he noticed Boogie not eating his breakfast. It’s important to know your horse very well, and this is not normal for Boogie. Boogie is part goat. When he laid down without touching his food I sprang into action.

I grabbed his halter and lead asking him to get up for me. Boogie did, with some difficulty, and off we went for a walk. The object here: get him to poop, we don’t want an impaction, and walking gets things moving. Always keep track of time, 25 minutes later Dad took over walking up and down the driveway until Boogie pooped! This seemingly routine and unimportant action took over 50 minutes to achieve. People who love their horses are never more excited than when their colicky horse poops.

Boogie

Back to the barn where Kirstin & Jared checked his respiration. It was high, but nothing to get alarmed about. Boogie’s  respiration was 48 breaths per minute, it should never be above 60 breaths per minute. Again, it’s good to know your horse, this rate was pretty high for Boogie. Into his nice clean stall with lots of fresh bedding where we observed him. We offered him fresh water, but we gave him nothing to eat. He laid down in his stall quietly and rested, getting up without struggling, to pass gas. His bloated belly slowly began to recede. Boogie was up five times in five hours to poop, and we were out of the woods before bedtime.  A small amount of hay before going to bed, a bran mash to keep things moving, and Boogie was as right as rain the next morning.

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Difficult lessons in posture: a public service announcement


It’s been awhile since I (Kirstin) posted. I’m down at the ranch for Thanksgiving, and it’s time for an update from one of the family spinners. But first, let’s do a little exercise in observation. What is wrong with these pictures?

Kirstin Spinning Holly Creek ShowKirstin spinning new roving

My hair is all over the place, but that’s not what I mean. How about this one? Concentrate on the way I’m holding my arms.

Kirstin spinning at the artist show

Now that I’m looking critically at my posture, it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been holding my left arm in a very unnatural, difficult position as I spin. And, as we discussed in this post about how much I spin, I hold this posture for many long hours a day.

Well, three years of bad form has finally caught up with me. The day after the Holly Creek holiday show (first picture), moving my left arm was difficult and painful. My doctor says I’ve sprained my rotator cuff. It’ll be at least four weeks before I can spin and I’ve got limited use of my arm at the moment. So. The moral of the story?

Spinning is a rewarding activity, but take care of yourself. Your elbows should never be behind your body, or way out in front of you, as you draft. Our ergonomics adviser at work says you should be able to hold an orange between your ribs and your upper arm as you work. If your arm is too tight against your body, or behind your body (like mine) you’re putting unnecessary strain on the joints and muscles. Likewise, if your wheel is too far in front of you, you will be reaching out too far, and also straining your arms, shoulders, and upper back.

While we’re discussing this topic, I should mention your chair should be the right height (your thighs should be parallel to the floor). If it is too low, your knees will be higher than your hips. Imagine sitting on the bottom step of the stairs. If the chair is too high, your knees will be below your hips. In both of these situations, that puts strain on your sciatic nerve, which causes sciatica.

Despite this setback, our family is taking some time to give thanks this week. We’re grateful to you, who support us so loyally. Happy Thanksgiving.

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