I Never Thought…

I’ve been in shelties for about 16 years now. I’ve ran agility, raced Flyball, performed in obedience, searched in nosework, and strutted in Rally Obedience with Luke, Daisy, Ribbon, Adam, and my most titled dog Danny. But now Grady has come into my life.

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Last summer I got the idea that I would like to try my hand at conformation. I looked around and and realized the only showable dog I had was Adam.

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Adam was my victim for the fall. Adams goal in life was to lay in the couch. Me dragging him and doing dog sports was never his idea. He tolerated nosework and managed to earn his NW1 title after a lot of work. Conformation was the two of us bumbling together, training in our basement and showing in United Kennel Club (UKC) and International All Breed Canine
Association (IABCA). He earned his IABCA Companion Championship but only ever beat one dog in the ring for a UKC Veterans Best In Show. Our journey was cut short by the finding of a suspicious lump that turned to be Fibrosarcoma that cost him a rear leg. I consider us lucky, Roo, Luke and Daisy all succumbed to what was most likely cancer.

I was emailing Adams breeder about his last show when she replied that I needed a younger, better dog. Turns out Grady had become available. Now Danny is over 15 years old, long retired, Crazy Ribbon who is very immature, the two Aussies along with Adam. I didn’t need another dog. However, Grady fit into the household like he had always been there.

Grady had to wait in the wings while Adam had his surgery, Danny was sick, and I switched jobs. Now we have started working together and he’s gone to his first UKC shows.

In four straight shows he went Best of Breed four times. Placed in the Herding Group three times with a 3rd and two 1sts. Those two first places were our tickets to the Best In Show ring. While we didn’t place there it was such an honor to just be in the ring! When the dust settled he had more than enough points and wins for his championship. UKC does not seem to keep track of the total number of dogs of all breeds you beat, but it does keep track of how many dogs of your own breed you beat. I’m still fuzzy about the details, but it appears Grady also picked up 4 “Top Ten” points.

We will continue to do UKC shows this year at least and see about me learning to actually groom him so he looks good in the ring. Then we will see about showing him in American Kennel Club (AKC) shows. Showing at Westminster is not part of my personal goals. My eye is set on attending the American Shetland Sheepdog Association (ASSA) Nationals in 2017 when it returns to the Midwest.

An Elizabeth State Of Mind

Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote a little book back in the 1970’s called Knitters Almanac.

I bought it while I was in college and at some point in my life decided to knit my way through the book using my handspun.

So I’ve made the Fiddle Faddle, the Baby Shawl, some of the hats, and even the April Mystery Blanket.

So what’s left you ask?

The Longies and the Sweaters.

All the sweaters….

2015, Oh Hello!

Wow, it’s 2015 already and where have I been?  Well spinning some.

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And using my Christmas present from my mom, a new embroidery machine.

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It’s very cool. And a nice machine with built in Disney designs. I plan on making gifts with it. No not yet another business idea. This machine is too slow to consider any type of business venture.

And it’s time for me to focus more on my Etsy shop. I’m sticking with Etsy for now as it does bring in traffic. But there are tons of farms and dyers out there on that platform I need get out there and actually market myself.

So 2015 may be the year of doing. Assuming my job situation stabilizes and I can focus more on fiber stuff.

Dorset-With And Without Horns

P7070003  Sunshine at last!

I am combining these two as the Poll Dorset was developed from the Horn Dorset. The fleeces should be very similar so I’ll have fun keeping my samples straight.

To quote the Oklahoma Livestock Breeds site http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/sheep/dorset/

“Both horned and polled Dorsets are an all white sheep of medium size having good body length and muscle conformation to produce a desirable carcass. The fleece is very white, strong, close and free from dark fiber. Dorset fleeces average five to nine pounds (2.25-4 kg) in the ewes with a yield of between 50% and 70%.  The staple length ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches (6-10 cm) with a numeric count of 46’s-58’s.  The fiber diameter will range from 33.0 to 27.0 microns.”

The origins of the Dorset breed is fuzzy at best.  However the poll Dorset is a widely popular breed for those raising meat.  It’s down-like fleece would think this breed originated in the Downs of England, and while there is a Dorset Down breed, these breeds (both the horn and polled) are separate.

Horn Dorset are quite scarce as it just plain easier to manage polled sheep.  The polled gene popped up spontaneously in the gene pool of the Horned Dorsets within the United States and proliferated thanks to the help of North Carolina State College, Raleigh, NC .

Dollclothes, what Dollclothes?

Well, that was a farce…I never even made one outfit.  I got sucked in by some slick marketing speak and almost spent a ton of money on stuff that I can’t use.  I’ll still make some clothes for my niece, but nothing fancy like what I was trying to do.

Sigh….

So I’m sticking to fiberarts and dog training, what I’m good at.  Right now my concern is with Danny.  He is weak and fragile.  I don’t know how much longer he will be with us, but I’m trying to make the best of every day.

Tomorrow I’m going to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool.  I hope to see Beth Smith and some friends from Ravelry.

I Am Not Lost!

Just a bit distracted. Life has been hectic to say the least.  I’ve been through the loss of a job, being unemployed over the holidays and finally have landed a marginal job.

Marginal enough that I really want to get my Etsy store revitalized and revamped. In addition I’m adding a second venture where I’ll be making historically based doll clothes for 18″ doll clothes.  It finally gives me an excuse to buy an American Girl doll.  So if you are interested in that go check out my new blog at ellenelaine.wordpress.com and sign up for my newsletter.

Also I am setting up a newsletter for my Etsy store.  For right now you can go here to sign up for it. I am working on the next breed to cover and I’ll be back in the saddle soon.  But first I have to get all my ducks in a row.