Grounded

I am grounded for a while. The past month hard been full of doctors appointments, imaging, and K9 nose work.  

 

Here is Ribbon and I after our First NW2 attempt. She did beautifully me not so much. But managed to pull out a third pace in exteriors. Plus My friend Sara ran her for me and got her Level 1 exterior title. Yeah!

 
Here is Masi and I after our successful first NW3 trial. I cand believe he did it on the first try. I’m still on cloud 9.  

The one thing in common with both pictures is I have a walking cast on. Well back in March I fell and ruptured my Achilles’ tendon. Yesterday I had surgery to repair it so I’m forced to elevate my foot, unable to maneuver steps and dealing with pain. 

Before all this mess I have been working on expanding my offerings at Emsket’s Fiberworks. Slowly I’m adding needle felting.   I’ve received a few inquiries so have added a few basic items so fat. Plus I’ll be adding roving in amouts specifically for needle felting and a few kits. I’ll be testing some drop spindles as well. 

So let your needle felting friends know as we work to bring the best fiber to you. And dont forget to sign up for our newsletter at http://www.emsket.com. 

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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.

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.

Santa Cruz-A Rare Fiber Among Rare Breeds

Santa Cruz was quite the adventure. First of all I have to thank Jennifer Heverly from Spirit Trail Fibers for sharing with me some Santa Cruz fiber. Seriously, I never thought I would get my hands on some.

However I lost these samples in the depths of a bag somewhere. This has delayed me. Then I misplaced the bag of the rest of the fleece….sigh, excuses, excuses.

However, this past weekend I got some more from Deb Robson during a rare breeds class at Wisconsin Sheep & Wool festival. So I’ll share my samples spun here.

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The locks are tiny and the staple length is short. Very short. I do believe that this is the shortest wool I have ever worked with. We are talking a 1″ staple length for the locks I got from Jennifer and 2″ from Deb. I’ve spun shorter fibers, but not wool.

I felt best about combing the fiber, however spinning worsted is not the best way to show the properties of this wool. Perhaps because it gave me the cleanest yarn. Combing 1-2″ locks is no picnic.

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Carding was easier but you can see the vegetable matter. Neither of these fleeces were kept with handspinners in mind. One reason is that handspinners have not gotten their hands on it yet.

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If more spinners out there would seek out these fibers I believe they would find them more forgiving than cormo with a 50% elasticity for carded fiber. But right now the fiber I have is best combed than carded due to the vegetable matter.

Now to just find that bag if Santa Cruz I misplaced….

Last weekend was Wisconsin Sheep & Wool. I too Deb Robson’s Rare Breeds class on Friday, watched fleece judging and bought fleeces on Saturday and then bought more fleeces on Sunday! Fleece was certainly the theme for this year.

I also spent time with Sara and Hans of The Woolgatherers trying to be helpful. I taught one person the park and draft method of spindle spinning and helped her choose a spindle. Most of the time though it was hot and I worked to keep myself hydrated.

Best of all I’m spinning again on this:

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Yes that’s a Hansen Minispinner in cherry wood. Yes I sold a wheel to buy this one. No I did not sell one of my Reeves wheels.

I’ve decided that Shiloh needs to learn to retrieve. Not just retrieve dumbbells but shuttles. So I’ve started training him to do that. A little at a time

Dear Jane AKA The New Epic Adventure

I’m certifiable.

Buts lets start at the beginning. A weekends ago I went to the Bonnie Hunter seminar in Ottawa, IL. If you ever get a chance to go to one of her seminars and you are a quilter do it!

However while there I saw this.

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Bonnie is currently quilting her THIRD Dear Jane quilt.

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I was smitten. The pieces are small, but not as small as the Granny Nannies I have been foundation piecing and if I can paper piece much of it I’m sure that I could make my way through it.

Then my dear friend Teresa dealt the final blow. If I work on Dear Jane, she will pull her stuff out and work on hers. Well then Georg echoed that. Plus Georg is hand piecing hers.

What else could I do?

I now have my book, the software (which I consider a necessity), 8 yards of beautiful Jo Morton background fabric as well as a bunch of fat quarters that are civil war style. Teresa is waiting on a new copy of the book to arrive, which is a saga to itself. I think she decided to make it in blues and yellows. It’ll be very pretty.

In other things, my dear little Adam sheltie got his NW1 title from NACSW on his 4th attempt.
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He’s such a good little sheltie.

Masi and I attempted NW2 for the first time and came really really close to qualifying. We even managed to locate the interior hide that stumped many more good teams. I know that he is ready for this level. We will try again in July.

Do I attempt the Tour De Fleece this year with my wrist and tendon problem? Good question. I have a month to mull it over.

In the mean time I’ll be sewing. Maybe on this.

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K9 Nosework, Craftsy, And Time With Adam

I don’t talk a lot about Adam. He’s my little sheltie. I got him to show in agility, rally and conformation. None of that has happened. He is a very sweet but fearful guy. He didn’t like Ribbon until she was almost 6 month old and he realized she was a GIRL. If Shiloh is upstairs, he is downstairs but heaven help me if I take another dog to the basement to train.

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We started K9 Nosework with him shortly after attending the first seminar. It’s been slow going. He doesn’t work well in strange places. His first NW1 trial was horribly hot and he only managed to pass the exterior hide.  He did a good bit better at the July Burlington trial passing 3 of the 4 elements despite it being hot as well.  I really had high hopes for the Joliet trial last fall, but strong winds made things just a bit too scary for him.

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My dear little dog.  I know he is ready to pass all 4 elements, and he’s proven it having passed all 4 elements at one trial or another, but he still hasn’t put it all together yet. Even Ron Gaunt says he is as ready as he can be and hope for the best.   I’m so lucky to have Adam, he’s taught me about patience and persistence the way that Masi can not.

On the craft front, I’ve been working on this Civil War era quilt for a Craftsy class.

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Blocks are all sewn now and the next part was to piece the sashing between the blocks.  Unfortunately this is a class for people who are not quite the beginner I am.  After struggling for a while I finally gave up the thoughts of piecing the sashing and am now adding plain strips to the edges of the 12″ blocks to make them 14″ like the two larger blocks and will put a solid sashing and border around the blocks.

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How large the quilt will end up I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to finishing it and no Mom it’s not for you.  There are too many mistakes in this to ever consider giving it to anyone!

My carpel tunnel is still flared and the rally trials really did a number on my tendonitis so I’m still looking forward when that will be all healed and I can get back to spinning!