Goats and Yarn

31 08 2009

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I promise, I haven’t forgotten about this blog. I’ve just been preoccupied!

Zoe  did not have any babies for me. It turns out she was having a really, really, REALLY intense heat cycle unlike any I’d ever seen before. Thanks to the help I got over at The Goat Spot, Zoe and I got through the whole ordeal in one piece. In good news, however, I now have a goat birthing kit prepared for when the blessed event does take place. Plus, now that I know she wasn’t bred back in the spring, I know I can breed her next month so we can have another March kidding! Yay!

In more recent news, I’ve decided that since my “local yarn shop” (aka Wal-Mart) no longer carries anything other than acrylic and cotton, I need to find my natural fibers elsewhere. Sadly, I can’t afford to spend lots of money on yarn online or traveling to other towns to visit real yarn shops. What’s a yarn crafter to do?

Recycle yarn, of course!

Basically, when you recycle yarn, you take an old knitted/crocheted sweater, blanket, or whatever apart and reuse the yarn you recover from it.  You can get oodles and oodles of yarn for a fraction of the price of new yarn. There’s an awesome tutorial for the entire process over here if you’re interested in learning more.

In the past, I’ve recycled yarn from an old crocheted blanket. If you want to be technical, I’m SILL recycling it. I have nearly 2000 yards of really nice acrylic yarn from only 1/4 of the blanket. How much did I spend for what may wind up being over 8k yards of yarn? A whopping $2.50. The nice acrylic at Wal-Mart will still run you about $4 a skein (about 300 +/- yards).

Today I will venture into the world of sweaters made from natural fibers. While shopping at local thrift stores, I found several that I just had to have.

The white sweater is silk/nylon/angora/lambs wool. I found it at Goodwill for $2.50. The blue-green sweater is mohair/acrylic/polyester, which technically disqualifies it as a mostly natural fiber sweater, but it’s pretty and I wanted its yarn. ^_^ How much did this one cost? Fifty cents.

The pink sweater on the far left is 100% wool. It’s a VERY bright pink and not as red as the camera makes it look. The blue sweater in the middle is silk/angora/nylon and quite possibly the softest sweater in the whole county. If it wasn’t a dopey short-sleeved sweater, I’d probably just wear it as it is… And finally, the pink sweater on the far right is 100% wool, but much softer than the pink one on the left.

All three sweaters cost fifty cents apiece.

The last sweater is a very, very… interesting… creation. It’s a hand-knitted sweater from 100% cotton (or at least it feels like cotton) in what can only be called “urban camo.” It weighs about 8 lbs, I kid you not. The poor old lady at the counter expressed a great relief because she was finally being rid of it, since it hurt her hands when she’d have to move it or rehang it somewhere. Hopefully, this sweater will be my first sweater to be recycled, hopefully to one day become a blanket for my nephew.

This 8 lb monstrosity of a man sweater cost fifty cents.

Hopefully, I will capture the entire first-attempt recycling process on camera. Hopefully, it will all go well and I will have an insane amount of yarn to add to my stash. Hopefully, I won’t screw this up and wind up with a bunch of half-shredded yarn.

Wish  me luck!

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Little Goat Babies (Hopefully)

15 08 2009

I’ve been so busy,  I haven’t even had a chance to change my header to reflect my latest obsession: Goat babies!

A very long story short, my only pygmy doe, Zoe, was bred almost immediately after giving birth to Jesse back in March. Try as we did to prevent this from happening until fall, accidents happen, and accidents result in little goat babies due the first week of September.

Yes, I know all you potential goat owning readers. Shame on me. Spare me the lecture because I beat myself up enough about this, but the fact remains that babies are a-coming soon.

Pretty much, my life this last week has revolved around Zoe, who has started showing signs of preparing to freshen (aka give birth). I check on her 50 billion times a day, note any changes, then go back to reading everything known to mane related to goats giving birth. If something could go wrong, I want to already know how to deal with it.

This is my second kidding ever. My first was back in March with Jesse, but I’m sad to say I completely missed all the action with him. I went out to feed the goats and there were five goats instead of four. I’ve since resolved to do my best to be there for Zoe this time around. After Jesse’s birth, I had nightmares for weeks about all the things that could have gone wrong and the worst possible outcomes because I wasn’t there.

So when will Zoe freshen? No clue. She’s already showing signs, so it could be next week, next weekend, or she could drag this out until the last week of August. In the meantime, all other hobbies have been put on the back burner (some have gone into the deep freezer) until the new kid(s) arrive… then maybe a while after that because I’ll be too busy playing with little baby goats!





Adventures in Yarn and Soap!

3 08 2009

Knitting

I’m getting the hang of this knitting business. I think I was meant to be a knitter because crochet never came to me this easily.  I finished my first project this week after several attempts and countless dropped stitches. You can see my beautiful (to me) washcloth here if you’d like. I’m very pleased with it, imperfections and all.

Needless to say, I’ve started a second one. Maybe now I can do something with that giant spool of cotton yarn I bought last summer…

Soap Making

Last week, I went on a scouting mission for items I will need to start up my soap making hobby. I’ve had a minor setback with finding lye locally. I will most likely have to order it off an internet supplier, but I have found directions for the old-timey way of making lye… I’m not that brave yet, though.

Sadly, starting up with my soap making hobby will be more expensive than I originally anticipated. I will need about $85 in equipment alone, and that’s going as cheap as humanly possible. I might be able to knock a couple of dollars of here and there, but essentially, that’s about right. The biggest expenses with equipment are a scale ($20), an electric stick mixer ($20), and a lab-worthy apron (about $16) for Larry’s peace of mind.

Then we get into ingredients needed… I had to remove a brick out from under my backside when I saw some of the prices for ingredients. Some of the oils needed aren’t too expensive, like canola oil or vegetable oil. However, oils like grape seed oil and sesame seed oil can run in the neighborhood of about $9 a bottle.

If I thought basic oils like that were bad, imagine my shock when I saw essential oil prices. Some of them were $24+ for just a few ounces. I about fell out of my chair when I saw that.

I won’t go into how much the goats milk soap I wanted to make was going to cost. It was really up there. Someone did, however, give me a different recipe for goats milk soap that was made with items found locally (well, besides the lye).  The estimated total for all the ingredients (excluding shipping for the lye) came to about $21.27. On the bright side, it’s supposed to make a LOT of soap.

Basic no-frills, unscented lye soap like your great-great-granny used to make? About $10.28 (before shipping) in ingrediants, making about 9 pounds of soap. Going as cheap as possible, starting up will be about $95 before shipping costs. Goat soap will be more like $106.31 before shipping and before milking supplies (which should only be about $5 max). I know this doesn’t really sound like a lot of money, but right now, it is for us. It’ll take some time to save up and pay bills first, then necessities, then emergencies, then potential hobbies. We’ll see, though.

Right now, I’m really wanting to start an Etsy shop for my soap. I could sell my soap coupled with a washcloth on there. I’d also like to get some soap and washcloths ready to sell before the annual Apple Festival. How cool would that be? I could sell my soaps and promote my shop for year-round shopping. 🙂

Alas… I must wait.

In the meantime, though, I can figure out how to sell stuff on Etsy, find out about how to get involved with the Apple Festival, clean my kitchen up, and knit/crochet a ton of washcloths. Maybe it would be in my best interest to start by figuring out WHEN this festival is before I get too far ahead of myself!

And a name for my “soap company” would be nice… Maybe I’ll be “The Little Lick Soap Company!”