I was rummaging through my fiber stash last week and found a bag of alpaca roving that I bought a couple of years ago at Victory Ranch, near our place in New Mexico. (Roving is fiber that is carded, usually commercially, into a long continuous cord 2"-3" thick. The fibers are generally aligned in one direction. You can see a sample of it with the hat.) I loved this roving, but when I tried to spin it on my drop spindle, it proved to be too firm and slippery. My spinning wheel needs repair, so that wasn't an option. So I decided simply to crochet the roving, using a large (size N) hook. I added some thin handspun for color, and love the way it turned out. It's thick and warm, probably waterproof (it is alpaca, after all). But I really have to get my spinning wheel repaired.
Here are some of the alpacas that generously provided this wonderful fiber--such sweet faces! I'm betting that my guy is the gray one in the center, since the fiber I bought matches his gorgeous gray color. I would love to have a couple of these here at MeadowKnoll, but it's really too hot for them. They would melt in our 30-day strings of 100+ summer temps.
Book Report. Lots going on here. I'm working on The Last Chance Olive Ranch (China's 2017 mystery) and doing some interesting research into olives. Lots of stuff I didn't know. Learning, for me, is most of the fun of writing.
I'm also working on getting Loving Eleanor out into the world. The book is available for pre-sale on Amazon. It's also up on NetGalley, pre-approved and available now for all NetGalley reviewers. The second GoodReads giveaway launched this morning, this one open to readers in the US, Australia, and Canada. (Tell your Aussie and CA friends about it!) On the book's website, you will find an excerpt from the book and photographs related to the first chapter. I've sent out nearly 50 advance reading copies to media and booksellers, and arranged for a blog tour in February/March. Whew. It's been fun (really!) putting all this together. If you can help get the word out about this book, I would be very grateful.
A Wilder Rose. The option deal is done on A Wilder Rose, but that's as much as I can say at the moment. When we have a story outline and are approved for the script, I can give you all the details. It does look like this project isn't going to sit on a shelf, however--at least, not right now. I'm excited about it (naturally!) and will share the news as soon as I can.
Reading note. " ....I swapt that calico dress which I had unmade at your house to Mrs. Hubbard for a black alpaca dress made as she wanted a calico so I made considerable by that trade I shall be glad of a black dress on the road I am quite out of under clothes & cannot get anything in the city. theres not a yard to be bought ..." Lucy Rutlege Cooke, a letter to her sisters from the Oregon Trail (1852) borrowed from Gateway Farm Alpacas website. By "unmade," she means that the seams were ripped and the pieces of the dress were washed and pressed--that's what she traded ("swapt") for the alpaca dress.