Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fingerless Texting Mittens Pattern

I have been making quite a few pairs of these fingerless mittens for our new Etsy shop.  Of course, nothing has sold yet.  We've been open less than a month and it is still summer after all.  Most people don't even know what they're having for dinner tonight; thinking that people would actually plan ahead for winter would be unreasonable.  But for now I'm spinning, dyeing, and knitting up a storm.

Lydia really likes the colors in these mittens.

And I'm really loving it.

These are Charlotte's favorites.

You see, with smaller amounts of yarn, it's a little easier to experiment.  If I decide that I don't like the result, well, it was only 80 yards, not over a thousand like I need for a sweater.

I liked how this turned out so much that I dyed 1500 yards of angora/alpaca blend to make a sweater.

So far I've really liked most of the results, and there are some mittens that we just really love.  The girls hope they don't sell so that they can have them for Christmas.

Anyway, I thought I'd share the pattern.

80 yards handspun art yarn  (Sometimes I use 100% angora, sometimes it's a 50/50 of angora and merino or alpaca)
Needles size US2 and US4
Yarn needle
Stitch markers

Everybody's hand spun yarn is going to be different.  What I am spinning right now is thick and thin.  And the thickness of the yarn ultimately determines how many stitches you should cast on.  Normally (at least at this point in time), I cast on 56-64 stitches.  I knit a few rows, and sometimes I find that the mitten is going to be too large or too small and I have to start over.

Using smaller needles, cast on 64 stitches, place marker, and join to work in the round.  K1P1 rib for 12 rows.  Change to larger needles and work three rows in stockinette stitch.

To form the thumb gusset:
Row 16:  Slip marker, knit one front and back (k1fb), place marker, k to end.
Rows 17, 19, 21, 23, 25: Knit
Row 18:  Slip m, k1fb twice, sm, k to end.
Rows 20, 22, 24: Slip m, k1fb, k to st before m, k1fb, sm, k to end.

You should now have ten stitches for the thumb gusset.

Rows 26-27:  Knit.

Row 28:  Remove marker, bind off ten stitches for thumb, k to end.
Rows 29-36: Knit.
Rows 37-41: Switch to smaller needles, k1p1 rib.
Row 42:  Using larger needles, bind off loosely.  Weave in ends.  Repeat for second mitten.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CoyoteRidgeKnits--Our Etsy Shop

So last month the girls and I decided to open an Etsy shop.  Probably the most difficult part of the decision was what to name our new venture.  I thought it best to stick with the Black Diamond name, but the girls insisted that Black Diamond belonged only to the bunnies, and that we needed something else to cover the sheep that they now raise as well.

Using anything with our surname or obvious physical location was out of the question.  So was anything that sounded too cutesy.  I suggested something with Juniper Ridge in the name, as that is what detailed topographical maps call our exact location.  But the girls don't like the name Juniper.  So then I suggested Coyote Ridge, which is the name of the ridge that we look at through our windows.  They liked that.

CoyoteRidgeKnits (Etsy doesn't permit any spaces in shop names) is open for business.

The girls knit and sell mostly cute animals (naturally there are lots of bunnies) of all sizes.

I currently focus on mittens and booties.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Two Thousand Pageviews in the Last Month

That's a lot of people looking at and learning about French angoras.

It's over double our monthly average.  I keep wondering if somehow something spooky is going on. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sage's Kits For Sale

This post is long overdue.  The days keep zooming by.  We look forward to the fall when our schedule slows down.

Anyway, here are current pictures of Sage's kits and assessments of their bodies and wool.

From left to right, chocolate steel, agouti, black, chocolate agouti, chocolate.

BD512, "Cassiopeia," doe, junior, self-black, known genotype aaBbC_D_E_, show quality, $90.  A little catchy at the hips, lesser flesh condition.  Not as smooth as the others.  Ranked 4/5 in the litter.

BD510, "Orion," buck, junior, chocolate agouti, known genotype AabbC_D_E_, show quality, pick of the litter, $110.  Overall very smooth, super sweet, great flesh condition, legs don't sprawl, nice fiber.

BD511, "Leo," buck, junior, self-chocolate, known genotype aabbC_D_E_, wool quality, $70.  Short body, not great flesh condition, catchy on the hips.  Beautiful crimp to his fiber.

BD513, "Lyra," doe, junior, chocolate steel, known genotype aabbC_D_Es_, show quality $100.  Super duper sweet.  Sweetest of them all, super nice wool, good finish to the fiber, smooth body, good flesh condition.  Ranked 2/5 (can't decide between her and her sister).

BD514, "Vela," doe, junior, chestnut agouti, known genotype AaBbC_D_E_, show quality $100.  Super sweet personality, sweet body, a little on the smaller side, a little lacking in flesh condition--nothing more food and time won't fix, really pretty wool.  Overall a really nice doe.  Ranked 2/5 (can't decide between her and her sister).

Friday, July 22, 2016

Snowball's Kits for Sale

Lydia has made her choice of the three REW does in Snowball's litter.  The other two are now for sale.  Truth be told, they kinda look the same.  ;)  The parents have four legs each.  Both are registered and both are grand champions.  Snowball is a superior mother.

However, there are differences between these two, the most important being that one has only a fair body and will thus be sold as a wool bunny.

BD141, "Lily," REW, junior doe, known genotype _a_bcc____, show quality, $100.

BD142, "Jasmine," REW, junior doe, known genotype _a_bcc____, poor shoulders, wool quality, $85.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sage and Coal's Litter

We  have been very extremely negligent about blogging.  It's summer.  That's our only excuse.  We are well; the rabbits are well; the sheep are well.

Sage and Coal's litter is now four weeks old. They will be ready to go to their new homes August 27.

BD512, "Cassiopeia," Self-black, doe

BD510, "Orion," Self-chocolate, buck

BD511, "Leo," Chocolate agouti, buck

BD513, "Lyra," Chocolate steel, doe, super duper sweet

BD514, "Vela," Chestnut agouti, doe, also very sweet

Friday, June 24, 2016

Truckee Meadows Rabbit Club Show at Shopper's Square, 18 June 2016

With the arrival of kits at 2AM the day of the show, Charlotte opted to remain home to make sure everything went well and that there weren't any complications.  And to take a nap.

So Lydia and I were on our own.  And there was no way Lydia was going to miss this show--she was picking up her long-awaited new buck from Julie.  Zorro will be the third black buck in the barn.  I guess we have a thing for black here.

The show itself took all day, even though there were four judges and really not very many rabbits at all.  But it didn't drag on like it normally seems to.  Being able to spend the whole day visiting with Julie was really nice.

You see, she is the kind of person who wants to learn and is happy to share what she has learned with others, so that they can learn and improve as well.  She spent at least half an hour demonstrating grooming techniques for maintaining the best coat possible, not only for being able to do well in showing, but also for the health of the rabbit.  I wish I had had a video camera.  Hopefully Lydia remembers better than I.  If not, I'll have to ask Julie to show us again.

Lydia's senior doe didn't fare so well on the show table, but we also knew she would not.  For one, she was plucked six weeks ago.  Secondly, she is a young senior and was competing with does who were older and had more flesh.  And thirdly, Charlotte and Lydia still have a lot to learn to be competitive in open shows.  But with Julie's help, they'll get there.

Zorro place second out of three junior bucks in both shows, and he was only faulted for being young.  Of course, that's nothing that time won't fix.  We expect both rabbits to do very well at the Placerville show next month.