Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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September 2009

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What I did this weekend….

I finished my first pair of crocheted socks!

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They are more than a little wonky. I started out with a pattern, which I rapidly abandoned, as well as gauge and the underlying architecture of the sock I was supposed to be crocheting. Yes, really– these are not supposed to be knit sideways (most socks are knit around and around in a tube– these are knit “sideways” which is why they have vertical stripes).

That’s what I love about crochet. I think I’ve managed to actually follow a pattern about 3 times. I’ve been crocheting off and on for about 30 years, so that’s really something.

And in the course of crocheting the second sock, I made a classic blunder, one I make often, and kept decreasing every row. So that one… well, the cuff does a little spiral thingy. It’s wrong and wonky, but these are slippers and my first crocheted socks, and I should fix them, but since I’m leaving for the airport in 10 hours, I’m thinking no. I want John to have these to wear while I’m gone, as if I’m giving his feet a little hug, in absentia.

The wiggly lines on the sole of the foot are made of puff paint, to give him some gription when he’s walking around.

Anyway, John went backpacking this weekend, so I took myself to the local alpaca farm for National Alpaca Farm days. There are a couple of local farms up here in Sequim; I went to the Happy Valley Alpaca Ranch, and met Linda and Mike Gooch.


I was talking with the owners and the husband, Mike, asked where I live. I explained that I live in a
motorhome and travel around.

Mike got a big grin on his face. “Oh, all you need is a male alpaca and a stock trailer, and you’d be set!”

I stood there blinking at him for a second– clearly Mike views the world through alpaca-colored lenses. “Umm?”

“Yeah– you could just take him to various farms and breed him for $2000-3000 a pop!”

Now, I don’t know anything about alpaca farming, but I do know that raising livestock to the point where your investment is actually a money-maker is not a small thing. I also know that very few herd animals will be happy with a life as an itinerant gigolo. So I say: “Uh…. the parks we stay at have breed restrictions. I don’t know what they’d do with an alpaca.”

“Oh, that’s okay,” he cheerily replies. “You’d stay at the alpaca farms!”

Now I’m wondering. I keep envisioning hooking up a little stock trailer behind the RV and traveling from farm to farm with a randy alpaca. I assume that alpacas have some kind of mating season, and I have no idea what we’d do with the feller in the off-season. I must admit to some interest, though, in terms of having a ready source of spinning fiber all of my own. Ultimately, though, I don’t think I could do it for some very practical reasons (including already being unable to keep up with the cat hair in the house).

So, I decided that brutal honesty was called for, and told Mike: “I’m really too lazy to be a farmer.”

And that was that. I’ll leave the farming to Linda and Mike, and exchange my money for the pretty, soft fiber from their animals


My what pretty alpacas!

One of these girls spit at a visitor while I was there:


Look at this handsome fella!


And here’s one of their guard/herd dogs, one of those “vicious” breeds (a chow mix– hard to see from this picture, but the dog is basically a total sweetie):


Scarf of Non-Victory

Been knitting like a madwoman here, but I’m not posting many pictures because I don’t want to spoil the Krismas gifts for the kids. However, I can post pictures of this item now:


It’s a reversible mitered scarf, which I knitted and entered in the Berroco Sock Yarn Stars contest. Since my scarf didn’t make it to the finals, I can now post the pictures of it.


Knit in black and a variegated metallic yarn, the scarf actually has a “V” point in the back (which could be the front, as in the first picture), which helps keep it on your shoulders. It’s entirely reversible– the front and back sides are identical (knitters will know why that’s clever in a garter stitch scarf).

I’m in the process of writing up the pattern, which I’ll post soonish.

Tatted Choker with Steampunk Gears Pendant

New in my Etsy shop!

Tatted black choker with steampunk cabochon pendant featuring a watch gears and lobster claw clasp. Fittings are gold plated. Wear it to your favorite Steampunk convention, just for fun, or give it as a gift to the little steamer in your life.

Choker is 14" long with a 5.5" long chain for ease in sizing. Lobster claw clasp is currently attached for right-handed ease. If you wish the necklace to be reversed to make it easier to put on left-handed, just let me know and I will change it for you before shipping.


(From John):

“Today, my boyfriend realized I’m a Cylon and tried to kill me. He failed, so I tried to kill myself. I failed, too. FML.”

This post brought to you by Disc 4 of Season 1.

Alladin Note

Alladin weighs 17.8 lbs today.

2 weeks ago (I think), he weighed 18.0 lbs.

He has not lost weight in the past 5-6 months.

I think we have his food regimen down. 3 meal times, 1 can of Fancy Feast at each meal. As of today, for the mid-day meal, I am removing 1 non-heaping spoonful of food from the can before serving.

This is just a tracking post for later reference. No need to comment/cheer/remark on it.

Alladin’s been doing very well and has fully recovered from last year’s illness. 4 months ago he saw a vet and had a full panel done, with 100% a-ok results across the board. So it’s time to start gradually reducing the amount he eats each day and try to bring him down to a healthier 12 lb weight. I honestly expect and hope this will take 12-18 months edit: John points out that’s still pretty fast. Say 24 months, or thereabouts. We’re looking for no more than a couple of ounces a week. At his heaviest, he was 20 lbs and was starting to have trouble maintaining his cleanliness.

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