A Bountiful Bevy

Yes, it has been almost 3 months since a post last appeared here. What have I been up to? Let me tell you! :)

First and foremost was school, school, and more school. Now that I am done for the semester I have a few weeks to breathe. Most recently, and most exciting – I finally got my spinning wheel! Here is a photo:

Meet Jean Louise

She is a Schacht Matchless, and her name is Jean Louise. She was born on 11-20-2009 and was the first wheel made that day! She is named after the narrator in my favorite book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. In the short 3 1/2 weeks I have had her, we have been quite productive, see:

Group Photo

A Bountiful Bevy of Beauty

There is 30 ounces of lovely goodness in that photo! They are shown in order spun, first to most recent. While I still love my spindles, I find I can get more done with my wheel, and that my yarn comes out better.

I leave you with a few photos of my most recent project. I just finished the first 2 ounces of this last night – a lovely Merino / Silk combination that will be a beautiful lace weight yarn when completed.

Iris 1

Merino / Silk in Iris

Iris 2

First 2 Ounces

My First Fiber Festival

Well, September was certainly a crazy month. There is much that goes into returning to school after a long, lazy summer off. Most of which has been lots of energy and time. It hasn’t left me much time to post here on the blog. I also haven’t made much progress on my knitting, though my spinning is getting there. Right now, it is easier for me to find time to spin.

Last Saturday saw me at my first ever fiber festival. It was a new festival too, and it was just great. It was the First Annual Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival. The day started out with Cris of Into the Whirled meeting me at my house. My place is about half way between hers and the festival, so it worked out well. It was also a good excuse to leave the boys at home and have a girls day out.

We got there and hit the ground running. We did a circuit around the grounds before stopping for a much needed lunch. We then went back and purchased things that we had waited to purchase until we had a chance to see what other vendors had to offer. It was a beautiful day, and we had a ton of fun. We shopped, we talked, we ran into other friends. I was good and stuck to my budget – I even left with money in my pocket. I came home with some awesome memories and some wonderful treasures. I really can’t wait to go back again next year!

Here are the fiber treasures:

The first two are both from Into the Whirled. This is what my day started with! :) I had purchased them from Cris and got in person delivery.

Minotaur 56s Falkland Batt

Minotaur 56's Falkland Batt

56s Falkland Wool Top

56's Falkland Wool Top

 

My very first purchase of the day was from Mountain Fiber Folk Cooperative, and is a lovely, lovely blend of 60% wool, 30% alpaca, and 10% silk. The color is just stunning and it really does look like its namesake, the moonstone.

Moonstone

Moonstone - 3oz

 

Next up was a beautiful, natural caramel and fawn colored alpaca. This came from Quarry Ridge Alpacas.

Soft and Lovely Alpaca - 4oz

Soft and Lovely Alpaca - 4oz

 

Last, but certainly not least is my favorite purchase of the day. I fell in love with this yarn the second I laid eyes on it. I passed it by on the first round to see if I could find something else I liked. Nope – I ended up going back, and I do not regret it. It is so beautiful and soft. It is a mix of natural colors and is truly stunning in person. It is 100% alpaca and came from Times Remembered (no website).

Chocolate Twist - 8.2oz - 600 yards sport weight

Chocolate Twist - 8.2oz - 600 yards sport weight

A good day to be gluten free!

It was, it really was! :) Why, was it a good day to be gluten free, you ask? Let me show you why:

 

!!!!PIZZA!!!!

!!!!PIZZA!!!!

YES! You read that caption right – PIZZA….gluten-free pizza!!! As if it being pizza wasn’t good enough, the fact that it came from a restaurant (Uno Chicago Grill), and I didn’t have to cook it was just sublime. The wait for them to bring it out was excruciating. I have been wanting pizza so bad, and I was really hoping it was going to be good. I was shocked at the size – that thing was about 10 to 12 inches and 6 slices of cheesy goodness. It looked like pizza, it smelled like pizza, so I took that first bite…..and…..it TASTED like pizza! Real, honest to goodness pizza. Oh, was I ever happy. I will be going back there again when the mood for pizza strikes me.

A New Pet?!

Why, who is this little guy, just perching on my knee?

Hello There

Hello There

 

A new pet, perhaps. Look how cute he is!

Strike a Pose!

Strike a Pose!

Unfortunately for him, he has a different fate in life. He will be chewed, licked, nibbled, tossed about, and covered in kitty slobber. He was SO much fun to make and a very easy little project. It took me less than 2 hours to make him. Our cats love the smell of sheep, so I know they are going to have a blast with this guy. All that remains for me to do is finish the stuffing, add some catnip, sew him up, and then watch the fun explode!

If you are interested in making one of these cuties for your kitty, you can find the pattern HERE. I certainly will be making more!

My First Lace!

I am so excited to have finished this project. It took less than a month, and was a wonderful pattern to work with. This is my very first lace project and I am SO happy with how it came out. I love it, and even found an excuse to wear it already! It was a bit chilly on my walk to class today, so it worked nicely wrapped around my neck to keep me warm.

The pattern is the Shetland Triangle by Evelyn A. Clark. I did add in two extra body repeats and I am happy that I did, because it needed that bit of extra size. I also added beads to the border chart and it was a great addition. It just adds that certain something, brings out the colors, and adds some sparkle. I do love me a bit of sparkle! :)

I used Jojoland Melody Superwash and it took approximately 550 yards to finish this beauty.  I will make this project again, and I will also use this yarn again. The yarn was wonderful to work with, and yielded a soft, drapey, warm lace project.

Here are the photos (click for bigger pretties):

 

In the Early Stages

In the Early Stages

Going into a bath.

Going into a bath.

Finished and glowing in the sunshine!

Finished and glowing in the sunshine!

Beading Detail

Beading Detail

Being Modeled

Being Modeled

A Quicky

Just thought I would get something up for your viewing pleasure today. Here is my finished yarn that I was working on during the Tour de Fleece. It came out lovely. I just adore the colors. It is 138 yards and 1 ounce of fiber, it was Navajo plied. Click on the photos to see a larger version.

 

A Pretty Skein

A Pretty Skein

Close Up

Close Up

 

That is all for now! :) Coming soon..a post with pics of all the lovely birthday loot my lovely friends graced me with! :D

Adventures in Birthday Land

First of all, let me just say that so far, I have had the most amazing birthday EVER! I say so far, because even though the day is technically over, the celebration continues and I will be spending time with friends every day the rest of this week and Saturday. It honestly doesn’t get better than that. The fact that I am surround by people who genuinely like me and want to celebrate with me, just a wonderful thing!

I also need to note that the elimination diet is no longer. I lasted a week and a day. It was worth a try but just too much to deal with right now.

Originally, I had planned to stay home and do nothing. Zip, zero, zilch, nada (guess you get the idea) all day long. However, this morning my wonderful friend Flame asked me if I wanted to meet up for lunch. Of course I did! We met at TGI Fridays and had a fantastic experience. I was upfront with the waiter and told him I had Celiac disease and could not have gluten. As soon as I said gluten, his face lit up. Get this one……he actually knew what I was talking about. How terrific is that. I asked him for suggestions and he willing provided me with some very tasty options. I chose a yummy grilled steak, no sauce or seasoning and a side salad (which he even understood could not have croutons on it!). When I asked if they would clean the grill prior to cooking my steak, he said of course they would! Yippee!!! The meal was great and Kate and I had a wonderful time celebrating each others birthdays (hers was the day before mine) and our friendship. She gave me a wonderful necklace that I will cherish.

After our fantastic lunch, I went over to a chocolate store in the plaza that Fridays is in. I was seriously bummed to see they were out of business. I decided to walk over to the health food store instead and see what goodies I could find. I walked in and started to look at their lotions out of curiosity. I picked up a coconut one, flipped it over to start reading the ingredients, and noticed in big, bold letters; vegan, gluten free and wheat free. Not only did that make me happy, but I became even more giddy upon seeing that the lotion had a companion coconut body wash. Mmmmmm….I LOVE the smell of coconut bath products. This stuff smells great and feels great on. Not at all greasy and very moisturizing! While there, I also found some gluten free chocolate truffles. Score 2 for the birthday girl. :D

From there, I proceeded to mosey on over to Starbucks to get myself some coffee, knit, and munch on my truffles. I was contently doing all three when I looked up and saw the skies darken dramatically. I grabbed my stuff and got out of there in an attempt to beat the storm. As soon as I got in the car, the skies opened up! On the drive home, the highway was actually starting to flood because it was raining so hard. Everyone was going really slow too, including me. I was thankful to get near home and drive into clear, blue, sunny weather.

I came home and enjoyed the rest of my coffee and chocolate. I worked on my current lace project some more and was very happy when it was time for my man to come home. We had a nice relaxing night here at home. Dinner was oooey, gooey, chocolaty, and ridiculously good home made and still warm, gluten free brownies. Add a side of delicious ice cream, and a candle, and what more could a birthday girl want?!

I will try to take photos of the awesome birthday gifty goodness that I have been the recipient of and post them later this week or on Monday. I am off to bed now to rest up for another wonderful day tomorrow!

That’s Life

Just when I think I have this all figured out…a new issue has surfaced. 

I was getting ready for bed and decided to put on some Bath and Body Works lotion. Ah, it smelled so wonderful and I love the way their scents pamper my skin. I was winding down and relaxing, and then…..boom. My skin started to itch. I started to get little red bumps all over. My skin started to turn red and burn/tingle a bit. What in the world?! Oh carp, I was reacting to my lotion.

I acted as quick as I could, still in disbelief. I took a Zyrtec, washed off the offending lotion very well, and now here I sit. Still a bit itchy and uncomfortable. I have been using their lotions for many, many years now, and I have NEVER reacted to them like this. While they are not gluten free, because they do have oats in them, I saw no problem in using it. I wasn’t going to EAT the lotion after all.

I am still not sure what I reacted to in it, but after that, it is quite clear that I can no longer use their lotions. Talk about sucking big time! I love their products and have quite the lovely selection to choose from, scents to suit every whim of mine. Ah well, nothing I can do about it, best get over it and move on. Guess I need to start being careful about what I put on my skin too.

I am going to go lay down, pout a bit, and hope the Zyrtec kicks in soon.

I’m Still Here

I have things to post too, newly finished projects, and pretty skeins of yarn. However, these last two weeks have not been good for me. I am still reacting to something in my diet, part of that reaction is listlessness and it makes me feel just blah. Zaps all of my motivation to do anything at all. Thus, my lack of posts here.

I am tackling this darned food issue head on! I did go gluten free and have been very successful with it. It appears that I may have other intolerances though since I am still reacting. In order to figure out what is going on, I have started an elimination diet. I am ready to feel better and to be able to live my life more fully. I am tired of always being, well….tired. Intolerances are sneaky and annoying little things. They don’t always make themselves as clearly known as an allergy does. They tend to cause more physiological symptoms and can mess with you in a big way. A typical reaction for me includes: migraines, nausea, digestive problems, my face flushes bright red and burns, I get shaky and dizzy, I feel like I have medicine head on steroids (aka brainfog). I can’t focus, concentrate, and become forgetful. Then there is the exhaustion…sheer and unending, like I haven’t slept in years. I also get muscle cramps and aches. Sometimes I get only a few of those symptoms, and other times I get them all. Needless to say, this is not a fun experience!

I am on day three of the elimination diet, and I am doing well so far. While I feel terrible due to withdrawal, I know that it will pass and I will feel immensely better. My tummy is already doing better on this diet, and it only took one day for that change. I have already lost some weight too! Nice side effect there. I am actually eating better than I think I ever have. Very healthy, well rounded meals!!

The diet consists of eliminating:  wheat (and any gluten containing grains), corn, eggs, dairy, peanuts, soy, nightshades, shellfish, beef, pork, refined sugar, caffeine.

I am sure that sounds like there must be nothing left. However, there are still yummy things to choose from. For dinner last night, I had catfish with sweet potato, and green beans. For dessert, I had a pear. For breakfast today I had cold, leftover chicken, brown rice, sugar snap peas, and a nectarine. I am working on a crockpot recipe that will have rice, black beans, chicken and veggies in it so that I can make something that will get me quite a few meals.

At this point in my life, I think I can handle just about anything if it means I can feel better. I am so ready to leave my zombie days behind!

Fiber Friend in Need

Thanks to Ravelry, I am getting the chance to know people I may not have otherwise met. People who are as crazy about their fiber as I am, which makes it even more awesome. One of those people, is Lisa, of Poppy Flower Fibers. Not only does Lisa have great talent as a fiber artist, she is a kind, caring person. 

Unfortunately, she is faced with a difficult situation at this point in time. Her sweet dog, Poppy is very ill and has been for a few months now. This is after Lisa spent money on her other dog who was sick, and she lost earlier this year. As any pet owner knows, vet expenses are, well…expensive. 

What was amazing to hear from Lisa, was that the fiber community is supporting her more than some of her “real-life” friends. We, as a whole do seem to be a great community. Thus, my blog post about Lisa and Poppy. She was encouraged by a friend to start a raffle to help raise some much needed money for Poppy. I think this is a great idea, and have already purchased two tickets myself! I believe in doing anything you can to save your animals. I would for mine. If it was really dire and was likely to cost thousands, I would want to be as lucky as Lisa, and have people out there willing to support and help.

Tickets for the raffle are a mere $5.00 and you get a chance to win, 8 oz of 80% Superfine 19.5 micron count Merino/20% Mongolian Cashmere. Yumm, how luscious does that sound?

Good luck to anyone who buys tickets, it is a great giveaway! My continued love and support to both Lisa and Poppy! May you get some answers, may Poppy heal very quickly, and may you have many, many more years together!!

Here are some links:

This one is to Lisa’s blog.

This is a blog she put together for people to track Poppy’s progress and her fundraising efforts. She also showing documentation from her vet here.

Here is the link to purchase tickets in the raffle.

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