Celebrian

Just a quick post here today. When I posted about my finished yarn, I wanted to post a picture of the darling girl that the fleece came from. Here she is, in all her glory! Look at that lovely color, that sweet face. What a beauty. Thanks to Jen, at Contented Butterfly Farm for letting me use her photo! I just think it is so cool to be able to see the sheep that my fiber came from!

 

Celebrian

Celebrian

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TDF 09 Update #3

Happy Friday!

This past Wednesday was the challenge day for the Tour de Fleece. I tackled a few things all in one fell swoop. I decided I wanted to try spinning a batt and see what the difference was. I also wanted to try a new drafting method, long draw. I did both of those, and tried a new fiber too – Falkland! It was a fun challenge day. 🙂

I started to work with the batt on Tuesday night at knitting. I really like working with batts, and I think I prefer it to braids. I will still work with braids, but it is a bit of a different experience. I really love the Falkland too. It is so soft and is spinning up beautifully. It even has a bit of a nice sheen. It is going to make one pretty yarn! Special thanks to Cris from Into the Whirled for such pretty stuff to play with. 😀

I will be curious to see the end result I will get from spinning long draw. 

Here are some photos of what I have been working on. Click on any photo to see a larger version.

 

Look at that lovely color!

Look at that lovely color!

I REALLY love these colors!

I REALLY love these colors!

More Pretty

More Pretty

TDF 09 Update #2

I guess I have been bad at posting my Tour de Fleece progress. Then again, I wasn’t making much progress, to be honest. I am getting faster with the drop spindle, and I am able to spin for longer periods of time. I am still amazed how fast the last bit of Shetland went, it seemed to just fly out of my hands! A special thanks to Jen, of Contended Butterfly Farm for such well prepared roving. It really was a joy to spin. Give Celebrian extra love from me for donating her lovely fleece. 😀

I hit more great milestones, I finished my first batch of roving (total of 4 ounces), and I plied my first skein of yarn. This skein was navajo plied. It really came out great and I am proud of this one too. It is soft, squishy, and the color is great. It is going to make something lovely for me, that is for sure! The stats on this are:

  • Name: Celebrian
  • Colorway: Moorit
  • 148 yards
  • 56 ounces

Did I mention that I really loved navajo plying?! It is a lot of fun, and was so easy to do on the spindle. I liked that I only had one strand to worry about, and that I had no leftover bits at the end. I will be doing this technique again, and I may even use it on what I started to spin last night at knitting. I will have more on the new stuff Friday. For now, here are some pretty photos. Clicking on any of them will bring you to larger versions on my Flickr page.

Close up on the spindle, after plying.

Close up on the spindle, after plying.

Spaghetti, anyone?!

Spaghetti, anyone?!

The finished skein.

The finished skein.

Mmmm....Detail

Mmmm....Detail

The Best Laid Plans…

Ah, yes, how grand my plans were for the shetland I have been spinning for a while now. Well, ok…maybe not grand, but I was excited about them anyway. 😉 I originally had 4 ounces to work with. I took that and split it into 2, 2 ounce sections. The first 2 ounces has been spun and resting on its uber-fancy tp holder bobbin for a few weeks now. I wanted to take that 2 ounces and navajo ply it. I was going to spin the second 2 ounces into 2, 1 ounce balls and then ply those together andean style.

I started to navajo ply the first 2 ounces yesterday and was immediately unhappy with how thick it was. I just did not like the way it looked. So, like a true artist, I made a decision on the fly. 😛 I decided to leave this as singles, because it is so thick as is. That led me to another decision, and that is to keep going with the second (and MUCH thinner) half and navajo ply that. I think the second half will look great plied that way, and I seem to be getting a lot out of it. I love the way it is coming out and would love to use it to make something.

Since I decided to leave the first 2 ounces as singles, they went into a nice, hot bath with some lavender wool wash yesterday. I let it soak for a bit, and then hung it to dry. I am amazed at how wonderfully lofty this came out. It is soft, and beautiful, even if it is a bit uneven. This is my very first ever finished skein of yarn. So exciting!

Here are the stats:

  • Name: Celebrian Singles (after the sheep that graciously donated her fleece)
  • Colorway: Moorit
  • WPI: 11
  • 83 yards
  • 46 gram skein
My FIRST Skein of Yarn

My FIRST Skein of Yarn

The Close-Up

The Close-Up

 

I also finished my niddy-noddy, and it came out really nice. A simple oil rubbed finish and it really brought out the color and the grain. All I used was mineral oil. It doesn’t get much easier!

Unfinished

Unfinished - Bone White and Boring!

Finished - A Nice Golden Color

Finished - A Nice Golden Color

A Good Night, A Bad Night

Tonight saw me heading out to knitting. It all started out so well. I felt really good most of the day today, at least much better than I had after my last reaction to gluten. I even thought maybe the reaction had passed. Boy was I wrong, that thought all ended when I got to the cafe. When I sat down, I was shaking, my face felt like it was burning and was bright red, I had a nasty headache coming on and just felt BAD.

Once others started to show up, I tried to push how I was feeling out of my mind. I did the best I could, but I was having trouble focusing, thinking, and staying put mentally. I have a hard time when I feel like this. I know that it can come across that something is wrong with me. I try so hard to hide that I am sick / not feeling well, because I don’t want people to pity me, or see me as weak. I HATE that something I cannot even see, a stupid little protein, can have such a great impact on me. I do think that maybe my eyes glazed over once or twice, and I apologize if this happened while anyone was talking to me. I can’t control it. 

Getting ready to leave….well, things just got worse. I started to shake again, feel very nauseous, more spacey. Another headache started to come on, and all my joints started to ache. Did I mention how much I hate this? It was hard to drive home, and I am thankful that it is not too long of a drive. I almost had to pull over more than once because of the nausea. I made it home safe and sound, and am getting worse as I type this.

I think my other greatest reason for not sharing when I don’t feel well, is that I don’t want to be accused of being dramatic or negative. That is something that I fight from being a child. Showing sickness just was frowned upon as unnecessary. I promise though, there are no dramatics in anything I talk about when it comes to reacting to gluten. Just simple, honest, truth.

I wish I could change how this happens. That I could take a pill, and it would all go away. It just isn’t that simple, and this is something I have to learn to live with. It is a struggle that I have been fighting for a few years now, and it doesn’t ever get any easier. 

On the plus side, the good side, even thought I felt awful, I had a GREAT time. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I was surrounded by friends, both new and old, and we all just had so much fun. That is what I love about knit night, the fun. It is so nice to spend time with other woman who aren’t petty, catty, mean, nasty, or snobby. We all just get along, and that is awesome in my book.

I was also, miraculously a bit productive. I finally finished spinning that half of my shetland I have been working on for ages now. I will try to get pics up soon. Now I am debating if I should finish the other half right now, or ply what has been sitting done for a bit. I am not sure yet.

So, in some ways, it was both a good night and a bad night. I am so glad I went, even though I didn’t feel my best. Laughter is great medicine and I had plenty of it tonight! 🙂

Tour de Fleece ~ Day 9

I am still here and still plugging along. The update for today is of the roving I am spinning up on my Brandywine Woodworking spindle. It is superwash merino in the Night Sky colorway from Actual Size Creations. I really like spinning this stuff too. It is like spinning buttah! I also have an updated photo of my beautiful Garden of Alla shawl that I have been working on. It is really coming along.

 

Spinning Progress

Spinning Progress

Close Up

Close Up

Pretty Alla in the Sun :)

Pretty Alla in the Sun

Tour de Fleece Update

So far, I have been really happy with my progress. It is slow going, but I am plugging along. I really do like how this is coming out, but I am so eager to be done! I decided to leave the nepps in because I like the color they add to the chocolate yarn, and I love the rustic quality they lend as well. I am going to finish this as a 2 ply, so I only have .20 ounces left to spin until I finish the first half of this. It will be 2 ounces of yarn when all is said and done.

Here are some progress photos:

 

Here it is as roving, with the spindle I am spinning it on.

Here it is as roving, with the spindle I am spinning it on.

Here we are, almost half way through!

Here we are, almost half way through!

A lovely close up. :)

A lovely close up. 🙂

Tour de Fleece

So, as Tina over at Rows Red said, we knitters can be a strange bunch. For those non-fibery people, the Tour de Fleece is where you spin every day that the Tour de France runs. Each person sets their own goals, and if you accomplish them by the end of the Tour, you get a badge for your blog. It is much more than that though, it is an opportunity to accomplish something, and to challenge yourself. My goal is quite simple, but perfect for me. My goal is to spin for a minimum of 10 minutes per day.

Now, that might not sound like much to most people. However, just a few weekends ago, I injured my shoulder from spinning for too long. It was not intentional. I just got caught up in the moment, and forgot to put the spindle down. Spinning for a period of time every day, will help build the muscle memory I need to spin for longer spans of time. It will also help to improve my spinning skills. It will get me in the habit of spinning on a daily basis too, so that I am doing more than knitting. After all, it is kinda hard to knit when you have no yarn to knit with. While I can always buy from a store, there is something magical about making my own yarn, and then making something beautiful out of that. It feels like such an amazing thing, a true accomplishment that leaves me with something tangible and useful.

In other news, speaking of accomplishments, I knit my 100th row on the shawl I am currently knitting. It is my first lace project and it is coming along beautifully. I will try to get a photos of that up, and my spinning progress soon.

Oh, the pretty….

When I first started to look for a spindle, I knew what I wanted. I wanted a rich rose wood whorl with an ebony shaft. I looked high and low and contacted a few sellers on Etsy, but no one had what I was looking for or could create it. My first drop spindle was made from Italian resin instead. It is beautiful, and I love it, but I still kept looking for that one spindle.

I found a seller on Etsy, who had some beautiful things for spinning, including spindles. I took the plunge and contacted the seller, then waited with breath held to hear back. I didn’t have to wait long. They were willing to create just what I had been looking for all along. The seller is Brandywine Woodworking and I cannot say enough good about them! The communication was quick, responsive, and friendly. The spindle was made quickly but still with an amazing attention to detail. This little one is truly a work of art. However, it spins like a dream and just wants to spin forever and ever. This was my first custom made spindle and it really was a joy to work with them. I will not hesitate to go to them again when I want to add to my spindle collection. 

The package showed up today, and just the box it shipped in made me grab my camera. I knew it would be one of those worthy of unboxing photos. It took quite a bit of restraint to not rip into it, but I am glad I didn’t. I truly enjoyed just opening it and then seeing it for the first time. It is everything I had pictured in my head and more. 

Without further ado — photos!

 

The Box -- Loved the leaves stamped all over.

The Box -- Loved the leaves stamped all over.

Look at that packaging. Nice!!

Look at that packaging. Nice!!

WOW!

WOW! Cocobolo whorl, Ebony shaft.

WOW again! :)

WOW again! 🙂

Nice touches. This heart was what was tied to the bag. Also handmade by them.

Nice touches. This heart was what was tied to the bag. Also handmade by them.

In Memory of Jasmine

Today I took Morgan to our unbelievably awesome vet for his 6 month checkup. 6 months ago we didn’t know if he would live or die. He is a miracle and a wonderful cat. I am so thankful that he made it through. Our vet told us that not only is he out of the woods, but he is so far out we can barely see them anymore!!! I almost cried on the way home, and realized that I have been perched on a thread these last six months waiting to see which way he was going to go. Now it is OK, he is OK — I can breathe and enjoy that he is with us and will be for a long time to come.

This has me reflecting on everything our family has gone through in the last year. It has been quite a year for us here. It all started in late August / early September when our darling little Jasmine suddenly got very ill. Ill enough that we had to rush her to the very expensive emergency clinic one night. I don’t remember the entire series of events. No surprise there as it was very stressful. I was in school full time and dealing with a very ill cat. It drained me beyond measure. She got better for a few weeks and we thought she was going to recover….and then one day she just dove downhill again. That was the day we lost her, at a mere 6 years of age. It was a terrible day and a terrible decision to have to make. I never wish that on anyone. We could have tried to save her, but it wasn’t likely to do much other than prolong the inevitable. She was so very sick and we knew that it was time. Our vet is so wonderful that he was almost crying with us when we were in the room as we said goodbye to her.

Closely following that, while my head was still swirling with all we had just gone through, Morgan became ill with the very same disease that took Jasmine’s life. The day I brought him into the vet and saw how yellow his skin was, I almost lost it. I probably did loose it actually. I had to leave him there and he was going to be there for a few days. I left him and as I walked out I remember sobbing so uncontrollably that I could barely breathe or see. I felt like I was being dramatic then, in retrospect I know now that it was what anyone would have done in my situation. I can’t even describe what I was going through then, but I know it was terrible.

He made it through 3 days of iv fluids and meds at the vets office and came home on Saturday. They wanted to see how he would respond to being home with us. The hope, of course, was that he would do better with his family than in a cage at the vets office. We set up his sick room, our bathroom, just for him. We piled a corner with the most comfy blankets we could find and topped it with one of my husbands shirts (he is very attached to him). I poured everything I had into him. I fed him, by hand, a special blend of food via syringe since he wasn’t eating. I sat with him and did some healing and energy work. I talked to him and loved him, and even sometimes cried. It was so horrifying to me to walk in that room and see the skeleton that had once been our baby boy. I could literally see death hanging around him and I was doing my best to keep him here, with us. Keep in mind, I was still in school full time and still reeling from the loss of Jasmine. I think I was probably just a shell of myself at that time. Knowing he needed me desperately is just about the only thing that kept me going. I was not going to give up on him, and dammit I was going to fight with everything I had to get him better.

Somehow, someway, he slowly started to get better. I don’t think that I believed he was really making progress at first. I could see the numbers from his bloodwork, but they meant nothing to me. I was terrified that he was going to turn like Jasmine did. How could I not be? In fact, I realize now that I have been waiting for that turn for the last seven months! Part of me will probably always be hyper-sensitive to him and react anytime he shows signs of being ill. Maybe even overreact. It still all just seems so very surreal. He is OK. I have to keep telling myself that.

Now, it wasn’t all bad. I made it through school, with decent grades. Add to that, we added a new cat to our family as well during that time, our sweet Callista. Never mind that we brought Calli home the night we checked Morgan into the vets for three days! A bit insane? Hell yeah, and we knew it. However, when we first met her, we knew she was family. You don’t leave family behind in a cage no matter how rough life is. She has been a great addition, and in some ways has helped me cope and deal with the loss of Jasmine. She is so beyond loving and sweet and seems to know just when I need some kitty loving.

So phew! All of that in about 7-8 months. I have taken a lot from all of it too. I am stronger from it, and I learned to trust my instincts, because they are always right on. Morgan and I became closer and formed a bond we just didn’t have before this. He is an amazing cat, all of our cats are. He was just always more attached to my husband. I am thankful for that new closeness with him. He loves to snuggle with me, and does it more now.

I also learned just how dangerous it was for a cat to stop eating. Never would I have imagined that it could cause so much damage so quickly! I always thought that they would eat if they were hungry and that is so not true! A cat who stops eating is in serious danger within 24 hours. Both Jasmine and Morgan developed Hepatic Lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. When a cats body starts to break fat down, their liver cannot process it like a humans can. It all builds up and can cause liver failure. It is so very scary to watch a cat decline so rapidly. It is a terrible disease and one that can so easily be prevented.

This post was a long time coming. I feel relieved, a bit numb, sad, happy, elated, so many things all at once right now. Because of the series of events that occurred, I didn’t get much time to mourn Jasmine. I do still miss her sometimes and always will. I also know that she led us to Calli without question. This post is made in her honor, her memory. Because of her Morgan is alive today. I knew what to do and how to save him. I was better equipped and we were much more familiar with our vet.

It is with this I end, in memory:

Jasmine

Jasmine

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