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! ­čÖé

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

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My First Fiber Festival

Well, September was certainly a crazy month. There is much that goes into┬áreturning┬áto 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! ­čÖé 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┬ácertainly┬ánot 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 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!

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┬ácuriosity. 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. ­čśÇ

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!

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. ­čśÇ

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. ­čśë I┬áoriginally┬áhad 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. ­čśŤ 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┬ágraciously┬ádonated 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┬ápity┬áme, 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.┬á

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┬ánegative. That is something that I fight from being a child. Showing sickness just was frowned upon as┬áunnecessary. 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.┬á

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! ­čÖé

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

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.

Project Time!

Things have been going well in this knitters little corner of the world. ­čÖé

I had so much fun at with Harriet at her knitting group Friday night. When I got there, she handed me a printout for a pattern for my first project — a scarf! She then told me to go shop. Wow! I felt like a little kid in a candy store. It was my very first time in a yarn shop and there were pretty and soft things everywhere I looked. I roamed around the store almost overwhelmed at all the choices. I thought I had something, and then was told it was the wrong type of fiber (cotton, not wool — oops…missed that one on the instructions). So I put it back and kept looking. Finally, as I was about to give up, my eyes landed on some very┬áluscious┬áyarn. I picked it up and loved the feel and look of it, it was the right weight, and….it was wool! I loved, loved, loved the colors. The yarn I picked for my first project was a lovely Noro.

My Lovely Noro, Colorway 185

My Lovely Noro, Colorway 185

I started to work on it right away and made good progress. I was so excited, that I missed another step in the instructions. I came home that night and started fresh. I had fun at the store sitting there knitting and talking. It was another great group of people and I will be going back again this Friday.

Saturday saw my husband and I at our friend Tina’s birthday party. It was at a beautiful park in her hometown of Catskill. We all sat in the lovely weather and did our thing. We gabbed, and knit, and crocheted, and spun. It was a blast! Tina got some awesome birthday presents, and it was fun watching her excitement as she opened them. Later on, we went to dinner with her and her husband as well as a few other people. After dinner, we went back to their place for a movie. Tina kindly lent me a beautiful drop spindle because I want to learn how to use one. I cannot wait to have the chance to learn with that! I have some shetland roving on the way thanks to Etsy!

My Progress After Saturday

My Progress After Saturday

Lovely Detail

Lovely Detail

I got a lot of work done on my scarf over the weekend and put in quite a few hours today. It is really coming along nicely and is currently measuring at about 15 inches!! I really love the yarn I am using and how well it is knitting up. It feels good in the hands and the colors are just stunning. I am truly enjoying my very first project and am so excited to be making something. I keep looking at it in awe. I am just amazed that this is coming from me. It is so beautiful and I will be so proud to wear it when I am done.

My Progress After Today

My Progress After Today -- About 15"

Tomorrow night is knitting in Hudson and I can’t wait! I purchased my first official knitting bag from Jess of Stitched by JessaLu, and she will be brining it with her to hand deliver. I am excited to have something really, really pretty to put my knitting in. Plastic zipper bags are just not as nice. ­čÖé

I am really having an amazing time meeting all these great people. I never imagined I would love knitting this much! It has quickly become something I love to do and feel like I have done my whole life.

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