Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wishing Everyone A Merry Christmas!!!

I hope all are having a great christmas break. I am loving mine since I get to knit, spin, open doggie's christmas presents, cook, bake, and shop. Not in that order though but that would be fun.
First off will be the exciting christmas presents for the doggies from Grandmaw and Grandpaw Goldbeck. Last weekend we came home from lunch with two big boxes sitting on the front porch and I was wondering what they were but I knew who they were for and from, since hubbie got a random call from his mom saying that she made a questionable purchase for the dogs, we have been wondering what it would be. So we got the packages inside and the excited dogs were waiting for me to open them and since I did not get special orders to not open them before christmas I tore the big boxes open. And to much of my (and doggie's) surprise, they were big fluffy, enormous dog beds. Now note the plural, we have two dogs and there are now two bean bag size dog beds in my living room. Gadget totally jumped in on these new fluffy things knowing that they are for him but Gizmo no so much. She was a little hesitant but since I plopped my but in them she automatically knew she wanted to claim it. Now fast forward to a week later, I think they think these new beds are not so good for them. I have recently denied access to the couch for doggies. They are not taking this without a fight or an occassional jump up to snuggle next to me. But once they get the point that they are not getting up they give up and enjoy the warmth and coziness of the bed that they disappear in like a doughnut. Here are some pics of the first encounters of the beds:

Here are some new pics with some sulking:

The baking is of Reese Peanut Butter Cookie tub from a friend's son's fundraiser for his school and they are delish! I ate 3 pretty much right out of the oven and then tempted the hubbie to each 4. YUM! I also look forward to cooking for Christmas dinner since we are doing Mexican Night with our friends. The Menu consists of Slow Cooker Carnitas with some mods, refried beans, the fixins for soft shell tacos, and build your own dessert with pound cake, ice cream and fruit. Cannot wait for dinner!

So the shopping was for the neice and nephew in Chicago that got an owl ornament and nightlight from the local garden center, for a friend's son who wanted a denim jacket (which hubbie thought was an 80's trend but I think this boy has an old soul so it works for him), random knick knacks from Williams-Sonoma (because you cannot go in there and not buy anything), and a trip to the LYS with my friend to see Glenna from Ewe and Company. I did good in not buying yarn but got an awesome mag from Interweave Press, Jane Austen Knits 2011. This special mag is great because it talks about what knitters think that Jane Austen would of knit for herself or others and shows the style of knitwear would of look like from her time period. I am still looking through the mag but all the patterns look great and I look forward to knitting up some from the mag.

Also Glenna from Ewe and Company was kind enough to take my handspun yarns that I have been doing and try to sell them at her shop. Although I love the process of spinning them, I just have too much yarn already that the added stash of handspun was overwhelming. So I made a decision to try to sell them but I did not want an etsy shop because of the fees and work to list them and I am not sure if they would sell anyway. So I gambled with bringing them to Glenna but she took them with open hands and such enthusiasm that I was so humbled and joyous that she would try to sell my mediocre handspun yarns. Now I do not know if they will sell at all but I hope it will be well received. Here are the new handspuns from the wheel:

Gale's Art Cherry Blossom is my first attempt to get a thicker gauge yarn and I think I was successful and it came out so pretty too. Sorry for the poor quality pic.

Chrysalis Fibers Sky and Earth (this is already gifted to a friend, who already benefits from my handspuns)

Just Finished is the Just Before Dawn from Highland Handmades, will get pictures up soon!

So the only part of knitting getting done, since I am still enamored by the wheel (who is not named yet), is the The Knit Girllls SAL/KAL Favorite Scarf Ever. It is knit from the Cloudlover fiber for the SAL which is turning out great with the pattern.

Well that was a long post and hope you enjoyed it. I loved writing it so I can get my thoughts out of my head. =0P Thanks to all for a great half year of reading my random thoughts and following my knitting endeavors. Have a safe and happy new year and look forward to what the Pulmonary Hypertension research brings for the coming years.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

.... I am now spinning on my new wheel!!

Yes I got a new spinning wheel! I totally love it and have been spinning non stop since I put it together on Saturday when we got home from Thanksgiving vaca to Chicago to see family. I am such a lucky daughter-in-law to marry into a loving and caring family of my hubbie. My lovely MIL got me the wheel as my (and hubbies) christmas present. It is my hubbies too since the funds to get it came out if his christmas money too. =0) He will enjoy it too.

We (me and MIL) got it from a great small store called The Fold in Marengo, IL which we found out the hard way is about an hour drive from the west suburbs of Chicago. But it is a lovely small store runned by the kindest most helpful woman around, Mrs. Toni. She was nice enough to help a newcomer to spinning wheels and answered all my questions and concerns I had about all the wheels I tried out. She had about 10 wheels out for you to pull up to and test which helped me figure out which one I wanted. Which I think I already knew before stepping into her store but it helped to be behind the wheel and touch it up close. Mrs. Toni also was so kind to sit and talk with us about many things, my PH condition and what I knit for (PH research and donations), how long I have been knitting (1.5 years), what I love to knit (lacey shawls) and others things. Thanks Mrs. Toni for being so caring and kind to me and my MIL.

So back to the important part, which wheel did I choose??? I chose the Ashford Traveller for the smaller design and portability due to the lighter weight. I could not assemble it in Chicago since it would have to travel with a car load back and I did not want it to travel without a seatbelt if it was assembled. So I resisted the urge to tear the box open and assemble it piece by piece. But I did go straight upstairs and tear it apart after about 2 hours of being home on Saturday afternoon (I am glad the hubbie drove the whole way). It took me about 2 hours to assemble it with the almost 30 steps of assembly and this is without the hubbie's help. I was pretty proud of myself and I should be! Here it is in all its glory in a messy craft room:

Also I need your help on something. As per the spinning community, a great wheel needs a great name. What should be the newbie's name? I need to refer to him or her as a person since she/he works as hard as me to make the fancy yarnie goodness. Please leave a suggestion on FB or in the comments.

What should be her/ his name??

I am having so much fun with it, I already have two fibers done and one on the wheel. I have spun more fiber in 5 days than in the months I have been spinning with the spindle. But the wheel will not be my sole focus because I want to continue using my drop spindles since I still need to teach someone how to still spin and ply on the spindle. (This boy knows who he is) So the fibers I have been spinning are:

Haunted Vineyards in Polwarth
 The above fiber is for The Knit Girllls SAL (Spin A Long) / KAL (Knit A Long) that is from Cloudlover. The untwisted skein of yarn is what I spinned on the wheel and I am so happy because it is the first yarn that has come off the 'wheel' <-----enter new name for newbie.

 I also have finished a couple of ounces of the Superwash Merino from The Fold that I got with the wheel as a experiment fiber. The SW Merino is so soft and fluffy and a joy to spin. I got the undyed fiber since I want to dab my over achieving fingers into dyeing. I will be dyeing it with food coloring and kool-aid. We will see how that goes with some test yarn that I got.
Lastly as of right now is the BFL fiber from Corgi Hill Farm in the Dahlia colorway. I love the pink purple tonal variation and shown above is a single that I will ply with another bobbin of single to make my two ply yarn. I think I may try to navajo ply the second 6 ounces of this fiber to see how I like a three ply yarn.

The quandry I have now with making so much yarn is that I have so much yarn. I have no pattern in mind right now for them other than the Haunted Vineyards (it is part of the KAL). Should I sell or find something to knit? I know right now that the spinning is really cutting into my knitting time but I have to reverse that soon to get some projects done and off the needles.

Well that is all for now and I hope all have a great week and had a great Thanksgiving. We get to look forward to Christmas!

Monday, October 31, 2011

... I love to go to Fiber Festivals!

If there is one thing I would love to do with all the money in the world is to attend Fiber and Yarn Festivals everywhere. I loved going to the Fiber in the Boro with my friend Kim. We had so much fun touching and oohhing and aahhing at all the fibery goodness there. Though I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed by all the goodies since this was my first fiber festival. But still fun! Here are some of the many booths at the festival:

First in the door your see beautiful fiber in many colors and blends at Blue Goose Glen. I kept on going back to them through out the time we were then and finally bought a Merino Tussah silk blend in the Red Colorway with streaks of red, blue and white silk. I think it will spin up beautifully.

Next was the booth I really wanted to get goodies from is Unwind Yarn Company. She had amazing color and I wanted it all but I only came away with three (with alot of self restrain). I have oogled over her stuff on Etsy for a while and I wanted certain colorways and went straight for them once I shimmied my way into her booth. I got the Sugared Violets fiber in Merino/ Tussah blend which she mentioned is a new fiber for her to dye so I am excited to try it out, plus the color is all about me with the shades of purple.
The other fiber I got from her is the Abalone colorway in 100% Superwash Merino and I love the blend of colors and it looks like the inside of an abalone shell to me.
And the last goodness I got was Superwash Merino Sock yarn in the Cerulean colorway and it is the perfect shade of blue that I cannot wait to make a shawl out of. Maybe socks but we will see.
Those three items from Unwind was my biggest purchase of the day and I am happy with all my lovelies.

But next to Unwind's booth was Stoney Ridge Alpacas. My friend loved the colors and feel of their Alpaca yarn and throughout the festival we touched other alpaca yarns but none were as soft as Stoney Ridge. Kay Kemp, the lady manning the booth, knew which alpaca each yarn came from and that was interesting to hear and great to know that she is a local farm to TN.

I think sometimes that I would love to buy local more often  and I try to do that by getting yarn from my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) but it is hard to find fiber locally without going back to the convience of Etsy. I notice on most of these farm's website that the site is just a site to get information and see pictures of the animals and other things but you cannot order online or if you do the tax and shipping adds $10. Well I guess I just need to take several weekends to travel out to these various farms. That will hopefully be our 'staycation' since the hubby does not want to travel much these days because of work. (That gets into another post)

Then the next booth that caught our eyes was the Creek View Crafts. Sue had great fiber blends for a reasonable price and a wheel she was spinning on. The wheel was a great price and looked great (not cheap looking). The Ashford Traveller is what she had in her booth and she loves it because it folds up and travels well. Since it was unfinished the price was lower than other wheels that are finished.
Then she mentioned the smaller and beginner wheel that is lower in price and that was the Ashford Kiwi that I thought was also great looking and would be a great first wheel for myself.
The only thing I regret not doing at the festival was trying out the various wheels that were sitting there waiting to be used. It was great to see people sitting around spinning on their wheels in the middle of the barn and others showing newbies how to use the wheel or spindles.

The last bit of fiber I got was from Mulberry Fibers in the Sunrise colorway in a Merino Tussah blend. She also had great colorways and I have stalked her on Etsy too. I did get a fiber from her several weeks ago in the Lavender Fields colorway which is a surprising shades of purple.

Even though I got great fibers from the festival the best was the door prize I won fromThree Creeks Farm. The book that was donated by Beth is Fiber Gatherings. It is a book about festivals that the author traveled around to see and this makes me want to take many road trips next year to see several of these Fiber Gatherings. I was so happy to win this since this festival was my first but for sure not my last.

But the best sighting I had of the day was to see Laura and Leslie of The Knit Girllls. This is a video cast that I watch weekly and I love their personality and the goodies they show us each week and to get to meet them in person was so much fun. I got to talk to them briefly but it was AWESOME-sauce! And the knitwear that both girls had on was amazing (Leslie's sweater was better in person) and you can see them on the latest video on their website. Thanks Girls for saying hi and chatting for a bit.

Well finally that is all my fun at Fiber in the Boro and I hope all have a great week.

Monday, October 17, 2011

... other things are going on in life.

There has been tons of knitting going on but on the weekends it has been lacking. We have been so busy hanging out with friends and getting ready for the winter that the weekends just fly by. One weekend we went on the river with some friends for about 4 hours just cruising on their boat. Here is a picture of the "Captain"

It was fun to be on the water, too bad we did not fish. But if we do this again with our friends, I will try to catch some trophy fish =0)

Then this past weekend was such beautiful weather that we could not stay inside all day. So Chris helped the neighbors out with chopping some wood to get ready for winter. Especially since I love a nice fire during the day at home when it starts to get cooler. The contraption to chop the wood is quite scary but hubby jumped right on in to get it to right size.

I am so proud of him being so brave! Eventually our neighbor will make a country boy out of him, no more Chicago blood soon.

So to the many knits I have done. Or atleast to me it is lots. Four garments are done and sent our to their recipients. Two are for hubby's family and they came out beautiful. The Live Oak Shawlette came out so nice and the color and drape of the cotton was amazing. I adored the construction of this shawl since it did not have a main spine down the middle but two spokes, I think that will help it sit better on the shoulders.

The Second knit is the Rose Lace Stole in a beautiful red linen yarn. It is so lightweight and long that I think it will not be to heavy for delicate shoulders. The construction was interesting in this one also because you started knitting from the middle out then came back to the middle and knitted the second half.

Third knit is my sis that is not so little anymore. She turns 21 this month!! UGH!!! So I had to make her a beanie in LSU colors and it turned out great and perfect size.

The Fourth knit is the Semi-Precious Shawl for a PH fundraiser called Zumbathon for PH. The shawl will be in a silent auction and I hope it sells well. It was a quick knit that I finished in a week and half. The yarn is made from 100% corn and knitted up nicely.

Well that is all I have for this post and hope you enjoyed seeing all that I do during the week and weekends. Have a great week and see you next time.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

... I am looking for Fiber Festivals!

I have been knitting alot the last few weeks to finish up a couple of gifts for my MIL and hubby's grandmother. I hope to get those out to them next week since I just finished the second gift. Also I finished up a gift for the sister so she will get that soon too for her birthday. YAY! But now that I think of it, I don't want her to have THIS birthday since she will be turning legal drinking age. UGH! I feel so old now and terrified, she better behave this football season =0)

So since I have been knitting constantly to meet deadlines I have been looking at festivals around Nashville. The first one that I came across through the latest videocast episode 79 on The Knit Girllls is the Fiber in the Boro that is about an hour from where I live and I think this would be great fun for me and my friend to explore. Also I am looking forward to Pumpkin Fest in Franklin, TN but that is on the same day as the Fiber in the Boro. Ugh, oh well the doggies will be glad that I will not go to Pumpkin Fest since they don't have to dress up for Halloween.

I hope all are having a good week. Sorry that this is a short post but my brain is mush and I need something to wake me up. Have a good one!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

... I am exercising, finally!

The cooler weather in TN has brought on a bug to exercise. But the funny thing is that I am inside on the treadmill. I should be doing it outside with the doggies but I don't want to deal with them is the excuse. I am exercising is the important part. I noticed that I HAVE to do the 30 minute walk first thing in the morning or I procrastinate about it later in the day because I am watching TV and Knitting (very important, more than the exercise). I now set up my laptop to the TV upstairs to watch one of my knitting videocasts while I walk. It is nice to watch something while walking.
Though I do not want to walk with the doggies on leashes I do LOVE to take them to the doggie park nearby. It allows them to roam around without leashes and socializes them with other dogs. Plus a bonus is that I knit some more while enjoying some fresh TN air.
The same knitting is going on from last time with the addition of a football baby hat for a friend of a friend's child. I have it done but pictures need to be taken. I started and finished it within 3 hours or so (half a day on and off) and it is adorable. I might make one for my lil sis.
I promised a picture of the baby shower gifts and here they are.

Blankie and Monster for Baby Strohl

Also lots of spinning is going on also if not knitting for Mom G and Grandma. I loved spinning the Highland Handmades Merino/Tencel fiber in the Loki's Whim colorway. I have finished 2 of the 4 ounces and got about 205 yards.  The tencel adds a bit of sheen and helps the merino slide to allow the fiber to spin up beautifully!

The other fiber I spun up and finished a small portion of is the fleece from Mom G. I plied almost 2 ounces and got about 109 yards so I have tons more to go!!! But it came out beautiful and I can't wait to knit up something from it.

Well that is all for now and I hope all is doing well and having a good week. See you next time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

... I am enjoying this cooler weather!

The last several days the TN weater has been rainy but the cold front that came from the northwest brought much wanted cooler temperatures. Monday was a great 69 degrees and Tuesday was even cooler at mid-60s. I thought we jumped from summer to winter but the temps will be going back up to high 80s by the end of the week. Gizmo did not like the cooler temps since she was shivering in the house and so I put on her little jacket that we got from friends at church. She was showing it off all day and hubby thought she was adorable with it on.

This temperature drop got me back in my knitting mojo and I have been loving it. Also the football season has got be back into knitting because I have atleast 4 hours to sit about and watch the TV and cheer.  So on with the knitting:

Finally finished my first stripey socks from Fibernymph Dye Works in the Marmaris colorway. I cannot wait to get more yarn from her when I can catch an update. I love the colors and how they striped. And they fit like a sock should, I have small feet and regular socks are too big at the foot and the heel hangs over. But these are custom made for me by me and I love them soooo much. The fabric is fabulous and soft that feels great on my feet.

The next one is for a baby shower this weekend and I just finished it last night. I will post pictures up soon so not to spoil the mom to be on what she will be getting for her baby.

Finally are all my WIPs or Works in Progress projects that I think I have too many of. But like I said before the weather helped out this week on getting me in the mood. =0P

First up is the Rose Lace Stole that I am naming Oofsie's Rose since it is for hubby's grandmother. I have modified it to be more of a scarf so it will not be as deep as the stole pattern. I am loving the pattern and the yarn I am knitting with Maggi Knits Linen.

Second is the Live Oak Shawlette for my MIL out of Cascade Ultra Pima in the Ice colorway which I am renaming as Frosty Live Oak. I never thought cotton yarn would be great to work with but I am liking this yarn so far. And I better since I want to knit a cardigan out of it for myself.

Lastly is my spinning. I have also gotten into the groove of spinning. Below is the homemade spindles with my current fiber that I have been spinning. The two gray fibers are of the sheep fleece that I got from Mom G and I have tons left to spin but I am almost ready to ply these two singles up soon. I cannot wait since I want to see what type of yarn I get from the fleece.
The green is from Highland Handmades, the White Spruce Top in Loki's Whim colorway. The fiber is 50% Superwash Merino and 50% Tencel. This is my first time spinning this combo and I am loving the luster of the tencel and the great softness of the fiber.
The pink is from Corgi Hill Farm in the Dahlia colorway that is BFL fiber. The next picture is of my first skein of this fiber which I got 238 yards of a fingering weight and still have a lot left to spin since I bought 12 ounces of the fiber.

Hope you enjoyed my update of what I am knitting and spinning away on. I hope to get back into the swing of blogging as did my knitting.
I hope you are having a great week and see you soon!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

... I am watching the LSU Tigers WIN!!!

I am so glad that college football season is here! It has been so long since the fun times of hanging out with friends and cheering on our favorite football team, the LSU Fighting Tigers!

A great win tonight from the Tigers, they scared me at first but the second half was awesome!

The hubby and myself and Gizmo went to a friends house to watch the game and have great food. So much fun to see friends from the old job and catch on what they are all doing. I did get some great grilled corn, roasted mushrooms, and buffalo chicken dip. Gizmo begged as did our friends dog Stewie.

I did get some crocheting done while there and I will soon get pictures on my current projects up soon, ! Promise!!! I need to get back into blogging mood!

Hope everyone has a great weekend, mine is awesome with the awesome WIN!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

... I am lazy with Lazy Doggies

When you wake up to a view like this...
I think you know it is going to be a lazy day for everyone!

We all did get out of bed eventually but it was hard. We (doggies and myself) had a  long week visit from my sister. The doggies throughly enjoyed having Auntie down and slept with her for two nights straight. Imagine a twin size bed with a 20 year old college student and two 15 lbs doggies. I think it was cramped but somehow she managed and so did the doggies.

It was a great mini vaca for the sister before school starting and her getting so busy with studying that I hardly get time to talk to her. Plus there is football season coming up that will take most of her weekends in the fall.  Geaux TIGERS!!!

But this week for me was time for me to relax and gain my energy back from doing Dance Central too much. And then I realized yesterday that the doggies were recuperating also. Here are some very dramatic pictures of the two on the couch while I was watching TV and knitting.

They were on either side!!! Gizmo looked more ridiculous before this picture because she had her head stuck in the crack of the arm rest.

We are now rested and ready to take on this busy weekend. I have a PH Support Group meeting today and tomorrow we have a fun party to go to in the evening.

Hope all are doing well and have a great weekend!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

.... I am at the doctor's office.

I had to get a check up today with my pulmonary hypertension doctor. It went well and all great positive news from him. I thought I was going to be able to knit but instead got checked in pretty quick. The nurse that has checked me in the last several times is great and loves to carry a converstion. He asked about how I am doing with this hot hot weather and I just replied that I stay inside all day and try to avoid the heat. He said he tries to but needs to work on his lawn but whenever he goes outside to get started, he just goes right back to the AC. I do not blame him. It has been so hot here the last couple of months that even our weeds are outgrowing the flowers. Bummer but this gardener is not strong enough to deal with the humidity.
Moving on... so the nurse got my vitals andn everything looked great and then came in my PH nurse who checks up on me before the doc comes in. She is one of the best nurse on this world. She helped me get through the scary times of when I got first diagnosed and is always there for support and any questions I have for the doc. She came in a followed up with me on how things are going and I told things were well and moving along good. I had some questions for her and she waited and answered them patiently.

Next was the 6 minute walk, this walk determines how I am feeling after doing a 6 minute walk up and down the hallway. The nurse counts the number of laps I do and then askes me a few questions on how I feel and checks my oxygen saturation. The distance is compared to my last walk to see if there is any improvement or not. I think I did well on this walk since when the doc passed by while I was doing this commented that I am 'tearing it up'. I take that as a compliment from my doc. The Oxygen Saturation number lets them know how my heart is working after being worked. My was awesome since it was at 98 and ended at 98 (100% saturation is perfect).

Then lastly the doc came in and talked with me a bit and asked about meds and any side effect and also how my activity level has been. Meds are doing well. Side Effects are minimal other than the first bite of any food jaw pain (all PH patients on IV meds knows what I mean). My activity level I think has increased since the last time I saw him in March. I am able to do the Dance Central game for the XBox Kinect. I have been impressed with myself that I can do the hard level on several of the songs. I have a feeling I will be doing tons of DC with my sister when she comes down next week =0)

So moving on... So there was one concern that I wanted to bring up to the doc that happen last week. I had a pump/ user malfunction on Thursday night when I put in my new med cassette. I did not know about it and there was no alarm that went off that there was any problem. So life went on, me and the hubby went to a Doc Watson concert on Thursday night and everything felt okay then Friday went well. I just stayed home all Friday because I felt kinda tired and I thought that was the late night the night before. Well Friday evening I was changing my med cassette and noticed the old one (from Thursday night) was full and not as empty as it should be. I realized that the tubing on the old cassette was skewed and did not distribute meds to me for 24 hours. Now normally if someone on PH IV meds are without it for a period of time they can die from it. Luckily I did not but I knew after I had the new cassette of meds flowing back into me that I was without meds for a day. I felt flushed, nausea, and headache galore. By Saturday evening was feeling almost normal but the feeling of side effects took me back to two years ago when I got first diagnosed and put on the meds. It was a scary feeling. So I told the doc all this. He was suprised that I survived the whole 24 hours without my IV med and was intrugued on the malfunction. I think I actually made him speechless and I don't think that happens too often.

So we discussed that concern for a bit then moved on to the exam of checking my heart and listening to my lungs. Then pressing on my belly to check my fluid retention, don't ask me how he does it because I did not understand. But several times he put his hand on my chest to feel my heart to determine if the beats are straining and commented that maybe I am cured after my 24 hours without meds. I guess he said that because my heart did not feel like it was straining too much. He also said that maybe down the road he can take me off the IV meds but does not want to do it at this time. I told him I would be excited when that day comes but I want him to be comfortable with my stability because I would hate to get off of it and then my activity level drops and I have to go back on it. If I am getting of this med, I want to be off forever. But I may be taking another form of it in oral pills. I am fine with that. Just to hear him say that I may get off this med made me so esstatic that I ALMOST hugged him. I will save that hug for when I get off the med.

Again a long entry but had to report about my doc visit. So to all PHriends, there is hope to get better from this disease and just live your life as you can. I hope all of you have a great week and stay cool in the AC!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

... I am watching others knit.

I love watching others knit on other knitting videocasts. You can see who I watch on the right hand side but I wanted to share something special with you.
Which celebrities do you think knit? I found this funny video and I had to share.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

.... I enjoyed the visit from the In-Laws

This past weekend Mom G and Dad G came down to visit us and it was great to have some one on one time with Mom G and the boys had fun playing golf. I am suprised they survived the heat but they did okay and had a good time.

Me and Mom G went to several fun places on Friday. We had a great and tasty lunch at Red Tree Coffee. We both loved their decor and colors on the walls. I had their roast beef panini with a salad and Mom G had the Chicken Salad Salad. The balsamic dressing was delicious. Then we went next door to Ewe and Company to look at some yarnie goodness and exotics. Glenna was so hospitable and answered so many of our quirky questions that we learned so much about different yarns in her store that I was overwhelmed by the variety of bases for yarn. There was milk, corn, silk, and others. The most exotic was the Zealana - Kauri Yarn which is a blend of 60% New Zealand Merino, 30% Possum, 10% Silk. Now that sounds exotic right? And what is Possum? It is not the O-Possum we have here in the states. Accoring to Wikipedia, Possum (with no O) is a small to medium-sized arboreal marsupial species native to Australia, New Guinea, and Sulawesi (and introduced to New Zealand and China). Possums are the eastern hemisphere cousin of the western hemisphere Opossum. See pictures below:
Possum (New Zealand)

Opossum (American)
Is there one that looks better than the other??? Not to me. Well I like the Possum for their soft fur for great yarn. I am hoping to make a scarf since their fur is warmer than wool.

The Mom G found some yarn she fell in love with for herself and her mother and is wanting me to make something extra special for them. I love making gifts for others and glad that my knitting allows that. We are still picking out the patterns but I will let you know what we pick when we decide.

Then the last place we went for yarn is Haus of Yarn which is a great place but does not have the ecclectic feel as Ewe and Company. But fun none the less! Here I got a skein of Schaefer Yarn, roving from Chrysalis Fibers and some buttons for the soon to be on the needles Tappan Zee Cardigan.
We had so much fun in those two places that I was worn out!

Oh but now I have to back up a bit because I forgot the most delightful part of the visit. When they arrived Thursday with several gifts in tow. I was waiting for one special gift, a New Zealand Fleece that Mom G got from her daughter. About 10 years ago Mom G received this fleece and she never touched it since she put in a hand made basket (she made the basket) and she decided to hand it down to me and get me to use it. Well I was so excited about this fleece that I already did some research and knew what to do to clean, process, and spin it (before it arrived). I already drop spin so I was some what ahead but I did not know how to process raw fleece straight from the animal. So today was the day to get started.
Raw fleece in handmade basket
Above is what the fleece came in and looks like. The feel on it is kinda sticky because of the lanolin which is a wax that the animal secreates on their skin. Who knew? I didn't. Lanolin attracts alot of dirt and debris so the true color of the fleece is not shown since the wax has a yellowish tint. So once cleaned several times in soapy warm water and rinsed the color and weight of the wool changes. Evidently the weight of the wool can decrease by a third to a half of what it was because of the amount of lanolin in the wool. The color completely changes and the true hue of the fleece is revealed.
Cleaned wool
The great grey and off white wool is revealed. I still have half the fleece on the back bedroom drying but the sample above was done on Friday morning so I can play with the clean fleece. Then this morning I decided to take the sample and card it. Carding is a process to line up the fibers to make it easier to spin. I carded the sample with a couple of dog brushes that are rectangular and have the wire teeth. After carding I spun the wool and made a bit a yarn. I will take pictures once I get more on the spindle.

It was fun to see and do the process of processing wool. I will have more pictures up as I go through this fun process. I know it is not for everyone but I think I am on to something. It is cheaper to buy unprocessed fleeces and makes me feel like I am part of the by gone era of sheep herders that lived off their animals. Although I do not do the herding, milking, or eating my own sheep, I do love knitting from other peoples sheep. I would love to see someone shear the sheep up close instead of on video because I think those people are so talented to be able to get a fleece in one piece. I know I would end up like Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs when he tried the old school method of shearing. Enjoy the video!

Well this was a long one and I hope you enjoyed it and I will surely post more pictures of the wool as I process it. Have a great rest of the week.

P.S. Me and the hubby have a date night tomorrow to see Doc Watson at the Ryman Auditorium. Should be fun!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

... I watch the dog chase baby turkeys!

Yes we live in the woods and have turkeys and deers come around and harass my dogs. The other day I saw two momma turkeys with their baby turkeys. And I googled on what a baby turkey is called and according to one A baby turkey is called a poult, pronounced the same as the longer poultry. Who knew?Not me.
Well the family was near the breakfast room area (I think feeding on the flower seeds of our wildflower border along the driveway) when I saw them from the second floor (where I knit). I picked up Gizmo to let her see them from the window and she went nuts!!! Then once I put her down the two when straight down the stairs to get a closer look at the group, which was already on the otherside of the driveway. So I decided to let Gadget out to chase them and see how he would react. He is all bark and not bite (maybe some peeing when excited). Plus the babies are bigger and I know they can fly a bit to get away. So I open the door and get charges after these 'things' and they scatter and fly away but once they did that he got scared and ran back to the door. I laughed and went to open the door and he wanted to show off to me that he was not really scared and went off again to see where they went. Do not worry, no turkeys were harmed for my entertainment.
The interesting thing I found out about turkeys is that they can fly a bit and not just horizontally but vertically too. I saw one of the females in a tree about 20-30 feet up and she glided back down (not gracefully) to the ground and was calling her babies. I did not know they can get so far up a tree since they seem so big and clumsy.
The new game for the day! See picture below:

How many turkeys can you spot?
Let me know how many turkeys are in this picture. You may see more than I do.

Lastly onto the knitting. I took some progress pictures on projects and here they are

First is the Shetland Pi Shawl out of FiberCharmer's Alpaca Lace in Wisteria colorway

Close up of the lacework
Second is the Dragon Wing Shawl in Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Lace in the Fuschia colorway

Third is the Summer Shawl KAL which I am naming Ocean Leaves because of the yarn in Schaefer Yarns Anne (not sure what colorway). The colorway looks like ocean colors to me.

Lastly I decided to start some socks in yarn that I have had for a while and they are turning out great! I am excited about these since the yarn is self striping and beautiful colors. The pattern is from the Toe Up 2 at a Time Socks called Kid Stuff made out of Fibernymph Dye Works in the Marmaris colorway with two colored stripes.

That is all of the knitting. There has been some spinning and lots of project bags sewing going on in between.

Well that is all for now. Gots lots to knit on and have to get ready for the In-Laws coming down this coming weekend. Can't wait to spend some time with them. Have a great rest of the weekend and till next time Take Care and God Bless!