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!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

... I am still sexy!

You may be thinking, 'Yes Geal you are cute and have a lovely smile but ..... really?' Yes! I thought when I turned 31 that it would be down hill from there. But I have a loving and caring husband that I love to death and doggies that show all the love in the world to me when I get home so I am loved by all (yes getting big headed again). I know that I have lost a lot of weight from the PH diagnosis and think that I look the best after diagnosis but today was evidence that I still am SEXY and desirable!

The hubbie, myself and hubbie's friend (visiting from Chicago) went to Buffalo Billards at downtown Nashville and were playing pool. I played some games but got tired and wanted to knit some on my Oaklet Shawl and get it off my needles soon. So I was letting the boys play some games and enjoy time together and I sat in a big comfy chair to the side and was knitting in an area by myself but I can see the boys. Well towards the end there is this guy that sets up for a game next to the boys' table and asked a question to the hubbie that I did not catch what this random guy asked. Well the guy came over to me and introduced himself to me (remember I am over to the side knitting) and asked me if I wanted to play a game with him and I was like sure (I would not turn down a game of pool with anyone- back to college years of too much pool playing over classes). So I packed away my knitting and started this game with Random Guy.

What was awesome in the beginning is that the guy boasted a bit about being good and then when I got my first turn after the break I sank 4 balls (now he is thinking about me being a pool shark and probably regrets asking me to play). How awesome it would of been to sink all the balls in my first turn? No luck so we went on with the game and all the while I am watching the game that the hubbie and friend are playing, kinda hoping that the guy finally gets that I am with them. So a couple of plays later he comments to hubbie that I am really good and wondered with I was with them (so he had no clue) and hubbie commented  back that I played alot of pool in college. That threw random guy off and he asked hubbie that I was with them??? And hubbie is like yes she is with us and the guy clarified that when he asked hubbie that question earlier that he asked if I was with them and hubbie evidently did not hear the question clearly and thought he asked 'is that your cue?' and most likely we think (afterwards) he asked 'is that your cutie?'. So there was that akward moment that the guy realized I was with the two boys and he did not flirt with me anymore. The highlight to that is that I did kick his butt and won the game by 3 balls.

I guess the hubbie has to keep me on a short leash now since I am still hot and sexy to get hit on by random guys =0) Now the hubbie is thinking and knows that he got a hottie as a wifey!! Is my head getting too big now??? I do not think so... okay maybe but a girl can enjoy being hit on. =0)

All I can think of afterwards when we were driving home is that I was knitting before he came over and what girl goes to a bar by herself and knits? I would be with someone who is playing pool or if I am by myself I would be at the bar drinking, not knitting. Oh well he made our day and he also made me feel sexy again!

Sorry for the long story but I had to get it out there since that was my highlight that made me feel great about myself since the last two years have been so stressful with the PH. It was nice to think about myself in a great positive way and kinda strut my 'stuff' again. I did not think about my medicine, health, or the future for atleast 10 minutes while I focused on beating this guy at a game of pool. I realized I get really competive when someone challenges me to a game of pool and I do not mess around and that took my mind off myself which I loved!

Enough about me and I hope you are having a great weekend and remember to vote on which fiber I should spin next from my previous post.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

... I am still spinning.

I finally finished another bump of fiber from Gale's Art in the Gumball colorway. I got great yardage with 720 yards of a light fingering 2-ply. The picture does not do it justice. I loved spinning this up and seeing the great colors twist together. The fiber is black BFL and was a bit harder to draft than the Peruvian wool that I did before this one.

What should I spin next ? Here are the options:
1. Gale's Art Black BFL in the Cherry Blossom Colorway
2. Corgi Hill Farm BFL Top in the Dahlia colorway
3. Cloudlover Yarn and Fiber Rambouillet Top in the Coastal colorway
What would you like to see next? Leave a comment and I will see what you think is the next fiber to spin. Thanks.

So I started knitting just a year ago from a friend at church and look where I am now with drop spindling my own yarn. Who knew I was going to be such an addict to yarnie goodness? I guess my husband knew from the beginning and my MIL did too. Well now my MIL is spurring me with two new books she sent me this week. I love when birthday presents keep on coming =0)
The first is A Dyer's Garden - From Plant to Pot Growing dyes for Natural Fibers by Rita Buchanan. This combines my love of plants with the new love of yarn. I know what I will be planting next year based on what this books suggests. Now my landscape architecture mind comes into gear with the list of plants to plant and where. Some plants I know I am trying next year are Yellow Cosmos, Dyer's Coreopsis, Sunflower (I can use this now since I have several in my wildflower border), Hollyhock, Purple Basil, St Johns Wort, and Japanese Indigo just to name a few. Maybe I won't have flowers to enjoy since I will be snipping alot for dyeing, we will have to see.
The second is The Intentional Spinner - A Holistic Approach to Making Yarn by Judith MacKenzie McCuin. This book makes me want a spinning wheel. This will not happen any time soon since wheels are very costly and the hubby does not want to fund it one bit. He has a hard time accepting at where I am right now. =0) I love the information in here are fiber types and I will learn more about them through this book.
Thank you Mom G for the books!

Well I better go and get on that dinner that I am suppose to have ready when the hubby gets home. Wish me luck and vote on the next fiber I should spin. Thanks and take care.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

... I love getting packages in the mail!

Lately the packages are not yarn, which is what the hubby loves. But they are from my wonderful Mother-In-Law, Mom G. For weeks now she has been sending me little packages that bring a smile and perk me up for the day or week. I uttermost favorite is Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski. I have been wanting this book since I watched a review from Heather of The Fiberista Files Videocast and Highland Handmades etsy shop back in Episode 66 around the 20:32 mark. Mom G sent it to me for my birthday and it made my day and I cannot wait to read it to someone's child.  I love it because it shows things about the fiber world that most people do not know, how yarn comes from the sheep. And it is about a free spirited little lamb that loves to run with the dogs. Check it out and enjoy!

Another package was some articles is some magazines that she thought I would get a hoot out of and I did. The first is some knitting patterns from a magazine that had other garments but the ones that cracked us up with the ties. Should I make one for the hubby? I think he would wear the big fat orange one right? Maybe for the craft auction at church?? We will see =0P

Then next is the half sheared sheep that I thought was great to see visually what they look like before and after shearing. I wish I could of gotten a copy of the article to see what they talk about in this article, I will ask Mom G to send me a scan if possible. Poor Sheep. 

 The last one I just got from the Mom G Library on Dyeing. Now is she trying to tell me something??? I swore to myself not to get into yarn dyeing at any point in my life since it takes alot of time and work to do it. I have thought about it but there is too much invested and I would not know if it would be hazardous to my health. But it is a colorful and informative book and will be a great collection to my crafty library.

Textile Dyeing by Kate Broughton

So onto the knitting, not much worked on the many projects on the needles other than the Summer Shawl KAL in Schaefer Yarn Company - Anne in a blue green colorway.

I have also finished some sewn bags this week for a friend and will post pictures once I get them to her.

Thanks to all for the birthday wishes! It was a great and busy birthday week. I think I wore myself out with two days straight of spending time with great people then sitting at the car shop for +4 hours on Friday. I am resting up this weekend and meeting a PH friend and her husband from Arkansas for dinner on Monday. That should be fun and I love meeting new PHriends that see the same doctor as myself.

Well that is it for now and I hope all have a great and safe Independence Day!