Grateful For Blessings
I am over the moon today!
A couple of months ago, Jeff had been diagnosed with a progressive and hereditary form of peripheral neuropathy. For a cellist/pianist in his mid-30s, this was heart-rending news - he was expected to eventually lose the use of his hands, and would probably end up walking with a cane.
After seeing the head of the Neurology Department at Froedtert Hospital, and undergoing more tests, it is now believed that Jeff's neuropathy is actually post-viral polyradiculitis - a type which can improve with time!
The doctor says that the damage has already been done and healing has already begun to take place, and Jeff will hopefully be back to (almost) normal within a year. This is miraculous to us, as Jeff's mother and great-uncle were diagnosed in the same month he was... but with what now appear to be different forms of this illness, which runs in Jeff's family.
Jeff has a new attitude towards his music. I guess we never really appreciate what we love to do until we feel it may no longer be possible. I hope that Jeff will have many, many more years of music in his life. We are both gratful for such a wake-up call!
Fiber By Alicia Santiago
This fiber is handmade - harvested, processed, and dyed - by my very dear friend Alicia Santiago. It comes from Navajo-Churro and Merino sheep, llamas, goat down, and a bit of Tussah silk thrown in for good measure.
She dyed it using ProChem and Gaywool dyes. It is incredibly soft and lustrous, with vibrant colors!
Alicia is one of the best "critter-moms" I know, taking the time to really appreciate an individual animal's personality and spirit. Aside from taking care of her own fiber livestock, Alicia works tirelessly for llama rescue, to protect and improve the Navajo-Churro sheep breed with Native Americans on a reservation, to help the Navajos (whose heritage she shares) to improve their lives, and she has a number of beloved rescue dogs. Is it any wonder I love this woman? She is a truly awesome and generous human being, whom I truly admire.
Alicia plans to sell her beautiful spinning fibers to raise funds for necessary vet care for the llamas she rescues and places in permanent homes. If you are interested in helping to support llama rescue through your fiber purchases, you can contact Alicia here for information as this venture gets underway.
Today's winner of my customer service award is Bea Ellis of Bea Ellis Knitwear. If you are dreaming of knitting a Norwegian-style sweater, Bea is the gal to contact. She truly goes out of her way to help you during every step of the process, freely offering advice, and usually tucking a little, extra "something" in with your order, whether it be pattern teasers, or yarn samples, or ribbon trim clippings. Plus her shipping is lightning-fast, and she's great about answering e-mails!
"Jeff's" Deer Sweater (Book 100); Sweater Stasia Loves (Book 126)
I once tried to make this Dale Of Norway deer sweater for Jeff, but was unable to because I couldn't achieve the correct gauge, despite using a tensioner and going down several needle sizes. However, I am a better knitter now, and am hopeful that I may now be able to achieve a correct gauge with Dale Of Norway's "Heilo" - or find a good substitution - because Jeff has never let me forget that I weasled out of making him that sweater.
So I got one of Bea's own wonderful hat kits, (the reindeer), in "Heilo" to see if I am now able to make gauge... and if so, I plan to try the deer sweater once again. Wish me luck!
If I ever should be successful at completing that, I am lusting after the other sweater, above, for myself. (Maybe I will try that coordinating hat first, huh?) I know if I am successful, I will have Bea to thank. I wholeheartedly recommend her services and products to my knitting pals, because she is so wonderful to do business with, and a very kind lady. Thanks, Bea!
Colinette Absolutely Fabulous Throw Kit
I have been waiting for a replacement skein of Colinette's "Fandango" (the chenille skein, front left) for my Absolutely Fabulous Throw kit, as the skein that originally came in my kit was the wrong colorway. I'm so glad I had it replaced, because this skein ties in the red and purple yarns that otherwise did not seem to "go" with the kit at all! This is the Cornucopia colorway, by the way.
Now I'm just holding out for a Rosewood Susanne's circular size 11 needle from Judy at TheKnitter.com and I'll be good to go! I used that type of needle on my Magical Mystery Shawl and just loved it. The yarns in this kit are so elegant that they deserve to have an elegant needle to go with them.
COTR Shawl Progress
Here is my progress on my Creatures Of The Reef Shawl (from Fiddlesticks Knitting). I am up to about row 51, and have almost finished the crab and seahorse section. I have switched to an Inox Express needle now that I'm more comfortable with lace knitting, and between that and my new magnet board (to mark my progress on the pattern's charts), I am just steaming along! There are 222 rows in this shawl, so I am making good progress... well, for me, anyway.
I had a fantastic evening yesterday with my friends Katie and Dianna. We went to a new LYS - The Knitting Ark, in Delafield, WI, and then out for prickly pear cactus margaritas and gourmet Mexican food afterwards (I had a black-and-white-sesame-seed-encrusted rare tuna steak on a bed of mixed greens with a chipotle vinaigrette - YUM!)
And what did I end up bringing home, you ask?
Jamieson's Spinning Yarns
I had gotten the large skein of Jamieson's yarn last week, to see if Jeff wanted a sweater from it. (He did not - he wants the Dale deer sweater, and no other. So be it.) So I got a couple of coordinating skeins to go along with it - I'm planning to make a hat for charity, and practice my color work, with these.
Schaefer Yarns "Anne"; Crystal Palace's "Splash" and "Fizz"; Lana Grossa's "India"
I needed a little lift and cheer in my life, and these red-orange yarns fit the bill. So I snapped these up, and thought about what to make with them all last night. At first, I thought I'd weave a wide scarf/stole... but then I thought that weaving would compress the wide ribbon "India" yarn too much (and I'm not a good weaver, and very intimidated by my looms!)
So then I thought about knitting a long-ways scarf... but then thought twice about casting on all those stitches. Besides, I wanted to make the most of these yarns, using them all up to be as economical as possible... and how would I be able to tell how far one yarn would go, that way?
So now I am thinking about knitting a rectangular piece, from the center outward, with alternating "rings" of the various yarns. There is so much of the plain wool one that I think this would be a great way to use it all up and extend the size of the stole as far as possible. I plan... well, I don't know exactly what I plan yet, but I will keep you posted. Let's see if this will work...
Another Schaefer Yarns "Anne"
The yarn above is "Anne" from Schaefer Yarns, and is the same type as the red, wool skein in the previous picture. This yarn was expensive, but there is incredible yardage in a skein (560 yards and 4 ounces), and I could not put it down after touching it - it is sooooo silky and soft! It is Merino superwash, mohair, and nylon, and I think would be perfect for durable, yet soft, socks. The hand-painted colors are amazing - this is by the gal who does the colorways named after famous women, which you may have seen in ads.
I also got to fondle some of Schaefer's silk-and-wool skeins at the shop, but at about $42 a hank (and being a handspinner with access to fibers by Alicia Santiago and Carol Weymar and Margrett Stretton), that was just not going to jump into my shopping bag. But it was sure nice to touch!
My life this week has been full of good news, good friends, good food, and good yarns and yarn shop owners. I can't ask for more than that... except to wish it all for you, too! Have a wonderful weekend!
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