Dyeing to be Crafting Again

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Not even torn ligaments are going to keep me from my crafting.  To be honest, I’ve had fun exploring the different crafts that I can accomplish with just one hand.  Another fun discovery is that I can still dye up some tapestry wool I purchased from Purl Soho last year.  I had pre-mordanted the fiber using alum and let it thoroughly dry.  To reactive the mordant I wet the fiber, and added a touch of vinegar for good luck.  The fibers pictured above are dyed with some food coloring, 30 seconds in the microwave to set.  I’m planning on having some fun simmering fibers on the stove over the next week.  Hopefully I will have results to post next weekend.

I have also discovered that I can do some little bits of weaving on my Mirrix with just one hand, I’m using a paperclip as a shuttle since I want to use several small colors at a time.  I really would like to get a few tapestry bobbins, however they are about $20 for 3.  I’m still trying to keep within my budget, so it is going to depend on my next couple of pay periods.  (I had to buy a new pair of shoes, my last ones were good for about 9 months, so if I can get that out of these I will be pleased).

In my week, I have a lead on a potential full-time job relatively locally.  I hope to hear back from them this week for an interview.  Should this job pan out I will be able to make a big difference in a nearby community, live in Pennsylvania (be closer to my sibling), and purchase a house to set up just the way I want it to be.  I am very excited for this opportunity to make a fresh start and concentrate my attention on the intricacies of a single job rather than juggling three.

Have a great week and Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Planning for Spring

The beginning of this year has afforded me a lot of opportunity to think about my future, both immediate and long term.  What I want out of my life immediately, in the near future, and in the distant future.  There are some things that are abstract, and others that are concrete.  I am not going to detail these things here, however one aspect is organization.  Right now I am working on sorting and organizing all of my craft supplies.  The current job, since yarn, periodicals/patterns, and fiber are finished, is my weaving supplies.  I have a great rolling laundry basket I had purchased last year, and it occurred to me that the 8/2 cotton I have for weaving towels would do great in cloth boxes in the bottom of the laundry hamper, then if I put another cloth box on top I can put reeds, shuttles, etc, in that box.  I believe some of my supplies like the sticks to hold crosses and rag shuttles are going to have to be stored upright beside or behind the boxes.  I will get photographs to show you how well this does/does not work out. I have a plastic box I am using for bobbins, spare parts, oils, etc. for my Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel.  I am not sure if I want to find something different or not.  My Spinolution Firefly is a little more difficult to store as I have two flyer heads for it (one quite large).  I had hoped to be able to at least continue my gigantic plying project, however upon further reflection there is no need to risk further damage to my wrist.

In the midst of all of this organizing I was thinking about my home.  When I get a full-time job I fully intend to move to where I will be working and purchase a house.  If it is possible for me to commute for a few years that would be ideal, I can save up to put a good down-payment on a house, find the precise property I want, and organize everything for moving.  It has also become apparent that the large pieces of furniture in my home might become refreshed with a simple change in color scheme.  Right now everything is either stark white or very dark.  I am planning on getting some paint chips to change this.

This week, in addition to my usual workload, I intend to corral my weaving supplies as well as my spinning supplies.   My final crafty home related task is to pick up some paint chips to tape to my furniture.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Fibershed by Rebecca Burgess

I received this book from my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Kathleen for Christmas in 2019, Thank You. This post is going to go into a lot of biology, environmental concerns, and more serious topics.  If this is not for you, my organization story will continue next week.

As a bit of my background relating to this book, my thesis to receive my bachelors degree in sociology surrounded the relationship between early menarche and hormones being fed to the animals that we, as Americans, derive our meat from.  Essentially I looked at the research tying children getting their first period as early as 5 years old and the hormones being pumped into the cows and chickens from which we get milk, eggs, and meat.  Hormones, and antibiotics really, that are not flushed out in any way before being fed to ourselves and our children.  Though I do not have that paper, there was certainly a correlation.  In the past decade or so I have all but forgotten that paper that managed to land me my bachelors degree, which I only needed so that I could get a my Masters in Library Studies.  To be frank, it is not financially viable for me to live an organic life.  This does not mean that these concerns should not be addressed, even if sweeping changes are not realistic.  My reading of FiberShed is not replacing the knowledge I gained from my thesis, but building on it in ways that I had not considered.  This is going to be a quick review designed to encourage you to read this book and others like it.  This review in no way replaces the joy, and extensive knowledge gained, by reading this book.

Synthetic fibers are derived from petroleum products, or have gone through chemical laden processes to be created and turned into clothing.  When these processes are occurring many safety precautions have to be taken to ensure the health of the workers, then the run-off has to be carefully disposed of so as to not contaminate the local drinking water.  The fact that all too often both of these steps are not taken seriously causes great ecological problems.  We are wearing these products on our skin, the largest, permeable organ on our body.  How many of these chemicals are we absorbing?  This book tackles these problems on both a local and global scale from a crafting point of view.  We as crafters can take charge of the yarns we buy, the fiber we spin, and the clothing we create.  This book goes from fiber, dyes, and encompasses all of the processes in between.  Exploring every aspect of fabric creation from where the cotton is grown, and from what kind of seed, to the sheep, processing the materials, dyeing the materials (naturally, of course), weaving/knitting these materials, even recycling them.  There is an amazing wealth of information, including how the methods of agriculture detailed will be profitable for not only the environment but the farmers and consumers also.  All of this information is interspersed with personal tales from herself as well as her friends and companions along this journey.

For a fascinating, if terrifying, look at our fast fashion culture check out this book.  Inside we are also taken through a journey of some steps that we might take to regain our chemical independence, as well as the steps that some conglomerates are taking to help our ecology, economy, and general sustainability.  Since this book comes at this from a crafting perspective there is some lamenting, but there are many more solutions.  Fantastic Read.

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Organizing Fiber

Since I have been unable to craft I have decided to go on an organizing spree.  I’ve also had an amazing amount of energy these past three weeks, since reading the book “Do Less” by Kate Northrup, I wonder if it is tied in with the moon cycles or my personal cycle.  I’ll try to keep track and figure this out.  On to organization, below see the two metal laundry baskets I picked up to fit my fiber and yar…okay.  I have more fiber than I thought, I filled both of these.

Yes, I know my carpet is ugly.  Okay so I filled up these two Laundry baskets….and most of a third smaller laundry basket…

While I do still intend to retain my subscription to Paradise Fibers, I also plan on creating projects so that I can spin more intentionally and spin down some of this stash…in July…when I can craft again.  *sigh*.

I have not been entirely idle on the crafting front, in addition to finding out that I absolutely cannot knit, I cannot sew a needle minder, and I cannot wire wrap bookmarks (that really has more to do with me not understanding types of wire and how to harden them than anything else).

I can still needle felt, and do Bullet Journal Activities, so not all is lost.  This is going to be for the best, I hope to have all of my crafts in easily transportable boxes by the end of February.  My ‘reach’ goal, that will happen if I get everything packed away in time, is to be able to take down my modular shelving as well.

Adversity exists to prove to ourselves how strong we can be.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!  (Normal is so boring).

Crafting Single Handed (Literally)

2020 is going to be a very interesting year for me regarding my crafting life.  As shown above, I can certainly work with polymer clay, though the stamp on the left that was meant for wax is not working as well as I would have liked.  I will try it again with shallower cuts, if that does not work then I’ll put some cooking spray or olive oil on it to make the wax release.  The bowl on the right turned out wonderfully.  I am also doing well with my bullet journaling and other written/artistic activities such as watercolors, and Japanese Stab Binding.

My MRI showed that the ligament in my wrist has been completely torn, I will need to have surgery and then spend 3 months in a cast.  Scheduling the surgery will need to wait until I have received approval from the insurance company, this can take 25-40 days.  I will likely not be having surgery until March at the earliest.  March-April, April-May, May-June would be three months in a cast, so hopefully sometime in June I will get the cast off.  Realistically I will then need physical therapy since my wrist has not been actively used since November 2019.

These facts, combined with my need for a full-time job means that this is a year of:

  • Organizing and packing up my yarn, fiber, and crafting equipment.  This is also a perfect time to catalog my collection.
    • Goal is to have most easily transportable, non essential, items ready to travel when I need to move.
  • Go on a complete yarn diet.  Do not buy any yarn, still get paradise fibers monthly box
    • No purchases during Feb., March, & April  = Cotton/fine handcards when $50 is reached in PF Rewards points.

These goals should put me in a good place June of 2020, when I will reevaluate.  Until then, I have plenty of reading to do, plenty of organizing, as well as Bullet Journaling!

Remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

Ever Learning

I really enjoy dyeing wool and silk, the two main sources of water that I use are city water, from the public library I work at, and my own well water.  It has never occurred to me that if I were to experiment more with natural dyes I should be more mindful of where my water has come from.  The article I linked to below is a font of information about an experiment that some dyeists have undertaken and some of their results.

https://www.wxpr.org/post/science-art-combine-show-waters-different-lakes-produce-strikingly-different-dye-results?utm_source=Mielke%27s+Fiber+Arts+Newsletter&utm_campaign=12ce5e6089-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_01_16_03_53&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1c69f401ff-12ce5e6089-107039657&ct=t(EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_1_16_2020_11_11)&mc_cid=12ce5e6089&mc_eid=92603a0e99#stream/0

New Year, New Goals

I am still not certain when my wrist brace is coming off.  This has not stopped me from exploring my creative side, simply permitted a new avenue of exploration.  While things are certainly easier to accomplish with two working hands, as well as wrists, this has given me an opportunity to explore avenues of creativity that I have allowed to fall by the wayside previously.

Recently I have been exploring crafts that can be created with forms of clay that do not require a kiln to create lasting pieces.  Since the summer of 2020 reading program for New York State is “Imagine Your Story” focusing on mythology and fairy tales.  I know that many programs are going to focus on the mainstream Greek and Roman mythology, with a bit of Norse (Thor and Loki via Marvelverse), and some Celtic or Wicca mythos thrown in.  The Japanese have a remarkable mythological tradition, as do the Native American, and African peoples.  I would love to be able to explore these traditions, it would be wonderful to have examples illustrated to patrons either through craft, storytelling (with some intellectual discourse), or a food tradition.

I am just bursting with ideas, as some of them come to fruition I will post the successes and failures here for everyone to learn from.  Until then remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!