Rolling On

Yesterday I attended the Western New York Fiber Fest with a friend that I used to work with. She has two boys, one under 5 one under a year, so I was happy to get her out of the house and doing something fun for the day. We had an absolute blast, I purchased some fiber (not that I needed more) to spin up for National Spinning and Weaving week in the beginning of October. I am so pleased with the mixture of fibers and colors I have to play with, hopefully they will provide a good distraction. On another topic altogether, I have been trying to label things for organizational purposes. Unfortunatly those hard, plastic, sticky labels with punch type on an inexpensive machine; yeah they don’t stick to anything for me. So that creating cute & functional labels is easy, and actually likely to happen, I plan on purchasing a Cricut. Originally I was going to get a Cricut Joy, however with the release of the 3 series the Cricut Explore 2 is only $20 more than the Joy, so I will be ordering one of those.

My supervisor and director have both agreed to allow me to bring my Saori loom to work so that our patrons can have fun weaving rugs for October. I hope to be able to drag it down there tomorrow. Of course the only reason I’m in a hurry to get it to work is so that I don’t start another project on it, lol. I am almost finished with the rug piece, I wound up dismantling some of the toothbrush rug so that I had enough yardage to create this floor rug. It is so exciting to be this close to finishing the rug and allowing a lot of people a chance to play with a floor loom.

That is about all the news I have worth publishing right now. I did realize I’m going to need to rip out every project I have going on that requires sizing since I have changed so drastically, yay.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Weaving On

My new Saori WX60 Loom. I adore how it went together, though I do plan on posting the video I shot to YouTube at some point. People should see the flubs I made trying to put this thing together. That will have to wait until I have moved and regain the motivation to edit it.

The Saori Loom is, in essence, a general 2 shaft counterbalance loom. The only aspect of this loom that is special is the accessories readily available. With the pre-wound warps available for purchase a large step is taken out of the weaving equation. For me this takes away a very expensive and time consuming aspect of weaving. One of my major stumbling blocks has been the time needed to wind a warp, the expense needed in purchasing the yarn/thread for the warp as well as the time needed to calculate out how much warp might be needed. With this loom I can purchase pre-wound warps in everything from silk and cashmere to the standard cotton. I recently purchased a 33 yard 300 thread black cotton warp that should take advantage of the entire width of my loom. I also appreciate the bobbin winder available incorporated into the loom.

My first projects are off of the loom, I soaked them in warm in my top-loader washer then spun them out so I could hang them to dry. This is the warp that came with the loom.

As you can see there are quite a few projects woven into this single warp. Between the pouches I hope to create out of the hand spun, the yellow and green rug piece that I hope to put together with a piece woven from the wider warp, there is also a brown and pink piece my friend wove that we are going to try to turn into ears for a wolf hat based on the concept of a pussy hat. These pre-wound warps that are relatively easy for me to put onto the loom make it very easy for me to use my handspun yarn to create amazing fabric. I cannot wait until I have more time to experiment, I think that this is going to be a great use of my handspun yarn. I am not sure about how I can utilize these pieces of cloth to create clothing, I think for now I am going to concentrate on making pouches and accessories.

Until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Falling into Autumn

Yes, I know that the title is quite cheesy. A quick update on life then into a craft I managed to work on during the past few weeks. The carpet dried quite well and the new dehumidifier is going strong. I do not believe that the carpet will need to be ripped up since I cannot detect any funky smells. This weekend I plan on putting the last of the kitchen and plastics I want to get rid of down to the curb for people to take and scrub the kitchen floor. This really is the last step to getting my house on the market, I’m nervous but excited.

Onto Crafting! In August I discovered something called Bengala Mud Dyeing. Well I could not let that go without looking into it further. One of the colors available went with the color scheme I am hoping to put in my new Living Room. To that end I decided I was going to dye 3 sets of Linen Curtains for the living room.

I started by running the plain, new curtains through the washer and dryer as I would anything else. I don’t really believe in babying my clothing/furnishings. By figuring out the weight of the curtains I decided I would need about 1/2 a cup of pre-fixer to dye all of the curtains. I used the grey water from my rain barrel to soak and squeeze the pre-fixer into all of the curtains. I let them soak overnight since I did this before I went to work one day. The next day I rinsed all of the curtains, again with grey water.

After that I let them sit for a few hours while I worked on other things. Later the same day I used some plastic storage containers to dye. Putting one piece of curtain, there were six total, into the container with enough water to cover the curtain. I then put some dye into the container and began to massage the mud into the fabric.

The massaging did take considerably longer than the 3-5 minutes recommended. I believe I massaged each piece for 10-20 minutes each. This was quite a bit of fun, and the results were quite interesting. I suspect that there were places that I did not manage to get enough fixative into the fabric since some of the panels look a little tie dyed.

My top recommendation, other than patience, with this type of dyeing is to not be disappointed in how dark the results are until you have thoroughly dried your pieces. I ran mine through the dryer and the very pale salmon color turned into a decently dark shade.

Each panel does look a little different, however I believe that they will be lovely in my new home.

Next week will be an update on my new Saori Loom and how things are going with that. Until then remember to live life in a way that is A Little More Abstract.

Life Update

This is not going to be too long, like my last post the first paragraph is about crafting content and the rest is a life update.

During the summer I did take three different craft classes. I managed the intermediate class on Sprang and then invested in the “Sprang Unsprung” book that I plan on looking into further when I have time to sit and concentrate. I also took a rug hooking class, this is not the same as latch hooking or locker hooking, and loved how quickly the project went. I then purchased some more Monks cloth and started working on my own design using some wool strips I had along with some handspun yarn. It is slow going but easy to pick up and put down. For August I took an Alabama Chanin style hand sewing class. This is not what I though it would be, however I did enjoy learning this embellishment technique. I also have decided, as a treat for coming to the end of this very difficult summer, I am going to purchase a Saori Weaving loom and start recording and possibly streaming my process for working with the loom. More to come on that in the future.

Fortunately I was able to find a house in my price range that I then decided to purchase. It does need quite a bit of work, however I choose to see that as an opportunity to get everything as I would like it to be. From a new roof with solar panels, a heater with air conditioner attached, etc. I am counting on the sale of my current home to finance these changes. It might be another 6-8 weeks before I know anything for sure.

Onto my current home. I know that I said in May I was starting to wet-vac the carpets. While that is sort of true, it is only this week that I am getting to the end of putting things in my storage unit. Furniture is going to have to stay in the house until I am ready to move. This morning I managed to dust the celing, walls, and fan in one room. Then I went downstairs and found out my dehumidifier malfunctioned. Now I get to go home, mop up spilled water, run the industrial fans I just bought, and wetvac the rest of the water up. What fun. Fortunately it is rubber backed carpet on concrete, so if the worst comes to pass the carpet can just be ripped up.

I will post again in the relatively near future I believe. Work is amazing, I am now down 74 lbs, with all of the stress that is amazing.

Unexpected hiatus and revelations

Very little of this post is going to have to do with crafting, the first paragraph I will update on my projects and the rest is going to be about the move, my weight loss journey, and revelations about clothing fit.

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the gusset of my second sock, and reading an article about sock knitting tips caused me to realize that I want to make a plain foot. I’m having a ton of fun spinning small bits of yarn that I hope to use for crewel work. I decided to practice sprang using worsted weight acrylic yarn, partially to get a longer warp using less yarn, partially to have really thick yarn to work with.

Onto packing and moving content. My sister and I did not get as much done as I had hoped, though papers are pretty much sorted out. Next weekend I am going to have four days off that I am going to spend hopefully concentrating on getting things completed. I have not yet been able to rent a storage unit, however the basement is mostly cleared out and I can store things there. I have started wet vaccing the carpets. I also found that if you don’t touch your fly tying equipment in 15 years, it causes moths. So I now have that baking in my car, and the stuff that actually got touched by moths has been eliminated.

My sister and I did some shopping while she was here. This is going to get into personal clothing content, so if you don’t want to hear about brassieres you might want to stop reading.

In the past couple of months I have noticed that my bras seem to be more padding than actual bust. I thought that I had lost weight in my bust region, it turns out that if the band of your bra is too big you will not fill out the cups. Now that I have a band that fits around my torso properly, I am wearing a bigger cup size than ever, and the girls look better than ever.

Six months ago when I begin this journey I was 60 pounds heavier and wearing a 3X. Now I am capable of wearing a large, for the most part, however due to the excess skin around my torso I do not have a significant change to my profile unless I wear a tight belt like object right underneath my bust. I am currently questioning whether I am ever going to be wearing anything other than a large, because even some of the larges do not fit over my shoulders. To be honest this is very demoralizing, and I do understand that skin reduction surgery is going to help quite a bit with my profile. I also understand that that is likely over nine months away. I hope to lose another 30 pounds over the next three months and then my understanding is that I have to maintain that weight for six months before they will do the surgery. I completely understand this and don’t anticipate a problem with it. I’m starting to get a better understanding of what regular foods I can eat and how to maintain the diet.

To be frank a lot of this has me looking much more seriously into creating my own clothing. Altering what I already have is not a realistic concept, simply due to my lack of knowledge and inability to focus on reading a tailoring book. To be blunt I am so much smaller than I have been in years and finding out that ready-to-wear sucks has me quite, not depressed but with the potential to be in a bad place mentally. I used to think that it was simply that plus size clothing was horrible, now I realize it pretty much all is. If the regular sized large fits me so badly, it makes me think that I would have to be in a medium or smaller to look decent. I know that this is not true, so I am going to find some patterns that will fit me. This is not a great time for me to start this with moving and everything, however for my own morale I believe it’s something I need to do.

OK, I have to get ready for work now but I wanted to get this post out I’ve been meaning to for a week. I will update you as things change, but for now remember to live life a little more abstract.

Progress and Planning

Crafty Content at the top, no photos this week.

I’ve been touching on a lot of different projects while deciding what is staying out and what is getting packed away. I found a plastic box of mostly forgotten fibers that I am spinning up one after the other. These fibers are all going onto one bobbin. Once that bobbin is full each fiber section, I am putting drastically different colors next to each other to keep the different fiber sections easy to see, they will be plied back onto themselves for crewel embroidery floss, or to be used for color-work knitting in the future.

I am using different colors of my tatting thread to make a warp for my sprang loom, since I want this warp to be wider it makes sense to use up bits of thread I have lying around. This is one of the longer term projects I plan on keeping out.

I did order and receive the special thimble I will need to work on the Sashiko kit I received for Christmas. I plan on keeping the kit out as well as my sewing machine for any alterations I can make to my clothing in the next couple of months.

A few more rows have been worked on the gusset of my second sock, it looks like I will not get through all 4 however getting 2 completed by the end of May is still quite the accomplishment. That is about all for the crafting content, though much of my moving has to do with crafting since crafts are my hobby.

Most of what I have been working on is packing. While I have adjusted my plans some, it doesn’t make much sense to be in another city when I still have a lot of cleaning to do in my house, the basics remain. I need to pack what I plan on keeping so that it can go into storage. This will free up a lot of room and mental space for me to begin getting rid of what needs to be eliminated and cleaning places that I have not been able to get to for years. I love mom, she however, has 10+ boxes of Christmas decorations that we have not taken out in years. That is before all of the other decorations for Easter and Halloween. I plan on keeping the pieces that she made as well as the family ornaments from years gone by and getting rid of the rest of it. I am even thinking about re-packing one of the boxes I already packed simply because I have realized that I do not really value the stuffed animals within. I’ll keep one to remind me, then get rid of the rest. The decision makes me feel free and relaxed rather than anxious. Going through all of the paper that has built up over the years…that is another story. That has me stressed out. My sister is planning a series of bonfires as we sort through and burn the papers we do not need to keep, it should actually be a bit of fun.

That is about it, I have a very busy week ahead of me. I am trying to take some time every single day to get some crafting done so that I do not burn out. Right now I think I have gone as far as I can with the packing and I will wait until I get some breathing room in the house before worrying about the rest. Okay, that’s a lie. The handyman will be coming Monday to take some things from the external garage to the dump, then I plan on moving several plastic boxes out to the garage so I have room to get the bed set up for my sister to have somewhere to sleep on Wednesday night.

Until next week, remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Life Derailed (in a good way)

First, since this seems to be of interest to people, for the first time since I was in High School (maybe middle school) I am under 200lbs. Nutrisystem really does rock. Next is a life update, so if you just want crafting content skip to the row of *********.

On Thursday I spoke with a financial advisor, he was supposed to be advising me on my 403b non-profit retirement account, instead I wound up spilling essentially the entirety of my financial concerns to him. He really helped me to see that I was ignoring the obvious solutions in favor of not having to ask for help, essentially being a stubborn, independent cuss. Due to his advice, my sisters advice, and an offer (and advice) from relatives, I am going to be putting almost all of the household items I want to keep in storage, moving to an apartment closer to work temporarily, and putting my childhood home up for sale. I hope to get all of this done by July, I’m thinking of seeing about an ‘I’m selling the house’ 3rd of July party so my friends, work colleagues old and new, can see the house and I can see the fireworks over the lake one last time, before I actually put the house officially on the market. There is about a million things I need to do first, however I have already started packing up. My sister is coming to town in about 10 days to sign some paperwork and we will probably work on getting some things taken to a storage unit at that time.

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If you skipped to the crafting content, the long and the short of the above paragraph is that I will be moving into an apartment temporarily and putting a lot of stuff into storage.

This past week was quite busy. I had a lot of fun with the crafting I was able to do, and a few cranky moments as well. Let’s start with the bad news. I had to put almost all of my wool yarn into my upright freezer as well as the freezer attached to my refrigerator. I saw a couple of moth corpses in some wool I pulled out of another area of the house and when I started to spin a bit of wool that had been stored downstairs a bug I am afraid is a carpet beetle fell out (it was dead, I simply became concerned). I have not been as attentive to the wool downstairs as I should be, one of the main reasons I need a smaller place, I just cannot get to everything. I am trying to keep myself looking on the bright side. I purchased a big bottle of lavender essential oil to keep the rest of the fiber/yarn (the stuff that did not fit) from getting into trouble. Since I will be moving and putting items into storage this is going to give me an opportunity to choose a couple of kits/projects to leave out and then I ‘have to’ work on them since I am going on a buying hiatus until I am settled into a new house. My sister does not know it yet, however I am going to make sure that my kits are near the front of the storage unit just in case, by some miracle, I finish the projects I am leaving out I will have access to some new ones without having to purchase anything.

I loved playing with my new Sprang loom, the technique is fun and easy! Well, mostly easy. When doing Sprang do NOT EVER take out all of your skewers holding the rows in place. I was getting to the middle and my fingers were not fitting very well with the skewers in so I decided to take the skewers out for the row…then messed up and I was not able to go back because the skewers were out. I cut down the middle and wound up tying the ends to make two shorted pieces. They are a great lesson and I love the structure. They are also not wide enough to be useful even as a misers purse since my fingers cannot get into it when it is sewn together. Oh well, the next piece will just have to be wider, I also plan on practicing with a circular warp to make the piece longer as well. I might as well just jump off the deep end!

When you boil up orange peels you had in the freezer for natural dyeing, try to then use the resulting dye before a week has gone by…I had to throw it out because some mold had decided to start growing on the surface. Lesson learned.

The sock heel flap is knit, now the entire thing is on a circular needle so I can work on the gusset. That is as far as the project has gotten, technically I have this entire month to finish this sock and knit the other two so I am giving myself a little bit of grace, however this gusset had best be finished by next week.

Okay, I think that is enough for one week. Next week will probably be me whining about having to pack everything (I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with my drum carder or Sizzix Big Shot). Until then, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Progress Has Been Achieved

So I am not finished with anything quite yet. The clothing dilemma is ongoing, and probably will be until I get a few more paychecks under my belt and make a decision. I did speak with a cousin and she promised wardrobe help if I can make it to Jersey for the winter holidays. Since it will be the first time in a couple of years I will get to see her, as well as the first time I’ll meet her second daughter, I hope I can make it.

I have made significant progress on my sock, right now the heel flap is almost done. I do have to pick up the gusset stitches, however I will need to dig up a circular needle of the right size to do so. If I try to fit the gusset stitches on my flexi flips I’ll wind up dropping stitches all over the place. I’m loving the pattern and I cannot wait to see how it turns out in the end!

I finished spinning up the green yarn, so now I’m going to wait and see what my prize box as well as what colors my Paradise Fibers box will bring me (they promised color this month). While I’m waiting I did make some progress organizing my crafting supplies, so I went downstairs to retrieve a few things. I found some sewing supplies, I’ll get back to that in a minute, and brought up some colorful fiber. I’m spinning up bits of various colors of fiber that I can use for a colorwork project or as crewel embroidery thread. Presently I am just spinning up the various colors on one bobbin, then I will wind them off onto individual weaving bobbins so I can later make plying bracelets for each color. This is such a great way to make little bits of fiber useful, especially if I am not sure what breed they are. It is a little involved however I am enjoying the process.

Finally, I did receive my Sprang Loom ordered from Dewberry Ridge Looms. I had to wait until I had a day off to pick it up from the post office, we have an agreement I’ll stop complaining and just pick my packages up from the office if they’ll stop leaving my packages in stupid places like hanging off of the mailbox or on top of the newspaper box. Since picking up my loom I have managed to get it set up, not a problem, and warped up with 20 strands. This is not a very wide warp, however it is certainly enough for me to start to get the hang of Sprang. I’m only going to be a little bit arrogant and say I think Sprang is about as difficult as I believed it to be. This could be due to my watching various videos on the technique for a couple of years until I thought I had the motions down and understood what is going on with the cloth. I’ve woven about six rows (its actually twelve since each row is doubled on the bottom, and had to loosen up the tension on the loom a little bit so the wires were not bent so badly.

The loom is quite tall, which I appreciate. This is before I began weaving, you cannot see it very well but I am using a very pretty rainbow colored yarn. It is likely that in order to figure out how to make the belt I really would like to create sometime in the next month I am going to have to wide the threads/yarns around the two ends of the loom and have them meet on a rod in the middle of the back of the loom. I will see how long this piece is once I have it off of the loom and make a decision from there. I am very happy that I decided to sign up for the Sprang class, I should learn some fun patterning techniques there.

Okay, that is enough for this week. I guess I really did get some things accomplished, hopefully next week will be as productive. Until next time, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Interesting Week (not really)

Now, before I start writing this post I would like to remind everyone that I have Never claimed to be a good, or fast knitter. That being said, it took me 8 days to knit the cuff for the second Anne of Green Gables sock by Paper Daisy Creations. I really love the pattern, I will be starting the lace portion today, and I adore the color in the Purl Soho yarn I purchased on clearance when I visited Los Angeles with my sister in 2019.

17 rows of knitting using pink yarn on size 2.25mm Addi Flexi Flip Knitting needles.

I have been spinning on the lovely green wool I received, it spins up like a dream. The pin roving drafts so smoothly it is practically effortless while also being very meditative. I am really enjoying the process. The 2 ply sample I created looks great, however I believe I will wait to see what next months box brings me before figuring out what I want to do with this single.

MAFA (MidAtlantic Fiber Association) is having their Bi-Annual event this June as a Virtual event. This means that I will finally be able to attend. I had to skip Maryland Sheep and Wool since they mostly had their classes during the week and…well….I still have to work. Fortunately one of the classes I wanted to take is a class learning how to make Sprang Lace. I contacted the instructor early and our conversation was a bit weird. I asked her if I could purchase the loom kit she was selling as a part of the class even if I miss out on getting into the class. She responded that it wasn’t really a beginner Sprang class (then why are you selling beginner supplies as the supplies?!?) but I could take her 6 week course over zoom to learn Sprang in preparation for the class. Well since the course was several hundred dollars, and at 4pm on a Thursday I had to pass. Instead I purchased the loom through a source she recommended and the video she produced. Now I am going to spend the next month teaching myself Sprang so I am ready for her class mid-June.

The only other crafty related content is that I am trying to figure out what I want to do in regards to spring/summer wear. Originally I was thinking about purchasing cloth to make a few skirts and blouses for myself, not only to learn to sew and be a bit more eco friendly, but to have clothing that fits. There are several flaws in that plan however, the first being that eco-friendly cloth costs at minimum $20 a yard and a skirt seems to take about 3 yards for a plus sized skirt. The Victorian Walking Skirt I am in love with would take over 5 yards and is intended to be lined. $60-$100 for a skirt, plus the cost of the pattern ($10-$20) would probably be worth it if I have a one-of-a-kind skirt that fits me. However, I am also hoping to get down to my goal weight, then have surgery to remove the excess skin. Yes, I know that the end goal is still about a year away. However, it seems sort of wasteful to spend that much money on a single piece in my wardrobe that I would hope to outgrow in a year (well lose enough weight same difference). Admittedly, I spent more than that on my current shoes. However, I wear those shoes every day and will polish them to be put away for the fall and winter next year. Because of this dilemma, I believe I am going to purchase relatively inexpensive pieces from Dharma Trading Co. that are made out of natural fibers in a relatively eco-friendly process. They are not the best in the world, and I am still going to have to do some dyeing and possibly modifying to have them looking the way I want them to, however this is better than purchasing all new materials.

I spent yesterday gathering all of the clothes in the house and washing them. This morning I set my ‘get ready for work alarm’ an hour early so I could try on the clothes while clean and almost ready for work. I found out that most of the clothing I have been unable to wear because it was too tight, is now too loose. There are a couple of scoop neck shirts that I have to pin in such a way that the neckline looks sort of like a keyhole neckline. This accomplishes two positive things and one negative. The positives are that I do not have to worry about my bra straps showing, and I do not have to worry too much about the odd stray hair (PCOS Stinks), however since this is not the original neckline it does tend to pouch out a bit looking weird. I tried to look up modifying necklines, I might have to see if there is such a thing as taking a dart out of a neckline. The only other major modification that I plan on making is to figure out the correct way to take in some of the width of my pant legs. I’m probably going to look at the Curvy Sewing Collective or similar sites. I understand that there are plenty of heavy people that carry their weight in the their thighs and legs (one of my friends and colleagues has this figure), however I carry mine in deposits on my back as well as an apron on my stomach. This means that I have rather shapely legs that are very lost in voluminous pant legs.

Okay, that is about it for the week. Knitting Socks, signing up for learning new skills, and trying to figure out a spring wardrobe. I am fortunate that I already have quite a few clothes, hopefully I can modify them to fit well with how I would like to present myself. I hope that everyone has an amazing week.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Fun and Busy Week

I did it! Well almost, I managed to finish the sock in 8 days! I have the next sock in the set cast on, though it does not seem to be progressing as quickly.

Yesterday the weaving guild I belong to had an amazing Ice Dyeing Day, where we learned how to take ice, silk cloth, and some vinegar water along with powdered dyes to create amazing works of art. I managed to mess up my folding so instead of meeting in the middle the point was on one edge, I think I figured out where I went wrong in case I decide to do this again…okay let’s be real, as soon as I have my bills under control I plan on ordering more silk from Dharma Trading Co to try this again.

The Raven Black was supposed to turn into its component colors, I’m pleased it stayed mostly black.

I could not bring myself to throw away the left over dye so I took some Grey I obtained from my Paradise Fibers Fiber of the Month Club Box along with some white I had to pan dye the fiber. I then took some left over dry fiber and decided to do a cold dye with that to see what it does.

I hope that they turn out nicely.

To round out an amazing week I received my installment from Ewethfulfibermill on Instagram. I was the lucky winner and had my choice of fiber of the month club box or yarn box, I chose the fiber and received this amazing gift.

I cannot wait to spin it up. That is all for this week (it is more than enough don’t you think?).

Happy Crafting and Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!