Life a Little More Abstract

Sometimes it takes an event to remember that there is a bigger plan that what I want to do. I had to cancel a weaving retreat and I am trying to plan when I can get back to crafting. Thinking about this has caused me to realize I need to re think my next year. There are two major conferences, MAFA and EGLFC that I was hoping to get scholarships for and attend. While one is July and the other October I am not certain that I will be up to 2-3 full days of crafting. Given that, I think I am going to have to wait for 2025 to attend. Living Life a Little More Abstract involves pivoting, so this is me trying to figure out what I am pivoting toward in 2023.

I am certain that this is going to be for the best, I will have 3 years to get my house, life, and credit card debt under control as well as saving toward these conferences. Perhaps they will have something I am passionate about rather than something I would not mind taking. Each step in life is toward something, sometimes we do not know what we are heading toward.

I hope that everyone has a Happy Holiday Season no matter what you celebrate! Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Ice is no joke

I have only just begun to post more often and get back into crafting. Now I slipped and fell on the ice breaking a bone in my hand. It is all but impossible to do many crafts while in a hand cast, so this blog is either going on hiatus or being focused on organization for a while. I will probably decide after the holidays. Until next time, remember to live life a little more abstract.

Missed a Week

Sorry, I didn’t mean to miss a week. I cannot even think about what happened that I did not get around to posting last week. This has been a week of completion and experimentation. Starting with experimentation, one of my colleagues mentioned venison a couple of weeks ago, I think it was Halloween actually, and I decided that I wanted to experiment with some different meats. This is good for my diet since I am supposed to be eating relatively low carb and high protein. One of the products I ordered was a stew sampler pack. Last week I made antelope stew and right now on my stove is a bison stew. Since cabbage is supposed to be very good for digestion, and I’m half Hungarian, I added half a head of cabbage to each batch of stew. I just finished listening to “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” and decided to add some vinegar to my stew as well as making sure that I have added enough salt to actually flavor my stew. I’m excited to see the end result. On to Crafting Content!

**************************************************************************

I had been storing a guild loom for a couple of years, and yesterday I took it to a guild meeting so that someone else can store or use it for a while. This has freed up enough floor space for me to put up two of my flat topped bookcases so that I can put my swift on top and have it freely spin. This is going to make it much easier to turn hanks into center pull balls. This has also given me somewhere to put my craft sets for crafts that I either do not use much or intend to get to in the near future (leather painting and paper making specifically).

This past Thursday’s craft class went fairly well. I had several people learn how to English Paper Piece (everyone that came and was physically capable learned) but a couple of problems popped up. Since I have use it or lose it vacation time that I am working to finish I was not at the craft class last week. While I was gone a new person came and saw the pouch one of my patrons was working on and a colleague, innocently, gave the new patron a pouch so that they could work on it. So last week while I was trying to teach English Paper Piecing I had another patron wondering why I wasn’t taking time out to haul out the wool and teach them embroidery stitching. Fortunately I was able to get the patron to work on an English Paper Piecing Project and I sent them home with wool and a book on Embroidery Stitches. There was also enough of a problem with a child hanging around that my supervisor has decided that there will be a simple craft or Makerspace activity in the Children’s area while the adult crafting is just for Adults starting in December. Fortunately, I had several people completely finish their projects so I look forward to seeing what will become of them in the future, I hate to feel mean about this but I teach a craft in the Makerspace for the young children on Mondays, Teens on Tuesday, so Thursdays are for Adults, and sometimes like with these sharp hand sewing needles it is dangerous for the children to be underfoot. As it is I am frankly surprised that no one stabbed themselves, especially since I said that someone would.

For my personal crafting I forgot my thread and needles so I could not make any progress on my Nova Quilt EPP by Tula Pink EPP Project during the class nor when I brought it to my guild meeting yesterday. I’ll take that as a sign that I need to get my stuff organized better. I did finish the piece I had on my 32″ rigid heddle loom. I decided to use up the Cascade 220 yarn I had lying around from my experiments in knitting two sides at once to create a picture (cannot remember what that is called). I thought that it was super wash so I just threw it in the washer, the fringe felted a bit but most of it looks great. It is not as wide as I though it would be so it is now a shawl. I love the length and it is quite warm without being heavy at all.

I am working on pulling out my embroidery machine so that I can make up some Christmas Presents for the family. I hope to remember to take pictures of each piece as I finish them. I still haven’t finished my halloween quilt and I have to face the fact that my idea of making my Aunt a quilt isn’t going to happen in time for Christmas. I’m probably not going to get my sister’s done in time either but I do plan on working toward that over the holidays.

Until Next time I hope that you remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

*Update: This was supposed to be posted Sunday but I didn’t get a picture of the blanket in time, so instead I’m going to update this with new information and photos to post Tuesday.

So the shawl turned out very nice. I have also been working on a couple of my other projects. I managed to get another piece added to my English Paper Piecing Project. I find that if I have all of the supplies readily at hand it is much easier to work on the project.

Speaking of Sewing I have been trying to figure out embroidery on bags, it turns out that the bags I purchased are too small for me to hoop one side and push the rest of the second side out of the way. This means that I get to learn how to create embroidered patches. The instructions I found state that you use a satin stitched outline on wash away stabilizer, then cut out a piece of cloth to fit that outline (the outside of it so that the cloth gets caught by the outline, spray stabilize the fabric, satin stitch over that then complete the design. It turns out that the spray stabilizer is very important, and that it is pretty easy to take apart the throat plate of an embroidery machine to get the knotted thread cleaned up.

Though getting things cleaned up does involve sharp, tiny scissors and a lot of snipping., The spray stabilizer should be here on Saturday.

Finally I have been working some on my peg loom sock. I love the yarn and hope that this type of ‘sock knitting’ will help me to get these actually knit!

I think that this is enough for a cold, late fall day. Stay warm and remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Never Make Plans

I swear this should be my motto. I do not have any real craft related content this week, unless you count lack of progress. Remember how I was talking about blisters last week and walking gingerly? Well if you think you have blisters do NOT walk gingerly. When I got out of the shower and bent down to get a towel my back decided ‘nope’. I hobbled into work on Monday, right after the issue, thinking that I could walk it out. The pain was so bad I couldn’t keep it out of my voice and I had to admit I wasn’t going to make it. Thanks to door dash I was able to get icy hot pads and rub delivered to the house and those combined with the hot pad I purchased at a fiber festival I was able to feel better by Tuesday. I then tried to go to work again, I made it an hour, but that was about it. Fortunately my supervisors were very understanding, and by Wednesday I was able to make it a full day, mostly due to working at my desk for the most part and re-heating my pad whenever I needed to. Due to my working Saturday I had Friday off, so I managed Thursday as well, using a roller chair to keep an eye on my crafters.

It worked out really well, while everyone did wind up using the bird pattern at least one person also drew their own owl to add onto their pouches. I used this opportunity to expound on the other crafts we will be having, encouraging them to sign up for the desk organizer and reminding them that we would be having an Evergreen swag workshop on a Saturday in December. Everyone seems very interested in these projects, so I am very pleased with these responses!

Saturday did not work how I would have liked, I planned on going to the zoo with a friend after work. I went to work and spent 4 hours working at a front desk, it turns out that stretching and walking every hour was not enough to keep my back from seizing up again. During my lunch break I had to use my heating pad and even then I was still very stiff and sore by time work was done. I ended up going to dinner and a quick shopping trip with my friend. We then spent some time chatting on my front porch and having a tea tasting event. It was a pleasant evening.

With most of my energy going toward getting my back to loosen up and taking care of daily activities I have not had much energy to work on other projects, though I did manage to get the cat smelling carpet out of one of my closets. Imaging my chagrin when I went in with gloves expecting to have to yank this carpet out and then drag the pad out before figuring out how to get the nails out of the floor near to the walls, only to discover that this carpet had just been laid down and I simply had to roll it up. *Head Desk*. I then managed to bleach the floor and use my vinegar natural oil mixture to get some of the smell out. I plan on putting my photographs in there so I don’t keep tripping over them, but that is going to wait until the charcoal dehumidifiers arrive. Since the closet is deep, the photos will be stored in the back with a bookcase, the same plastic wood contraption is on sale from their already low price, in the front for storage. I plan on keeping the door open, as well as the doors for all of my closets, so that I will remember that there are items in those closets. Two of which I might have to consider taking the doors off altogether so that they do not block the only window in one room and a door to a balcony on the other.

I think that is enough rambling for right now, and I hope to have more crafty related content to report next week. Until then remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Libraries & Seasons

Active Crafting Content will start after the ***********.

I still need to get my new flooring installed, however I did manage to create a mini-Library in my home. I adore how this has turned out. The plastic and wood bookshelves were a quarter of the price of a standard shelf from Amazon, so I bought four. They are not ‘amazing’ quality, one of the plastic pieces did shear off, however they are working for what I need them. This is a great way for me to get out of my living room, it gives me an excuse/routine for me to begin using the rest of my home. A couple of weird things have come up that are setting me back, however I will persevere.

Upon installing daylight lights in my half-bath on the first floor I then tried to run my dryer…and the lights dimmed…and haven’t come back properly since. The, amazing, person that does things for me around the house is going to try to look at this next week to see if it is something to panic about. Yay, something else to worry about. The second thing is that I was a guide for the haunted house in my library last night…and I discovered that stretching shoes is not a substitute for breaking the shoes in. I now have a blister on the balls of both of my feet as well as 3 scraped up toes. To fix this I’ve put neosporin and bandaids on the scrapes and I have ordered some blister pads from door dash, along with soft socks I am hoping that these feel better tomorrow.

*****************************************************************************************

The lace knitting class went…about as well as I expected. Some patrons were interested however they had either not knit before or didn’t like the look of the lace, though one has continued looking into making the regular pattern without any of the lace flares. The Bengala Mud Dye class I taught went much better. Everyone enjoyed quite a bit, a few had even mentioned continuing to do this in the future and possibly use this in their business. I tried to use up the dyes on the scraps I had left over, then I took those scraps to turn them into a bit of a mini-quilt/mug rug type thing.

Despite spending time trying to square my blocks, this did not turn out correctly, however I am very pleased with how it looks. I will bring that along with my dyed squares to the quilt meeting tomorrow. I have also made significant progress on my halloween quilt/wall hanging thing, however with the blisters on both of my feet getting around is not easy. Since I cannot get around easily I find myself unwilling to mess around with pulling out the devices that I would need to properly finish the quilt. I am also re-thinking why I am quilting. Right now I like getting the finished project, however I also find myself rushing through the process to get an end project, which I not what I am hoping for from this craft. I also think that is why a couple of seams have broken on my first finished quilt, I do not want that to happen with my sister’s quilt, I am already a little embarrassed about how my first efforts turned out.

I think that is everything for right now, I will give more progress as things occur. I am teaching a crewel embroidery class this week, possibly getting my floors completed, and perhaps getting my leaves raked.

Until next time Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Getting My Groove Back

So, I have fallen behind on my Maiwa course, however I am not really worried about it. I will have some vacation days coming up to catch up on that. There have been some exceptional circumstances, which there always seems to be, as when the windows were installed I had to move all of my belongings around and well away from the windows. This, combined with trying to get some floors installed, means that any organization that I had created has gone to pot. I am trying to look at this as a way to improve my organization and the use of my rooms.

One of the steps that I have taken is to use plastic containers to box up my wool yarn to keep it safer. I also packed up my embroidery machine for right now, as well as having to clear out my quilting room since that is the last one that I needed to pull nails out of the floor and get new flooring put down. Since most of that equipment seems to fit in what used to be my computer room, I am contemplating changing that to my sewing room and the old sewing room into a mini library. I am keeping my computer but I’m using my laptop so there is no need for the PC to be plugged in all the time.

I do have some actual crafting content for this post. I cannot remember if I mentioned that I warped up my large rigid heddle loom with some Cascade 220 yarn to create a wool blanket. I have not gotten too far in actually weaving that off since last week was also Spin Together. The two fiber events I attended this fall were amazing and I had a ton of fun. I do not think I went too overboard in my purchasing and I love how the yarns I created turned out. While I did not spin as much as I would like, there were several long days at work, I did manage a decent amount of spinning.

I love how my art yarn turned out as well, though it is not as complicated as last years version where I added in locks and charms. My total is 1278 yards for credit, which includes the singles and then the plying. I was fortunate to get all of my spinning plied up by that Saturday Morning since I taught a needle felting class on 2-d felting with some mentions of 3-d felting. It went swimmingly since I invested in Living Felt supplies, and had the people purchase the kits from me so I was not too far out of. pocket. Someone from one of my earlier needle felting classes was there and mentioned the needles working better, I explained that the original were from Amazon, and so not bad, but these were from Living Felt and therefore fantastic.

Today I’m teaching a lace class, though I am going to have them create shawls using a formula rather than a pattern, and teaching them various increases and decreases to create patterns. Then on Saturday I will be teaching a Bengala Mud Dyeing class, also at work. This should be a busy couple of days and I look forward to seeing how everything turns out! Until next time, Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Always Check

There will be very little crafting content in this post, it will begin after the *********.

So, I went to my follow up psychiatrist appointment and described the side effects I’ve been feeling on this new medication. The doctor minimized them and told me to keep on them for another month, giving me samples to make sure I would keep taking them. The next day my minor gastrointestinal problems become..well…explosive and I have to call off of work for the day and order medication to help solve the side effect. Then I did some looking at the, very expensive, pills that my doctor had me on. It turns out that they are for a condition more severe than I have and often recommended only after other medication has failed. So, as I step down from that medication I’m already sleeping less, the medication had me sleeping for 10+ hours a day and still not having any energy. Given all of this I have not been crafting a ton, and hope to get back to that pretty soon.

*******************************************************************************************************

I did start the Maiwa class on printing with natural dyes. The first lesson is scouring the fabric and separating into the piles for each lesson. I have 2/3rds of the fabric scoured and hope to rinse the second third to put in the dryer tomorrow morning. If any luck is on my side I hope to get the final portion scoured in the morning. Today has been the first day I feel up to anything in literally a month, so I am pleased that I got this much done.

Remember to live life a little more abstract, and always double check.

Stones and Festivals

Crafting Content will begin after ***********

This summer has been full of fun and festivals, okay so just three festivals so far but they were all enjoyable. I attended a rib festival, there were several lovely booths full of home made merchandise. I purchased three wooden signs, one is in a Harry Potter theme and states “When in doubt, go to the library”, another speaks to the geekdom in this house and the third is a lovely relief of a dragon in pinks and purples. I also attended a Celtic Festival which was amazing. I splurged and managed to find a Utility Kilt that actually fits me. There were also lovely crafts available. For one of my two last hurrahs of the summer I attended an independent dyers festival about an hour from home, near my old stomping grounds.

The independent dyers festival was so much fun. I met up with a friend that I had not gotten to see in over a year, and we had several hours enjoying each others company. I discovered another spinners guild nearby my new home, watched a sheep shearing, and purchased a few lovely pieces. I did finally get a blending board and there was an inexpensive rug hooking frame that I picked up as well.

I understand my own likes and dislikes enough to know that I am really loving the stones and shapes that I have been collecting lately. From Skulls, Dragon Skulls, Pyramids, Spheres, Mushrooms, Shaped jars filled with chips, I am loving them all. The ‘Money’ Trees are simply gorgeous, and I am filling my home with these lovely stones. While I do not worship the stones I do have a low level belief that God put the stones on this earth for a reason and that Eastern Medicine has some things accurate. I believe that certain stones resonate and that God put them here to help us if we listen and can understand what He put them here for.

*********************************************************************************************************

For some reason crafting has been taking a backseat in my life recently. When I do craft I really enjoy it, but I’m finding my motivation level is low. On the other hand I have recently found out that if I craft while doing something else I get more done. Example, a friend of mine called me, I don’t usually talk on the phone so this was unusual. While on the phone I went upstairs and took the time to press the blocks that I had chain pieced several days earlier. After they were pressed, and I was done with the call, I took the time to finish making that part of the quilt I had been trying to accomplish. I also spin more when I sit and chat with a friend, I completed over 2 ounces of a batt while chatting with my friend at the fiber festival.

I finally bit the bullet and purchased a blending board. I am so happy I held out and purchased from a small, local vendor. This 120 TPI board will help me create beautiful yarn. I used it as a quick way to add some sparkle and turn a slightly compacted bit of roving into rologs, like rolags but bigger. I will be able to turn that into a lovely, lofty yarn. I really enjoy how I am able to pack the fiber onto the blending board. It really is not a replacement for a drum carder or hand cards since it achieves a totally different purpose. In addition I purchased some washed fiber I will have to run through my drum carder so I can spin it later.

All in all I hope that I am out of my creative slump and that I can remember to take time each day for a creative pursuit. Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Accidental Hiatus

The Crafting content of this post will start after the ****. It turns out when something is not easy I do not do it. Adding to my WordPress blog is not easy when the computer is upstairs and when I am upstairs getting on the computer is not on my list of things to do. Usually I am trying to quilt or go to bed, so blogging doesn’t enter into it. Due to this I have purchased a laptop that I can have downstairs with me so that I can blog when I think about it, or when I am working on a project. That is not the only new technology to me since we last spoke, I have also purchased a Nintendo Switch to try and play an exercise game, however I found that the only game I liked on my PC is available on the switch so I have been playing Stardew Valley a little bit.

Health update; Watching some TikTok videos had me thinking that I was neuro-divergent. I went to a therapist for the first time in my life, she prescribed an antidepressant. I have been on a quarter dose for a week, tonight I am taking the first pill for half of the manufacturers recommended dose. My Doctor will have me stay on that dose until I see her next. My mind feels clearer, I still have motivation difficulties, however I am working on that. I am presently working on my mental health and adjusting my diet without worrying about, effectively, going on a starvation diet. I have been about this size for 30+ years and while I am physically capable of losing the weight I cannot keep it off as a starvation diet is not a realistic solution. I am still working on what this means for me, it may mean a treadmill in the next year, however I will keep you up to date as I learn more.

*********************************************************************************************************

I made two quilts for my Cousin’s Daughter’s and a baby blanket for her sister (also my cousin) who is pregnant with her first child. I do have other family quilts on the go but none are at a point where I feel I can photograph them.

I did sew my first ever piece of clothing, the Anna Dress that I took a class for through Stitches At Home. The dress turned out amazingly well, I do have plans to make the upper part of the sleeves a little wider and add some length to the bottom of the skirt. While the pattern is simple I have not gotten around to cutting out the second, since the cutting takes a lot of room and my floor is the only space big enough for that.

Tour de Fleece did not happen with any regularity, though did get some spinning done that I enjoyed. At present I am interested in stones and crystals for decorative purposes. Stone skulls, towers, spheres, trees, etc. I am having a blast adding my own touches to my home, decorating with what I enjoy.

That is about it for my catch up, some time this upcoming month I should have my new windows installed in plenty of time for the winter, to help keep the heat in and allow me to get some fresh air into the house.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Secret Projects & Weird Doesn’t Mean Wrong

This is a Secret Project

Much of my crafting is around some secret projects that I will review in late July once they’ve been gifted to the recipients. I also cleared off some bobbins so that I can take place in Tour de Fleece this year. It was so much fun plying up some random bits and bobs, as well as using my drum carder to open up a bunch of fiber to spin in July. I plan on giving my wheel a spa weekend and hopefully making a dent in my stash this year. *I did not manage to give my wheel a spa weekend, too many other tasks too up my attention, I did however manage to spin for the first few days in Tour de Fleece clearing up 2 of the 6 batts I have carded out.

As a demonstration piece for some of the classes that I’m running next week I spun up some flax to create linen yarn. I then boiled the yarn with cream of tartar for about two hours changing the water once after an hour. Judging by the lack of changing color I need to either do this for another two hours or find some soda ash and use that instead of cream of tartar. I also pounded on half of the hank with a hammer and the resulting product was much softer and somehow whiter.

In addition to secret projects and spinning things I have been working on a personal health experiment, I’ve been trying to get another hour of sleep every night. Ordinarily I go to bed at 10 PM and wake up at 4:30 AM giving myself a solid 6 1/2 hours of sleep. Recently I have been trying to wake up at 5:30 AM. I am capable of sleeping that extra hour, however, it leaves me feeling worse during the day and I do not accomplish as much as I do when I wake up at 4:30 AM. Since I’ve been running this experiment for about two weeks I have decided that it is an abject failure. I have tried to return to my usual sleep schedule, however things like TikTok and an inability to fall asleep have not helped. I think that I may try to shift myself to falling asleep at midnight for a 6:30 wakeup to see if that helps at all.

My washer and dryer have finally arrived! After 8 hours I was caught up on my laundry and ready to face another week! I also have begun to migrate more items into my third floor for storage and realized that I cannot keep the carpets in the carpet if I ever want the cat smell to be completely gone from my house. Large leaps forward and small steps back are what make up the dance of life.

I believe that’s it for the week, I will let you know more as things progress! Remember to live life a little more abstract.