Finishing Projects and Starting Anew

Colorful towels in pastels with various weaving patterns across them. Sort of random with dark stripes of other colors running vertically and horizontally.

I managed to finish weaving off some towels that I have had on my loom for over a year. They have been washed and cut apart, now I need to get the courage to pull out my sewing machine and seam them. I am hoping to do a slightly rolled hem, however it is going to depend on how reckless I am feeling when the machine comes out.

I have also been working on the shawl that has been on my tri-loom for a couple of months. This is what it looked like last week, as of the writing of this post the entire shawl is finished and washed (putting it through the dryer for 20 minutes gave it an amazing halo and felted it just right). however I have not had the opportunity to get a good photo of it.

Brown and white strands of yarn on a 7 foot triangle peg loom. There is about 15 inches in the middle with just horizontal strands while the rest is tightly woven in triangles going toward the left and right points.

Fortunately for me, with all of this finishing going on, I have had the opportunity to start a few things. There is a new class available for free from Tien Chiu https://classes.warpandweave.com/collections called the Discover Color Weavealong. I have started warping my loom, I really have to cut apart my texsolv heddles before I thread the pattern threads, however I do have everything through my reed. I hope to get the heddles threaded Thursday.

16 shaft table loom with junk underneath and green threads being held in a cross formation with leases sticks.

Finally I had the opportunity to get my hands on a Kromski Fantasia Spinning wheel unfinished. I decided to go all in and varnish the wheel using a cherry stain and a topcoat to seal things in. I managed to get the first coat of cherry on all of the pieces, and everything sanded. The next step is to put the top coat on all sides of the pieces. Again, I hope to get this done on Thursday, however I am not holding my breath.

That is all she wrote for now. Until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

One Week Later

It has been a week since the end of Spin-Together, while I had a lot of fun I am pleased to note that despite there being no deadline my spinning is still progressing. Thanks to Long Thread Media allowing the older editions of their three publications, Spin-Off, Piecework, and Handwoven to be available to all subscribers using their app I have been enjoying looking through old issues. While my current obsession is spinning, I am also planning on warping my loom for a Weave Along. Warp and Weave is having a Discover Color weave along where we are weaving Mug Rugs. I purchased the kit they recommended from Lunatic Fringe using the money I saved with the Ibotta app.

* I never advertise for things here, however through this app I have tried new foods (have not hated many yet) and gotten money back for my purchases. Most of these things are huge scams unless you spend hours on them, for me Ibotta is just convenient. I purchased this kit, my month of Sling that I watched while spinning and 2/3rds of the bags I just bought some of which I’m going to use as holiday presents. Done advertising, I have an affiliate link if you want to sign up.*

Back to spinning. Since this is my current obsession I’ve spent some time going back through past issues of Spin-off magazine and one article from Spring 2002 “Weaving with Singles” By Holly Schaltz inspired me to take the sparkly yarn I was spinning as a single to ply and turn it into a singles that I can weave with. The sparkle is such that I felt it would be fighting with another ply for color attention. I hope to weave it on a loom so that I can make a bag or pouch from it. I have also been doing alternative crafts.

This is a red pet bed with a wide opening at the front. Lying on top of the pet bed are scissors and red thread on a bobbin. The bed is on top of a blue blanket.

I managed to upcycle a pet bed from two old shirts and some foam. This project cost me $5 and two hours. When compared to the price of similar pet beds, this is well worth the effort. I have also been decorating my public library with spider webs made from corriedale wool. I intend to gather the wool and spin a yarn when the season is over, until then they are eco friendly especially compared to the synthetic webs my boss was going to buy.

Wool Spider web with a white spider on top holding a keychain library card. These are on top of an acrylic shield with a bookcase in the background and ‘library cards here’ sign at the upper left hand of the photo.

I love how crafting tends to insert itself into every facet of my life. There is always something useful I can create. While I have given in a little bit and wound up creating some of what I call “Garbage Crafts”, I am also ensuring that there are creative projects for people of all skill/creativity levels. I also throw them out the moment I am done with them ensuring that they are not hanging around my house.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

The Finish Line

Vogue Knitting sponsored Virtual Knitting October 2020 where I was able to take a class from Jillian Moreno. The class was focused on all of the different ways you can spin and ply a braid of colorful roving. This included different ways you can get your precious fiber to stretch and how plying colors can effect eachother. I loved this class. As she was talking I was recalling that I had read quite a bit of what she was discussing when I read her book “Yarnitecture” which I cannot recommend enough. During and after the class, 2 hours long, I spun up samples based on roving I had purchased years ago and that I had fallen out of love with. The samples certainly reinvigorated my interest, and I look forward to playing with my Allegheny Fiber Arts batt in Mango in the near future. All of my playing around managed to net me about 344 yards credit for Spin Together 2020.

I had finished the first half of my big spin about Wednesday, which yes was a little late but as I told the captain of my team I lost about 15 hours spinning time between physical therapy and filling in for a colleague that had surgery. If I had the option I think I would take this week as vacation…if only I were full-time. Anyway. I actually got quite a bit of spinning done between Wednesday night and before my class on Thursday morning, that is the blue bobbin. Then I took everything off of my wheel to spin up my samples, they were so much fun. I thought about spinning more on the blue bobbin, however I decided to just start a new bobbin, this is the yellow bobbin. I finished spinning the singles late Thursday night and started plying with my first two bobbins immediately afterwards.

Before work on Friday I had managed to ply up one bobbin full, and knew that I would have to split the skein. Next year I am going to have to ply on my 64oz Firefly bobbin. Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild had a meeting Friday night, the first I have been able to attend in months. I spent this time getting some plying done so that by Saturday morning I had managed to ply up all three bobbins of yarn, the first skein I measured off as 300 yards. This is 900 credit yards for spin together (2 plies and the act of plying). During the zoom meeting with the Paradise Fibers Team I managed to get all of my samples organized onto their pages (I’m still using the organization method I learned at EGLFC from Kate Larson).

In the end my Total Mileage was 1.66 Miles. This does not include my first day making an art skein. This is probably one of the lowest totals, however I did manage to spin over a mile of yarn, so I am pretty happy. Reading over the documentation we were sent at the beginning of things, oops, I realized that Paradise Fibers will be sending everyone that participated a ‘little something’ exciting. According to Tamara, our team leader, one of the other participants has sheep and will be providing everyone with a little gift. In addition to the ‘big prizes’ paid for by everyone’s entrance fee, Paradise Fibers is sponsoring prizes within our teams. First and second place prizes for: Most beautiful skein, art yarn, and mileage spun. Perhaps my art yarn skein will get something? No matter really, I am just happy to have participated and spun up some of my stash.

Actually that reminds me, I took this opportunity to spin 2 and 3 ply samples of my Unicorn in the Library by Hipstrings as well as my October box by Paradise Fibers. Now I have to remember that Cleaning Your House is also on the list of things I need to do, not just spinning more yarn.

Until next time, remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Days 3-4 Progress

Okay so it turns out I probably did not need to have 6+ projects prepared. Admittedly without physical therapy and a minor emergency at work I probably would have had another 6 hours to spin, alas, that did not happen. Physical therapy and work emergency’s trumped spinning, oh well.

I have managed to get almost half-way through my first spin, I keep having to remind myself that these are jumbo bobbins and they take a while to fill up.

You can see the progress I made over 2 days, surprisingly the fiber for my first half of the spin should run out just when the bobbin is full. Then I get to take this off and start on the second half. Since I will get home about 10:30pm I might take my hour winding down time to see if I can finish this. Then I’m up in the morning for physical therapy before work. Perhaps I can get an hour in then. I have just decided, I’m not going to worry too much about it. I’ll get through today and tomorrow, spend whatever time I can spinning tomorrow between meetings, and have a ton of fun with it. Hopefully I win a prize for my art skein, but even if I do not I will have had a ton of fun!

Happy Spinning and remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

Results from day 1 into day 2

Don’t judge me. I spin the most when I can watch something on television and not have to pay close attention to it, when I don’t really care if I miss something or not. Listening to audiobooks, I just want to concentrate on the story, if I miss a plot point because I’m adjusting the tension on my wheel or choosing the next pit of fiber I’m going to spin, then I feel like I am not doing either properly. Because of this, and a desire to just take some time to chill and spin this month, I have restarted my Sling subscription. Cable is so much more difficult to get up and running again whereas with Sling I can just cancel or pause when I need to. I had such an absolute blast watching a couple of episodes of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe (I missed that show) and spinning along. This is an added expense that I did not necessarily need this month, however I used some of the money that I have received from clipping coupons using the Ibotta app to pay for this. While this has put me a bit back on my ‘buy another wheel’ idea it is well worth it for me.

Saturday night I managed to get my art yarn skein wound off onto a niddy noddy, skeined up, and photographed in various Poses.

My art yarn spin that I am calling “Blue Moon Halloween 2020” took me 2.5 hours to spin and ply. The yarn is all sorts of various locks spun in a wide variety of methods. I also added in gemstone like charms in the shape of moons….not too many of those survived on the bobbin. Then I thread plied with a commercial cotton tatting thread size 3 I think, that thread had various charms on it. Some of the charms were too large to go through even my extremely large orifice, so next time I will use my electric wheel with a hook orifice to ply. I actually have a lot of prepared fiber since my bobbin could not hold quite what I thought it could which means that after this contest spinning is done, and my wrist is a bit better, I’m going to do another lock spun yarn. Perhaps between the two I will have enough to weave myself something vest-like.

I had 2.5 hours this morning to do a bit of spinning and managed to get this far. I’m off of work at 6pm and hope to restart spinning about 6:30 until 10-11 tonight. Hopefully I can get through quite a bit of this first half of my spin!

Remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Spin In Day 1

Good Morning, I’m posting this well before the Spin In Begins. Today the spin in starts at noon, I will be home at 2:30pm until about 5pm. I hope to spin my first project today, which is my wild skein. For this skein I purchased two ounces of curls, the vendor had some emergency vet bills I wanted to help with, and will use these couple of ounces in addition to the other fiber I had already prepped.

For my first regular spin I plan on using my two bags/baskets of fiber bits to spin up randomly on two bobbins.

Various bits of fibers with a green bobbin in an African Bolga Basket.

I think right now, except for the art yarn, I hope to do all of my spinning beforehand and plying on the last day (Maybe Friday just to ensure everything is counted.) For my second spin I hope to spin up my pound of Unicorn in the Library from HipStrings.

Purple, pink, black, grey, white mixed roving labelled The Unicorn in the Library.

If I get around to a fourth spin, third for credit, I have two batts I would love to see spun up and center plied. One is mostly purple while the other is mostly black and sparkly. The sparkly one has been split into three parts, and both have been kept in plastic boxes.

Next would be a winter gradient set I obtained from paradise fibers fiber of the month club some time back, I’m not sure if I would split each section in half to spin them onto separate bobbins, or just spin and do a center pull ball in the end.

Four balls of roving clockwise from top right: Black and purple; white and light blue; light blue and gray; medium blue and black.

If I finish spinning that up then I can work on the highland package I received from Paradise Fibers not too long ago.

Roving balls from left to right; Dusty blue; Green above beige; Red; White on a piece of cloth.

Should I manage to finish all six of these spins, including the wild skein, then I still have a variety of fibers to choose from. 3-4 sock packs that I can later dye, several exotic fibers, still a few more Paradise Fibers Boxes that I have not managed yet. I hope to get through at least three of my spins, especially since I loaded up long spins in the first three (well really the two that count for yardage) allowing myself some freedom within the last three.

I am very excited to get started, I’m not sure how I am going to last through work today! I might have to see if I can sneak one of my drop spindles in with me so I can spin a bit during my lunch break. Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Slow Fashion in the Midst

Thanks to a plethora of circumstances, I am finally close to being financially on track again. In October I will be able to pay my school taxes on the house and start saving for my January slump. Given these circumstances I am beginning to focus once more on finding eco-friendly clothing in my size. I would say at a decent price, however the prices for something vaguely eco-friendly start around $60 and usually hit $100-$300 very quickly. I am starting with socks, I tend to need them since I am on my feet quite a bit. I have 2 pair of alpaca, 1 of buffalo, and 1 wool from Ireland that I was gifted last Christmas. I enjoy all of the socks, however I love the wool ones since they remind me that I am loved. I noticed last week that I was getting a tiny hole in the toe of one of my Irish socks. Surprisingly, coincidences are really spooky sometimes, Jimmy Beans Wool then sent an advertisement about their new sock repair loom. To be forthright, I had not even done a google search on darning yet so this was complete coincidence. Needless to say I ordered the repair kit, then took a closer look at my socks. Yes, there is a tiny hole starting in the toe.

Tiny hole starting the the upper left part of the sock, looks like a bit of fraying from this photo.

However, when I looked at the socks closer something else became apparent.

Both of the heels had blown out of my, not even a year old, socks. Okay, the socks themselves never fit quite right, always really loose and slippery. I can see how this would contribute to a blow out of the heels. I will take my new darning kit when I get it and repair the holes, probably reinforcing the heels and toes at the same time. Yay for trying to extend the life.

On another front I have been spinning off the singles I had spun on various weaving bobbins in the hopes of freeing them up to ply from during the spin in. I love some of the yarns I have made, though this also reinforced the knowledge that I cannot spin silk from a center pull ball…all that silk wasted. Oh well.

Yarns of various weights, colors, and skein sizes.

MEDICAL TALK, VERY QUICK. SKIP TO AFTER *** IF IT MAKES YOU SQUEAMISH. The pin that was stabilizing my wrist was taken out last Thursday. I started with exercises designed to help me regain mobility on Friday. I am already seeing minor improvements, and hope to see another physical therapist soon to keep regaining mobility!***

There have been a lot of posts on Facebook of people discussing their fiber preparation for the upcoming spin along, someone was talking about the 16 pounds of fiber they have to spin, yeesh. I was happy with my couple of pounds and wild skein. Now I think I’m going to have to try and prep another few packets from Paradise fibers as well as choosing which braids I’m going to spin for the class I signed up for during Vogue Knitting Online October 8-11. These are going to be a busy couple of weeks. I am not happy that the spin in starts at noon on Saturday October 3 since I will be at work. Perhaps instead of taking a nap between shifts I’ll try and get started with some spinning.

Until next time, remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Preparing for the Spin Together October 3-10th

I decided to join team Paradise Fibers, as I mentioned last post. Due to this, I have spend the past weekend preparing my fibers to start spinning on the 3rd.

I spent September 20th preparing the locks, flicking open ends, carding a few rolags, creating some cloud fiber. The spin should be tons of fun, I even found some white and black mohair locks to add even more texture. I’m debating if I want to ply this with a sequined thread I have or just leave it as a wild singles. I’ll see how it looks on the 3rd after I spin it. Right now I plan on spinning this on the 3rd so that I have the rest of the week to get as much mileage as I can.

I also took each piece of roving that I planned on using for this spin and split them in half so that I could have an approximately equal spin on two different bobbins. Using a basket and a bag I kept the two halves of the spin separated, but I also pulled off pieces of each main roving into 4-10 inch segments. After I had the fiber divided, I also added in some different colors that went with the theme, I rolled each section of roving into a little nugget. This will make it easier for me to pick out a random nugget of fiber to spin from. I also put a bobbin in each container, these combined with the one on the wheel give me two to ply from and one to ply onto.

I am super excited for this spin, it has actually given me to motivation to ply up some singles I have had resting on my weaving bobbins, but that is a spin for a different post.

Until next time remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

Really Busy Week

Non-Crafting Content, skip to second set of asterisks to skip this part. **Sorry I have not gotten around to posting anything last week, the world seemed to explode around me. A colleague found out that she needs surgery because her IUD impaled her uterine wall, I had 2 staff meetings, 2 major projects, a transgendered person answered my “What do you want for Christmas?” with “A Vagina” (this is the first time bottom surgery has been brought up as even a consideration in conversation with this individual), and I’m trying to balance paying the guy painting my house with paying my school taxes and other bills. It’s been a bit stressful. Of course, I am still a very lucky individual. I’m going to have a conversation with my transgendered individual this afternoon, my colleague is getting her surgery and the shifts will be covered easily, I have one project complete and a handle on the other, my federal stimulus came through so I have the beginning of October’s Bills covered, I made a deposit payment on the painting, and I can concentrate on saving for the taxes. **

The painting of my house is going amazingly well. Some basic repairs and filling in of cracks, left by prior contractors, had to be done but now the paint is going on smoothly. There had been no prior discussion of painting my railings, which once I saw them against the new paint, had to be accomplished. I looked up painting color schemes and settled on a coral that would look amazing against the new color. I purchased the spray paint and started working on this new aspect to the project.

In addition to my adventures in painting, this makes me want to re-paint my entire interior which is not realistic at this point, I’ve got two bathroom vents that need replaced and my external garage still needs to be turned into a workspace. Ah Well.

I’ve found some time to spin this week, I managed to finish spinning and plying a dark sparkly set of fibers. I cannot believe that after plying I had 500 yards of yarn. I believe after washing I can safely assume that I still have over 400 yards of black sparkly yarn.

I look forward to figuring out what I want to do with this yarn when it is finished drying. This is not the only spin I have been working on, I have also been experimenting with the September Fiber of the Month Club Box/Bag I received from Paradise Fibers and the autumn spin I already had planned. I did a spin with the autumn fibers included and a spin with out the autumn fibers, already I think I am going to add in the autumn fibers. I then started knitting a test swatch for a garter tab cast on triangle shawl.

I love how this spin turned out so much I went stash diving and decided to pull out all of the fiber I can find that will fit into this criteria, I also added in some yellow for a bit of a bright splash. I have not started this spin quite yet however. There is an event called Spin Together 2020 that I have signed up to participate in on Team Paradise Fibers. This event runs from October 3-10, so short lived, and is based on yardage, beautiful skeins, or wild spins. I look forward to participating in this event, I’ll try almost anything once!

3-D Printing

This week has been interesting. My school taxes are not nearly as much as I feared, and my 3-d printer arrived. I will confess, I was a little frightened of it. More that I was worried I did not have the technical expertise to put it together properly. Those fears were completely unfounded. I purchased an AnyCubic Mega printer, it arrived with everything I needed including several different Hex keys, wrenches, clippers, and PLA filament to get started with.

An Anycubic 3-d printer in pieces straight from the box.

Once I got over my initial apprehension I started putting it together. The instructions were clear, easy to follow, and broken down into simple steps.

AnyCubic Mega Zero printer assembled with accoutrements and power supply in front. No wires are connected.

Once I got over my apprehension about putting the machine together, came wiring the machine up. I decided to stop for the night and tackle wiring it in the morning. Once I started wiring it, with the exception of discovering that I put one of the side supports on with the screw holes facing inside instead of outside, the entire process was very simple.

AnyCubic Mega Zero Printer with wrenches and hex wrenches in front, PLA on the printing bed and computer connecting cable on the left side of the printer.

Leveling the printer took some time, however it was well worth the effort knowing that I had done the job properly and I was ready to print. I followed the specific directions and made sure that I set the test print properly. I started the print and went off, since it was going to take 2 hours. I heard a tiny popping sound and came back to find this:

A small rectangular model in white with strings coming out of the back.

It turns out that the model popped off of the base and was being pushed around by the filament head. I stopped it before things got too messy. I plan on installing the heated plate I purchased when I bought the printer to see if that corrects the problem. I also plan on trying to print a model my sibling gave me, because according to them the default model never works quite right with this printer. I look forward to experimenting more with this. While I have purchased PLA filament to start with there are 3 other types that this printer is compatible with, I look forward to playing with all of them.

I love experimenting with new products as well as learning new skills. Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!