Halloween Crafting

So, in my last post I was trying to crochet wolf ears for my costume.  Yeah, less than 2 weeks out is not the time to start crafting for a costume, and I knew this.  I have decided to make my life considerably easier.  I purchased a quantity of Makeup and tomorrow morning I will use makeup, spray on hair coloring, and a bit of ingenuity to make myself into a ‘spinster’.  Since I am a spinner anyway, I believe that blowing out my hair instead of using smoothing products (maybe giving it a bit of a boost with the salt volumizing spray), putting a silk hankie in it (silk cocoons spread over a form, pulled apart further for spinning), and adding a spindle and bag to my velvet cloak should create an interesting effect.  If it is decent I will post a photo, if not we will forget I ever had this idea.

In other news, Jimmy Beans Wool had a scrap bag sale that I could not resist.  This means that I have started knitting a simple triangle shawl started with a garter tab, also with a garter edging.  I love how this is turning out.  Since I am going to be using scraps that are 20 yards or more it will be interesting to see where the stripes are going to end.  The progress photo looks a little cramped since I am using a DPN and needed to have some rubber bands to keep the stitches from slipping off the end when stored.  I will transfer this to a circular needle soon.

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October was known as Inktober, where artists decided to do their best to follow certain prompts and create ink drawings each day during the month of October.  Since I am not an artist, I enjoyed the concept and stuck with my crafts.  November, however, is also NaNoWriMo.  This is National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month.  The breakdown of this is: 1,667 words every day or, 12,500 words a week (not counting the first week which is 2 days long).  I sort of stink at making goals, however I think that I will make something of an effort to work toward writing down some of my ideas toward a novel.  The first draft might not be too coherent, however I think I have a chance.  Of course, I also have 4 Civil Service Tests to fill out, starting November 1.  It looks like my next 31 days are going to be busy.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Keeping the Momentum Going

Alright, so I have not precisely kept my momentum going.  This week I have been forced to focus a bit more on my finances, my resume, and working on my crafting plans for the library I work at.  Plan for the worst, plan for the best, hope for the best.  That philosophy is generally how I manage to keep on top of work and my personal life.

My garage studio is coming along quite nicely, I am very pleased with the insulation going in.  There was a minor problem with a squirrel trying to make  nest in the corner, however that has been cleaned out and sealed up quite tightly.  My handyman suggested that I look into indoor outdoor carpeting for the floor once everything is insulated and the paneling is up.

There has been some crafting going on however.  I have not made any real progress on the crocheted sole, I hope to do some this week.  I am almost finished with half of the spinning for the mystery knit along from paradise fibers.  Since that means there is another half to spin, ply, and then start knitting, I do not anticipate that being finished this upcoming week, though tomorrow may surprise me.  I grabbed a drop spindle, one of my less expensive ones, and a piece of fiber to take with me.  I am currently working on spinning that up to be used as embroidery thread for a pretty flower pattern I found.  If we count paper crafting in my list of accomplishments, then I have been working on using the stickers I obtained from Stickii to upgrade my bullet journal, it is looking very fly.  I also purchased some cardstock and a 3 ring binder to create my own version of my samples notebook from Kate Larson’s class.  Wow, I guess I did more crafting than I thought.

Thursday one of my co-workers decided that we should talk about Halloween costumes, I mentioned that I have a red velvet cloak and she suggested that I make cat ears.  I’m not sure how those two topics combine, however I decided to make wolf ears.  My basic plan is essentially Little Red Werewolf.  So far I managed to create the basic outline for the outer part of the ears.  I hope to crochet an inner piece that has white inside along with some white chenille for texture.  The plan is to then sew these ears, probably stuff them a little, onto a headband (which I still have to crochet.)

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I am really happy with how these are turning out.  Tomorrow is my day off.  I had ordered a Blue Apron Box to arrive on Saturday so that I could do the cooking and have the meals ready to grab this week.  Of course that means that the box will arrive on Monday by 9pm, my next short day is Thursday.  This probably means that I will spend some time this week scrambling to make sure that I can cook the meals in the mornings before I leave for work.  The main problem with this is the need for things to be cool before putting them in the fridge.

Life is complicated and every time I think I have things under control something happens.  However, this is not going to stop me from living life A Little More Abstract.

The Week After EGLFC

This past week has been an absolute blast of creativity as well as work ‘stuff’.  On Tuesday I mailed out 4 applications for Civil Service Tests for Librarian positions in the larger county to the north of me.  If I get a job there it will be a 90 minute commute each way, however I will be able to stay in my home for a couple of years and save up a down payment on a home there.  I also re-interviewed for a position at one of my current jobs, I am not saving this as my only hope right now.  There is a job in Philadelphia I will submit an application for this afternoon.  Since my skill level is quite high, it really is a matter of which library will obtain me.  Enough about work, let’s talk about crafts!

Since I’ve gotten home I have been forcibly reminded why I need to make time to craft.   The weekend was amazing, and just in time since this past Saturday was the first anniversary of my mom’s passing.  I had a lot of fun, and this creativity stuck with me when I came home.  I have quite a few projects, KALs and more, that I want to be working on.  I took the time to finish the two soles for my knitted slippers for the Jimmy Beans Wool October-December project.

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They are the width of the large, however when I went to measure my foot, I decided to go with the length of the medium.  There seems to be enough yarn left over to create a pair of kids slipper soles, however I want to make sure I am not going to need this yarn for anything else before committing to that project.  I will confess that when I really got into ensuring that these were done they took about 2 days of knitting each.

I received the crochet project and have begun, though I have not gotten very far yet.

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I did manage to learn a new stitch, that is foundation single crochet.  This is going to be the basis of the slipper sole, I planned on working on this, however I managed to forget a stitch marker.  While the pattern does not call for any stitch markers I feel that it will be easier to keep track of where I am supposed to join the round using a slip stitch if I have a marker there.  Each sole is a total of 9 rounds, so even with the rather extreme number of stitches I will be working with toward the end these should not take too long.

The crochet hook I am working with is a Furls hook in an attempt to stave off carpal tunnel syndrome as early as possible.  With my extreme interest in all forms of craft, I need to keep my hands in tact as much as possible.  You may also notice underneath my project bag and hook is a colored piece of paper, that is my first experiment in ‘art’ since college.

IMG_2903This is a simple wash with watercolors on a special pad of watercolor paper with cheap Walmart watercolors.

I actually don’t think this turned out too badly, I plan on using similar techniques in the near future, though I believe I will have to work much harder to obtain clear color results.  The pigmentation does not layer very well at all when wet. I hope to try and improve this when I next have a stretch of time not occupied by crochet or spinning.  It is entirely possible that I will have better results if I try to work with Tube Watercolors instead of the hard palette, also if I try to wet the pigments more thoroughly.

7B969592-7C70-44CD-8E68-B82CC99F95D4The final crafts I managed this week were started at EGLFC. The first is to knit a lace sample with handspun Shetland yarn.  I love how this turned out, and fully intend to knit up the grey and black samples of yarn I have available. The other craft was to create stick-on sheets that can be applied to linen for crewel embroidery.  I found some sheets that I can print onto as well as several designs that were labelled on images.google.com as available for reuse.

I believe that these are going to be very difficult to spin the samples for and stitch, I really look forward to the challenge.  The D&D Dragon on the bottom left is certainly going to be a project for when I am a very good stitcher, until then I have plenty to work on .

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Second Day of EGLFC

I will confess that the first day of classes I spent most of the night in the classroom spinning and carding.  When talking to one of the other students we were a little loud and around 10pm were asked to be quiet because people were trying to sleep.  I managed to finish what I wanted to work on, brought my notebook upstairs to work on, and finally slept around 12:30am.  I woke up just before my alarm at 7am to drink an energy drink and get ready for the day.  Okay, so I then went down to the classroom to do a bit of organizing and tidying.  I knew that we would have opportunity to do some indigo dyeing that day, therefore I decided I wanted to have two skeins ready to be dyed.  The first was a grey skein, the second was chocolate merino, they were both two ply yarns.  As you can see the chocolate merino looked almost navy blue, in certain lights it looks almost black.

After those skeins I kept making embroidery yarn as well as using each of the colors of Shetland to make yarn to try colorwork knitting.  I also decided to make a gradient of white, grey, and black, to try some lace knitting.  I confess I wound up spinning and not knitting.

After an amazing day of spinning, dyeing, as well as carding wool, learning techniques, good food, and wonderful company, we were given an opportunity to do a bit of shopping.  There was an alpaca truck (with alpaca) where I purchased some amazing random locks, a yarn truck (where I bought a Batt and Mini Skeins), and various individuals selling out of their trunks.  I managed to buy a cross holder (for weaving), a shuttle, a book, and lotion bar.

The fashion show was that evening.  There was some distressing news, we were told before the banquet that one of the instructors husband died and had been found earlier that day.  The banquet was lovely, the stress upset my stomach so I missed the first part of the fashion show.  I managed to see some of it, fortunately they had all of the models come through one more time.  I then tried to go back to the classroom to find it locked.  This turned out to be for the best since I spent hours listening to and speaking with the other students and our instructor, as well as discovering a brand of champagne that I not only did not mind but actively enjoyed.

The final day was lovely, with an amazing breakfast, decent lunch (with bread pudding) and a day working on our own pursuits.  For the final day we learned about core spinning, making a lockspun yarn, and chain plying while inserting locks.

I will certainly be planning on saving for the next EGLFC in 2 years.  I am fully converted to attending classes in person.  This class has me looking at my stash in a whole new way.  I love the idea of using some of this yarn as crewel embroidery.  My mind is firing on all creative cylinders, I feel quite rejuvenated.  Remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

First Day of EGLFC

I worked at my Community College from 11:30am-4pm, dropped off some pop bottles at the recycling center, grabbed money from the ATM, and used my phone and the maps app as a GPS system.  This worked really well, except for a momentary stop at the rest stop, and I arrived around 5:30pm.  I did end up parking in the lot a little way away from where the dorms and classes were.  This made for a lovely walk, though I did have to make 3 trips back to my car for my belongings.  I will admit that next year I will bring a couple of blankets as well as my memory foam pillow.

I was fortunate enough for my classroom to be present in the same building as I was sleeping.  There were plenty of plugs, I sprung for a single bathroom and no room mate.  After I dropped everything off in my room I was only slightly late for the cocktail hour, managed to hit the entirety of the bingo game, and saw the vast majority of the introduction to the instructors presentation.  I did only get a tiny portion of each of the three appetizers saving room for the after presentation mingling event.  Unfortunately, there was no wine and cheese after the presentation and were were admonished to get a good nights sleep (fortunately I had some veggie chips and granola bars).

After a decent nights sleep I dropped my wheel off in my classroom and had an amazing breakfast.  The participants and instructors were so friendly, willing to talk about everything, interested in every aspect of crafting and amazing conversationalists.  Fortunately for me they listened to my rambling and let me observe (which I tend to prefer).  During the first part of the day we were given our materials and introduced to the concepts of recording and organizing.  Kate also gave us a look at her examples as well as lovely fiber to get our spinning legs under us.  Throughout the first day we were given a wide range of mind blowing concepts.

Between spinning my own embroidery thread (learning how to do crewel embroidery) as well as creating project pages my first day was so busy.  Lunch and Dinner were both amazing with tons of vegetables.  I really appreciated the variety and tried to keep the carbohydrates down.  The night ended in a vendor sale, I wound up buying 8 oz of merino lamb wool in white (named Dr. Watson) and adult merino in brown (named Morrigan), some yarn, and a few other tidbits.  We were given shopping bags with adorable stamps (that must be lost in my suitcase somewhere).

I’ll write more about the second day and trunk sale.

EGLFC 2019

From Friday October 11th until Monday October 14th I attended the Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference (EGLFC).  The class that I signed up for was Colorful Crimp,
Preparing & Spinning Dyed Locks class with Kate Larson.  I have to say that Kate was an amazing instructor, she had such a wide width and breadth of knowledge that she freely shared.  She not only explained the notebook that she uses to keep track of her projects, she provided all of the materials (Which can be ordered from her website) so that we were able to create our own notebooks with samples and information about the fleece and spinning construction.

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During lunch the second day we were given a lovely set of magnets, provided by Heddlecraft.

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During the final banquet we had a lovely centerpiece consisting of amazing chainmaille around a wine goblet that I was lucky enough to win.  They also gifted us with coasters and little purses that were provided by the Rochester Weaving Guild. During the fashion show, which made me positively green with envy for all of the remarkable pieces, we were given cookies.

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I will get into details in later posts, but I did want to mention that after the fashion show I spent a lovely evening with several members of my class and the teacher.  Some of the ladies had wine, I caved in and tried the champagne.  This was the first alcohol, other than a bit of Midori, that I have actively enjoyed.  I took the bottle back to my room to photograph the label.

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Next post will focus on my arrival, the room, as well as our first day of classes.  Until then, remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

Taking Time During the Week

So, this week has not been as bad as I had feared.  My doctor was relatively pleased with my progress, apparently I lost 8 lbs.  During the first of my two car appointments I managed to knit 8 rows on my poncho adding on one new color and coming close to adding on the second.  My day at work was relatively productive, and my evening at work was spent updating my book blog as well as discovering a book that I have meant to read for a while.  It is titled Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation by Maggie Shannon.  I have not gotten terribly far in this book however it certainly does introduce a new way of thinking in regards to crafting.  Unfortunately since starting this post and actually posting this post I have not had much momentum in regards to actually reading this book.  It tends to be a bit on the preachy side, religious, meditation, mindfulness, etc.

Though I have not gotten much reading done, I did manage to accomplish a few of my more pressing tasks for the week.

  • I submitted a cover letter, resume, and references to a local job.
  • I obtained my transcripts so that I can send in applications for 4 civil service exams by next week.
  • I created a basic cover letter for another job, there are two things that I will be able to add to my resume by next week, I want them on this version before I send the application in
  • I chose to attempt to sell my two DODEC Wheels this upcoming weekend at EGLFC
  • I discovered that my supplies fee is due to my teacher for EGLFC
  • I plied a yarn that has been sitting for a while, since I plied from a center pull ball I also have an amazing example of Yarn Barf to show my students tonight
  • I cleaned and oiled my wheel.  I also got fed up with one of the arms of my WooleeWinder keeps hitting my mother of all and making a clunking noise no matter how much I tighten things down.  I sanded the edge of the clunking arm just enough that it can get past my mother of all without any noise.  I Hate being sensitive to noise.
  • I cleared out the back and passenger seats of my car
  • Now I’m at work, getting ready to teach a spinning class tonight

I have not made much progress on my knitted poncho since the garage, though I did find out that while I am on ball 13 I will need to attach ball 22 before beginning the decreases to end the first half of the poncho.  Since it is about 12 rows of knitting before I manage to add on another ball, we are talking about a lot of knitting left, just for the first half.  The second half of the poncho is a mirror of the first, this makes the entire project quite time consuming.  The next two projects are slippers, both in knitting and crochet, along with a mystery knit along being offered with my paradise fibers box in October.  I also need to cast on my mermaid knit along.

Next weekend I will be attending Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference (EGLFC), to take a lock preparation and spinning class with Kate Larson, I am very excited.   Check in will be after work on Friday (after I drive up there), then a light dinner and other events, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are class sessions and shopping opportunities.  Due to this event I am suspending all non-essential (and some essential, lol) purchases until after EGLFC.  There are a couple of local and semi-local vendors that will be selling and I hope to get a souvenir skein or two.  A colleague and fiber friend of mine is leaving one of the jobs that I work at (she is then starting at another of my jobs) so as a farewell from the first job our company is going together to purchase a gift card for an online yarn store I know she has been wanting yarn from.  There is also a conference on Grant Writing that I will be able to attend part of tomorrow morning, so this week is also busy.

For this week, I need to:

  • Keep my spending very low
  • Work on Civil Service Entrance Exams
  • Pack for my Weekend Trip
  • Empty as many bobbins as I can, without yarn barf
  • Return the pop bottles, put that money aside for the trip if possible
  • Plan on bringing poncho for mindless (if big) knitting to do
  • Decide if you are going to bring 3 large energy drinks, and 3 2-liters of Dew so that you can stay caffeinated and hydrated throughout the conference.
  • Seriously consider bringing some kind of low-carb, shelf stable, snacks for the trip
  • Check if the local casino is having a promotion that you can hit on your way back to town that Monday.

This looks like a busy week, however I believe it will be tons of fun.  Okay, time for me to get ready for my class.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!