Socks, Shawls, and More

I am having a blast crocheting this pair of socks, though I do not really like the heel and will probably go back to the other style of heel once I’ve finished this pair. They are coming along nicely, however I am looking forward to seeing the back of them so I can start a new patterned pair.

I managed to cast on 360 pairs of stitches, with a marker every 10 pairs and a different type of marker every 50 pairs of stitches, for a total of 720 cast on stitches. This is going to be a double sided shawl with a graphic pattern. Fortunately for me, this shawl involves casting on with the number of stitches for the longest side then decreasing as the pattern goes on.

Finally the yarn that I ordered so that I can weave a blanket arrived. I am so excited, and nervous, about warping this up. Since I still have not woven my cowl, this is probably going to take a month or two for me to get to.

I think that is all the news I have fit to write about this week. I have slowed down on some personal projects and decided to redirect my energy into making sure that I have storage that will work for all of my supplies without overwhelming everything. Right now I have my paper projects, quilling, scrapbooking, fiber/dyeing/weaving diary supplies (not the crafts themselves just the supplies to create the diaries_, along with my supplies to make dioramas, on one bookcase with my fiction books and sewing supplies on a second bookcase. The top shelves of these cases are not load bearing so I put my blocking mats up there, the foam essentially does not weigh anything. Perhaps I will take photos when I have my cases the way I want them to be. Next is going to be a case for my crafting books, then one to store my yarn and fiber. This is going to give me an idea of what space I will need in a home to realistically store my supplies, a great project while I am saving up for a down payment on a house.

Don’t let life or obstacles get you down for long! Remember to Roll with Changes and Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Taking My Time In All Things

Please skip to the line of *** if you are only interested in crafting content. This week has been a visceral reminder that I need to slow down in all of the things I am working on. That life is not a race. That I have time to find the house that will become my new home. That if I go 15mph over the speed limit I am going to get a speeding ticket. It has been an interesting week.

I had a viewing for a home that had just come onto the market and was at the lowest end of the price range I was looking for. Right now I am living in a 3 bedroom 2 bath home, and I would like to downsize to a 2 bedroom home. I did not realize just how big my home was until I entered this little shoe box of a house. I swear that the entire first floor would fit into my living room and dining room. This led me to send an e-mail to my realtor and reevaluate what I am looking for. I realized I do have time to figure these things out. I would like to be moved into a new place by next winter, however I do not have to be. On my way home, I was eager to order a fish fry and chill for the night, my lead foot had me speeding right past a state trooper. This ticket is probably going to cost me one of my side hustle paychecks, however I really deserve it. I have to start thinking about my commute as time to listen to an audiobook, think about what I am going to do for work, think about my crafting projects, plans for my new home, basically start taking this as a time to reflect rather than something to get through. I also need to be more careful driving around a busy city, I had a couple of close calls this past week. Life is full of lessons, some are just a little more like a fist to the face than a gentle nudge. No one was hurt, this was a relatively gentle set of life lessons. Time to start the week fresh.

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Saturday was a ton of fun. I felt restless after a frustrating week so I wound up touching on a lot of different projects throughout the day. You are probably not interested in how much laundry I completed, nor about cleaning out my dishwasher drain and running to clean that up. However you might be interested in my crafting projects!

Earlier in the week I had decided to dig up my needle felting supplies and needle felt soles into the inside of my hand knit socks. The socks getting holes in them is entirely my fault, I used a yarn that was completely inappropriate for socks. I hope to use two fingering weight yarns held together for my next pair of socks, especially since I enjoy worsted weight socks in the winter and they work well with my shoes.

Red hand knit sock with a hole in it and purple wool behind the hole.

It will take me some time to complete this, especially since I am trying to find a way to have foam in the right place to felt these pieces together. This weekend I kept working on spinning up my art yarn.

Yarn on a wooden bobbin, moon shaped charms hanging down and curls popping out of the yarn.

I also started spinning my ply for the cowl along. I decided on a 3 yard warp and started winding up the warp with the sample yarn I already had. I managed to wind about 3 inches, 15 ends, before I ran out of yarn. I was going to wait until I had finished the art yarn before spinning the second ply, however I changed my mind and I am spinning the second ply on my Ladybug.

My Mirrix is all warped up with soumak at the top and bottom, I was told that since I cannot weave a 4 selvedge piece I did not need soumak at the top. I am going to leave it in since this gives me a very firm set of weaving parameters, I only need to fill in my rectangle.

In addition to messing with these projects, and some basic chores, I made progress on my knitted skirt. I finished the first panel, learned how to pick up wrap and turn stitches, and started on the second panel. Since this is almost the end of my first hank of yarn I caked up the second and have it ready to go when I run out. I love how easy the pattern is even as I hate how long this is going to take me to complete.

I have also picked up another project that was sitting to the side for a while, my hand sewn skirt. Saturday I double folded the hem, pinned it all the way across, waxed the cotton thread, threaded seven needles and started hand felling the hem. I do not have any photos of this for several reasons. My fabric is wrinkled and I do not need anyone yelling at me about not washing and pressing before I started…I did not press my seams either, I will live with the uneven seams. I am also sewing on a tv tray type table, so I don’t need yelled about that either. I’m having fun and I will stick with that being the entire purpose for this exercise. This also has me looking into medieval sewing patterns, I would love to make a lined medieval hood out of wool. The expense of 2 yards of wool fabric is a bit daunting as well as linen for a lining…ouch for my wallet.

Next Saturday I am getting my oil changed an attending 3 classes on Virtual Knitting Live. Learning Intarsia Knitting, Crochet Socks, and Kitchen Scrap Dyeing. I am so excited for these classes. I do realize that tonight is the Superbowl and that this sporting event is going to make a large difference in the lives of many people. All this has done for me is cause me to realize that 4 chicken wings or 1 slice of pizza are over 200 calories…so I’m not going to partake. If this is your thing I hope you have an absolute blast.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

New Year, New Challenges

*This post is not going to be very crafting heavy, though I do have a crafting section, if you are only here for crafting please skip to the line of asterisks.**

2021 is going to be my year! I am looking forward to the new challenges that I will face this year as well as the changes I am choosing to make. Do I think everything is going to be smooth sailing, no of course not, however I am going to control what I can and leave the rest up to fate.

From the late 90s to the early 00s Mom and I collected Beanie Babies. We had a lot of fun and I have some amazing memories of the times we spent looking for certain beanies. The prices of these toys have not help up to the times so I found myself with literally hundreds of beanies sitting in tubs in the back hallway of my childhood home. In theory I could create sets, set up sales on ebay and see what I could get for them. I put up three posts of some beanies that had sold for huge amounts in the week I put the posts up. Two weeks later, I have not received a single offer. Oh well, to the donation box the rest of the beanies are going to go. I kept a few for myself that I have very fond memories of, okay so I kept a small tub for myself (I cleared out three huge tubs so this is still a lot of progress), and sent some to my sister that she would like. I made the conscious decision that I was not going to take these tubs of toys into my new life, and eventually new home. I did ensure that some of my friends and colleagues with children wound up with some, okay a lot, and I feel good about these decisions. I still have four huge tubs I need to put into garbage bags to donate, however I have made significant progress.

Along those lines later today I am going to be clearing out my car of junk so that I can start fresh for my new job. Theoretically I should be vacuuming and getting things detailed, that is not going to happen so I will focus on what I can do. I have also cleaned out my fridge of all of the items I have not eaten the past two years (condiments included) and need to wipe that out later. I know, some people are able to do these tasks on a regular basis and so accomplishing them is no big deal. I am not one of those people, I have been listening to decluttering books, organizing books, and minimalism books in the hopes of gaining control over my ‘stuff’. These changes are not just for today, this week, or this year, these changes are how I am going to be able to maintain these changes long term. They will take time and effort, however I will be rewarded in the end by only being surrounded with a functional, aesthetically pleasing, home that I enjoy being in.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith allowed me to understand what I need to do in order to craft my new home to work with my aesthetic as well as my needs. As much as mom used to make fun of my Grandmother’s bill paying desk, I am going to buy a little desk with cubbies right on top so I can organize and pay my bills in one cleared off space. Right now I am doing that on my computer desk with my supplies in a little metal drawer underneath my computer monitor. I hate having to move my keyboard out of the way, or going to a separate table to write out my Thank You notes as well as greeting cards. I have also made up some pinterest boards that are going to help me with my decorating choices when the time comes.

The Clutter Connection and Real Life Organizing by Cassandra Aarssen have both helped me to understand that I need my items to be visually available. Aarssen also runs an organization that talks about clutterbugs and she frames all of her information in that terminology, this is well worth a look. She also helped me to understand that I am not ‘lazy’, ‘naturally messy’ or any of those other self-defeating terms. I simply organize in a visual way because if I try to do the ‘everything put away’ thing I lose stuff or forget I own it. Since I have started trying this method I can find things when I look for them. This means that in my new home I am going to go for bookcases with baskets for my crafting supplies as well as two glass cabinets. I already have one that I am going to store Mom’s Hummels in, the other is going to be for the beanie babies I choose to keep. That way things are not tucked away but displayed with pride for me to enjoy.

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K White has allowed me to embrace ‘the container concept’. This is simply coming to accept that the size of the container designated for something is the size that it is. That means if something has to be eliminated because it does not fit in the container and is not loved as much as something else then that is it. You cannot keep more than a container holds. This is going to be very helpful to me when it comes to Mom’s collections. One cabinet for her Hummels, one for the Beanies. If there are items that do not fit in the container, then ask “what gets taken out?”

I am cringing even as I write this next part, I am going to apply these concepts to my craft collections. I know, it hurts to think about it. I do plan on setting up book cases for each of my major hobbies, knitting/crochet, weaving, spinning, papercrafts, and dioramas. I also intend to have two bookcases for books, one crafting books and the other fiction/DVDs. This does seem like a lot of bookcases yet for me this is the perfect balance of organized and visual. If the items are in baskets while on bookcases they are contained, organized, and visual enough for me to see.

I realize that for some people these concepts are completely ‘duh’ yet for plenty of other people like me these books will make you sit up and take notice. The best advice I received from these organizing and decluttering books, I am not alone. There are other people quietly suffering with the same problems that I have and grew up with. Mom did not know that she was a non-visual organizer compared to my visual organizer so things were a constant misery of lost items and accusations of slovenly behavior. I cannot tell you the number of times mom ‘knew’ that someone came in and stole something because she could not put her hands on it. Dana had the same story to tell.

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Onto the crafting! Purl Together has come up with a ‘Finish it or Frog It’ challenge that they have started for 2021. The first step is to gather all of your WIPs or Works In Progress and take a photo. Having some people talk about their 15-50 unfinished items makes me feel better about my nine. Six of these were put on hold while I had surgery and recovered from my surgery, and at least two are probably going to be frogged.

Nine unfinished knitting and crochet projects in various stages of completion.

The forest green piece on the bottom right side of the photo is a baby cardigan I waned to have finished by today, as you can see that did not happen. I have finished 2″ out of the 6″ I need on the first sleeve then I need to pick up the second sleeve, seam the sides, hide the ends and sew on buttons. The buttons are supposed to arrive on Monday or Tuesday so if I finish then I will be very happy. The 8×8 cabled cowl on the bottom far left of the photo is something that I am capable of, however the tight, huge, cable makes the width of the cowl much too small for my tastes. Since it is a bulky Knitpicks yarn I can easily find another pattern. I was very happy to find the cardigan that I started with a Jimmy Beans Wool Kit almost half done, I hope to finish that. There are a couple of mindless projects I can take with me, the half-granny triangle shawl out of lace weight yarn will take forever to crochet up, yet I love how it is turning out.

Between the New Job, Organizing, De-Cluttering, and a New House, 2021 is certainly going to be 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!

Freedom of Movement

Minor medical update, non-crafting information in between the *’s

*I have my second cast, this means that I am 1/4 of the way done with wearing a cast! The unnerving tingling that I was feeling, in the form of hot spots going up and down my arm, is apparently my nerves healing. My new cast is slightly shorter, slightly lighter, and firmer around my wrist. This actually means that I have a much greater range of motion than I did with the other cast. Often when I tried to move my fingers, whether to exercise or stretch them, or to accomplish a task, I would get a jabbing pain where I have a pin in my wrist. With the firmer cast, I no longer get that pain, huzzah!*

My new cast went on Thursday and by Friday I was crafting up a storm! I finally managed to finish weaving the bamboo scarf I dyed with the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild last summer. At the time of posting this I have washed the scarf and I am diligently working on the fringe twisting, as my wrist allows.

Beaded scarf in reds, greens and yellows with a bit of blue. Draped over a 4 harness table loom.

I love how this has turned out, however the red bled quite a bit, I seem to remember a warning about that. I have also been knitting on my worsted weight socks in Cascade 220 Superwash White. I hope to dye these when I am done. I have the first finished and the cuff on the second completed. With all of this going on, I also decided to bring up my personal larger table loom that has had towels warped up for a couple of years. It is my main goal to finish these towels before I am back to work at my colleges (or in a full-time job).

4 harness table loom warped with pastel yarn, yellow plastic boat shuttle with blue cotton resting on top. Completed wool sock to the right of the shuttle, with the knitted cuff to the left of the completed sock and below the shuttle. On the table is a Leclerc fringe twister with the bamboo scarf to the left.

All of this crafting energy has me jazzed. I managed to attend Vogue Knitting’s Virtual event in July, learning quite a bit from the lectures I attended. I have signed up for the marketplace and extras for the August Virtual event. I had hoped to sign up for classes, however with my wrist it is not realistic that I can knit enough to justify the financial outlay. (Just about $100 for 3 classes and tons of extras, if I could knit normally this would be a really inexpensive way to take expensive classes).

Fortunately I have had some visitors to my back yard to cheer me up (this is not a euphemism).

Hopefully you are as inspired as I am. Until next time, keep crafting and Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Freebies

Okay, there are plenty of things that you can do for free in these tough times.  I’m going to post some of these that are really special deals, or brand new.

JSTOR: One of the databases that many college’s rely on (and is really pricey) is JSTOR.  They have added more materials to their open content section of their database: https://about.jstor.org/oa-and-free/  Since you now, probably, have time check these resources out.

Booklist is currently offering their reviews for free.  https://www.booklistonline.com/ this is a periodical that reviews book, it is created by the American Library Association.  I hope to spend some time using this to do plenty of collection development for my libraries.

Audible has a quite a few free books for children and young adults.  I have been trying to listen to a couple of free fairy tales, you do have to have the browser tab active to listen to these.  Very neat!  https://stories.audible.com/start-listen

If you enjoyed Animorphs when you were a kid, they are offering the entire series for free as e-books.  My internet is running slow in weird places so I did not get to check on these but the link is here: https://animorphsforum.com/ebooks/

Bluprint is offering free coloring pages.  https://www.mybluprint.com/article/coloring-book-pages?cr_linkid=FBO_03192020_ColoringBook_Photo&cr_maid=112211&cr_source=facebook&cr_medium=social%20engagement&fbclid=IwAR0uLkJNJyImO-BBGMY4SzX1D5n6HMX69NlIGQ5_Z2zWrtK1UO9Ysf38FIc

If you are into gaming, Lifehacker put out this article regarding free STEAM Games: https://lifehacker.com/the-best-free-games-to-try-out-from-the-steam-game-fest-1842402486?utm_campaign=socialflow_lifehacker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow&utm_source=lifehacker_facebook&fbclid=IwAR2uV9L3NExeKXUU2TG9B5M1TcWxF_PGDTst0_JSxUvUHga6oyBBtu_rz6s

Many craft shops are also offering free shipping online, I will be posting about that later this week (along with the fact that I went a tiny bit nuts on this…but I still kept mostly within my budget.)

Until next time, Live Life a Little More Abstract.  Check on your Extroverts!

Introverts, Check on Your Extroverts

March 2020 Ramen Pandemic

This is packaged ramen with 1/2 can each green beans and carrots and the meat from 2 drumsticks.  If I would have felt fancy I might have added spices (pepper, curry, etc.).

I meant to get this post up earlier, however my workplaces (I’m a librarian) went insane.  My community college went completely online early this week (late last week), and the library has been figuring out how to support the students.  My private University still has some students on campus, if it is not too safe for them to go home & international students, as of the writing of this e-mail so the library has been figuring out how to support them.  My public library has been having limited staff on site and is currently working on online programs we can do to support our patrons.  It looks like I might be doing online video classes, however I am not going to think about that until Monday.

Only time is going to tell if we are over-reacting, under-reacting, or taking the right steps.  We can ‘fight government oppression’ once we know that we are safe again.  While we are in the middle of this, remember if you are an introvert the Extroverts in your life are not doing well with this situation.  They need you to reach out, video chat, text, and get reminders that you love them.  I’m already texting with a couple and I have a video chat planned with another sometime this weekend.

For now, I’m going to take the rest of today to curl up and sleep (it’s been a busy week and my stomach is making me pay for it).  Later I hope to get some home-stuff done, but if I do not I still have most of tomorrow.  I’m supposed to be working at the Private University tomorrow from 12-5, which gives me plenty of time to do things between now and then.  I did finish my crewel embroidery piece, and due to free shipping I ordered some more linen and crewel embroidery thread to experiment with for an in-person project at the public library when we get back.

I’m going to plan several posts in the near future, probably a bit more frequently than my usual 1/week.  Until then, Keep Safe & Healthy, Check on Your Extroverts, Live Life a Little More Abstract!

 

Organizing Fiber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crafting Single Handed (Literally)

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

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

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

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

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

Remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

New Year, New Goals

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

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

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