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!

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.

All the Crafts

This has been a learning experience for me.  I have put up a fence around my well cap, it is right beside my driveway and but trucks tend to run over it.  I put up the remaining two fence pieces by my driveway so that my garbage cans cannot easily fall into the ditch.  I warped and started weaving on my rug loom in the detached garage.  I can shoot crafting videos, okay so I’m still improving on that.  I also discovered that I can spin if I hold my fiber very loosely in my bad hand, to do this I am  using my electric wheel because I tend to tightly grasp fiber in my left hand when using my regular wheel.  Knitting is something that can happen (on larger needles) because I only need to hold the needle still in my left hand.  (Crochet is not going to happen because I pinch my project in my left hand while crocheting to keep it still, that still hurts)  Socks still are not going to happen, however I can use size 4 needles.

 

I finished two plying projects, the one on the left is the Shetland Moorit I started spinning last year for the Spin Off Hap-Along.  The project on the right is when I took a couple of lace weight yarns that I plied together to create about a fingering weight yarn.  I do not think that this will actually be a fingering weight yarn, however I think it will be a wonderful project eventually.

I was able to swatch for a mitered square blanket I bought a couple of  years ago, when a knitted afghan project is under $35 it is hard to resist.  I’ve also progressed to knitting a worsted weight shawl out of the Hedgehog Fibres Potluck in a really pretty orange.  I crowd sourced whether I should add on some black or just be done, it was decided that I do not need to add on black.

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Finally I wound up lightly felting my 7′ shawl from my tri loom.  I took a photo before it came off of the loom, I will have a felting photo in another post.

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It has been very busy here.  One of my supervisors is talking about starting procedures for opening back up, presuming that we will be doing this in Mid May.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert check on your extroverts!  Be safe!

Memories in Crafts

Yes, right now my room still looks like an absolute mess.  However, I can see what this room will be once I get these large pieces of furniture out of the way.  Right now I have the cabinet I showed you last posted filled an organized, I am amazed how much fits in there.  The cardboard tube organizer that I used in a maker video for my public library turned out really well so I am using it on top to keep supplies visible.

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I did have to buy a second cubby in a different size and configuration that you can see next to the original.  I put a storage rack that was mostly empty into the corner to hold a combination of mom’s kits and some of my kits.  I am using the open blocking mats as shelf liners.  You can see part of one of the dressers I need to destash in the near future, with a lamp and a sock project on it.

I am not completely finished getting everything sorted and organized, however I have made a ton of progress.  There is still a bin I need to sort through, however I have also started displaying some yarn for inspiration.  I believe that this is the first time ever that a large majority of my crafts have been entirely in one place that I am likely to frequent.  I still have items downstairs however it is cold, and since I live right by the woods I am concerned I might have another dang mouse.  Most of mom’s acrylic yarn is down there also.

During all of this frenzy of organization I have found many things that I forgot were around, or simply did not know where they were.  There is a pair of Christmas stockings that I need to sew the trim on, Mom made the stockings and never finished them.  Mom had a ton of plastic canvas kits that she wanted to make, when I feel up to it I am going to have to sort through those.  The one that brought a tear to my eye, though I’m telling myself it might have been dust, is the alpaca yarn squares that I wove and mom edged for me.  We were going to make a vest out of them, however the project was abandoned well before finishing them.  I am going to make a table runner out of them to remember her by, I just need to find the right yarn to use to attach them together.

*whisper* I also found the organizer in which I stashed all of my DPNs, I knew I had DPNs!*whisper*

I have also found out that I can do more crafting than I thought I could if I hold my wrist carefully.  I’ll make a post about progress in crafts later.  Until then!

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert please check on your extroverts!  Stay safe!

Planning for Spring

The beginning of this year has afforded me a lot of opportunity to think about my future, both immediate and long term.  What I want out of my life immediately, in the near future, and in the distant future.  There are some things that are abstract, and others that are concrete.  I am not going to detail these things here, however one aspect is organization.  Right now I am working on sorting and organizing all of my craft supplies.  The current job, since yarn, periodicals/patterns, and fiber are finished, is my weaving supplies.  I have a great rolling laundry basket I had purchased last year, and it occurred to me that the 8/2 cotton I have for weaving towels would do great in cloth boxes in the bottom of the laundry hamper, then if I put another cloth box on top I can put reeds, shuttles, etc, in that box.  I believe some of my supplies like the sticks to hold crosses and rag shuttles are going to have to be stored upright beside or behind the boxes.  I will get photographs to show you how well this does/does not work out. I have a plastic box I am using for bobbins, spare parts, oils, etc. for my Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel.  I am not sure if I want to find something different or not.  My Spinolution Firefly is a little more difficult to store as I have two flyer heads for it (one quite large).  I had hoped to be able to at least continue my gigantic plying project, however upon further reflection there is no need to risk further damage to my wrist.

In the midst of all of this organizing I was thinking about my home.  When I get a full-time job I fully intend to move to where I will be working and purchase a house.  If it is possible for me to commute for a few years that would be ideal, I can save up to put a good down-payment on a house, find the precise property I want, and organize everything for moving.  It has also become apparent that the large pieces of furniture in my home might become refreshed with a simple change in color scheme.  Right now everything is either stark white or very dark.  I am planning on getting some paint chips to change this.

This week, in addition to my usual workload, I intend to corral my weaving supplies as well as my spinning supplies.   My final crafty home related task is to pick up some paint chips to tape to my furniture.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Reenactment Farm and Loom Assembly

I had an absolute ton of fun during the music festival and reenactment demonstration event I attended last weekend.  We were set up in the loom room which has two counter balance looms, one of which happens to be a Union 36, which is the same kind of loom I was gifted with.  They also have one Huge old barn loom, that is also a counter balance loom, with four shafts.  The warp on the barn loom is an old rotting boucle yarn that will probably need to be taken off before someone can realistically weave on the loom.  With quite a bit of help, we managed to get the loom to a point where some weaving could occur.  The holes drilled in the bottom shafts of the heddle frames were not in the correct spots so that if the heddle frames were lined up properly the treadles were overlapping eachother.  Due to this problem actually weaving with the loom was slightly problematic, but a ton of fun.  As the co-president of the guild pointed out, it is not a loom for a short woman.  Surprisingly enough I also managed to finish weaving my cotton scarf during that day in the loom room, the fringe will need to be twisted and the entire thing washed thoroughly before photos.

Thanks to the Union loom needing to be warped for the class visitations to come, I was able to obtain a very good idea of how the loom should look properly assembled, as well as assisting with the warping.  I then used this knowledge to assemble my loom on Monday while waiting for the oil company to perform their annual tune-up and cleaning.  This gave me the perfect amount of time to polish, assemble, and test my Union Loom.  I am so very excited for my warp to arrive so I can get started working with this loom.  Below Please find a picture that I found on letgo of the kind of loom I own.

Image result for union 36 loomI also heard from my handyman that after a really bad reaction to a steroid his doctor put him on for his back, apparently hallucinations played a part, he will be back this week to work on finishing the paneling in my studio space.  He knows of people that can use almost all of the debris left in the space, so hopefully by next weekend I will have a clear area that I can begin designing as my studio.

Regarding my studio, I already have two floor looms, a plant stand that should be good for dyeing, a heavy duty storage rack that should be good for storage, two rolling little craft carts, two little rugs for my wheel and other coverage, as well as an amazing rolling chair that should be good for most of my sitting needs.  I am still running an internal debate over whether I am going to move my kitchen table out to the garage and put my 16 shaft loom there, purchase a new table and use the 16 shaft on that, or just keep that loom in the house.  Part of the decision making process is going to depend on how much room there will be left once I have 2 floor looms, a storage rack, and a dye center set up in the garage.  Already the grey water from my rain barrel has come in handy washing my hands after hauling my garbage cans around.

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

My New Loom and Purchases

I was recently gifted a Union counter balance loom with 2 harnesses.  The loom is slightly dismanteled, so I have the opportunity to clean, reassemble, and oil all of the loom before I get started.  This will be a great way to get to know my new loom.   The loom came with a steel reed, which was already slightly rusted. Since the weaving width is 40″, and I would like to weave sometime this winter on this loom, I decided to price and purchase a stainless steel reed.  This type of reed does not rust and can be cut down to size relatively easily (there is a store in town that will do this for me for free).

I was originally planning on obtaining this from Woolery in addition to the spinning wheel maintenance tools I will need for my spinning class in October.  Fortunately for me, I also checked on Paradise Fibers, They had the reed that I need, a little shorter than I planned but that will work out well, as well as a coupon.  For orders over $170 they would give you $30 off.  Since the reed itself was $140 this means that I was able to get a second 10 dent heddle for my Ashford Sample-it loom.  This means that for $3 (the heddle was originally $33) I will be able to experiment with 2 heddle patterns, and doubleweave, on my rigid heddle loom.   Admittedly, while I was purchasing that I went a little overboard.

I Obtained the spinning supplies I am going to need, a 50th anniversary shuttle, and carpet warp from Woolery.  Since I am going back onto a 6 day a week work schedule, 10PM 3 nights a week, I would like to have my ‘entertainments’ up and ready to go as soon as possible.  My handyman is still working on getting the paneling up in my studio, so he is going to have to work around my new loom now.  I hope by time the days start to get shorter I will have my new loom, and my older floor loom, warped up for making rugs.  My older, gifted, floor loom is entirely metal and a 4 shaft loom originally used for therapy.  2-3 years ago I spent the entire summer scraping, scrubbing, oiling, and repainting this loom.  It still looks a bit scruffy, however I managed to get all of the moving parts ready to go.

Once my studio is paneled my Handyman has offered to haul my metal loom over there, and I will take the time to completely go over it one more time.  I believe that each of these looms have an average of 2 yards loom waste (so much yardage) so in order to create even a 1 yard rug I will need to plan on a 3 yard warp.  Cones of warp are about $8 for 800 yards (sounds like a lot right) for the 40′ loom at 10 epi that is 400 yards.  Oops, 2 yards loom waste, so 800 yards covers the loom waste.  So for me to weave anything I will need at least 2 cones of warp.  I know, I do not have to weave the entire width, however I would like to see what the results would be.  $16 for a rug really is not that expensive.  I believe that I have plenty of fabric for the weft, no worries about that.

The plans above are actually for the new 2 shaft loom since I know what the weaving width is off-hand.  I will need to re-measure the weaving width of the metal loom to see where it falls and plan a warp for that loom as well.  There are many more exciting patterns available for the 4 shaft loom, I would like to see what an undulating twill will look like woven as a rug.  I do still have my cotton scarf on my rigid heddle loom, my bamboo scarf on the guild’s table loom, and my kitchen towels on my little table loom.  These are presently in my studio underneath the house, I do not believe I will move them into the garage, however I may change my mind.  The last loom that I will need to make a decision about is my 16 shaft loom.  I am seriously thinking about moving my kitchen table out to the  new studio, warping the 16 shaft loom with my cotton-linen yarn, and knocking out some amazingly patterned curtains for the kitchen.  Again that is going to have to wait until the paneling is up, however I hope that will be very soon.

Well, all of this weaving talk has left me excited to get started!

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!!

Progress On My Studio

Okay, so late this past winter a contractor that was recommended to me by a friend and colleague started work on getting my unattached garage turned into a studio.  Truthfully this has been very slow going, I think he started in March and it is now the end of August, however that is not entirely his fault.  It turns out that in addition to the mouse problem, we live in the country there are going to be mice if you have any holes at all, the garage did not have any gutters.  So after I purchased and had a new garage door installed, gutters were installed eliminating that problem.  The rafters were reinforced, apparently they had not been and the entire structure was leaning a bit, and a new door frame was installed.  The entire building is now insulated, however two weeks ago the wiring shorted out.  I received a phone call saying that things would be delayed due to the flames shooting out of the wall.  Needless to say, I am happy that this happened when my handyman was there and not when I was by myself.

Now the wiring is fixed, and the last things to do are install the paneling and haul my stuff over there.

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The new garage door and doorframe look amazing, one of the gutters runs into a rain barrel.  It is going to be amazing that I can use grey-water for dyeing and possibly washing fleeces.

Right now the entire thing does not look like much, however it really is quite a bit of space.  I have a metal floor loom that I plan on installing so that I can finally weave the rag rugs I want to.  I procured a potting stand for a steal that I believe will be amazing for dyeing.  I also bought an ergonomic rolling chair so that I can, hopefully, avoid any back issues, as well as a heavy duty storage rack.  Once I see how much room I have left over I will have to consider weather I am going to install my 16 shaft table loom out there, or keep that in the house.  Now that I think about it, it might make sense for me to just move my old kitchen table out into the garage for my table loom instead of purchasing a new one.  I already am going to have to buy at least a heater for the garage and probably an air conditioner as well for when the summer hits.

It is my greatest hope that this will get done by October so that I can have everything ready to go by time winter really hits.  With the new door, and relatively air tight structure I should be able to spend some time weaving and dyeing throughout the winter.  Since I have a mild form of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, I believe that having a place that I can do some work that does not give me easy access to an area that I can just lay down and sleep will help me to keep my spirits up throughout the winter months.

Remember to keep Living Life a Little More Abstract!

Tour de Fleece 2019

Before beginning the meat of this post, I want to state: I know that there has been a lot of politics involved in the crafting community in 2019.  I am glad to be able to support diverse pattern makers, yarn suppliers, and more.  I believe that the BIPOC crafting community as well as the LGBTQ+ community should have a voice.  I am not willing to comment further on the political actions that some private websites and communities have taken.  Onto the crafting!

Tour de Fleece 2019 has started!  This is a roundup of my first week, it’s sort of pitiful.

Tour de fleece 2019

Above are the fibers that I am going to spin this year, mostly the Shetland Moorit that I did not get finished with the Hap-Along.  I have been concentrating somewhat on the crocheted sweater that I hope to have completed by September as well as looking for a full-time position.  Due to these distractions I have not accomplished as much spinning as I had hoped, though I have managed to spin 4 of the last 7 days.  I have made significant progress on my sweater, however it does not look like much right now so I did not bother to take a photo.

Hopefully next week I will have more to report, especially since I will have had my Dyeing Day with the Weaver’s Guild.  That reminds me, I’d better wind my cotton warp this week!

Happy Crafting and remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Pi Shawl Finished!

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I finished this shawl before 8 am Sunday May 5, 2019.  Since I began this shawl April 16th, this is pretty good.  Completely unblocked it looks like the shawl is about 24 inches wide.  I am hoping that the phrase, “Oh, that’ll block right out” is true.  The center puckers, the edges don’t want to lay flat, the lacy bits don’t show up very well.  Aargh!  So, I am going to throw this in the wash when I get home with some other stuff (the way I think my sibling will…) Hmm….I don’t want my sibling washing this.  They will not know how to block it….I’ll tell them if they don’t get it dirty it doesn’t need washed.  If they do I’ll pay the postage send it home and I’ll clean it.  A little fussy, but it’ll work.  Okay, that being said, I’m going to throw it in with some wool wash and lukewarm water to give it an initial wash.  Then I’ll block it aggressively and hope that it stretches to about 40″.  I originally wanted the shawl to be about 60″ (my wingspan) but this will have to do.  Perhaps my next will be a different size.

I very much enjoyed knitting this Pi Shawl, though I believe that one skein of fingering weight yarn is probably too little yarn for a shawl with this much straight stockinette stitching.  Should the shawl have more lace elements, and therefore more holes making the yarn stretch further, then this might have been enough yarn.  Given that information I believe that I will buy sock yarn in pairs of skeins from here on out so that I have the opportunity to make two pairs of socks or a really rocking shawl.  I will also test this theory by taking one of the single skeins of sock/fingering yarn I have and trying out a half pi shawl.  If my (pretty bad) math is accurate, this means that I should be able to get to the…Okay so I tried to draw this out and write it out to figure things out, then I had to admit I cannot.  If I were to knit along with my patterning then I would stand a chance, but just sitting here and trying to imagine it, not going to happen.  Due to this, I believe that I am going to do three things.

1) Search ravelry for a fingering weight half-pi shawl.  If I really like it I will buy it

2) Check the BluPrint papers for the shawl construction sheet and use  that information to begin ‘writing’ a pattern for a shawl

3) Trawl my stashed yarn on Ravelry for what kind I would like to use.

Fortunately with the MyBluPrint class I was able to discover the ratios that I need to make my own shawl with an approximate depth of 18 inches.  This should be enough to come about mid back on me.  With the help of the website “New Stitch A Day” I was able to narrow down, without being overwhelmed, my knitted on border choices to 4.  This may be revised at a later date.  Since all four of the borders involve techniques I do not know off hand I plan on using them to create bookmarks so that I can:

A) Practice

B) Block

C) Gauge Yarn used

D) Gauge size of edging when finished

Now I just have to Woman Up and Cast On!

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract