February This Week

One of the weaving guilds I belong to assigned plaids as the winter program, I don’t believe that the other guild set up a winter program this year, Upon realizing that Wednesday is February 1st. I realized that I had better get started on this! I wound up a 12,6,3,1 non mirrored warp in 3 repeats for little bookmarks. I put the sett through the reed at about 15epi. Currently I am working on threading it in a straight twill through my heddles. I have not made much progress on warping up my larger loom, but I think I have another inch warped.

I had an opportunity to explore the local art studio that offers lessons and other activities. Since it was an open house event I made a little ceramic fortune cookie, and then I signed up for a 1 day wheel exploration to see if my weak left wrist will prevent me from using a wheel. They have amazing bisque to glaze at great prices. Including the studio fee all of the items pictured are under $25 to glaze.

I also explored their sister organization that offers music and art lessons. I got to play a violin, double bass, and look at other instruments. I ordered an inexpensive, but well reviewed, violin from Amazon. I plan on trying it out for 2 weeks and then returning it if it does not work out. If I do alright with trying this out I will look into signing up for lessons.

Finally, I have gotten around to exploring the mini electric wheel that I purchased using Kickstarter. I love how it is working out. While it doesn’t stick wonderfully to the table, the spin is nice and the on off switch allows me to keep the speed constant. It also fits perfectly in my Train Case from Namaste which is owned by Jimmy Beans Wool. On a related note I realized that I needed to get a replacement cord for my spinolution electric wheel.m which should be arriving relatively soon.

I have had a fun week of exploration, and I hope to have more progress next week! Until next time, I have a warm veggie filled stew waiting for me, Live Life A Little More Abstract!

One Week In

Okay, so I am one week into 2023 and my resolution has (mostly) held. This year I am going to be teaching 3-4 classes outside of my normal work. One of those is going to be a needle tatting class. I decided to purchase supplies for 10 people to be able to take the class, I wanted to make the purchase before prices to up. It will be about $10 per person to take the class and this just covers the supplies. Given that I hope to be given a speaker’s fee which I can then put toward some future classes I would like to take. Other than those supplies and a case to put them it I have bought the supplies I need to finish my holiday plans and some fabric I was missing for a couple of cousin quilts, as well as the batting for a donation quilt.

Every day I have managed to do something to make progress on my various crafting plans. The 16 shaft loom has the warp through the front beater bar, it is just waiting for me to thread it through the heddles next. I have spun a couple more puffs from my Unicorns in the Library fiber ( split it into hand length puffs to give me smaller achievable goals). I have half of the fabric I purchased torn into the right size for my embroidery project (for the family), and I stitched up 4 pieces this morning with another 2 designed and ready for me to hit the button when I get home. I have also signed up for three different ‘summits’ that will happen this week. One is Stitch Camp scheduled to begin next week, then the Knitting Summit the week of the 23rd, and finally selling your crafts for a profit the 26th- 28th of January. I am not sure how much I am going to get out of these classes, however since they are free I am going to give them a good shot.

The last thing I have been doing recently is going through my Amazon e-magazines, and taking screenshots of the projects and instructions that I want to keep for now. That way if I decide I want to get rid of Kindle Unlimited I will not lose access to those projects. Okay, that is all for this week (I will try to add photos later if I remember).

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

Getting My Groove Back

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

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

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

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

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

Always Check

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

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

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

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

Accidental Hiatus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

…The Saga Continues

The ongoing washer and dryer saga continues. My handyperson managed to get the entire area prepped for installation on Friday. I received a call that there was trouble with the truck again and he would make sure I was on the delivery for Monday. Okay, not great, but I had Monday off so it was not as bad as it could be. Over the weekend I cancelled my Saturday plans since I needed a weekend to be an introvert and apparently I would have Monday delivery and Tuesday Installation. I did do crafty things over the weekend that I will detail in the next paragraph. When I called on Monday about 9:30 am to find out what time I could expect delivery, only to find out that they had me scheduled for this Friday. I told them this would not work because I was working, however I had Friday the 1st off since I was working Saturday the 2nd. So instead of a delivery followed by installation followed by laundry I’m looking at a trip to the laundromat and another weekend taken up by trying to get these installed! Yay.

The crafty content has been pretty fun. I managed to install the quilt hangers to get the planning panel to hang properly. I put two up for the corners and I’ll put the other two up soon to hold the center of the panel since it is sagging pretty badly. I do like how it is working though, I have a better idea of how parts of the quilts are going to turn out.

I put together my quilting frame and hung up hooks that are intended as bike hooks. I’m using these padded bike hooks to hold my three quilt rollers on the wall and out of my way. Since the hooks came in a pack of 6 I’m using two others to hold my 36” rigid heddle loom on the wall as well. I’m so pleased about these storage options, and now I am contemplating about installing shelves on my wall. I always seem to forget that walls a great option for additional storage without taking up floor space.

I did take the folk embroidery class on Sunday, this was the third of three classes, and now I am relatively confident in creating an embroidered piece that can then be used as an appliqué piece. I”m also fairly confident that I’m going to be taking a dress making class that seemed like a ton of fun for the participants whom were all different sizes.

My weekend was not all stitching and hanging things on the wall however, though I did get my crafty pictures hung up in my second room, I also spent some time opening up slightly compacted fiber on my drum carder. I now have about 7 fluffy batts for me to spin from come next week. This week I’m doing a mending class and next week we are mostly working on spinning and weaving demonstrations. I think that everyone is going to have a ton of fun, I’ll be using a couple of my fluffy batts as well as some bast fibers for demonstrations. I have a very small skein of flax spun up, I need to spin another little skein that I then boil for about 2 hours.

Okay, that is it for right now. I’m currently debating if my wifi problems are the modem going out or if I need signal boosters more than I thought. Until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Scattershot

This pretty much describes where I am right now, scattershot. Crafting content will commence after this paragraph of catching up, if you want to skip ahead look for the ****. For the life of me I cannot believe that April is next week! The closing of the house is, hopefully, going to be in about 3 weeks. That will be a huge load off of my mind, and begin to give me the resources I need to make some changes to my new home. I did get the carpet taken out and the pink desk moved into the corner. I am still working on making the space as usable as I can. My energetic period took an abrupt downswing over the past couple of days, however that might be due to weird weather patterns and the re-emergence of my allergies. I had a stroke of productivity earlier this week and also joined my local gym. I started off strong and went twice this past week, it should have been 3 times however I wanted to go at 5 am to get back to my house by 7am and get ready for work, but the gym opened on the weekends at 6am and I thought 8am was cutting it too close. I plan on going tomorrow, Monday, at 5am and getting in the shower at home by 7am to be at work by 8:45. While that is also cutting it close I open M-W this week and do not want to have an entire week between gym visits, it will make the entire endeavor an unpredictable failure. My decision to go to the gym is prompted by a trifecta of circumstances; I plan on going back to Nutrisystem when I get the settlement from the house (and therefor don’t have the extra bills associated with the old house to contend with) and hope to do so more reasonably since the initial was essentially a starvation diet with no exercise component added in, I need to get stronger for my personal health/well being/self esteem; My sister and I hope to go on a special trip in the next couple of years and the theme park we hope to visit recommends that you are able to walk for 7-10 miles (which I cannot do right now without serious regret).

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On to the crafting content. There honestly is not a lot for me to report this week. I am still plugging away with gluing down pieces for my first EPP Project. I love how the colors are coming together, though I do plan on doing a little more organization for my second project. I obtained a case to keep all of my pieces in, since without it I was concerned I would drop everything everywhere and lose something.

As I finish pasting down one type of block I then color them in on the chart obtained from the Tula Pink kit, this is a photocopy for my personal use since I hope to make more than one of this quilt. There are some of the tiny triangle that have not been colored in, this is deliberate. As you can see on the far right hand side of the photo there are some triangles out of a white fabric with colored books on it, that will go in the ‘uncolored’ sections.

I had so much fun at the brown paper bag book binding class, the results were amazing. The embroidery class was also a ton of fun, I even managed a french knot. Then just to make sure it was not a fluke I recreated the knot at home on my own! Of course I do not have any photos of my embroidery, but I do have a picture of the finished bound book.

I believe that is all the news worth posting about this week, as things progress I will keep you updated. I hope to finish pasting down the pieces for my EPP quilt this week, there are 471 pieces to this quilt and I have 246 completely glued down with another 30/50 of one shape completed. That will bring me up to 296/471. It will be interesting to see how far I get and whether I get impatient enough to begin stitching some parts together before I have everything glued *spoiler* I’m probably going to get impatient. Until next time remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Start Strong

January 2022 has given me a lot of opportunities to learn and experiment with crafting. I took part in the Stitch Camp Challenge by TextileArtist.org and while I will not be joining their Stitch Club (since I have too many other interests going on right now) I would certainly recommend it if stitching art is your passion. Using paint, stitches, and wonderful instruction I was able to create a piece of textile art…that I’m not certain what I am going to do with.

That is not the only class I took this January, during Virtual Knitting Live sponsored by Vogue I took a Tunisian Crochet Class with Natalie Thomas where we learned the basics and a bit more, as well as a knitting color work class with Margaret Holzmann that shows how to create knitted blankets that look like quilts piece by piece. Both of the instructors were amazing, and I look forward to experimenting more with the techniques shown. For the tunisian crochet I have started crocheting up the cuff of a sock (using a pattern I already had from a crochet sock book by Rhon Strong) in a rainbow color yarn I already owned. For the knitted class I am going to try and finish the piece as a pillow, I was so happy to see that it fit perfectly on the pillow form I already had, so I will just have to knit up a back for it.

All of these projects, are using yarns that I already had, so yay for using stash!

The final project I am working on for this month is weaving up some alpaca yarn I had on hand into a narrow strip of cloth. Hopefully I can then turn that cloth into a pair of gloves or mittens, since my hands are almost always cold. This is going to be the first piece of weaving that I have created specifically to be sewn as a separate project, so fingers crossed.

I have a couple of other projects in the works, however one is going to wait until my sewing machine is back from the repair shop and the other is a ‘secret project’ for another couple of months.

Happy Crafting, don’t take things too literally, and remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Progress and Reflection

I have made progress on knitting my skirt as well as the tapestry challenge. I do not have photos of either accomplishment, though I can tell you I moved the top of my weaving so that it is closer to the bottom before I started experimenting with weaving slits. I’m using a pick up stick to open a shed then weaving the top and bottom at the same time before pulling the stick out to switch sheds. It’s fun to see the piece grow. I’ve also started my second skein of yarn on the skirt about an inch into the second panel.

The classes that I took for Vogue Knitting Live were amazing. The Intarsia Class was taught by an instructor in England, she was so patient and kind. She is WithCherriesOnTopToo on instagram, just an amazing knitter and teacher. She made the techniques very accessible and easy to learn, she was very patient with the students that did not catch on too quickly, and she was great about tagging me back when I tagged her on my Insta posts.

I managed to finish my piece the same day I started it, knitting through the start of my other classes until those projects got rolling. I did not finish weaving in my ends until this morning however, I still plan on blocking this out lightly. I love how this turned out, I know that there are probably some mistakes, I’m hoping a quick wash evens out the starts of each colorwork section. I’m so excited to see what else I can do with this, it also has reminded me that I took the double sided knitting class last month, or maybe the month before, and I still have not cast the shawl on. A friend told me to place stitch markers every 10 with a special one at 50s, so I’m going to do that when I wind the skeins up at home. NO FEAR, okay so I have fear, I’m just not going to let it stop me.

I loved my crochet socks class, it was a great reminder that crochet can look great and socks don’t have to be scary. We cast on the toes, well started crocheting, and used bulky yarn to practice two types of heels. I’m definitely going to stick with the heel flap, though I’ll probably put stitch markers in each step that will need picked up later. I adore how the colors are showing up in this yarn, the toe is done by crocheting in a spiral while the body of the foot is done by going back and forth in rows. The spiral makes it hard to keep track of rows, while the back and forth leaves more of a ladder structure, they are both very interesting. I loved my instructor, the genius behind ACCROchet and her passion for crochet. As she said, “I can knit, I just choose not to.”

The natural dyeing class was interesting and informative. I loved that the instructor mentioned that in some practices, such as witchcraft, individuals might choose to dye with certain plants not for the colors they obtain but for the properties that the plant might imbue into the fabric. I love this concept, and I really enjoyed the thought experiments that she brought forth about how to ecologically obtain material and dispose of the same. Her main thought is that the dyepot should be the last place that dyestuff is used after medicinal and culinary uses. She was a fascinating instructor with the unfortunate need to use the word ‘Shit’ in almost every other sentence. I understand that we are all adults, however it just did not do anything to add to the conversation. I can understand that once in a while a bit of strong language is needed, or conveys what you want to convey best. I just cannot get why some need to use it every other word. Oh well, that combined with her disinterest in sending links (or putting them on her handouts) means that I will probably not take a class with her again. I will look at the resources I managed to screen capture (my stove where I was dyeing and my PC where I could take a note were three rooms away). The dyeing went well.

I dyed two skeins of tapestry wool and one length of white wool, pre mordanted using alum and baking powder (the mixture was all that I had on hand), in spring water. I also boiled the yellow onion skins in spring water to extract the dye for a bit over an hour. There is also a cotton bag, also mordanted in the same mix in my well water (I believe that I have an high iron content in my well water). I dyed up the skeins and wool in class last night, letting it set overnight before rinsing this morning. I simmered the second pot for about 30 minutes last night and another 30 or so this morning before adding the bag to simmer for an hour. I let that cool thoroughly, though I have not pulled it out to rinse yet. The first dyebath exhausted so I poured it down the drain before hanging up my dyed pieces to dry. The photos are in reverse process order.

I really enjoyed my time taking these classes, I love learning the new techniques and putting them to practice. Maryland Sheep and Wool is also holding their classes virtually, unfortunately they are holding them Monday-Friday so I cannot really attend any. That stinks. Oh well, this has been a great weekend and I hope that the trend continues through next week. I’ve tomorrow off for the federal holiday and plan on using the time to do some work around the house since it looks like I will not be moving in the next year or so, the realtor finally told me that he will need proof that I have 10-14% of the price of a house available even if I am pre-approved for a certain amount…I don’t have the scratch yet and will need time to save.

Until next time Remember to 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!