One Week Later

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Shipping

Since my last post several stores have been forced to close their doors temporarily until this crisis is over.  This has slowed down their shipping, but usually not stopped it entirely.  My list is in no way comprehensive, just the stores that I have subscribed to their newsletter in the past.

Purl Soho is offering free shipping, I took advantage of this and purchased some colors of crewel wool to try since I am planning a Crewel Embroidery class in the near future at my public library.  If I post a demonstration video, like I am planning, then I will add a link here.

Jimmy Beans Wool is offering free shipping through the end of March, not long now.  I love the Wool Watcher deals for some really amazing specials.  I took advantage of both, getting the print version of the 2015 Interweave Press Folk Knitting magazine, a $14 value, for $4.  Not having to pay shipping just added to the extreme deal.

We are Knitters is offering free shipping on all of their products through March 28, so hurry on this one.

Leading Men Fiber Arts is offering free shipping on orders over $10 for the duration of the pandemic, I plan on taking advantage of this when I get my bills paid for the month and see what I have left over.

Abundant Yarn Online has free shipping for newsletter subscribers, that one expires in mid June so I suggest jumping on that bandwagon.

Harrisville Designs is offering a ton of free patterns, however no free shipping.  My mom loved making potholders from loopers so I purchased their ‘pro’ sized loom and took advantage of the download of two free pattern books.  Later on I will see if I have the dexterity to make some potholders.

Kraemer Textiles is having an automatic 20% off of orders of $20 or more and free shipping over $50.  Not unlimited free shipping but still a generous offer for a small business.

Pig of the Month BBQ is offering free shipping if you are a carnivore.

In these troubling times, I highly recommend supporting small businesses where you are able.

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

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!

Bargain Hound

When it comes right down to brass tacks I tend to be a bargain hound, I find it very hard to resist a good deal.  This, of course, gets me into a bit of trouble, but who needs groceries some weeks when I’ve got yarn?  It isn’t quite as bad as that, but I do stock on freezer meals when they are on sale so I don’t have to worry about getting something for dinner some days.  Part of that is the fact that between my 3 jobs I work 6 days a week therefore cooking is a luxury not an every day thing.  Enough of my digressions, the point of this is that I subscribe to a lot of different crafting sites mailing lists so that I can take advantage of bargains when I come across them.  Some are well worth my time, some I can do without.  My weaknesses come in the form of under $10 bargains, especially those touted as half-off.

If something is under $10 and I can use it, I will probably pick it up.  With under $20 I tend to take some time to think about it, will I actually use it, do I have enough of this already, etc. then I buy it or not.  Anything over $20 has to be something that I have been thinking about/craving for at least 2 weeks before I even consider it.  This causes me some problems with the independent knitting patterns for sale on Ravelry.  I know that it took you quite some time to come up with your pattern and you are trying to make a living off of it, but at $7.50 it is a bit expensive for me, especially if it is novelty and not like a sock or a sweater.  This brings me to the new quagmire I have gotten myself into, Happily Hooked, a digital magazine I subscribe to, is having a 26 week course called the Stitch Mastery Program starting tomorrow, and guess what?  It was under $10.

This course, for non members, is $20.  It comes with 26 weeks of learning a new stitch every week complete with videos and 2 projects for each stitch.  So my bargain hound soul is singing with the idea of 52 projects in 26 stitches, and six months of learning for $1O.  Those of you thinking about the hooks, yarn, etc. I have a ton of that from Mom.

While I did not need another project/set of projects, I am very happy to be learning yet another new skill.  I think that 2019 is going to be a year of learning.  When I get working on the projects I will let you know more.

Happy Crafting!

Ravelry: What is this?

Have you ever wished that there was a way you could go to a website and see what yarn you have and what projects they might be good for?  Is it a dream of yours to be able to share your Love of All Things Sherlock Holmes and your Love of All Things Knitted/Crocheted with a group of like minded people?  Do you want somewhere that you can see what yarn/fiber/tools/wheels/looms people are willing to trade?  Have you ever had a dream where there was a magical website that knew what yarn you had and could suggest patterns that you could knit/crochet with that exact yarn?

Well, Ravelry is all of that and more (Except the magic part, you have to enter your stash in but it does make suggestions, it rocks like that).  Now I can already hear you advanced to intermediate crafters saying “I am not spending my precious crafting time taking three years to enter my stash into anything, no way, no how.”  To that I will say, “Start with your newest acquisition, then make some project pages, and go from there.”  While I do know someone that inherited their grandmother’s stash and fully intends to put that entire stash into her Ravelry account, that is not something that you have to do.  Like any other tool this is as useful as you make it, but if something overwhelms you then you can give that part a miss, (this is what I keep telling myself is my reason for not putting my stash in there).

To start you need to create a Ravelry Account.  From there I did a search on what interested me and joined several groups.  Okay, I joined a lot of groups, darn my varied interests.  Fortunately the active threads of the group tend to float to the top of that groups feed so you can see what people are talking about, and peek in on what they are up to.  I really enjoy checking out my feeds, especially since I can organize them into different tabs, Podcasts, Everything Else, and Literary Interests.  Since I have really become interested in listening to podcasts, and discovered the Sherlock and Cthulhu boards, I have taken advantage of the tabs to get a bit more organized.  Eventually I hope to create more tabs such as Sales, Weaving, and Spinning.  Instead of doing that I am creating this post, lol.

In addition to the  interactive elements your Notebook allows you quite a bit of creativity and organizational capabilities.  Inside the Notebook menu you have options like:

Projects, Handspun, Stash, Queue, Favorites, Friends, Groups & Events, Needles and Hooks, Library, Message Box, Blog Posts, Contributions, Purchases, and Upload a Photo.

Whew, that is quite a bit to get through.  Some of them are fairly obvious, Favorites are favorite patterns/yarns.  Friends are the friends that you have made within ravelry, message box is like your e-mail inbox, purchases are patterns that you have purchased within ravelry, and Upload a photo is where you can upload a photo to add to your stash/comments/etc.  This function does cost a nominal fee every year, I think $5.

*Projects, these are your current WIPs or Works in Progress.  You can choose your yarn, pattern, progress, name your project, and show off to everyone.  This is a great way to get people interested in what you are working on and also to give yourself some motivation to continue.  As a general rule people are very encouraging and helpful!

*Handspun, if you are a spinner (or just like to buy other people’s handspun) then this is the tab for you.  You can upload information about your yarns, and keep track of what handspun you have available to work with.  There are some great suggestions for information you might want to include in your description of your yarn, some you might not have even thought of but that will help you decide what you want to do with your handspun in the future.

*Stash, okay so this is pretty obvious and I have covered it pretty extensively in an earlier paragraph, but I cannot emphasize it enough.  Once Ravelry knows what yarn you have and how much of it, it Makes Suggestions about Patterns.  That really does rock.

*Queue If you know that you are going to be working on a particular pattern next with a particular yarn, put it in your Queue so that your friends know, and so that you don’t forget what you bought that yarn for.  This is a great way to keep track of what future projects you might want to work on.

*Needles and Hooks Say you are out at your LYS (Local Yarn Store) and you want to know if you have a set of size 8DPN (double pointed needles) for the yarn you are looking at.  Do you buy another set just in case you don’t or do you buy the last three balls of that color and hope you have the needles at home?  You don’t do either, you check your Ravelry page and see Oh, yes I have those needles so I’ll buy the extra yarn instead.  While I’m on Ravelry Anyway I’ll just add this yarn to my stash, oh look at that pretty pattern I can make with that extra yarn!

* Library  I love the library function, I am able to add patterns that I find/purchase on Ravelry as well as patterns that I have available to me through my own book collection.  I have not had a chance to go through my mothers (many decades) of patterns that she has accumulated, but as I discover my own interests/passions I am finding that I can record what patterns I have acquired and where I can find them for future use.  Actually that is one of the most useful tips I found on Ravelry.  As I get a new Magazine, mark it in my stash and mark what patterns are found in that issue.  That way if I go back and look for a pattern I can find it in my library and know which magazine to look for it in.

*Blog Posts  Ravelry is linked up with my blog and so I can see my blog posts, and others can see my blog posts right from Ravelry.  This is a good way to obtain some exposure for my blog.

*Contributions If you are a pattern designer, or if you spin/paint/dye your own yarn then this is where you can make contributions to the fiber arts community, whether for free or for profit.

As you can see, Ravelry is a great way for you to get organized as well as sharing your love of fiber arts with a lot of like-minded individuals.  Whether your love is very general or very specific, if you are organized/would like to be organized/have no interest in organization at all Ravelry has a place for you.  This is a great resource, that I under-utilize, but I hope to become more active in the near future.

Happy Crafting!

 

Pinterest Rocks for Fiber Arts (and a lot of other things too)

I know, I am currently at MS&WF but I’m posting this, What?  Okay so I have written this post earlier and put it up while I’m away because, it is important information that I think people should know, and I am going to be a bit busy right when I get back so I am not sure when I’ll get a chance to express my excitement over MS&WF.  This is, hopefully, the start of a mini-series every few weeks about different digital resources available to crafters that they might not be aware of, or might not have thought of that way.

There are amazing websites/resources out there that I really want to share with you and help you to understand how they fit in with your creative journey.  When I think of methods of creative discovery, Pinterest is one of the first websites I think of.  I will freely admit that I often do not use my resources to their fullest capabilities.  Pinterest is one of those resources, but I really do love it for what I use it for.  I know, that is one of the most confusing sentences ever.  For me Pinterest is inspiration personified, the very essence of every cool picture on the internet in one accessible place, where I can choose what I really love and want to look into further (for free, and with the permission of the pinner.)  I cannot claim it as my personal work, unless it is, but I can use the pictures to inspire my own creativity, instruct me on a technique or craft, or just cause me to pause and think further on something.

When you get started with Pinterest you need to sign up using an e-mail address.  From there you begin by creating boards.  I have boards ranging from Knitting, Sewing, Fiber Lust (all of the really pretty fibers I want or want to make), Cleaning, Cute stuff, Stuff I want in my House, etc.  I have a ‘secret’ board of stocking stuffers, since I really love to buy little useful things that I can give to family and friends.  You really could use this to inspire almost anything.  I have recently created a Mood Board where I put my color inspiration, and I hope to use this at a future date to help me create batts for spinning.  There are plenty of businesses that use these to advertise their goods, and I can easily see myself using this to manage my stash at some point.  I know that Ravelry has similar options to manage their stash within that website, but for my immediate needs Pinterest is faster.  I will be exploring some of the great options on Ravelry in the near future.

If you are looking to upload original pieces to pinterest there is a plus sign near the bottom right of the page when you are on pinterest.  If you press this you almsot always get a message stating that you can get their browser button and use that to pin items, if you hit Not Now then the entire box disappears.  When you press the plus sign a second time you are able to choose to upload a pin.  Your persistence is rewarded, from here you can add a caption, or metadata if you are a librarian or information professional, and pin to a board.  If you are using a personal computer, or if you do not share a work computer, it might be well worth it to obtain the browser button.

In addition to creating your own boards and searching for pins that mesh with your interests Pinterest gives you the opportunity to follow the pins of others.  If you have a favorite business/dyer/etc. or just some friends that have the same interests as you then you can follow their boards, or accounts, to see what they pin and obtain inspiration from there.  Pinterest will also send you e-mails, sometimes a lot of e-mails, suggesting pins and boards.  Sometimes these suggestions are very helpful, sometimes they are just annoying. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Pinterest, I am certain that there are ideas out there I haven’t even touched on, but I hope that this helps some.

If you are looking to start a new project, start a new craft, or just need some inspiration then Pinterest is a great place to start.  Whether you want to learn more about coupon clipping, bobbin lace, sprang, bullet journals, cleaning, or just need some new recipes, Pinterest really does have it all.

Happy Crafting!