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 sever 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.

Walk-Throughs and Speed Bumps

**** Will denote the crafty updates, house content until then. Today the person buying the house I grew up in will be doing their final walk through. The sale should be finalized tomorrow, with the disbursements happening from there. I hope that this means I can finally get myself settled on a budget that I can stick to. Of course, it is Holy Week (if you’re Catholic…which I am but lapsed), so things are going to be a little strange anyway. Even though it is a religious holiday the secular world seems to come to a bit of a slow down anyway. I did look into the roof grant, only to be told that they were working on finalizing the application and they would have the forms ready in about 90 days…well I’ve needed something done since October so waiting until June/July to fill out an application that could cover 3/4 the cost of it…doesn’t seem like a bad idea at this point in time. When I get someone in to look at the bathroom I imagine I can ask them about the roof as well.

I did start back onto Nutrisystem, only for my monthly concerns to rear their head setting my plans back for a few days. After tomorrow I should be able to go back to my original plan. I am debating if I want to spend my 3 day weekend next week hiding or if I want to go to the buffet next Sunday since I believe they will have lamb, I Love lamb, and don’t want to buy/cook/clean up after cooking lamb this week. Either way I hope to spend at least part of next weekend planting my seedlings in the pots I will use to put them outside in. Yay! I was going to pot the plants this weekend but did not, and I don’t feel bad about that. I need to rest for a couple of days, maybe finish some projects so I’m ready to start some new ones when I am back on an upswing. I have not been to the gym this week, Friday the weather was miserable and I was starting to feel poorly, then Saturday I started to figure out why I was feeling poorly, then today I had work and there was snow on the car so…no. I know it is weird, however I do not plan on going to the gym on days where there is snow, at least not when I am on a tighter schedule. If the weather is warmer and the gym is open at least 3 hours before I have to be at work that will work, 2 hours for the gym (getting there, working out, getting back) and 1 hour to clean up for work, then I will go to the gym. If not, then my iron and cutting board are upstairs, my sewing machine is downstairs, If I feel really good I’ll go up and down my stairs for 10 minutes at a time, that got me sweating the last time I tried that.

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I took Friday and Saturday off, though I am working my other job today. I had made a ‘play date’ with a friend and former colleague to try out a solar dyeing technique, unfortunately the weather did not hold out, however we had a fun time anyway. She had some fabric she did not want to keep and offered it to me, one was a set of 5″ squares pre-sewn together into 4 patches. She told me that it might be good for a disappearing 4 patch, however I know I cannot machine sew the corners properly, no matter how much I try, so I believe I am going to edge the squares using a solid color and either make it into a baby quilt that I can practice my hand quilting on or as a pillow or something similar. She was also kind enough to gift me with a mat for my sewing machine to sit on with pockets in the front and her husband gifted me with a carved bunny that I will treasure. She has this upcoming week off and would like to show me to a quilt shop less than an hour away and I suggested next Saturday since I know I have that day off, not thinking that it was the day before Easter. Oops, I hope it happens but I understand if it does not.

This means that Saturday was a ton of fun, however I tend to drive myself mad sometimes. In preparation for Saturday (and to just get it done) I worked on getting my third quilt attempt finished. I like how it turned out, learned a lot of lessons, and think I am going to give hand quilting a try next.

Wrestling a quilt that fits the top of a queen sized bed through a domestic sewing machine that sits on one of those small square tables you can get from certain craft stores is NOT how I recommend quilting. It did the job, I have a quilted quilt with the binding sewn on the edges. I did a ‘wavy lines’ quilting pattern, which means I tried to do wavy lines and I’m just going with, “Sure, I wanted it to look like that” as my answer when I am questioned about the weird peaks, dips, and straight edges in my wavy lines. The quilting is about 5″ apart, the batting says that the quilting can be up to 8″ apart so I should be alright there. The binding is just the backing folded over like you would do for pot holders.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a Weaver’s guild meeting half-way between where I used to live and where I live now. I love the guild, and it was ironic that the meeting was held at their public library (where I had interviewed for a job 2 years ago). The meeting was lovely, I had a chance to pull out my spinning wheel and show some individuals how to spin. I also reminded myself how much I enjoy the quiet of spinning. I am presently thinking that I will spin on my front porch while watching the world go by. Of course in order to do this I need to get 2 things accomplished. I need to get the porch level again, it looks as though one board likes to swell in the rain which causes it to buckle the porch, and purchase a chair for my front porch. I have been looking online thinking that I would order one, however if I plan on using it for a spinning chair I really should get a good idea of how it feels before actually spinning in it for any extended length of time. I am hoping that this is a once every 30 years purchase. While in town I discovered that they have a quilt shop which I was thrilled to find out…until I looked at their selection. I know that I have particular tastes, and that I do not want to purchase fabric until I KNOW I like it and will use it. This means that I bought a small, simple, pattern and a bag of essentially colorful scraps and asked the owner to keep the change since that was the only way I could spend five dollars in the shop. I feel bad, but I am not buying fabric I cannot see a good use for. I do have plans to use the pattern as a sort of border for one of the panels I hope to create a quilt from next. I also have 3 jelly rolls, not to mention most of a black jelly roll, to still use. Well, I did not know until I was typing that up that I had really decided on the quilt panel next, however that makes sense. I am still working on my EPP Project.

I have started to figure out how I want to place the glued pieces for my first EPP quilt, I have 10 out of 25 pairs sewn for the second part and these bundles put together for the first part that I hope to start sewing soon. I am trying to get some long languishing projects worked on so that I feel a little more freedom to work on this huge project. I am about a dozen rows away from finishing the pillow that started with a new colorwork class that had me knitting what were almost quilt block pieces. I love how this looks and cannot wait to see it finished. I am a little apprehensive about how I am going to finish it since at present I am planning on knitting some extra rows of the back to create a flap that tucks inside the pillow. I thought about just seaming the pillow blank inside however if I ever need to wash it that would cause too many problems.

Next I hope to start getting projects ready for progress. I need to find a charm pack that will go with the panel I hope to work on so I can get that border started. My 16 shaft loom needs to be warped with the towel warp I wound so I can start weaving that up. I need to straighten out my Saori Loom’s warp so I can get back to using up some of that yarn. There is the possibility that we will be playing with weaving looms next month at the guild meeting so I should have my looms ready to be warped and played with, not to mention possibly finding the alpaca tweed yarn I bought to weave a blanket from. Possibly that got lost during the moth-ening though I hope not. Oh, on a not so fun note, I just realized with spring possibly on the way I should consider putting together the push mower I purchased so that when my lawn dries enough I can mow. yay.

I am honestly excited by all of the changes coming, to myself, my house, and my crafting. I have been finding by leaning into what I am feeling and what my body is trying to tell me I can get more done. Some of this is certainly down to having 1 full-time job, no person needing me to take care of them, as well as having the second house off of my shoulders. However I do believe by resting when I need to, finishing things when I have the urge, and starting (some) things when I also have the urge I am completing more than I ever have in the past. Normally I would have become overwhelmed by the quilt and stopped, instead I leaned into wanting to finish it, took it step by step and leaned into binding when I felt like it instead of waffling.

That is me for the week, it has been busy. I’m going to take the next couple of days to lean into recharging and see where the world takes me from there. I am uncertain if I will post next week, it will depend on how much I get done and how I am feeling. Until next time, Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Falling Hard for Quilting

So, the truth of the matter is when I start something that I enjoy I tend to fall very hard for that craft. Here are the quilt squares that I have made and that I am presently working on squaring up…

Spools were a theme then I moved onto other things. I love how everything is turning out, though I know that they are not perfect and will not be square in the end. I did have a binding mishap on a quilt I finished rather quickly and have learned what I did wrong to fix that in the future. On a similar note…quilting leads to fabric design. I know, not for most but go along with me here.

I have been watching episodes of Quilting Arts TV online via a monthly subscription, and it is giving me ideas. One of those ideas is about Cyanotype printing, or printing on fabric using sunlight/uv. I tried something similar withy Cyanotype paper last year for a program and absolutely hated it. Well, what I hated was that the results were not consistent. Some of the papers printed fine while others would not print at all. This made for disappointing results for several children and I hate disappointing children. I have already told my bosses that I am doing some experimenting but this is not going to be ready to go as a program until next year at the earliest. Of course, I cannot be content with just one exploration.

I am also playing with the ideas of block fabric printing, fabric painting, and wet fabric paint dyeing. There is a medium that can be used to turn acrylic paint into heat set fabric paint. Using that and some stamps I plan on giving block printing on fabric a try. Fabric painting is straightforward, use the acrylics with medium to paint onto fabric. The last is a little different, again on Quilting Arts TV they had a wet fabric painting technique that I would like to explore.

You may think me mad, however you cannot say that I am linear!

I was also fortunate enough to have been gifted a Janome sewing machine, it is a bit old but the manual is available online and I have been able to start sashing several squares already in hopes of turning them into a quilt top.

*Unrelated to crafting, I have had confirmation that the buyer of my family home has financing, so that will be one more worry off of my mind in a few weeks.*

Remember to Live Life in a way that is A Little More Abstract.

Falling into Autumn

Yes, I know that the title is quite cheesy. A quick update on life then into a craft I managed to work on during the past few weeks. The carpet dried quite well and the new dehumidifier is going strong. I do not believe that the carpet will need to be ripped up since I cannot detect any funky smells. This weekend I plan on putting the last of the kitchen and plastics I want to get rid of down to the curb for people to take and scrub the kitchen floor. This really is the last step to getting my house on the market, I’m nervous but excited.

Onto Crafting! In August I discovered something called Bengala Mud Dyeing. Well I could not let that go without looking into it further. One of the colors available went with the color scheme I am hoping to put in my new Living Room. To that end I decided I was going to dye 3 sets of Linen Curtains for the living room.

I started by running the plain, new curtains through the washer and dryer as I would anything else. I don’t really believe in babying my clothing/furnishings. By figuring out the weight of the curtains I decided I would need about 1/2 a cup of pre-fixer to dye all of the curtains. I used the grey water from my rain barrel to soak and squeeze the pre-fixer into all of the curtains. I let them soak overnight since I did this before I went to work one day. The next day I rinsed all of the curtains, again with grey water.

After that I let them sit for a few hours while I worked on other things. Later the same day I used some plastic storage containers to dye. Putting one piece of curtain, there were six total, into the container with enough water to cover the curtain. I then put some dye into the container and began to massage the mud into the fabric.

The massaging did take considerably longer than the 3-5 minutes recommended. I believe I massaged each piece for 10-20 minutes each. This was quite a bit of fun, and the results were quite interesting. I suspect that there were places that I did not manage to get enough fixative into the fabric since some of the panels look a little tie dyed.

My top recommendation, other than patience, with this type of dyeing is to not be disappointed in how dark the results are until you have thoroughly dried your pieces. I ran mine through the dryer and the very pale salmon color turned into a decently dark shade.

Each panel does look a little different, however I believe that they will be lovely in my new home.

Next week will be an update on my new Saori Loom and how things are going with that. Until then remember to live life in a way that is A Little More Abstract.

Life Derailed (in a good way)

First, since this seems to be of interest to people, for the first time since I was in High School (maybe middle school) I am under 200lbs. Nutrisystem really does rock. Next is a life update, so if you just want crafting content skip to the row of *********.

On Thursday I spoke with a financial advisor, he was supposed to be advising me on my 403b non-profit retirement account, instead I wound up spilling essentially the entirety of my financial concerns to him. He really helped me to see that I was ignoring the obvious solutions in favor of not having to ask for help, essentially being a stubborn, independent cuss. Due to his advice, my sisters advice, and an offer (and advice) from relatives, I am going to be putting almost all of the household items I want to keep in storage, moving to an apartment closer to work temporarily, and putting my childhood home up for sale. I hope to get all of this done by July, I’m thinking of seeing about an ‘I’m selling the house’ 3rd of July party so my friends, work colleagues old and new, can see the house and I can see the fireworks over the lake one last time, before I actually put the house officially on the market. There is about a million things I need to do first, however I have already started packing up. My sister is coming to town in about 10 days to sign some paperwork and we will probably work on getting some things taken to a storage unit at that time.

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If you skipped to the crafting content, the long and the short of the above paragraph is that I will be moving into an apartment temporarily and putting a lot of stuff into storage.

This past week was quite busy. I had a lot of fun with the crafting I was able to do, and a few cranky moments as well. Let’s start with the bad news. I had to put almost all of my wool yarn into my upright freezer as well as the freezer attached to my refrigerator. I saw a couple of moth corpses in some wool I pulled out of another area of the house and when I started to spin a bit of wool that had been stored downstairs a bug I am afraid is a carpet beetle fell out (it was dead, I simply became concerned). I have not been as attentive to the wool downstairs as I should be, one of the main reasons I need a smaller place, I just cannot get to everything. I am trying to keep myself looking on the bright side. I purchased a big bottle of lavender essential oil to keep the rest of the fiber/yarn (the stuff that did not fit) from getting into trouble. Since I will be moving and putting items into storage this is going to give me an opportunity to choose a couple of kits/projects to leave out and then I ‘have to’ work on them since I am going on a buying hiatus until I am settled into a new house. My sister does not know it yet, however I am going to make sure that my kits are near the front of the storage unit just in case, by some miracle, I finish the projects I am leaving out I will have access to some new ones without having to purchase anything.

I loved playing with my new Sprang loom, the technique is fun and easy! Well, mostly easy. When doing Sprang do NOT EVER take out all of your skewers holding the rows in place. I was getting to the middle and my fingers were not fitting very well with the skewers in so I decided to take the skewers out for the row…then messed up and I was not able to go back because the skewers were out. I cut down the middle and wound up tying the ends to make two shorted pieces. They are a great lesson and I love the structure. They are also not wide enough to be useful even as a misers purse since my fingers cannot get into it when it is sewn together. Oh well, the next piece will just have to be wider, I also plan on practicing with a circular warp to make the piece longer as well. I might as well just jump off the deep end!

When you boil up orange peels you had in the freezer for natural dyeing, try to then use the resulting dye before a week has gone by…I had to throw it out because some mold had decided to start growing on the surface. Lesson learned.

The sock heel flap is knit, now the entire thing is on a circular needle so I can work on the gusset. That is as far as the project has gotten, technically I have this entire month to finish this sock and knit the other two so I am giving myself a little bit of grace, however this gusset had best be finished by next week.

Okay, I think that is enough for one week. Next week will probably be me whining about having to pack everything (I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with my drum carder or Sizzix Big Shot). Until then, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Interesting Week (not really)

Now, before I start writing this post I would like to remind everyone that I have Never claimed to be a good, or fast knitter. That being said, it took me 8 days to knit the cuff for the second Anne of Green Gables sock by Paper Daisy Creations. I really love the pattern, I will be starting the lace portion today, and I adore the color in the Purl Soho yarn I purchased on clearance when I visited Los Angeles with my sister in 2019.

17 rows of knitting using pink yarn on size 2.25mm Addi Flexi Flip Knitting needles.

I have been spinning on the lovely green wool I received, it spins up like a dream. The pin roving drafts so smoothly it is practically effortless while also being very meditative. I am really enjoying the process. The 2 ply sample I created looks great, however I believe I will wait to see what next months box brings me before figuring out what I want to do with this single.

MAFA (MidAtlantic Fiber Association) is having their Bi-Annual event this June as a Virtual event. This means that I will finally be able to attend. I had to skip Maryland Sheep and Wool since they mostly had their classes during the week and…well….I still have to work. Fortunately one of the classes I wanted to take is a class learning how to make Sprang Lace. I contacted the instructor early and our conversation was a bit weird. I asked her if I could purchase the loom kit she was selling as a part of the class even if I miss out on getting into the class. She responded that it wasn’t really a beginner Sprang class (then why are you selling beginner supplies as the supplies?!?) but I could take her 6 week course over zoom to learn Sprang in preparation for the class. Well since the course was several hundred dollars, and at 4pm on a Thursday I had to pass. Instead I purchased the loom through a source she recommended and the video she produced. Now I am going to spend the next month teaching myself Sprang so I am ready for her class mid-June.

The only other crafty related content is that I am trying to figure out what I want to do in regards to spring/summer wear. Originally I was thinking about purchasing cloth to make a few skirts and blouses for myself, not only to learn to sew and be a bit more eco friendly, but to have clothing that fits. There are several flaws in that plan however, the first being that eco-friendly cloth costs at minimum $20 a yard and a skirt seems to take about 3 yards for a plus sized skirt. The Victorian Walking Skirt I am in love with would take over 5 yards and is intended to be lined. $60-$100 for a skirt, plus the cost of the pattern ($10-$20) would probably be worth it if I have a one-of-a-kind skirt that fits me. However, I am also hoping to get down to my goal weight, then have surgery to remove the excess skin. Yes, I know that the end goal is still about a year away. However, it seems sort of wasteful to spend that much money on a single piece in my wardrobe that I would hope to outgrow in a year (well lose enough weight same difference). Admittedly, I spent more than that on my current shoes. However, I wear those shoes every day and will polish them to be put away for the fall and winter next year. Because of this dilemma, I believe I am going to purchase relatively inexpensive pieces from Dharma Trading Co. that are made out of natural fibers in a relatively eco-friendly process. They are not the best in the world, and I am still going to have to do some dyeing and possibly modifying to have them looking the way I want them to, however this is better than purchasing all new materials.

I spent yesterday gathering all of the clothes in the house and washing them. This morning I set my ‘get ready for work alarm’ an hour early so I could try on the clothes while clean and almost ready for work. I found out that most of the clothing I have been unable to wear because it was too tight, is now too loose. There are a couple of scoop neck shirts that I have to pin in such a way that the neckline looks sort of like a keyhole neckline. This accomplishes two positive things and one negative. The positives are that I do not have to worry about my bra straps showing, and I do not have to worry too much about the odd stray hair (PCOS Stinks), however since this is not the original neckline it does tend to pouch out a bit looking weird. I tried to look up modifying necklines, I might have to see if there is such a thing as taking a dart out of a neckline. The only other major modification that I plan on making is to figure out the correct way to take in some of the width of my pant legs. I’m probably going to look at the Curvy Sewing Collective or similar sites. I understand that there are plenty of heavy people that carry their weight in the their thighs and legs (one of my friends and colleagues has this figure), however I carry mine in deposits on my back as well as an apron on my stomach. This means that I have rather shapely legs that are very lost in voluminous pant legs.

Okay, that is about it for the week. Knitting Socks, signing up for learning new skills, and trying to figure out a spring wardrobe. I am fortunate that I already have quite a few clothes, hopefully I can modify them to fit well with how I would like to present myself. I hope that everyone has an amazing week.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Fun and Busy Week

I did it! Well almost, I managed to finish the sock in 8 days! I have the next sock in the set cast on, though it does not seem to be progressing as quickly.

Yesterday the weaving guild I belong to had an amazing Ice Dyeing Day, where we learned how to take ice, silk cloth, and some vinegar water along with powdered dyes to create amazing works of art. I managed to mess up my folding so instead of meeting in the middle the point was on one edge, I think I figured out where I went wrong in case I decide to do this again…okay let’s be real, as soon as I have my bills under control I plan on ordering more silk from Dharma Trading Co to try this again.

The Raven Black was supposed to turn into its component colors, I’m pleased it stayed mostly black.

I could not bring myself to throw away the left over dye so I took some Grey I obtained from my Paradise Fibers Fiber of the Month Club Box along with some white I had to pan dye the fiber. I then took some left over dry fiber and decided to do a cold dye with that to see what it does.

I hope that they turn out nicely.

To round out an amazing week I received my installment from Ewethfulfibermill on Instagram. I was the lucky winner and had my choice of fiber of the month club box or yarn box, I chose the fiber and received this amazing gift.

I cannot wait to spin it up. That is all for this week (it is more than enough don’t you think?).

Happy Crafting 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!

Who Knew?

Who knew that starting a new full-time job would completely disrupt my schedule? Okay, so I probably could have guessed that. Despite this revelation I have managed to get quite a bit done in January. I did start my new job and while there are nuances I believe I still need to learn I have the broad strokes of what the job is going to entail understood. The rest of learning the job is simply going to be living the job and seeing what comes up. Hopefully I will start touring houses this upcoming week and getting my pre-approval finalized. Yay. Onto crafting.

Spin-Off Magazine decided to hold a Cowl-Along for 2021, for this project we are to spin and create a cowl from the spun yarn. I chose the Creepy Corriedale Wool I received from Paradise Fibers in my October 2020 Fiber of the Month Club Box as my base fiber. It spun up beautifully, then I started having some concerns.

The colors changed considerably once I had the yarn spun up, that did not concern me too much as I enjoyed the darker aesthetic. However when I plied the yarn onto itself for a test the problems became apparent.

A small piece of woven fabric, less than 1 inch by 1 inch with a metal weaving needle placed on top. The overall weaving is very dark with few distinct colors.

This view is a little too close, however you can see that the colors just turn to mud when the sample is woven against itself, I do not want a cowl that looks like mud. So we are back to more sampling. I spun up some black bamboo fiber, white wool received in the Dyeing box from paradise fibers, along with some grey kromski merino wool. Once I had the new sampling yarn spun I plied it with the corriedale I already had and created a sheet to start to keep track of some of this stuff. Then I used my bookmark pin loom to weave these yarns into samples.

I adore how all three of these colors turned out. The top is the white, grey in the middle, and black on the end. The white allows the corriedale to brighten back up to what it looked like in the fiber, the grey pulls out the purples, and the black gives the entire project a homogeneous look with it looking too muddy. When I posted my progress in the Ravelry Spin Off Group I received the recommendation from Castielstar to perform a neck test and wear the pieces around my neck to see how they feel after some time. Since I spend so much of my time working I did not see a way to do this test at home (I also did not feel like explaining the three colored pieces of wool on my neck) therefore I decided that I would stick them in my bra and see how it goes. Surprisingly I had to pull the piece with the grey merino wool out before an hour had passed, then I forgot that the other two were even there. This easily narrowed my choices down to black or white. Looking at the woven samples, I know that I am going to go with the White. While the black is amazing I feel that the pops of color in the white sample will look better going into spring. Now for the next part of this project, weaving a cowl. Surprisingly there is another Ravelry group that is hosting something that will come in handy.

The Rigid Heddle Looms Group is hosting JAN/FEB 2021 V-COWL AND MÖBIUS WAL. I did not know what I V-Cowl was (I do now, very neat). This new technique is going to make weaving my handspun cowl very interesting, the next step I need to take is to spin up the rest of my white to ply with the corriedale and figure out what my sett is going to be. Ten inches is, I believe, quite tall for a cowl so I will just use my 10″ sample it loom. I have decided that I would like the warp to be 2.5 yards so that the end piece is a little bigger than 40″ long. This will give it room to go around my neck but not choke me ( I hope).

There is one more weaving project that I have decided to start, Mirrix Looms is hosting a Weave Along (Stay At Home Weave Along), while I cannot stay at home I can certainly have fun weaving along with everyone else. So for this weave along I cut off the piece I have not been weaving on my Mirrix and warped 5″ on my loom with double warp threads this morning. I did not purchase their kit, I’m still trying to cut down on my buying, however I do have plenty of tapestry yarn from my earlier dyeing experiments so I will be winding that onto golf tees this morning, since I cannot afford real tapestry bobbins.

In addition to my weaving, I have not been knitting much I will get back to it, I have been doing a couple of other small projects. One of my friends from the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s guild taught us how to turn paper towels into mini pieces of cloth using watercolor and mod podge. I also obtained one of those wet felted soap kits. I enjoyed making the felted piece and have a ton of fun squishing it in the shower every morning.

I am looking at this post and thinking, “Did you always have this much time?” I know that the answer is no. Right now I am also back to work on Sunday’s at my private university job, just Sundays. It sounds a little silly, however the 8 hours I work on Sundays (if I work 4 Sundays in a month) means about $360 take home pay that month. Perhaps a little more if the mandated minimum wage increase goes through. (Private Universities do not pay nearly what State Colleges do from my experience.) This is about 1/2 a mortgage payment so I cannot afford to sneer at it even with a full-time job. To round out my month I signed up for three classes during the February Vogue Knitting Live Event: Beginning Intarsia, Crochet Socks, Dyeing with Kitchen Scraps. I have also upgraded to the Super Pass, it is very neat to see the recordings of the various demonstrations by vendors. Since I am trying to save up for a down payment on my house I will probably strictly limit any spending during this event however I am excited for the Classes. I used one of my transferring jobs presents to purchase 4 colors of DK yarn for the intarsia class since I seem to only have Fingering and Worsted weight yarn with a little bit of lace weight thrown in here and there. I also love that this is happening during Valentines Day Weekend, so I can genuinely say that I have plans for Valentines…okay so that is a Sunday and I am working at the University..that still counts as plans, right?

So there it is. I’ve had a great month, I am hoping that the trend continues for February. I am finding that my new schedule of getting up at 4: 30 am and going to sleep at 10 pm (on Fridays I need to be out of the house by 6:15 to make sure I get to work on time, it was easier to adjust my entire sleep schedule than have a different one on Friday), means that I have more energy most mornings to do something around the house and get a bit of crafting done. Since this is about a month’s worth of catching up I think that the size of my post is just fine. Until next time, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Using Swatches and Testing Patterns

One of the crafts that I have been concentrating on is knitting. While others are brushing up their sewing skills and learning how to sew masks I have been knitting little swatches. Fortunately these swatches are usually at least 4 inches long and a couple of inches wide, this is the perfect size to add buttons and create an ear saver for your masks.

3 Styles of knitting Top to bottom: Stockinette, Cabled, and Garter stitch.

I also purchased the YarnIt from Make Something Prym. I have been attempting to find a yarn bowl, box, or something where I can put a realtively large ball of yarn, not have it flying everywhere gathering up cat hair and dust (I don’t vacuum as much as I should), and still be able to easily access more yarn when needed. This device accomplishes all of that while having an option to quickly remove the yarn from the device without ripping out an entire pattern and storage in the bottom. There is even a carrying strap. I admit I was skeptical at first, however after using it for some time I really enjoy this device.

Cascade 220 worsted weight skein and slipped stitch sock

I am knitting up a worsted weight sock from the cuff down with a slipped stitch heel using the pattern known as Accogliente Socks by Stacey Winklepleck from KnitPicks website. I had a bit of misunderstanding with the phrase: set up row. Now my slipped stitches are on the outside of the sock instead of the inside, I’m calling it a design feature. It is my plan to use koolaid to dye these socks in a video once I have them both knit up.

Until then I hope that you have an amazing week. If you are an introvert, please check on your extroverts. Remember to live life A Little More Abstract!