Fibershed by Rebecca Burgess

I received this book from my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Kathleen for Christmas in 2019, Thank You. This post is going to go into a lot of biology, environmental concerns, and more serious topics.  If this is not for you, my organization story will continue next week.

As a bit of my background relating to this book, my thesis to receive my bachelors degree in sociology surrounded the relationship between early menarche and hormones being fed to the animals that we, as Americans, derive our meat from.  Essentially I looked at the research tying children getting their first period as early as 5 years old and the hormones being pumped into the cows and chickens from which we get milk, eggs, and meat.  Hormones, and antibiotics really, that are not flushed out in any way before being fed to ourselves and our children.  Though I do not have that paper, there was certainly a correlation.  In the past decade or so I have all but forgotten that paper that managed to land me my bachelors degree, which I only needed so that I could get a my Masters in Library Studies.  To be frank, it is not financially viable for me to live an organic life.  This does not mean that these concerns should not be addressed, even if sweeping changes are not realistic.  My reading of FiberShed is not replacing the knowledge I gained from my thesis, but building on it in ways that I had not considered.  This is going to be a quick review designed to encourage you to read this book and others like it.  This review in no way replaces the joy, and extensive knowledge gained, by reading this book.

Synthetic fibers are derived from petroleum products, or have gone through chemical laden processes to be created and turned into clothing.  When these processes are occurring many safety precautions have to be taken to ensure the health of the workers, then the run-off has to be carefully disposed of so as to not contaminate the local drinking water.  The fact that all too often both of these steps are not taken seriously causes great ecological problems.  We are wearing these products on our skin, the largest, permeable organ on our body.  How many of these chemicals are we absorbing?  This book tackles these problems on both a local and global scale from a crafting point of view.  We as crafters can take charge of the yarns we buy, the fiber we spin, and the clothing we create.  This book goes from fiber, dyes, and encompasses all of the processes in between.  Exploring every aspect of fabric creation from where the cotton is grown, and from what kind of seed, to the sheep, processing the materials, dyeing the materials (naturally, of course), weaving/knitting these materials, even recycling them.  There is an amazing wealth of information, including how the methods of agriculture detailed will be profitable for not only the environment but the farmers and consumers also.  All of this information is interspersed with personal tales from herself as well as her friends and companions along this journey.

For a fascinating, if terrifying, look at our fast fashion culture check out this book.  Inside we are also taken through a journey of some steps that we might take to regain our chemical independence, as well as the steps that some conglomerates are taking to help our ecology, economy, and general sustainability.  Since this book comes at this from a crafting perspective there is some lamenting, but there are many more solutions.  Fantastic Read.

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

BAO and Knitting

The first part is about my new BAO.  Eileen’s Tacky Glue overnight managed to keep the loose brad from being a problem, YAY!  I have since the last post received my two Stickii club packs, as well as moving all of my previous washi tapes, most of my pens, and other accessories into my BAO.  There were a few stickers in  my Stickii Pop Pack that were not seated properly on their backing, but I blame the cold and shifting in the package for that.  It just gave me an excuse to use them right away.  I love my BAO.  The only reason that I am unable to fit all of my pens into the BAO is because I love my pen case that converts into a cellphone holder/pen cup.  If I were willing to leave that home I would have all of my current supplies in one location.  As it is, both of my journals, all of my washi tapes, glues, and stickers fit wonderfully into this case.

I ordered some Washi Tape Cards Sample Boards that I hope to use for my Bullet Journal Class.  This will give the students a chance to try out some of the washi tapes without a lot of fighting over, “I wanted this one, why can’t I have some of that one.”  This should be a fun class, and I can show the students how simple or complex this hobby can get.

Speaking of simple and complex hobbies, I have made some progress on knitting the second section of my slipper.  This one is a bit more complex, and I am not certain how I can work on the second slipper before receiving my third installment.  The end of this patter requires leaving both yarns attached and the stitches live on the needles.  I can deal with the live stitches, I have cord caps and extra cords I can knit with, I am not sure if I want to go through the mess of knitting with the other end of the yarn that I was given for the pattern.  I can easily find the other end, for the contrasting color I would need to pull from the outside; without getting it tangled with the other slipper, and while changing colors every two rows.  I think once I have this portion done, I am going to quietly work on my crocheted slippers until I get my final knitting kit installment.

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I love how potato-chippy this knitting is.  I am a bit worried about the next part of this installment since it involves casting on stitches, however if I take my time things usually work out alright.

I am so glad that I have taken this year to try new things and discover new ways of doing old things.  I am still not sure that  I will sign up for any of the jimmy beans clubs for next year, but I will still have plenty of knitting and crochet to do, not to mention my new passion for paper crafts.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

 

Halloween Crafting

So, in my last post I was trying to crochet wolf ears for my costume.  Yeah, less than 2 weeks out is not the time to start crafting for a costume, and I knew this.  I have decided to make my life considerably easier.  I purchased a quantity of Makeup and tomorrow morning I will use makeup, spray on hair coloring, and a bit of ingenuity to make myself into a ‘spinster’.  Since I am a spinner anyway, I believe that blowing out my hair instead of using smoothing products (maybe giving it a bit of a boost with the salt volumizing spray), putting a silk hankie in it (silk cocoons spread over a form, pulled apart further for spinning), and adding a spindle and bag to my velvet cloak should create an interesting effect.  If it is decent I will post a photo, if not we will forget I ever had this idea.

In other news, Jimmy Beans Wool had a scrap bag sale that I could not resist.  This means that I have started knitting a simple triangle shawl started with a garter tab, also with a garter edging.  I love how this is turning out.  Since I am going to be using scraps that are 20 yards or more it will be interesting to see where the stripes are going to end.  The progress photo looks a little cramped since I am using a DPN and needed to have some rubber bands to keep the stitches from slipping off the end when stored.  I will transfer this to a circular needle soon.

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October was known as Inktober, where artists decided to do their best to follow certain prompts and create ink drawings each day during the month of October.  Since I am not an artist, I enjoyed the concept and stuck with my crafts.  November, however, is also NaNoWriMo.  This is National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month.  The breakdown of this is: 1,667 words every day or, 12,500 words a week (not counting the first week which is 2 days long).  I sort of stink at making goals, however I think that I will make something of an effort to work toward writing down some of my ideas toward a novel.  The first draft might not be too coherent, however I think I have a chance.  Of course, I also have 4 Civil Service Tests to fill out, starting November 1.  It looks like my next 31 days are going to be busy.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

The Week After EGLFC

This past week has been an absolute blast of creativity as well as work ‘stuff’.  On Tuesday I mailed out 4 applications for Civil Service Tests for Librarian positions in the larger county to the north of me.  If I get a job there it will be a 90 minute commute each way, however I will be able to stay in my home for a couple of years and save up a down payment on a home there.  I also re-interviewed for a position at one of my current jobs, I am not saving this as my only hope right now.  There is a job in Philadelphia I will submit an application for this afternoon.  Since my skill level is quite high, it really is a matter of which library will obtain me.  Enough about work, let’s talk about crafts!

Since I’ve gotten home I have been forcibly reminded why I need to make time to craft.   The weekend was amazing, and just in time since this past Saturday was the first anniversary of my mom’s passing.  I had a lot of fun, and this creativity stuck with me when I came home.  I have quite a few projects, KALs and more, that I want to be working on.  I took the time to finish the two soles for my knitted slippers for the Jimmy Beans Wool October-December project.

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They are the width of the large, however when I went to measure my foot, I decided to go with the length of the medium.  There seems to be enough yarn left over to create a pair of kids slipper soles, however I want to make sure I am not going to need this yarn for anything else before committing to that project.  I will confess that when I really got into ensuring that these were done they took about 2 days of knitting each.

I received the crochet project and have begun, though I have not gotten very far yet.

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I did manage to learn a new stitch, that is foundation single crochet.  This is going to be the basis of the slipper sole, I planned on working on this, however I managed to forget a stitch marker.  While the pattern does not call for any stitch markers I feel that it will be easier to keep track of where I am supposed to join the round using a slip stitch if I have a marker there.  Each sole is a total of 9 rounds, so even with the rather extreme number of stitches I will be working with toward the end these should not take too long.

The crochet hook I am working with is a Furls hook in an attempt to stave off carpal tunnel syndrome as early as possible.  With my extreme interest in all forms of craft, I need to keep my hands in tact as much as possible.  You may also notice underneath my project bag and hook is a colored piece of paper, that is my first experiment in ‘art’ since college.

IMG_2903This is a simple wash with watercolors on a special pad of watercolor paper with cheap Walmart watercolors.

I actually don’t think this turned out too badly, I plan on using similar techniques in the near future, though I believe I will have to work much harder to obtain clear color results.  The pigmentation does not layer very well at all when wet. I hope to try and improve this when I next have a stretch of time not occupied by crochet or spinning.  It is entirely possible that I will have better results if I try to work with Tube Watercolors instead of the hard palette, also if I try to wet the pigments more thoroughly.

7B969592-7C70-44CD-8E68-B82CC99F95D4The final crafts I managed this week were started at EGLFC. The first is to knit a lace sample with handspun Shetland yarn.  I love how this turned out, and fully intend to knit up the grey and black samples of yarn I have available. The other craft was to create stick-on sheets that can be applied to linen for crewel embroidery.  I found some sheets that I can print onto as well as several designs that were labelled on images.google.com as available for reuse.

I believe that these are going to be very difficult to spin the samples for and stitch, I really look forward to the challenge.  The D&D Dragon on the bottom left is certainly going to be a project for when I am a very good stitcher, until then I have plenty to work on .

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Second Day of EGLFC

I will confess that the first day of classes I spent most of the night in the classroom spinning and carding.  When talking to one of the other students we were a little loud and around 10pm were asked to be quiet because people were trying to sleep.  I managed to finish what I wanted to work on, brought my notebook upstairs to work on, and finally slept around 12:30am.  I woke up just before my alarm at 7am to drink an energy drink and get ready for the day.  Okay, so I then went down to the classroom to do a bit of organizing and tidying.  I knew that we would have opportunity to do some indigo dyeing that day, therefore I decided I wanted to have two skeins ready to be dyed.  The first was a grey skein, the second was chocolate merino, they were both two ply yarns.  As you can see the chocolate merino looked almost navy blue, in certain lights it looks almost black.

After those skeins I kept making embroidery yarn as well as using each of the colors of Shetland to make yarn to try colorwork knitting.  I also decided to make a gradient of white, grey, and black, to try some lace knitting.  I confess I wound up spinning and not knitting.

After an amazing day of spinning, dyeing, as well as carding wool, learning techniques, good food, and wonderful company, we were given an opportunity to do a bit of shopping.  There was an alpaca truck (with alpaca) where I purchased some amazing random locks, a yarn truck (where I bought a Batt and Mini Skeins), and various individuals selling out of their trunks.  I managed to buy a cross holder (for weaving), a shuttle, a book, and lotion bar.

The fashion show was that evening.  There was some distressing news, we were told before the banquet that one of the instructors husband died and had been found earlier that day.  The banquet was lovely, the stress upset my stomach so I missed the first part of the fashion show.  I managed to see some of it, fortunately they had all of the models come through one more time.  I then tried to go back to the classroom to find it locked.  This turned out to be for the best since I spent hours listening to and speaking with the other students and our instructor, as well as discovering a brand of champagne that I not only did not mind but actively enjoyed.

The final day was lovely, with an amazing breakfast, decent lunch (with bread pudding) and a day working on our own pursuits.  For the final day we learned about core spinning, making a lockspun yarn, and chain plying while inserting locks.

I will certainly be planning on saving for the next EGLFC in 2 years.  I am fully converted to attending classes in person.  This class has me looking at my stash in a whole new way.  I love the idea of using some of this yarn as crewel embroidery.  My mind is firing on all creative cylinders, I feel quite rejuvenated.  Remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

Taking Time During the Week

So, this week has not been as bad as I had feared.  My doctor was relatively pleased with my progress, apparently I lost 8 lbs.  During the first of my two car appointments I managed to knit 8 rows on my poncho adding on one new color and coming close to adding on the second.  My day at work was relatively productive, and my evening at work was spent updating my book blog as well as discovering a book that I have meant to read for a while.  It is titled Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation by Maggie Shannon.  I have not gotten terribly far in this book however it certainly does introduce a new way of thinking in regards to crafting.  Unfortunately since starting this post and actually posting this post I have not had much momentum in regards to actually reading this book.  It tends to be a bit on the preachy side, religious, meditation, mindfulness, etc.

Though I have not gotten much reading done, I did manage to accomplish a few of my more pressing tasks for the week.

  • I submitted a cover letter, resume, and references to a local job.
  • I obtained my transcripts so that I can send in applications for 4 civil service exams by next week.
  • I created a basic cover letter for another job, there are two things that I will be able to add to my resume by next week, I want them on this version before I send the application in
  • I chose to attempt to sell my two DODEC Wheels this upcoming weekend at EGLFC
  • I discovered that my supplies fee is due to my teacher for EGLFC
  • I plied a yarn that has been sitting for a while, since I plied from a center pull ball I also have an amazing example of Yarn Barf to show my students tonight
  • I cleaned and oiled my wheel.  I also got fed up with one of the arms of my WooleeWinder keeps hitting my mother of all and making a clunking noise no matter how much I tighten things down.  I sanded the edge of the clunking arm just enough that it can get past my mother of all without any noise.  I Hate being sensitive to noise.
  • I cleared out the back and passenger seats of my car
  • Now I’m at work, getting ready to teach a spinning class tonight

I have not made much progress on my knitted poncho since the garage, though I did find out that while I am on ball 13 I will need to attach ball 22 before beginning the decreases to end the first half of the poncho.  Since it is about 12 rows of knitting before I manage to add on another ball, we are talking about a lot of knitting left, just for the first half.  The second half of the poncho is a mirror of the first, this makes the entire project quite time consuming.  The next two projects are slippers, both in knitting and crochet, along with a mystery knit along being offered with my paradise fibers box in October.  I also need to cast on my mermaid knit along.

Next weekend I will be attending Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference (EGLFC), to take a lock preparation and spinning class with Kate Larson, I am very excited.   Check in will be after work on Friday (after I drive up there), then a light dinner and other events, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are class sessions and shopping opportunities.  Due to this event I am suspending all non-essential (and some essential, lol) purchases until after EGLFC.  There are a couple of local and semi-local vendors that will be selling and I hope to get a souvenir skein or two.  A colleague and fiber friend of mine is leaving one of the jobs that I work at (she is then starting at another of my jobs) so as a farewell from the first job our company is going together to purchase a gift card for an online yarn store I know she has been wanting yarn from.  There is also a conference on Grant Writing that I will be able to attend part of tomorrow morning, so this week is also busy.

For this week, I need to:

  • Keep my spending very low
  • Work on Civil Service Entrance Exams
  • Pack for my Weekend Trip
  • Empty as many bobbins as I can, without yarn barf
  • Return the pop bottles, put that money aside for the trip if possible
  • Plan on bringing poncho for mindless (if big) knitting to do
  • Decide if you are going to bring 3 large energy drinks, and 3 2-liters of Dew so that you can stay caffeinated and hydrated throughout the conference.
  • Seriously consider bringing some kind of low-carb, shelf stable, snacks for the trip
  • Check if the local casino is having a promotion that you can hit on your way back to town that Monday.

This looks like a busy week, however I believe it will be tons of fun.  Okay, time for me to get ready for my class.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Revisiting Last Week

GOALS LAST WEEK:

  • Figure out where my time Goes – Well, I already knew this.  Toward reading Glee Fanfiction.  I did manage to finish two books and my sweater this week so that is certainly progress.
  • Finish the Sleeves – Accomplished!  Just need to wash and lay out (clear off sweater mat)
  • Finish the first month of my poncho – Okay, this is not finished, I did manage to add on 3 balls and I am almost ready to add on the 4th.  After that I will need to knit through about  6 more balls to reach the next part of the pattern.  With slow days I might be able to finish this by the end of the month.
  • Work on the first month of my crochet cowl – No Progress
  • Decide on next project (not Jimmy Beans Wool)
    • Socks, knit
    • Ladybug Cowl from Kelly’s Knit Club
    • Cover for Strickt Planner, Knit – Cast on and knit the first 2 rows of this.
    • New Sweater from Kit (You have about 3)
  • Finish Winding the warp for your first rug, 10 epi – There has been no progress made on my garage.  I have done some winding of this, but there really isn’t a rush right now.
  • Figure out how many inches each of the sections on the sectional warp beam are supposed to cover. – Since there are 19 segments and the reed is 35 Inches I have the first and last covering about 1/2 an inch with the middle sections each covering 2 inches (or twenty ends) of warp.  If the interview goes well and I get the job (and find a house that will fit my looms) then once I’m settled and have all of my expenses taken care of I intend to buy enough cones to use the sectional beam the way it was meant to be, wind on about 800 yards of warp and go to town with rugs!  It’s fun to dream!
  • Look up information about job for interview, figure out some questions like benefits package, outreach efforts, community demographics, etc.- Looked up the library and its rules, very clear and concise.  What you think of when you think of a library.  I am certainly looking forward to this interview.

 

In other news, I do not have a photo of the finished sweater, with the 3/4 sleeves it does not look that different from the last photo.  I hope to get pictures soon.  I do have a photo of my progress on my poncho, I really like how the colors are coming together, though I am a bit concerned about how the actual construction will work.  Oh well, no point in worrying. 

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There might be a slight amount of puckering along one edge, but I am choosing to believe the adage, “That Will Block Right Out” to save my sanity.  The newest pattern release for the Sherlock Afghan Monthly Square has just dropped this will make the 8th square that has dropped, out of those 8 I’ve made 1.  Oh well, I’ll always have the patterns and the yarn so I can work on those when I get a yen to do something else in worsted.  So, setting goals for the week (realizing that I tend to peter out near the end of the week and with one colleague going, an interview on the horizon, and another colleague with an interview pending) I am going to keep my goals simple.

THIS WEEK’S GOALS:

  • Get through my Skype Interview
  • Call the garage to get my inspection and brakes
  • Work on my Poncho, ultimately I would like to get to the second portion
  • Complete at least 10 rows on my Strickplaner cover
  • Keep working on my budget/budget plan
  • Figure out a food plan that includes:
    • Decent Food
    • Vegetables
    • Not a ton of expense
    • Quick to make
    • Easy to take with me for work
    • Containers that are either disposable or dishwasher safe

Okay, that should be more than enough to keep me busy.  If I manage to finish winding the warp and putting it on the warp beams that would be gravy.  Also if I manage to pick up the crochet cowl or cast on the knit flat sock those would be bonuses as well.

Until next week Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!