Freedom of Movement

Minor medical update, non-crafting information in between the *’s

*I have my second cast, this means that I am 1/4 of the way done with wearing a cast! The unnerving tingling that I was feeling, in the form of hot spots going up and down my arm, is apparently my nerves healing. My new cast is slightly shorter, slightly lighter, and firmer around my wrist. This actually means that I have a much greater range of motion than I did with the other cast. Often when I tried to move my fingers, whether to exercise or stretch them, or to accomplish a task, I would get a jabbing pain where I have a pin in my wrist. With the firmer cast, I no longer get that pain, huzzah!*

My new cast went on Thursday and by Friday I was crafting up a storm! I finally managed to finish weaving the bamboo scarf I dyed with the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild last summer. At the time of posting this I have washed the scarf and I am diligently working on the fringe twisting, as my wrist allows.

Beaded scarf in reds, greens and yellows with a bit of blue. Draped over a 4 harness table loom.

I love how this has turned out, however the red bled quite a bit, I seem to remember a warning about that. I have also been knitting on my worsted weight socks in Cascade 220 Superwash White. I hope to dye these when I am done. I have the first finished and the cuff on the second completed. With all of this going on, I also decided to bring up my personal larger table loom that has had towels warped up for a couple of years. It is my main goal to finish these towels before I am back to work at my colleges (or in a full-time job).

4 harness table loom warped with pastel yarn, yellow plastic boat shuttle with blue cotton resting on top. Completed wool sock to the right of the shuttle, with the knitted cuff to the left of the completed sock and below the shuttle. On the table is a Leclerc fringe twister with the bamboo scarf to the left.

All of this crafting energy has me jazzed. I managed to attend Vogue Knitting’s Virtual event in July, learning quite a bit from the lectures I attended. I have signed up for the marketplace and extras for the August Virtual event. I had hoped to sign up for classes, however with my wrist it is not realistic that I can knit enough to justify the financial outlay. (Just about $100 for 3 classes and tons of extras, if I could knit normally this would be a really inexpensive way to take expensive classes).

Fortunately I have had some visitors to my back yard to cheer me up (this is not a euphemism).

Hopefully you are as inspired as I am. Until next time, keep crafting and Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

I’m Back

I am sorry that I have gone over a month without updating this blog.  The time off began with my ligament repair surgery, this surgery was successful however it did take almost a week for me to get back to normal.  Immediately after that my public library began to open back up to the public, changing my work environment radically. I have still been able to post my crafting videos, fortunately I had recorded all of the spinning and plying videos before my surgery. Since the surgery I have gained some more mobility, along with a better understanding of how badly my range of motion had gotten. I am still two weeks away from my first of three cast changes, I will have some questions for the doctor about the sharp pains as well as some of the warmth I feel running up and down my hand and arm at times. This has caused me to slow down my crafting, a row on my sock is a big accomplishment. My amazing sibling helped me by putting together a couple of bookcases so that I could work on my organization.

This image shows a five shelf bookshelf with a rigid heddle loom on the top, a mirrix tapestry loom on the next shelf down with a box containing the tapestry loom supplies. The next shelf down holds spinning supplies, several bobbins are showing. The next shelf down contains two bags of purple spinning fiber, a mini cowl kit, a box containing an afghan kit. The last two shelves contain fabric boxes with fiber and yarn in them. In front of that shelf are weaving tools, heddles, bobbins, shuttles, etc. The three shelf bookcase on the right side of the photo contains two shelves of spinning fiber, with two empty fabric boxes on the bottom shelf. The top shelf contains six plastic boxes with spinning fiber and a magazine holder.

Along with my organization I have been working on discovering something called book nooks. These are amazing mini diorama’s that take up about the space of a hardcover book. This is taking me many places, from looking at painting miniatures, some woodworking, clay work, paper work and so much more. I am also working on learning to paint scenery. This has, of course, led me to a desire for a resin 3d printer (I hope I can save up for that). The 3d printer will be a great addition to my resume and skillset.

Okay, I’m going to keep this post just this short, however I wanted to share photos of a visitor I had while feeling down.

A red or brown fox sitting in a clear patch of grass looking over their right shoulder.

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!

Shawls Galore

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I finished the Odyssey shawl by Joji Locatelli using DK Grab bag yarn from Jimmy Beans Wool.  I love how this turned out, cannot wait to see what it will look like when dry. The length of this shawl is longer than my queen sized (spare) bed.  I used blocking wires to pull out the picot edging as well as knit blockers to stretch the top edge as straight as I can.

Before finishing this shawl I cast on the Mooncat Shawl by Kelly McClure using Leading Men Fiber Arts yarn in the showstopper base starting with the colorway Nevermore.

This is finals week for both the community college and private university I work at.  I’m still working on crafting videos for my public library and other crafts.  I’m doing a bit of spinning and trying to find time to work on my woven shawl.

If you are an introvert, please check on your extrovert.  Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

All the Crafts

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Progress and Change

This has been a really strange week. I have spent most of it thinking that I have not gotten a single thing done.  However, when I looked back  I have made a lot of progress on many different projects.  In the way of domestic chores, I have come to the realization that cooking for myself is just creating more dishes for me to deal with and I am not eating any healthier.  To combat this, I have started opening a can of green beans or carrots, heating them up, and using that as a snack.  I have also purchased some frozen food that I just need to throw in the oven and that will be food for at least a day if not more.  I also purchased salad mix, we will have to see what a difference these steps make in my overall eating/time spent cleaning up.  I managed to get the black plastic on my front bed, I’ve been meaning to do that for three years, but I think I mentioned that in my last post.

I live far enough out that I have a well, the heavy cement well cap is right beside my driveway.  This means that when big trucks come up my driveway, fedex, ups, oil delivery, repair trucks, they tend to run over that cap often knocking it askew.  To combat this I purchased 4 pieces of fencing that arrived a few days ago.  I promptly went out and managed to get them temporarily installed around the well cap.  I will use a rubber mallet to completely install them when it stops snowing.  Since I only needed 2 I will be using the other 2 to create a barrier between my garbage cans and the ditch so I don’t have to retrieve the cans from the ditch on garbage day.

The final home repair I have done is a patch job on a wall in the master bathroom.  Half of a toilet paper roll holder that was installed somehow got ripped out of the wall leaving a hole.  I honestly cannot remember how, it’s been years.  I purchased a repair kit a while back, but like many things, never found the time to fix it.  On to Crafty Stuff!

For my public library job I created a video on how to finger knitting for Monday April 13th.  This past Monday I created a video on how to weave on cardboard looms, the video turned out pretty well however the process was a mess of cable repairmen, upload times, and time restrictions on unverified Youtube accounts…I’m not dwelling on that.  I shot the video on finger knitting, have been requested to create an introduction with my face, and will edit and upload the results on Monday.  Until then, here is some finger knitting:

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This is Madelinetosh Home in Danger Will Robinson colorway.  The bulky yarn shows the stitches pretty well, I used  a worsted during the video this will be my intro piece.

I’m trying to organize my stash, during that process I found a shawl I was working on.   It’s a very simple shawl, however it is knitted with my handspun yarn on very large needles.  I’ve discovered that I can hold these without any real pain, so I am working on that.

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Finally we have my shawl.  As you could see last week, the weave seemed pretty loose.  I spent some time adjusting the yarns so that the structure would be tighter.  The results were interesting, I posted them on Instagram and was advised to felt the piece to keep the structure how it was.  I decided to stabilize the edges and some of the structures by weaving around them, the results are here:

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I am still not certain how well I like it, however I will finish with the edges and give it a wash. I already have two bulky yarns tied together so that I can try another tri-loom shawl once I have the loom cleared.

This is about it for me for the week (not including work stuff, I’m still doing academic library stuff for my other two libraries).  I hope that you live life A Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert please check on your extroverts!

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!