Why Not Go All in?

So when I start something I tend to go all in. Case in point, I decided to give English Paper Piecing a try. Learning one type of quilting at a time wasn’t enough for me apparently.

Lesson 1. 1.5” hexagons measure 2.5” across and 1.5” on each side. this means that getting a jelly roll so you have 10 coordinating fabrics of 40+ inches each….does not work. Oh well.

Lesson 2. Why plan one extremely complicated pattern for your second try at English Paper Piecing when you can go for 2?

To clarify these lessons, I am having an absolute blast with English Paper Piecing (EPP). I have finished 2 flowers and have most of the pieces cut out for Tula Pink’s Nova Quilt Pattern. I purchased the pattern and papers as a kit from Amazon along with the Acrylic templates to cut the fabric out. I think I could have done fine with cutting the fabric, though not very fast, without the templates however I plan on doing some fussy cutting for the second quilt and the templates will be invaluable then.

The pattern, there are a lot of small squares to this
The paper templates are amazing, however it is going to take me forever to get the fabric pasted on

It has taken me several hours to get most of the pieces cut out for my trial version of the quilt. I love the colors and I am looking forward to seeing how it will turn out. Right now I am working on pasting the 170 tiny paper triangles onto the tiny fabric triangles and tacking them down with the fabric glue. I use Wonder Clips to hold the three points down to ensure a good seal, then stack about 10 in the clip for about 15-30 minutes. Then I make sure each triangle will separate, since I like using a good amount of glue, and stack them in the box. About 3 hours in and I have about 100 of the 170 ready to go. Of course this is just the first of 7 shapes, it is also the most abundant. After this the numbers drastically reduce per shape, the largest has only pieces 11 to it.

I do have this quilt finally completed, there is a flower on the back and writing on the front to hide where I messed up the binding, however I love how it looks. It is really just a lap sized sort of thing, however I adore it. I have also made some progress on following patterns and made the 29″x29″ heart below, I am hoping to add other squares and sashing to make this a 90″x90″ piece so I can use it as a queen sized quilt.

I had a quilt night at my library and my machine kept jamming up, despite just having been serviced I was spitting mad. Luckily enough one of the patrons, the step-mother-in-law (ex?) of one of my supervisors, had a Janome LE she was not using and offered it to me. She would not take anything in return, which was very nice of her. I made the heart up in the week between classes, since I had the idea floating around in my head, just no reliable machine to use! Eventually I am going to have to consider getting the Janome professionally seen to, however I might see who else does that in the area.

If that were not enough I also have been doing some work on my house. This is crafting related I promise. A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends house for a sewing day, it was amazing. Her set up was so inspiring I immediately went looking for something similar, and promptly got sticker shock. A week or so later and I found a sale at Michaels that would go along with my $10 coupon, and for under $100 I had a table that was 55″ unfolded by over 22″ deep, and waist height. I have found that as a responsible adult, I have to trick myself into doing stuff, lol.

In this case I was not able to assemble my new table until I had called the garbage company to arrange pickup of the carpet pieces from the third floor AND hauled the carpet to a point where taking them out the afternoon before pick-up would be easy. (I have to put them out after 4pm the day before, no earlier.) Right now they are on my front porch, looking really ugly, however I did not really have anywhere else to store them until pickup.

Well, now that the carpet is done, okay so I still have one more small piece….and all of the padding…and the linoleum that someone put down on top of the hardwood floors…other than that the carpet is done, I could assemble my new table. The plan was, yes was, for me to use the good table to sew and a card table with adjustable height to press and cut. I put the card table, well it is a bit closer to picnic table length, up and started to do some cutting. Only to find that even at its highest the table is a bit too short for me to comfortably cut on it. I think it’s a good height if I am sitting at it, however, so this might become my sewing station instead. The rolling cart however, with the 55″ width when unfolded, is just at my waist height making it virtually perfect for cutting and pressing. While assembling this I had to run downstairs and put two different bandages on, one was due to the folding nature of the particular screw driver I was using, and I still have to tighten a couple of screws down before I trust that flap for cutting. Other than that the entire thing is assembled.

I also have an origami rack in the odd corner, right now it is going out into the room, however I think I will turn it to nestle into the corner to give me more room around my sewing table. You can see that the white table has considerably more height on it. The floors are a bit scarred looking, I was thinking of seeing how much it would be to get them professionally refinished, however someone pointed out it might be better to just get a faux wood laminate or something similar over top. This wood is so scarred and there are such gaps between boards I think the entire floor would have to be relaid and there is a lot more that needs done to the house before that. (Such as a new roof, heater/air conditioner, etc.).

I am very happy with these wall storage pieces. The spool rack is from amazon, but the other rack is from 5-below. I was able to bend out the hooks on the bottom so they can fit a pair of scissors and some other small objects. While I love the look of table top storage rack things, I knock them over. I just do. This is a similar problem I am going to have with acrylic ruler storage…I knock them over. There are some really neat ones with slots and places for pins…One bad bump and I have pins all over the floor along with ruler (just my luck I would break one).

My sewing room is coming along wonderfully. I hope that I will be able to keep the other pink desk in there so that this can be a multi craft room since I have too many interests to make a room for each one. When the second leaf of the tall white table is unfolded I cannot get by the pink desk. If I move the white table or the black table then I lose maneuverability. If I move the pink desk any closer to the window I cannot get into the closet…which I am only worried about so that Orkin can make sure I don’t have mice…but that is important to me. I might move the pink desk back into the corner and make a nest of tables with my resin and possibly paper craft supplies by the pink desk. The white table is just about 1″ to shallow for the entire width of my largest cutting mat, which frankly sucks, however I believe I can live with that (and being careful about cutting) since it completely fits my pressing mat.

That is about it for my big news. I am loving these new crafts, and using the momentum to make progress on other things. This is my active cycle, which according to traditional wisdom this should be the end of my resting cycle but whatever, so I am going to lean into it and enjoy while I can. This week I am taking the second in a two part book binding class and the first in a two part embroidery class. While I have a full week of work ahead of me it is exciting to know that I now have some room and freedom to explore. I still do better when I plan my days out and stick to them within the parameters given, I have the freedom to change those parameters as well. No pet or person waiting on me to get home, no major obligations other than to myself, work, and my bills. The freedom is a bit heady, I can get involved in other organizations without worrying that it will cause problems for my ill mother or that it cannot be worked around my crazy work schedule (I now have a regular work schedule). It has taken a bit over a year for these facts to begin to sink in, now that they have I ensured that I would be available for every meeting of the 3 guilds I belong to as I could. 2 meetings of one guild occur during major events at work I need to be at. Okay, enough pseudo therapy for right now.

I hope to have more crafting news for you next week, until then Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Weekend of Crafting

Since I will be missing my August Meeting of the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild I decided to warp up my hand dyed bamboo warp this weekend.

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This is a straight twill draft with beads added in.  The yellow is  fairly dominating at this point in the weave, I hope that the red and other colors will begin to balance this out as I progress.  I love the shine, pattern, as well as the bit of pop the beads give the overall effect.  I am having such fun weaving this piece, I cannot wait to get to the next segment.

My rigid heddle piece is made from cotton and, while lighter, has a bit more heft to the individual strands.  I am playing around on the last part of the towels I have been weaving for a couple of years to see what the different manipulation techniques will look like.  This is the section where I placed bobby pins to delineate each of the sections for brooks bouquet.  The technique worked well, I did not like the resulting lace however.

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I also managed to pour three pieces of resin, two are for my director and one was a sample piece.  Since the piece of resin did release from the mold cleanly that aspect was a success, however there are streaks from where the petroleum jelly was in the mold giving the end result a failing grade.  The other two pieces are lovely and I believe I will have some bath bomb molds ordered to create a perfectly spherical result for the second attempt at a paperweight.

This was an exciting new project, and I love how they turned out!  I am going to see if my director will approve the purchase of new materials for this project, the initial results are simply amazing!

Finally is an update on my Furls Crochet Coffee Cups Pullover.  I have 24 rounds left alternating Half Double Crochet and Double Crochet, then two rounds of Single Crochet and I am ready to start the sleeves.  Right now I like how the resulting sweater looks and fits.  While the sweater is a bit heavy, the double crochets leave enough of a gap that I believe I will need to wear something underneath.  Perhaps just a tank or cover-up over my bust and stomach areas.  (I will probably pay more attention to where the collar fits when it is finished as well.)

Furls coffee cup sweater progress july 29 2019

In conclusion, this past weekend was a very craft heavy weekend. I had a ton of fun, managed to accomplish quite a bit, and since I just found out my external garage needs rewired, I will not be in my new studio any time soon!

Happy Crafting and remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Pi Shawl Take 1

I am using US size 7, 4.5mm, inter-changeable needles from Knit picks with a 16″ cord along with knit picks stroll tonal sock/fingering weight yarn in the blue yonder colorway.  I have chosen to use the basic pattern from the mybluprint class, shaping shawls 14 ways.  From there I have made a couple of modifications, essentially so I did not become too bored just straight knitting for 12+ rows.   The first photo illustrates how this kind of knitting does not look like anything until it is blocked, the second illustrates the magic loop cast on I hope that blocking will fix and the third illustrates some of the patterning I decided to place in the 48 rows before the next increase.

Cast on 8 stitches using Magic Loop *hope that blocks out*
Knit one row, doubled stitches to 16, knit three more rows. On row 6, doubled stitches to 32 using double yarn overs, knit six more rows
On row 14, doubled stitches to 64 using double yarn overs, knit rows 15-26 (12 rows)
On row 27 doubled stitches to about 128 using double yarn overs, then knit rows 28-39, did k2tog, yo, across shawl before knitting rows 41-51
On row 52 I did double yarn overs to double stitches
53-57 knit, on the second of these rounds I placed a marker after 9 and then every 14 to create pattern repeats, the last marker should be different since it delineates the beginning of the row.
SKPO- Slip, knit, pass slipped stitch over
58-k2, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, k3 *k7 yo, skpo, yo, skpo, k3 repeat from * until back to starting marker
59- Knit all
60- k3, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, k2 *K8, yo skpo, yo, skpo, k3 Repeat from * until row end
61 Knit all
61- k4, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, k1, *k9, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, k3, repeat from * until row end
62 Knit all
63- K5, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, *K10, yo, skpo, yo, skpo
64-66 Knit all
67- k 12, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k7 *K3, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k7 repeat from *
68- Knit all
69- K11, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k8 *K2, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo Repeat from *
70 Knit all
71- k10, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k9 *k1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k9 Repeat from *
72- knit all
73 k9, *k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo k10 repeat from *
74-76 knit all

04-28-2019
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77 was supposed to be a straight repeat of this pattern but I messed that up and liked the effect.
77- k2, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, yo, k3 *k2, yo, skpo, yo, skpo k 10 (to end of pattern repeat) Repeat from *

This is where I am now, but the rest of the pattern should be as follows:
78 knit all
79- k3, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, k2 *k3, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, k to next marker then repeat from *
80 Knit all
81- k4 yo, skpo, yo, skpo, yo, k1 *k4, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, k to next marker repeat from *
82 Knit all
83 k5, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, *k5, yo, skpo, yo, skpo, knit to next marker repeat from *
84-86 Knit all
87 Knit 12, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k7 *k12, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo (should be at next stitch marker) repeat from *
88- Knit all
89 k11, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k8 *k11, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k to marker, repeat from *
90 Knit all
91- k10 k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k9 *k10 k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k to marker repeat from *
92 K all
93- k9, *k9, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, knit to marker repat from *
94-97- Knit all
***At this point I will need to evaluate if I have enough yarn to justify another double yarn over increase since the next batch is supposed to be 512 stitches for 96 rows***

Until next time, remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Alpaca Adventures and More

I love the alpaca seconds I was gifted with.

Due to the time consuming nature of cleaning these bags of alpaca I have decided to give Tour De Fleece a miss this year.  This is an event that lasts as long as the Tour de France and involves challenges, rest days, and more just as the bicycling event.  More than that it involves spinning everyday.  While that is an overarching goal of mine, I would also like to focus on ensuring that I have this alpaca clean and ready to spin for the fall and winter.  During these warm days as well as these rainy days I hope to take advantage of the weather, setting the fleece out on my brand new sweater racks while it is raining to wash them in a natural way, as well as setting them out in the sun to make sure that they are as dry as possible before I begin the next step in processing them.  I am also hoping to comb or card out the fleeces before the snow comes, this will allow me to dispose of the fluff I cannot use in an eco-friendly way.  Putting it out to be used as lining for animal homes or to decompose as mulch.

Flicking open the locks where I am able to and carding what does not flick is a time consuming process.  For some of the coarsest seconds I attempted to turn the fur into batts, I managed to get three batts done, but I do not know if they will spin up very well.  I plan on trying to spin them in a regular manner and if that does not seem to work, core spinning them.  If it turns out that I hate spinning these batts, I do plan on gifting them to whomever wants them from my Guild.  I hope to do this before my next batch of fleece is dry, that way I will know if this is a viable option for preparation.

That may have to wait though, I am currently spinning my June Box from Paradise Fibers, I am spinning the last third of those singles.  The first two are pictured below.

My original intention was to ply the three bobbins together, however it is possible that they will be too muddy when I am done.  Because of this concerns I will probably do a test sample to knit up, once I decide if I like that or not I will either ply all of them together or spin up a white single to ply with these.

Whew, that will keep me busy for a while!

Happy Crafting

The Great Clean and Drag

IMG_2102

Some of you might remember my Loom from last year.  If you don’t, a gracious lady donated this heavy, metal, therapy loom to me.  At the time she thought that she would be moving to Maine, that fell through but she will be spending the Fall in Spain and walking El Camino, and so she was worried about transporting this monstrosity.  Her kind offer was met by great gratitude on my part.  I then set about trying to make sure that it would be in the best working order I could manage.  I spent the entire month of July 2016 scraping off old paint, trying different methods of rust removal, adding new paint, buying a new stainless steel reed, getting the heddles in order, and so much more.  Along the way I learned everything I could about the loom, along with NEVER SCRAPE OFF OLD PAINT, JUST PAINT OVER IT.  (lead content concerns, no point in courting cancer)

I left the loom to the mercies of my detached garage, the door doesn’t seal quite right and it is right up against the woods so, like all of the garages in the region, it tends to get mice.  At the end of 2016 I still could not get each of my treadles to move independently.  I utilized every trick I knew of and a few I begged off of guild members and still could not get the last two to move separately from each other.  I spent the winter brooding over it, and for most of the summer did not get around to doing anything with my loom.

Then early in September, my last weekend before the colleges I work for started up again, I dragged my big loom into the sunlight.  Now over a year later I looked at her again.  I need to touch up the paint, see if I can get some of the rust off of some of the springs, and warp her up to make some rugs eventually.  What I did accomplish was  enough for me, for now.

I wiped her down with Clorox wipes, making sure to pay attention to anything that looked like it might be detritus, and let her dry while I tried to get the painters tape off of the treadles (don’t let that sit on wood for a year, just not a good idea).  Then I took a cheap little hacksaw to the part of the treadles that looked like they were sticking.  My beautiful yellow loom snapped that hacksaw like it was plastic, luckily it snapped in the wood and didn’t cause me any injury.  Okay, so that isn’t going to work, oh well it was only a couple of bucks.

Next I went to the files I had purchased.  They are supposed to go into an electric drill, but, my cordless drill is not very robust and I cannot figure out how to change bits in my father’s old drill.  However, by hand I managed to hack and saw through some of the wood and loosen up the treadles, bit by bit.  After a half an hour or so of going over the top, up through the bottom of either side of both of the sticky treadles I began to move them at cross purposes, one up one down, several times very quickly.  They loosened up enough that I was able to get them each moving very freely.  I cannot say for sure if it was the naval jelly last year, the hacking, or just the sheer fact of trying to move them independently, but I am very happy to say that my treadles now work on my loom.  At least they did a couple of weeks ago.

Once I had her treadles moving as they ought I turned my attention back to tying up her harnesses to the appropriate treadles.   I had some Texsolv cord from last year that was anchored to each harness and then tied to the treadle, but not properly since they did not have freedom of motion at the time.  This was an awkward motion since I had to reach quite far back with my foot in an attempt to reach the point where I could push at the Texsolv to move a heddle or two.  Now I attempted to tie up my heddles to the treadles the way they were meant to be.  Okay, so my loom was on it’s side and when I turned it back over my treadles are almost flush to the floor and not really able to open a shed.  Oh well, at least they are threaded through the treadles and it is just a matter of taking up the slack so that they treadles are appropriately in the air and able to jack up the shafts.

By this point I am certain that you are wondering why I am going to all of this trouble right at the end of the season.  After all she is just going to go back into the external garage again, right?  Nope!  I managed to clear out a lot of my college stuff, it’s only been 10 years, from the garage under the house.  Now my beautiful yellow loom is living in my attached garage, yay!  There isn’t really a lot of room to warp her up so I do not know if I will have time to get her set up for Rugs before I have to start putting the car in the garage, but at least now she won’t have to worry about mice.

Hopefully next year I will be able to get the external garage cleared out and sealed up appropriately.  Until that time, I will get to look at my loom and hope that I get a chance to make up some rugs this winter.

Happy Crafting!

Summer is Ending

I cannot, for the life of me, believe that summer is OVER!  It seems like summer just began and here I am looking at my last Wooly Wednesday Class Tomorrow!  We are starting up “Fall Crafting” next Monday during the afternoon but this still seems like the end of an era.

Wooly Wednesday’s could not have gone better if I had tried.  I do have some plans for how to modify these classes for the spring and summer in 2018 so that they are more comprehensive, don’t rush my students as much, and cover more students and class time for the same amount of supplies (my boss will like that one).

LOOK AT ALL OF THE COOL STUFF MY LADIES CREATED THIS SUMMER!!!!!

 

 

 

This summer of Crafting ROCKED, so did my Wooly Wednesday Ladies. I hope to see you this fall, I miss you already!

Happy Crafting

Tour De Fleece Days 7-12

I swear this is progress!  I am still working on spinning up my 4oz of fiber straight from the roving in an attempt to create a unique piece from my June Box.  While it does not look like I have made much progress, I swear it is there.  I Can see my piece of fiber getting smaller and my bobbin filling up bit by bit.  I do have to confess, I love my Woolee Winder.  I cannot even begin to imagine trying to get even spinning while changing hooks constantly.  I do realize that many people do not have any trouble changing hooks, spinning fine and doing a great job at both.  I am still very excited to see this piece done so that I can work on the next.  In between this piece and starting the next I will be teaching a spinning class at my public library, very exciting!

Last week I also attended the Southern Tier Fiber Arts Guild Meeting in Wellsville, NY.  The ladies were all lovely and I look forward to attending again next month!  This Friday I will be weaving a towel in Bradford, PA.  What fun!

Happy Crafting!

Working with my Spinzilla Yarn

Half Granny Shawl.jpg

I decided that my second big project of the year, or third depending on whether I am counting Spinzilla or not, was to make a half-granny shawl for my mother from my Spinzilla yarn. I remain completely amazed at how well my chaotic riot of colors works together.  This was started while I was waiting for my mother to have a minor surgery, it was supposed to be half and hour and wound up taking two hours, thank goodness I had my crochet with me.  Fortunately mom came out with flying colors.  I enjoy the ruffled edge (alright it wasn’t supposed to ruffle but it’s cute anyway) seems to tie the entire piece together.

Happy Crafting!

Spinzilla Ends

spinzilla-ends

As of Sunday October 9, 2016 I had spun 3,488 yards of yarn for Spinzilla Credit.  This means that for every yard of singles that I spun as well as all that I plied I received credit.  Which means that for a 2 ply I spun that wound up 86 yards it would be 86+86+86=258, if I were to do a 4 ply of 86 yards it would be 86+86+86+86+86=430 Spinzilla credit yards, only 86 yards short of taking the 4 plies and spinning 2 skeins of 2 ply yet half of the plying effort.  This means little in the long run, but it was great incentive to play with creating a 4 ply yarn Sunday afternoon when my desire to ply was fading quickly.  When push comes to shove I managed to spin 1.98 miles of yarn in Spinzilla Credit.  I am very proud of my efforts, I think I went through about 3 pounds of fiber so next year that will have to be bulked up a bit.

As ever I am looking toward my next crafting challenge, whatever that may be!

Happy Crafting!

Spinzilla Day 1 Totals

monday-before-work

Monday Before work, this is what my bobbin looked like!  I do not have any numbers since I will get my first yardage totals when I ply.

monday-when-i-went-to-bed

Monday before I went to bed, these were my bobbins.  The first two were spun using double drive.  Since that was driving me mad, which is why the middle bobbin is much smaller than the first, I went back to scotch tension for my third bobbin and probably the rest of Spinzilla.

I did some spinning during my break at work, on my bottom whorl drop spindle, and I hope to add those bits of spinning into my total.  (Yes, during my break…no one needs to know about the time I spent standing next to the car admiring how pretty the silk looks in the sunlight as I spun.  No one needs to know that I found out spinning in the drivers seat while waiting for someone to pump gas is really not very comfortable…yes, during my break.)  I am having an absolute blast, it is almost torture waiting to ply those first few bobbins to find out how much I have accomplished so far!

Happy Crafting!