Cowls and Dioramas

I spent the entire week warping, weaving, and finishing the cowl. I am lucky that I was able to take my loom off of the stand or I do not know how I would have untangled my cowl. While I adore the end product, keeping some tension on the warp end I was weaving while keeping the end I was using for weft was a delicate dance. It is entirely possible I did not pack nearly enough weft into each pic, the loose gauzy feel will suit me better as the warmer months come around.

Woven cowl hanging from a towel rod in a bathroom.

I have also started spinning several different breeds, okay so two so far, and plan on crocheting some granny squares based on a challenge another person on Ravelry mentioned. The Sheepspotters society is running 1 fiber 5 ways spin along, the first day was short forward drafting more efficiently and faster. I enjoyed this, however the Hog Island I chose was a little too rustic for this to be effective. The Icelandic I picked for my second spin is turning out much smoother. I did a 2 ply for 40 yards then took the rest of the two ply and counter plied it to make a crepe yarn. That did not turn out so well, however the granny squares are quite effective. I hope to have photos of those next week. To keep track of the project I batch cut some tags using my cricut and some colored paper. Since I had to cut a couple of tags it made sense to just do an entire batch at once.

Colored tags with a blue pen and hole punch on a slightly stained wooden tv tray.

I have also been playing around a bit with the diorama I had hoped to make of an alleyway. I have the main portions painted and I had used some layering techniques to paint wooden squared off dowels in stone like colors. I had planned to cut them down into pieces that could be used like stones, roughing up the edges and adding on some color. I tried this, however I also had a container of stones…unfortunately for my efforts with the dowels I think that the actual stone looks better.

I also experimented with the width, please ignore the junk in the background. You can see in the bottom right most photo the longer strips were a little too narrow to get any kind of depth while the stick pieces looked like nothing more than grey rectangles, in no way can they be stone. The actual stone however looks amazing, I cannot wait to see what it will look like as a road between the sides. I decided on the very square pieces on the top right most photo, in single file. Double file is a bit too much space for me to cover, too much room to check out details. It will likely be several months of contemplation before I bring myself to figure out the next set of steps. Until then, I love how this diorama is turning out. Next is probably going to be trying to make some buildings for the sides and perhaps thinking about how I am going to stick pieces together.

I look forward to what next week is going to bring me. Until then, Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Finishing Projects and Starting Anew

Colorful towels in pastels with various weaving patterns across them. Sort of random with dark stripes of other colors running vertically and horizontally.

I managed to finish weaving off some towels that I have had on my loom for over a year. They have been washed and cut apart, now I need to get the courage to pull out my sewing machine and seam them. I am hoping to do a slightly rolled hem, however it is going to depend on how reckless I am feeling when the machine comes out.

I have also been working on the shawl that has been on my tri-loom for a couple of months. This is what it looked like last week, as of the writing of this post the entire shawl is finished and washed (putting it through the dryer for 20 minutes gave it an amazing halo and felted it just right). however I have not had the opportunity to get a good photo of it.

Brown and white strands of yarn on a 7 foot triangle peg loom. There is about 15 inches in the middle with just horizontal strands while the rest is tightly woven in triangles going toward the left and right points.

Fortunately for me, with all of this finishing going on, I have had the opportunity to start a few things. There is a new class available for free from Tien Chiu https://classes.warpandweave.com/collections called the Discover Color Weavealong. I have started warping my loom, I really have to cut apart my texsolv heddles before I thread the pattern threads, however I do have everything through my reed. I hope to get the heddles threaded Thursday.

16 shaft table loom with junk underneath and green threads being held in a cross formation with leases sticks.

Finally I had the opportunity to get my hands on a Kromski Fantasia Spinning wheel unfinished. I decided to go all in and varnish the wheel using a cherry stain and a topcoat to seal things in. I managed to get the first coat of cherry on all of the pieces, and everything sanded. The next step is to put the top coat on all sides of the pieces. Again, I hope to get this done on Thursday, however I am not holding my breath.

That is all she wrote for now. Until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Crafting Through These Times

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During these times I’m still working from home, it is going pretty well actually.  I am also doing some cleaning, not as much as I should, and some crafting.  For my public library I managed to create a video that uses some simple tools and cardboard to create art-ish.  The above is my creation.  I also did some work on washing wool.  I soaked some wool in cold water to get the basic dirt out:

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You can see, it helped a bit but there is still some major dirt and lanolin.  I washed a batch by scrubbing each individual lock across a bar of soap.  These results were amazingly clean, however very labor intensive:

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Then I took one batch and used hot water and unicorn simply clean to soak for ten minutes:

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This worked really well, I did not rinse this batch out just soaked and let dry so that I could use them as an example in the video I’m making.  For the rest of the picked locks I used hot water and unicorn to soak twice and then rinsed with just water a third time.  These results were wonderful, I just adore how well this works.

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You can see the amazing difference, how crisply clean and white all of the fleece is.  This is some Coopworth Yearling fiber, it started out as 8 ounces.  I picked out the washed locks and put them in a plastic bag after it had thoroughly dried.  I am so excited to be able to spin this fleece, however it is going to be some time.

I also used a large potholder loom I bought from Harrisville to make two separate potholders that were beautiful.  I’m looking at buying some more loopers for the larger loom, however they are a bit pricey.

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I’m also doing some work on my 7′ tri-loom.  I’m trying to do some cut string weaving as opposed to continuous string weaving.  Right now I think that there are too many gaps between the threads, so I am planning on trying to add extra yarn in between several of these picks.  Some of them I doubled up in one section, because of this I should be able to add a thread in between these doubled up to tighten things up.  In this flash I love how rainbow this looks, neat!

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Reenactment Farm and Loom Assembly

I had an absolute ton of fun during the music festival and reenactment demonstration event I attended last weekend.  We were set up in the loom room which has two counter balance looms, one of which happens to be a Union 36, which is the same kind of loom I was gifted with.  They also have one Huge old barn loom, that is also a counter balance loom, with four shafts.  The warp on the barn loom is an old rotting boucle yarn that will probably need to be taken off before someone can realistically weave on the loom.  With quite a bit of help, we managed to get the loom to a point where some weaving could occur.  The holes drilled in the bottom shafts of the heddle frames were not in the correct spots so that if the heddle frames were lined up properly the treadles were overlapping eachother.  Due to this problem actually weaving with the loom was slightly problematic, but a ton of fun.  As the co-president of the guild pointed out, it is not a loom for a short woman.  Surprisingly enough I also managed to finish weaving my cotton scarf during that day in the loom room, the fringe will need to be twisted and the entire thing washed thoroughly before photos.

Thanks to the Union loom needing to be warped for the class visitations to come, I was able to obtain a very good idea of how the loom should look properly assembled, as well as assisting with the warping.  I then used this knowledge to assemble my loom on Monday while waiting for the oil company to perform their annual tune-up and cleaning.  This gave me the perfect amount of time to polish, assemble, and test my Union Loom.  I am so very excited for my warp to arrive so I can get started working with this loom.  Below Please find a picture that I found on letgo of the kind of loom I own.

Image result for union 36 loomI also heard from my handyman that after a really bad reaction to a steroid his doctor put him on for his back, apparently hallucinations played a part, he will be back this week to work on finishing the paneling in my studio space.  He knows of people that can use almost all of the debris left in the space, so hopefully by next weekend I will have a clear area that I can begin designing as my studio.

Regarding my studio, I already have two floor looms, a plant stand that should be good for dyeing, a heavy duty storage rack that should be good for storage, two rolling little craft carts, two little rugs for my wheel and other coverage, as well as an amazing rolling chair that should be good for most of my sitting needs.  I am still running an internal debate over whether I am going to move my kitchen table out to the garage and put my 16 shaft loom there, purchase a new table and use the 16 shaft on that, or just keep that loom in the house.  Part of the decision making process is going to depend on how much room there will be left once I have 2 floor looms, a storage rack, and a dye center set up in the garage.  Already the grey water from my rain barrel has come in handy washing my hands after hauling my garbage cans around.

Until next time remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

I Am Infatuated

For Black Friday weekend I decided to obtain a few things that I have been looking at for years.  One of them was the Blue Butterfly Originals 2″X6″ Pin Loom.  I am a librarian and had always wondered about making my own bookmarks.  I was not certain what type of yarn I would like to use with it so I started with a couple of bits of yarn that I had spun.  According to the directions, which I skimmed over, you can use any yarn up to a bulky yarn.  Within two days I had worked out that each bookmarks takes about 4 yards of yarn.  27 bookmarks later, IN TWO DAYS, I am still going strong.  IMG_2094If any of my relatives actually read this blog, you are probably going to get a bookmark.  One of my relatives is turning her old doll house into a car house for her two sons, and race car driving husband I am sure,  so I think that these would make great little blankets or rugs for the cars.

I have ten more balls of yarn measuring 4 yards each wound up and ready to be woven, alas I actually have to work today.  Since each of the bookmarks seems to take around 10-15 minutes to create I anticipate needing more yarn wound tomorrow morning.  At first this loom seemed a bit expensive, with shipping it wound up being around $29 (Which is why I took so long to buy it), but since in two days I have woven over 20 of the bookmarks, using smaller amounts of yarn that I wasn’t sure what project I made them for, I think that this is well worth it.  I think that this would be something that I would certainly consider adding to a craft show, though in order to justify the yardage of the yarn they would probably be about $3 each.  I might make it $5 each or 3/$12.  As the year winds down I am trying to figure out where I want things to go from here.

Right now I am balancing my books with some of the insurance money, and since my work is seasonal and two of my jobs have almost a month long break, January will be supplemented as well.  In February I am going to start seeing if I can live off of my three jobs and what changes I need to make to my current situation.  Starting in March I will be calling the Handyman that Mom and I have been hiring and seeing what he wants to put siding on the house and fix up the external garage.  Those will be my two major home improvements for the year, and hopefully for longer than that.  I do have someone currently working on getting rid of the mice in the house, I have high hopes for that situation.

That is what my life looks like now, though I think I’m going to give up on the food boxes, I do not think that they worked out how I wanted them to.  I do not like sour flavors and everything seemed to have lemon juice or vinegar in them.  I will see about using my instant pot to explore some other cultures with flavors I know I have a chance of liking.

Happy Crafting!

Threading and Weaving Trick

Really quick, I have not been spinning too much recently.  My lovely Ladybug has gained a weird clunking noise, it really is only a couple of years old, and so I have not been enjoying spinning as much.  I found out that a little black hexnut on my wheel is quite loose, I have contacted Schacht and expect a fix really quickly.  So I will be back to spinning soon.  Until then, Weaving!

Removable white board tape is a new thing.  I purchased a sewing table/box/thing that had to panels beside the cubbies that were blank white walls.  I wanted to be able to make notes on them so I bought restickable whiteboard tape and LOVE the effect.  That has little to do with weaving, except that it is the advent of my obsession with this type of tape.  I decided when I was having a bit of trouble deciding what threading pattern to use next on my random twill I would use the tape to keep track of things.  That looks something like this:

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Well I can never leave good enough alone.  Since this is a variable twill, and I do not know when I will get time to work on it again, I decided to record where I left off on the front of the loom.  It is my loom, I bought it second hand and an amazing guild member delivered it for me, but I do not really want to lose the sticker that contains information about what loom it is.  So instead of putting a piece over the front of the entire loom, I used a smaller piece off to one side of the loom.  That looks like this:

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These are just a couple of things that I have come up with to improve my weaving life and make things easier for myself.

Happy Crafting!

Borrowing a Loom

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I am very fortunate that my guild allows their 4 shaft table loom to be borrowed.  I am having an absolute blast playing with color, threading, patterns, and more.  I will freely admit to being extremely overwhelmed.  The threadings, patterns, combinations, colors, etc. I am just lost with how much can be done with a simple 4 shaft loom…then there is how much and how many different yarns need to be purchased for each pattern.  I do not know how any craft-person can even claim to make a living on weaving, lol.  As a hobby I am finding it almost cost prohibitive.  But I persevere, I hope to find a single project that I am passionate about and work through things from there.  I have a 15″ weaving width to work with and right now I am having fun with some carpet warp and cones I bought on sale.  The picture above is a treadling sequence on the pink warp that was already on the loom using my variegated weft.

Happy Crafting!

Rebecca Mezoff’s Class

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I enrolled in Rebecca Mezoff’s Little Looms course, and then had to obtain a little loom to take advantage of the course, lol.  I tried to order a Hokett Loom from Woolery but ran into stock problems, one 10 day wait I can handle but when the items from the first wait came in they were sold out of something else in my order and wanted me to wait another 10  days!  That wasn’t going to work for me so I cancelled the entire order and picked up a Stash Blaster from another source.

I decided to warp this with some soft cotton twine I had lying around to see what it would do, unfortunately with the yarn I decided to use the results are closer to a balanced weave than a tapestry weave.  Oh well, it is really pretty and a good first try so I will finish my mug rug and try for a tapestry next time.

Happy Crafting!

Big Project Update 3

I cannot believe it!  The loom is almost finished!  For Reference, this is what the loom looked like when I started:

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This is what the loom looks like now:

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I still have some work to do with the pedals, the two furthest to the right do not seem to want to work right.  It is amazing what a little hard work, primer, yellow paint, and Feed n’ Wax will do for a piece of furniture.  Please note, I did paint the heddle rods inside each frame, I did not prime these pieces.  That was a big mistake.  I think it is simply the fact that I did not add primer and that the heddles are metal, but the paint has been flaking and chipping since I began putting the heddles back on.  I believe now that they are on the rods the chipping will slow down, but it is something to be aware of.

Since this began life as a therapy loom there are weights on top of each heddle frame, I will not be keeping them there but I did want them painted to match the loom.  I am so very excited to see the loom this close to being done, I have a semi-gloss topcoat that I will be putting on…well I intended to get it done soon but Mom is so excited to see what this device can do the final gloss might wait for the colder months!

Big Project Progress Report 1

I managed to get more scraped off with my hand drill, this amount of progress makes me think that my project will take the next couple of months to finish.

Keeping that in mind, I went to the hardware store to get another drill bit because the times were wearing off of the one I have already.  The gentleman asked me why I wasn’t using a paint stripper, I did not have an answer for that!  Now I am using a paint stripper on my piece, starting tomorrow.  He also recommended a liquid rust remover that I am hoping will do some good.  I am really excited about this and cannot wait to see what a difference the paint stripper will make!

Happy Crafting!