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!

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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!

Life is Looming

It turns out that the floor loom I was gifted with has a 50″ weaving width.  Since the beater it came with is 10 dent that means if I want to take full advantage of the width of the loom I need 500 Ends Per Inch-epi (if the thread I am using is 10 epi).  This is great, I am so very excited about it.  My mother’s handyman is going to get the entire thing fixed up, at some point.  Right now I am thinking that it may be ready for me by next spring or summer, giving me enough time to come up with an appropriate project and gather together the materials I might need.  Since there is no update on the status of my loom, except going nowhere fast, I do not have any updated pictures.

I have joined a couple of Facebook groups that are really neat, ‘Fiber Bargain Basement (De-stash)’, and ‘Fiber Artists and Yarn Spinners ‘.  Both are wonderful, though I have not purchased anything from the de-stash group at this time they seem to be good bargains.

A Little While

It has been a while since I have had time to craft and therefor post about crafting.  Life does take funny turns, good and bad often intertwining until you are not certain which way to look.  I have completed my second piece on my rigid heddle loom, but have no pictures yet.  It was an experiment in selvedges, beating, and color.  I have not had an opportunity to wash the piece so once it is finished by washing and drying I will declare it a success or failure, probably a scarf really!

The bad, mom is going to need surgery and they consider her a high risk candidate.  We will do everything we can to keep her as long as she retains a good quality of life.  Prayer is about all that will help.  The good is a student going to the community college I work at had a large metal Jack Floor Loom she was not certain of what she was going to do with.  Upon hearing of my interest in weaving she offered me that loom in addition to a rigid heddle loom.  The rigid heddle loom is beautiful it needed a front apron bar and probably a new heddle.  I am very excited to have received this loom.  I am in awe of my floor loom.  I will confess, I am very dismayed at the state.  It  could be a lot worse and there is a basic frame to work with but it needs a lot of work before I would consider putting my clean yarn on it.  Especially if you consider how long it takes to warp a loom, there is no point in warping on a dirty loom.

It was a physical therapy loom created by the G.E. Miller Inc. company out of Yonkers, NY.  They are still in existence today though I do not think they make looms any longer (I plan on calling or e-mailing to find out).  Here are a few shots of what my loom looks like now, I meant to get some of it assembled but I was so excited to get started I forgot and had disassembled the heddles before I remembered.  You can see the loom, the paint is rustier in person; the heddle frames.  The heddles and their rusted shafts in a bucket with my work gloves, and the identifier sticker on the reed frame.  It looks good in the pictures and fortunately the basic structure is sound.  I look forward to getting it in perfect order again though it will take a ton of work.