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!

I Hate Colds

*Little to no Crafting Content in this Post*

So when I had Influenza this past spring it was three days, 2 of fever, one recovery, then I’m almost back to normal.  This blasted cold however is still going quite strong 8 days in, I actually had the pleasure of waking up with a bloody nose since I must have blown a blood vessel trying to keep this cold from turning into an infection.  So yesterday was my first day off in over 10 days, and I really just planned on sleeping.  There are things I needed to do in my house, I really hate that my garbage has to be out Sunday night for Monday Morning Pickup, but since I got most of that sorted out yesterday I should be good.  I simply have to put the garbage into the cans, it is already downstairs, and haul the cans to the end of the driveway.  Then tomorrow morning before I leave for work, pick up what the crows and vermin have managed to scatter out of the can.  Between running a few loads of laundry and getting the dishwasher loaded and run I managed to catch up on rest for the day, if not actual sleep.  I had hoped to go through with the 30 books in 30 days challenge, however we are almost to the middle of the month and I have read/listened to about 2 books.  There is the possibility that if I were to listen to audiobooks every free moment of the day I could finish the challenge strong, since that isn’t going to happen I will have to resign myself to not meeting that challenge.

I did manage to complete another row on the sleeves of my sweater, this means that I have 7 of the 14 rows I need to do before the 2 rows of single crochet.  It looks like I am lucky I decided to just have 16 rows total on the sleeves, my yarn is getting a bit short.

I hope to get more knitting done on my poncho from Jimmy Beans Wool, really I just need to buckle down and work on it.  I haven’t even gotten through the first month of the knit poncho or the crochet shawl and I received the third months kit in the mail yesterday.  I do realize that a good deal of my problem revolves around my need to start new projects all the time, my lack of free time, and the simple fact that I come home tired, eat something, take my pills (vitamins, diabetes, etc.), read some fanfiction, then go to sleep.

Checking on my schedule I am working about 50.5 hours a week, with 2.5 hours unpaid travel time between places and, honestly, about 12 hours travel time to and from work with time added in to grab fast food.  This means that for about 65 hours out of every week I am in pursuit of work related activities.  Then take into account that I should be getting about 40 hours of sleep a week and there are 168 hours in a week that should mean that I have about 60 hours free per week.  Of course, 2 hours each day to get ready eat breakfast, coffee, etc. 6 days a week takes this total down to about 50 hours free time.  Well, this is unexpectedly eye opening. I know that I waste about an hour each day playing a few facebook games, however I think this total means that I am spending about 30-40 hours a week reading fanfiction.  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that, sometimes, however I might need to move out of my rut.  Huh, with these revelations (and figuring out that it takes me about 5 minutes to knit a row on the poncho) I am going to start tracking where some of my time goes a bit better.  I realize that I tend to get into obsessions, not always a bad thing, and that Glee Fanfiction is my current obsession.  I also realized that the Glee Lads Singing “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” are much better than the original artist, especially since Chris Colfer is an actual Countertenor.  Who knew that the music appreciation class Dad helped me with during my undergrad days would pay off even though I am effectively tone deaf.  Okay, that is enough random ramblings:
GOALS THIS WEEK:

  • Figure out where my time Goes
  • Finish the Sleeves
  • Finish the first month of my poncho
  • Work on the first month of my crochet cowl
  • Decide on next project (not Jimmy Beans Wool)
    • Socks, knit
    • Ladybug Cowl from Kelly’s Knit Club
    • Cover for Strickt Planner, Knit
    • New Sweater from Kit (You have about 3)
  • Finish Winding the warp for your first rug, 10 epi
  • Figure out how many inches each of the sections on the sectional warp beam are supposed to cover
  • Look up information about job for interview, figure out some questions like benefits package, outreach efforts, community demographics, etc.

Okay, it looks like my week is going to be busy.  Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Trying Double Weave

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Okay, so I decided to go for it and I warped up a loom with 16epi cottolin for 4 yards.  Now I have to figure out how to get it off of my rigid heddle loom and onto one of the tabletop looms, or if I will just use it for a weft for a future project.  I wound the warp, warped the loom, threaded the heddles, made sure I had good tension…still!  Every time I try to move a heddle to get a shed the entire thing starts going loosey-goosey.  I’m done with it.  I’m not really happy about this, however I tried and some days that is all you can do.  I’m going to finally finish weaving off the towel I have on my table loom and see about threading this on there.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a better shed, I really would hate to waste all of this yarn, it wasn’t cheap, and I would love a table runner out of it.

On another note, I have also received my Strickpaner for 2020 and I am really enjoying getting to know it.  They have a particular company that they work with to create planner stickers, I hope to check them out very soon.  They have 7 pages in the front advertising their company and explaining about the planner.  This is followed by a page of conversion charts, a page of time zones then 8 pages covering 2 years (2020 and 2021) with slots for important events each day of those years.  This is followed by pages of goals, reflections, notes, lessons learned, then we get into quarterly overviews.  Seriously, if I use this properly I should be fairly well set for the year.  There are built in trackers, week spreads with inspiration and tips, this planner seriously rocks.  On page 142 the knitting aspect of the planner begins, Project overviews, ideas, project pages, a pattern for a cover for the planner, yarn purchases, wishlists (yarn, book, accessories separated out), festivals, podcasts, stores, each have their own lists to fill in.  There is so much more, spaces for the sizes and measurements of those that you love to knit for, indexed lists and notes.  The notes are separated into index card sized, graph paper, and dotted paper, before going into a contacts section.  After the contacts are schedules (quarterly which works really well with my work life), some more advertisements, and finally a page with a ruler and needle size conversion chart.  This should be an amazing way to keep track of everything.  They even had an option to purchase a huge set of stickers that contain knitting, spinning, crochet, etc. so that I can mark days when I was able to craft, or plan out days to craft.

I did make another purchase over the weekend, I finally bought a table for my 16 shaft floor loom.  I’m not going back to that store in a hurry so they lost a lot of potential sales, but I did get the table I wanted.  Story time: I went in and saw the table, as I was checking out the lavendar (for moths) and Goats Milk Soap, I need something other than Dial, I asked how much the table was.  The saleswoman was very eager to tell me it was 90, I made a comment about getting it in a couple of weeks.  She was all about, well I’m going to take it home if it doesn’t get bought, and such.  I was honest and told her that my paychecks would be sorted out in a couple of weeks and I could afford it then, she put more pressure on and I guess I caved.  Of course, I was honest, I’m going to be pretty flush in a couple of weeks but hey, if she wants to lose out on the purchases for a quick sale it saves me money in the long run.  So, I have a table that will work for my loom and a couple of extra chairs.  Right now I am in the middle of an 11 day straight stretch of work, however after that I hope to be able to begin setting up my studio.  There are a few days where I do not have to be to work super early, so I could do something in the morning.

I think that’s enough for right now, next time I will discuss my silk dyeing and other experiments.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

My New Loom and Purchases

I was recently gifted a Union counter balance loom with 2 harnesses.  The loom is slightly dismanteled, so I have the opportunity to clean, reassemble, and oil all of the loom before I get started.  This will be a great way to get to know my new loom.   The loom came with a steel reed, which was already slightly rusted. Since the weaving width is 40″, and I would like to weave sometime this winter on this loom, I decided to price and purchase a stainless steel reed.  This type of reed does not rust and can be cut down to size relatively easily (there is a store in town that will do this for me for free).

I was originally planning on obtaining this from Woolery in addition to the spinning wheel maintenance tools I will need for my spinning class in October.  Fortunately for me, I also checked on Paradise Fibers, They had the reed that I need, a little shorter than I planned but that will work out well, as well as a coupon.  For orders over $170 they would give you $30 off.  Since the reed itself was $140 this means that I was able to get a second 10 dent heddle for my Ashford Sample-it loom.  This means that for $3 (the heddle was originally $33) I will be able to experiment with 2 heddle patterns, and doubleweave, on my rigid heddle loom.   Admittedly, while I was purchasing that I went a little overboard.

I Obtained the spinning supplies I am going to need, a 50th anniversary shuttle, and carpet warp from Woolery.  Since I am going back onto a 6 day a week work schedule, 10PM 3 nights a week, I would like to have my ‘entertainments’ up and ready to go as soon as possible.  My handyman is still working on getting the paneling up in my studio, so he is going to have to work around my new loom now.  I hope by time the days start to get shorter I will have my new loom, and my older floor loom, warped up for making rugs.  My older, gifted, floor loom is entirely metal and a 4 shaft loom originally used for therapy.  2-3 years ago I spent the entire summer scraping, scrubbing, oiling, and repainting this loom.  It still looks a bit scruffy, however I managed to get all of the moving parts ready to go.

Once my studio is paneled my Handyman has offered to haul my metal loom over there, and I will take the time to completely go over it one more time.  I believe that each of these looms have an average of 2 yards loom waste (so much yardage) so in order to create even a 1 yard rug I will need to plan on a 3 yard warp.  Cones of warp are about $8 for 800 yards (sounds like a lot right) for the 40′ loom at 10 epi that is 400 yards.  Oops, 2 yards loom waste, so 800 yards covers the loom waste.  So for me to weave anything I will need at least 2 cones of warp.  I know, I do not have to weave the entire width, however I would like to see what the results would be.  $16 for a rug really is not that expensive.  I believe that I have plenty of fabric for the weft, no worries about that.

The plans above are actually for the new 2 shaft loom since I know what the weaving width is off-hand.  I will need to re-measure the weaving width of the metal loom to see where it falls and plan a warp for that loom as well.  There are many more exciting patterns available for the 4 shaft loom, I would like to see what an undulating twill will look like woven as a rug.  I do still have my cotton scarf on my rigid heddle loom, my bamboo scarf on the guild’s table loom, and my kitchen towels on my little table loom.  These are presently in my studio underneath the house, I do not believe I will move them into the garage, however I may change my mind.  The last loom that I will need to make a decision about is my 16 shaft loom.  I am seriously thinking about moving my kitchen table out to the  new studio, warping the 16 shaft loom with my cotton-linen yarn, and knocking out some amazingly patterned curtains for the kitchen.  Again that is going to have to wait until the paneling is up, however I hope that will be very soon.

Well, all of this weaving talk has left me excited to get started!

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!!

Progress On My Studio

Okay, so late this past winter a contractor that was recommended to me by a friend and colleague started work on getting my unattached garage turned into a studio.  Truthfully this has been very slow going, I think he started in March and it is now the end of August, however that is not entirely his fault.  It turns out that in addition to the mouse problem, we live in the country there are going to be mice if you have any holes at all, the garage did not have any gutters.  So after I purchased and had a new garage door installed, gutters were installed eliminating that problem.  The rafters were reinforced, apparently they had not been and the entire structure was leaning a bit, and a new door frame was installed.  The entire building is now insulated, however two weeks ago the wiring shorted out.  I received a phone call saying that things would be delayed due to the flames shooting out of the wall.  Needless to say, I am happy that this happened when my handyman was there and not when I was by myself.

Now the wiring is fixed, and the last things to do are install the paneling and haul my stuff over there.

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The new garage door and doorframe look amazing, one of the gutters runs into a rain barrel.  It is going to be amazing that I can use grey-water for dyeing and possibly washing fleeces.

Right now the entire thing does not look like much, however it really is quite a bit of space.  I have a metal floor loom that I plan on installing so that I can finally weave the rag rugs I want to.  I procured a potting stand for a steal that I believe will be amazing for dyeing.  I also bought an ergonomic rolling chair so that I can, hopefully, avoid any back issues, as well as a heavy duty storage rack.  Once I see how much room I have left over I will have to consider weather I am going to install my 16 shaft table loom out there, or keep that in the house.  Now that I think about it, it might make sense for me to just move my old kitchen table out into the garage for my table loom instead of purchasing a new one.  I already am going to have to buy at least a heater for the garage and probably an air conditioner as well for when the summer hits.

It is my greatest hope that this will get done by October so that I can have everything ready to go by time winter really hits.  With the new door, and relatively air tight structure I should be able to spend some time weaving and dyeing throughout the winter.  Since I have a mild form of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, I believe that having a place that I can do some work that does not give me easy access to an area that I can just lay down and sleep will help me to keep my spirits up throughout the winter months.

Remember to keep Living Life a Little More Abstract!

Pi Shawl Finished!

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I finished this shawl before 8 am Sunday May 5, 2019.  Since I began this shawl April 16th, this is pretty good.  Completely unblocked it looks like the shawl is about 24 inches wide.  I am hoping that the phrase, “Oh, that’ll block right out” is true.  The center puckers, the edges don’t want to lay flat, the lacy bits don’t show up very well.  Aargh!  So, I am going to throw this in the wash when I get home with some other stuff (the way I think my sibling will…) Hmm….I don’t want my sibling washing this.  They will not know how to block it….I’ll tell them if they don’t get it dirty it doesn’t need washed.  If they do I’ll pay the postage send it home and I’ll clean it.  A little fussy, but it’ll work.  Okay, that being said, I’m going to throw it in with some wool wash and lukewarm water to give it an initial wash.  Then I’ll block it aggressively and hope that it stretches to about 40″.  I originally wanted the shawl to be about 60″ (my wingspan) but this will have to do.  Perhaps my next will be a different size.

I very much enjoyed knitting this Pi Shawl, though I believe that one skein of fingering weight yarn is probably too little yarn for a shawl with this much straight stockinette stitching.  Should the shawl have more lace elements, and therefore more holes making the yarn stretch further, then this might have been enough yarn.  Given that information I believe that I will buy sock yarn in pairs of skeins from here on out so that I have the opportunity to make two pairs of socks or a really rocking shawl.  I will also test this theory by taking one of the single skeins of sock/fingering yarn I have and trying out a half pi shawl.  If my (pretty bad) math is accurate, this means that I should be able to get to the…Okay so I tried to draw this out and write it out to figure things out, then I had to admit I cannot.  If I were to knit along with my patterning then I would stand a chance, but just sitting here and trying to imagine it, not going to happen.  Due to this, I believe that I am going to do three things.

1) Search ravelry for a fingering weight half-pi shawl.  If I really like it I will buy it

2) Check the BluPrint papers for the shawl construction sheet and use  that information to begin ‘writing’ a pattern for a shawl

3) Trawl my stashed yarn on Ravelry for what kind I would like to use.

Fortunately with the MyBluPrint class I was able to discover the ratios that I need to make my own shawl with an approximate depth of 18 inches.  This should be enough to come about mid back on me.  With the help of the website “New Stitch A Day” I was able to narrow down, without being overwhelmed, my knitted on border choices to 4.  This may be revised at a later date.  Since all four of the borders involve techniques I do not know off hand I plan on using them to create bookmarks so that I can:

A) Practice

B) Block

C) Gauge Yarn used

D) Gauge size of edging when finished

Now I just have to Woman Up and Cast On!

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract

Shifts in Time and Perspective

Today is when we set our clocks ahead an hour, thereby losing an hour of sleep but gaining an hour of daylight.  For me this means that spring is ever closer, and a quarter of the year is almost gone.  I know, that will not be true until closer to the end of March, but time is certainly marching on.  Taxes are soon going to be filed, the cat is going to the vet tomorrow, gardens need to be prepared, and it really needs to stop snowing.  Thinking about all of this is giving me time to remember what the name of this blog is really about.  It is too easy to take life very seriously, and think of things in a very linear way.  Sometimes you need to think in ways that are A Little More Abstract, about life as well as craft.

February is always a bad month for me.  The end of January was my parents wedding anniversary, February 21st was the closing of the 10th year since we lost my father.  This is my first full year without my mother.  March begins a new month, a fresh month, working our way toward spring.  Lent is upon us, if you are Christian, so we begin a march toward Easter.  The word ‘March’ in the phrases, “March toward Easter”, and “Time is Marching on” tend to bring the unfortunate connotation of drudgery.  You think of an army slogging its way toward a battle, instead I think of a steady progression.  When soldiers March they tend to do so with their heads held high, marching proudly toward their destiny, whatever that may be.

This is where my shift in perspective is coming into play.  I need to figure out where my destiny is going to lay.  These past 10 years working several part-time jobs and taking care of mom has been a wonderful learning experience.  I have had the time as well as freedom to learn a lot about myself and what I am capable of in addition to some of my limitations.  Now it is time for me to face what the spring and summer will bring.  I know, this entire entry is a bit maudlin, but that is what this time of year does to me.

Yesterday I managed to wrap all of the warps for the shoelace weaving project I will be teaching tomorrow, put together a shelving unit for my studio when it is completed, and set up pans for the 12 stepping stones I hope to make out of cement.  I intended to begin pouring the stones yesterday, but since the weather is supposed to get up to almost 50 by the middle of the week I decided to hold off on actually mixing and pouring the cement.  I have the sand poured and the glass set, so it is just a matter of adding the cement and leaving them to harden.  Hopefully things will be in good shape by Wednesday, when they are coming to install my new garage door, and Thursday when I hope to mix the cement.  The decorations on these stones are pieces of glass, but I believe I will change that out for mosaic tiles or decorative stone for the actual class.  The glass shards are too much of a liability to consider as a good solution.

I have completed 2/3rds of the Jimmy Beans Knitted Cowl and have begun the final third.  It is actually my goal to have that knitted by the end of this week so that I can block it out and take a final picture for a blog post next week, fingers crossed.  I have not make much progress on the second installment of the Crochet Pouf but that is going to be my second goal, I believe.  This may get sidetracked depending on how complex the first installment of the Sherlock Afghan is on Saturday.  I also have socks and dishcloths I am fiddling with, hopefully things will get past the stage of stitching into nothingness and some progress will be made.

So that is the end of it for now.  Shifting time, shifting perspective, and a shifting list of priorities.  Learning more about myself and what I can do, playing with cement is new, and reminding myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.  So until next installment.

Keep crafting and remember to keep your life a little more abstract.