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!

Stickii BAO Box – Galaxy Edition

For quite some time I have been considering getting one of the organizers from Stickii for my planner and sticker collections.  I know that I am always trying out new things, however in recent months I have found that by keeping my calendar both in a digital format, my ipad, and a physical format I can keep better track of what I am doing each day as well as what needs to be accomplished.  As I am not the slightest bit artistic I am unable to draw in my planner with any degree of success, so stickers are a good solution for me.  The Stickii Club has been a lot of fun so far, and is relatively inexpensive.

This brings us to the Galaxy BAO from Stickii at $88 it is not the least expensive purchase I have ever made, for certain.  I could have gone with the Stickii Folio for $15, however the soft sided nature seemed to be asking for trouble.  The regular BAO Box runs $68, and since I tend to love pouches as well as Galaxy themed items it seemed work the extra $20 to get a decent case.  I will not sugar coat my review.

When I received the box I was very excited.

Opening the box I was greeted by a sticker sheet with succulents on it as well as an envelope with a pretty stirring spoon sticker sealing it closed.

Upon further inspection the envelope contained a very sweet thank you note for ordering this set from Stickii.

I drew out my anticipation and took a photo of each aspect of my uncovering the actual BAO.  The white pouch that this arrived in, within the box, seems like it is a nice pouch.  I hope to use it to organize my Washi Tapes and other Paper Crafting Supplies that I am not actively using.

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Actually opening the box was like discovering Aladdins Cave.  There were so many amazing items to discover I could not wait to start.  Since I do not want to end this post with the negatives, they were really minor in the end, I will put them here.  The bottom rivet on the binder insert was not set properly.  I discovered this when I was starting to explore the pouches.  A little glue and the problem is fixed, I could have kicked up a fuss and sent it back (probably would have except I was so looking forward to this).  This does mean that I would not give this item as a gift shipped from the manufacturer.  If I find out that someone I love would use something like this I would certainly get it shipped to myself then send it off once I had inspected it (and stocked it up a bit).  The other problem is simply that for the first few uses the zipper stuck.  Now, check out these washi tapes I received!

The middle set has a paper backing that I am still finding out the best way to peel off.  The rest are so neat though, I cannot wait to start using them.  These are not the only treats in my box however.

The stamp was neat, though immediately consigned to staying at home since I do not plan on messing around with stamp ink on the go.

The pouch is very pretty, I love that it is mostly see-through with a carrying loop and easy to use zipper.  The included pen has a super fine writing tip, .3mm or less, and a really clunky bit of bling.  I think that I will either use the bling as a zipper pull or a progress keeper for my knitting/crochet.  As you can see the washi tapes fit wonderfully in the pouch, however I discovered that too many bags make the BAO hard to close.

There were two really neat pages of Stickii Packs included, and the BAO looks really deep.  These stickers were so much fun to explore and I look forward to spending quite a bit of time playing with them.

You can see there was everything from paper stickers, memo papers, raised stickers, and more.  The assortment is going to provide me with months of fun.

I firmly believe that this is a good purchase for me.  It will not only up my paper crafting game, I believe that it will help and inspire me to greater heights in my organization efforts.  Since I have 2 separate journals going on at one time, I will not be using this in the most conventional manner, however it should be more than adequate for my needs.  The purple journal is my financial planning, the red is my monthly/weekly/daily tracker.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Savvy Girls Podcast Review

*WARNING, this is a No Fiber Content Post, if you want Fiber Content, sorry.  I’ll try to post Fiber Content Later this Week or Next Week*

Okay, to start with I will state that I do not agree with most Liberal Leaning statements.  There are some things politically that I despair about, and some that I am cheering.  What those are, is nobody’s business because I do not like to discuss politics and hate hearing about them.  Mom really liked politics, but listening to her complaining about them all the time just killed my interest.

That being said, I started listening to this podcast from the oldest podcast I could access up to the newest.  In the beginning the chatting about trips, and little informative bits about the gerbil, sparrow, and Savvy Girl Melanie’s Mom were interesting.  Then there were bits about the wedding, Melanie’s sister knitted her own canopy for her Jewish Wedding, I was fascinated by that.  Then comes the political rantings, about how Trump stinks…blah, blah, blah.  She’s living most of the time in Canada when she isn’t traveling for her job.  I made it to Episode 172 and Tidbit 37, so 12 Tidbits and 18 Full episodes into the podcast.  Admittedly this takes me up tot February of 2017, so if you want to see if the political content dies down in more recent podcasts go for it.  As for me, I can actually listen to podcasts about people, knitting, and crochet, spinning, weaving, attending conferences, etc.  Not about travel troubles, political nonsense, birds, gerbils, etc.

If you like random information, travel, liberal politics, and general chatter podcasts then this is the podcast for you.  If you want to hear about knitting, have a more conservative bent (or just hate politics) and don’t want to hear about the Sparrow then you might want to try another podcast.

If someone chooses to bring this post to the attention of the creators of the Savvy Girl’s podcast I am fine with that. I chose to not post a review because A. I don’t want to get roasted on their podcast & B. I know that there are plenty of people that find this podcast charming and I do not want to bring down the rating for reviewing this on iTunes.

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract.

New Tools

One of my new philosophies has to do with having the tools you need to achieve the results you want.  Can I weave tapestries with a picture frame?  Yes, but I will not like the process or the results.  Given that I have decided to invest in a couple of tools to make my crafting life a bit easier and my results a bit better. Before I get to the actual reviews, a disclaimer, I am in no way affiliated with any of the products below.  I purchased them using my own funds, I am not making any profit from these reviews/products.

Recently I have decided to up my knitting and crochet game.  I have started with socks, but I hope to progress to garments like cardigans, shawls, and sweaters soon.  Learning Tunisian Crochet, filet crochet, and lace knitting are also on my list of projects to work on.  With fitted garments gauge is extremely important.  To this end I have invested in the Akerworks Swatch Gauge, but I went all out and invested in the knitting tool kit.

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This includes, tape measure, scissors, two darning needles, knitting needle measuring tool, locking stitch markers, and various magnets across the back in addition to the gauge swatch tool.  Essentially this is everything that I would need to knit or crochet on the go in one compact tool.

The stitch gauge has the numbers engraved on the side that is facing down toward the fabric, but they are engraved backwards so when the tool is being used the numbers show in the right direction, but there is no real explanation as to what the numbers are.  Going horizontally across the top there are the numbers 1-4 and under the horizontal line are the numbers 1-10.  Comparison with a ruler proves that 1-4 measures inches while 1-10 measures centimeters.

The tape measure can be slid out of the compartment that houses it, but can also be easily used from its nest in the tool.  The scissors have comfortable finger holes as well as proving themselves quite sharp when put to the test against yarn.  The darning needles in addition to the stitch markers are standard but since they are metal they stay where the magnets put them quite easily.

When my studio is completed I believe that this will have a place stuck to the metal rack I intend to install.  The swatch gauge will be just at home measuring picks per inch as it will stitches per inch.

I have been lusting after the Eszee twist tool for about 2 years now.  Spinning is still my main passion, however all of the math tends to intimidate me.  No longer!  With the Eszee Twist tool I can measure the angle of twist, but more importantly I have a gauge which I can put my yarn on and have a  fairly good idea of what the wraps per inch are going to be without making a mini skein of yarn.  This kit comes with much more than just the measuring tool, it has a bookmark, knitting needle gauge, yarn tracker, in addition to a user guide that does double duty as an Everything You Need to Know to Get the Yarn You Want guide.

In addition to explaining what twist is, s twist, z twist, and angles of twist, this guide goes on to explain different yarn constructions such as 2 ply, 3 ply, Navajo plied, core spun, cables, worsted, and woolen.  The part that I find most useful is the simple math needed to calculate what size your finished yarn will be.  This simple formula was well worth the investment, but the guide and other tools provide everything you need to gain a deeper understanding of yarn construction.

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Yes, they are stitch markers.  Actually what they are is a charm bracelet I purchased through amazon and repurposed using some split rings and lobster clasps.  I just love the BBC production of Sherlock (except the last season and I HATE Mary) so I wanted stitch markers that reflected me.  However, I did not want to spend $5 for one to three stitch markers that really had little to do with Sherlock.  So I found a charm bracelet, there were 20 charms on it, a little manipulation, and I have 20 stitch markers that I thoroughly enjoy.  Since I made the entire batch in less than an hour I can certainly see the appeal in buying up a lot of charms and making these by the hundreds.  I wonder if I can recoup some of my yarn/fiber expenses by starting a stitch marker business?

Happy Crafting!

Finn and Firefly

Spinning for the Hap begins tomorrow, so I have cleared the Finn that I spun for a breed sample off of my bobbins.  I managed to get 56 yards before washing, I love how it looks.  I am aware that I tend to overspin my yarn in places creating those little curls in the plies, but I really like that effect so it will probably remain.  I spun the Finn singles on the Ladybug and really enjoyed the process.  I used the Spinolution Firely to ply the finn as well as another sample I had created.  Let me back up a bit.

I obtained the Firefly for Christmas so that I can use the 2 pound bobbin (32oz) capacity to create very large skeins.  I originally intended to spin singles using my Ladybug and ply using the Firefly.  I did have to try the Firefly spinning singles first (I just had to, there was a leader already on the wheel) and this was a great way to figure out how the controls work and how well I like this wheel.  The truth is that I really do like this wheel, though I cannot pinpoint why.  There are a lot of options that allow this wheel to work however you want it to, if you like it on the floor then that works, you can put it on an angle, if you prefer it on the table then do so, you can even angle it on the table.  Should you be working with larger yarns then there is a hook rather than an orifice option.  You can easily switch between the larger and smaller heads, though the drive band is a bit finicky.  When using the 32oz option you need to turn the speed to the second dot before it will begin moving, and at that point it moves at a leisurely pace.  It is easily set up with so little pull you have to almost force the yarn onto the bobbins.

If you are looking for a wheel to help a beginning spinner focus on twist and draft then I highly recommend this wheel.  Without worrying about treadling at all the beginning spinner can focus on twist and draft while the yarn gets spun at a very leisurely pace.  If you are an intermediate spinner that wants to become more mindful of your spinning, or simply wants to be able to ply two completely full Bulky Plyer Flyer bobbins of singles together into a single skein, then this is the wheel for you, with the 32 oz head.  Actually, I think that any spinner that wants to work on bulky yarns and art yarns would benefit from this wheel.  I am certain that expert spinners can come up with even more options than I have mentioned here.

For me, there was a bit of a learning curve, but I believe that this is true of any new tool.  I like the idea of the hook orifice so I have kept that one on, but I do find that I do best when I hold the yarn straight out from the hook.  If I hold the yarn to one side or another I tend to get little jerky shakes in the yarn which can lead to breaks in finer yarns.  For plying, this is an absolute dream.  Since I am not worrying about treadling I get to focus on the yarn forming those little perfect bumps and then feeding onto the wheel.  I get to slow down my plying and see how everything looks without worrying about bobbin chicken or hurrying up to get the wheel free for more spinning.  The ability to change the speed at which I am spinning simply by twisting a knob, as well as the lack of worry about speeding up or slowing down as I get excited by the yarn/music/book/show is amazing.

If you are thinking of getting an electric spinning wheel then focus on what you want out of it.  I do not recommend the Electric Eel Wheel mini, the drive band broke on mine and I purchased the replacement recommended.  Right now, and for the last couple of months, it is under some extra tension to stretch it out a bit so that when it is on the wheel the little motor can actually spin the bobbin so that I can get some twist in the yarn.  Splurge a bit, get a really good wheel by a very reputable maker.  Maybe some of the other eel wheels are fine, but I am not impressed.  If you want to be able to spin really big yarns make sure that your model has larger spinning heads, if you want portability check weight, if you want lace weight see if the wheel you are looking at is good for that.  Above all, check reviews!

Happy Spinning!

 

Phat fiber box September 2018

I adore how many beautiful sets of fiber arrived in this box.  There are a coup,e mini skeins of yarn that should be fun to lay with. I also received about 4 stitch markers as a lovely pin.  The box arrived less than a week after it was ordered.  I cannot wait to start spinning these  and hope to show off when they are done.

Happy spinning!

Faerie Knitting by Alice Hoffman

This is a lovely book that serves not only as a pattern guide but as a reminder that Faerie stories come from within as well as being passed down through the ages. All too often we forget in our times of ‘politically correct’ and ‘historically accurate’ that these stories were constantly revised to fit the day that they were being told while remaining true to the lessons within. I love that there are no names associated with these, no major background information or world building, they are just simple tales with simple morals. Some of the morals are a little progressive, and the stories are all set within rural environments (with the occasional city or castle thrown in), but they are still very well written. I love the patterns also, though at my skill level they are mostly beyond me, but they are certainly worth aspiring to complete.

Happy Reading!