Preparing for the Spin Together October 3-10th

I decided to join team Paradise Fibers, as I mentioned last post. Due to this, I have spend the past weekend preparing my fibers to start spinning on the 3rd.

I spent September 20th preparing the locks, flicking open ends, carding a few rolags, creating some cloud fiber. The spin should be tons of fun, I even found some white and black mohair locks to add even more texture. I’m debating if I want to ply this with a sequined thread I have or just leave it as a wild singles. I’ll see how it looks on the 3rd after I spin it. Right now I plan on spinning this on the 3rd so that I have the rest of the week to get as much mileage as I can.

I also took each piece of roving that I planned on using for this spin and split them in half so that I could have an approximately equal spin on two different bobbins. Using a basket and a bag I kept the two halves of the spin separated, but I also pulled off pieces of each main roving into 4-10 inch segments. After I had the fiber divided, I also added in some different colors that went with the theme, I rolled each section of roving into a little nugget. This will make it easier for me to pick out a random nugget of fiber to spin from. I also put a bobbin in each container, these combined with the one on the wheel give me two to ply from and one to ply onto.

I am super excited for this spin, it has actually given me to motivation to ply up some singles I have had resting on my weaving bobbins, but that is a spin for a different post.

Until next time remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

Really Busy Week

Non-Crafting Content, skip to second set of asterisks to skip this part. **Sorry I have not gotten around to posting anything last week, the world seemed to explode around me. A colleague found out that she needs surgery because her IUD impaled her uterine wall, I had 2 staff meetings, 2 major projects, a transgendered person answered my “What do you want for Christmas?” with “A Vagina” (this is the first time bottom surgery has been brought up as even a consideration in conversation with this individual), and I’m trying to balance paying the guy painting my house with paying my school taxes and other bills. It’s been a bit stressful. Of course, I am still a very lucky individual. I’m going to have a conversation with my transgendered individual this afternoon, my colleague is getting her surgery and the shifts will be covered easily, I have one project complete and a handle on the other, my federal stimulus came through so I have the beginning of October’s Bills covered, I made a deposit payment on the painting, and I can concentrate on saving for the taxes. **

The painting of my house is going amazingly well. Some basic repairs and filling in of cracks, left by prior contractors, had to be done but now the paint is going on smoothly. There had been no prior discussion of painting my railings, which once I saw them against the new paint, had to be accomplished. I looked up painting color schemes and settled on a coral that would look amazing against the new color. I purchased the spray paint and started working on this new aspect to the project.

In addition to my adventures in painting, this makes me want to re-paint my entire interior which is not realistic at this point, I’ve got two bathroom vents that need replaced and my external garage still needs to be turned into a workspace. Ah Well.

I’ve found some time to spin this week, I managed to finish spinning and plying a dark sparkly set of fibers. I cannot believe that after plying I had 500 yards of yarn. I believe after washing I can safely assume that I still have over 400 yards of black sparkly yarn.

I look forward to figuring out what I want to do with this yarn when it is finished drying. This is not the only spin I have been working on, I have also been experimenting with the September Fiber of the Month Club Box/Bag I received from Paradise Fibers and the autumn spin I already had planned. I did a spin with the autumn fibers included and a spin with out the autumn fibers, already I think I am going to add in the autumn fibers. I then started knitting a test swatch for a garter tab cast on triangle shawl.

I love how this spin turned out so much I went stash diving and decided to pull out all of the fiber I can find that will fit into this criteria, I also added in some yellow for a bit of a bright splash. I have not started this spin quite yet however. There is an event called Spin Together 2020 that I have signed up to participate in on Team Paradise Fibers. This event runs from October 3-10, so short lived, and is based on yardage, beautiful skeins, or wild spins. I look forward to participating in this event, I’ll try almost anything once!

Busy Week

Not really crafty until after second *. *This was my first week back to all three jobs, it has actually gone well. I am under some financial strain since the government did not extend the federal unemployment payments and I wanted to continue to work a couple of days a week. The beginning of this month is going to be short and I wound up applying for an Amazon Credit card. I did not really want to, however this will enable me to invest in my skill-set and make myself more marketable.*

I ordered a 3-d printer with heated plate and filament for under $200, on credit through Amazon. I have already created two original drawings in TinkerCad, a free online 3-d creation tool. My sibling recommended the slicer software that they use, and I plan on doing some experimenting once I have my set-up at home. The two drawings I made are below, the first is supposed to be a stone-like set of stairs while the second is supposed to be a dice tower.

I am very excited to begin learning the ins and outs of 3-d printing. I have not had a good technological challenge in a while and I look forward to exercising those muscles again. A colleague and I were asked to put together easy craft ideas so that another colleague can keep them occupied after school.

We were given about two weeks to come up with ideas, samples, and teach the other person. Fortunately we had about two weeks worth of dead simple crafts that I could whip out right away. We are asking the person in the room to have the teens, and now pre-teens, to brainstorm as many ideas as they can come up with, we can figure out a way to have them learn almost anything. I already obtained some feedback from a teen that worked with the children’s department over the summer, and he suggested Clay as a medium he enjoyed. We received the e-mail the same day I was going up to Buffalo for my third cast change (one more to go then the pin comes out in October), so I swung by Michael’s Craft Store to get some supplies and ideas.

From left to right, black clay teardrop pendant, jack-o-lantern made from pony beads, wooden owl face (upside down) colored with brown, white orange, and pink paint pens, leather bracelet half colored with blue leather marker, half colored with green. Tiny star imprinted on leather and colored yellow.

I am also planning on having a demonstration piece of Kumihimo cord, lucet cord, and a knitted fingerless glove. Two of my colleagues have teen/pre-teen children so I hope to ask them if needle felting would be too dangerous.

I find that during zoom meetings that I can take at home is when I get around to spinning on my black skein. If I am home and not on my computer then I tend to mess around with the Kumihimo and Lucet work, though not for very long stretches of time, since they involve pinching the work with my left hand. The pinching problem is also why I do not have the top hem of my skirt finished yet either.

I did finish plying the 716 batt, and I discovered why it is best to make sure you have 4 ties in your skeins of yarn. I tried to get away with just 2, one snapped, which left me with a yarn barf to sort out.

Brightly colored yarn tangled up, whites, blues, pinks, greens, and more. This close you can see where there are thinner spots and puffier spots.

Fortunately there was not a ton of yarn in the skein, though I am still not sure how much, so I was able to wind it into a ball in about an hour or so.

Ball of yarn, pink, green, blue, purple, whites showing through.

I cannot wait to be finished with these sample pieces so that I can work up a couple of test swatches with this yarn.

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

Back to Everything and More

I managed to schedule art journal prompts for the entire month of September onto Facebook with examples for each prompt. I still have a video to shoot for Monday, and I just found out that we are going to be doing crafts for our teens at the public library. I am really excited to be working with a colleague to figure out what we can have them doing with minimal supervision.

This past weekend I had so much fun watching the speakers for FiberWorld 2020 and getting plenty of spinning done. I managed to spin up the Batt that I purchased from the 716 yarn truck:

Multi Colored batt with a card explaining the fibers. There is a ladybug spinning wheel with a 3-d printed bobbin on it behind the batt, and a stool as well as a television behind it.
Photo of the spun singles on a schacht ladybug with a 3-d printed bobbin. Bright pinks, greens, blues, yellows, and bits of white.

I made the mistake of only putting 2 ties into the skein…then one snapped when I was trying to open up the skein…now I’m procrastinating winding that skein into a ball.

For the August Paradise Fibers Fiber of the Month Box we received a selection of a lot of the previous fibers.

Basket containing a lot of different pieces of fiber

I realize I’ve shared this photo before. I managed to get the mini batts spun up and plied. I have a photo of the yarn on the bobbin.

Singles from the fiber pictured above. On a schacht ladybug spinning wheel with a 3-d printed bobbin.

For this skein I put 4 ties into this, the washing went well. I’m drying the skein and will get a photo up soon.

Right now I am going to start spinning up a combination of 3 dark pieces of fiber with sparkles and some other colors bleeding through. I hope that I can keep myself interested throughout this spin.

So, my first full week of work is this week. 46 hours, down from my previous 55 hours. I’m excited to see what this semester brings. Teen crafting, spinning, weaving, new experiences, and fascinating work. What more can I ask for!

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Back to Work Soon

I am back to having an absolute blast spinning yarn. Thanks to a friend of mine I remembered that I had a batt from a local company.

Television on in the background, spinning wheel and stepstool in front of the television. In the foreground is a small table with a colorful batt of fiber, card in front that states 716 Batt, description of fiber content and 4+ Oz priced at $20.

This batt spun up within a couple of days, it was so much fun. It filled up about 2/3rds of a bulky bobbin.

Filled 3d printed bobbin on a Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel with a WooleeWinder.

This batt is currently in the form of singles into a center pull ball that I will be using to ply from once I have my current project off of the wheel. My soap has not arrived quite yet, the package seems to have been lost. While I am waiting I received my Paradise Fibers August Spinning Box. I love it so far. It is a batch of samples from many of the past boxes. I dug right in, the little bits are just enough that I do not get bored with a color. I spun up about 10 in one day. I am trying to keep track of what I am doing with the spinning.

Big Kantha Basket containing little balls of fiber in a wide variety of colors and fibers.

While I am ready to turn the heel on my worsted weight sock, I have not gotten around to it yet. I am about 2/3rds of the way through sewing the hem…thing that I am going to pull my drawstring through my dress…thing.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

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!

November Already

I cannot believe that November is here already, two more full weeks and it will be Thanksgiving week!  This year has both dragged and flown by.  This past week I received my November Paradise Fibers Box, the fibers look neat but the patterns for knitted ornaments are what has really caught my eye.

I received the more subdued colors of fiber, the white was what everyone received, my second color was a light pink rather than bright pinks and purples.  I enjoy the colors, especially since I have enough brighter fibers to use as pops of color for the ornaments.  I almost repurposed the spinning I was doing to be used as embroidery thread, however I decided to stick to my original plan.  I do still believe that I will use any left-over yarns as crewel embroidery rather than scrap projects (if they are not big enough to knit into hexipuffs).

Speaking of things that I learned from EGLFC I have decided to use the highly textured yarns that I created that weekend as a sort of commemorative scarf.  I managed to get my Ashford Sample It Loom threaded and tensioned using a 7.5dent heddle.

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I love how it is turning out, however this is going to be the very definition of ‘Slow Cloth’ Weaving.  Each time I open a new shed the yarns stick, since the textured yarns are in the slots they do not like to move up and down or separate from their neighbors.  Keeping the actual locks to the top, without interfering with the addition of new horizontal picks, and so many more problems.  The fascinating part of this is, I do not mind the problems at all.  Yes, I am not really happy that one of my warp threads had to be tied back together when it snapped, I’m a bit worried about advancing the warp and how much trouble beating is going to be (I think I’m going to use a fork or tapestry beater at times), however I believe that I am going to enjoy taking my time and letting this scarf become what it wants to be.  IMG_3095

There are several other projects going on in my life right now.  I am working on upping my bullet journaling game, not only because of the class at the end of the month, but because I am trying to be more organized.  As I hinted earlier I finished a small braid that I am going to use for embroidery thread, it was a sample from my Holi Spinning box earlier this year.  At present I am pulling off lengths, allowing them to ply back on themselves and tying them into bundles to be steamed when I have time.

For other projects, my handyman has finally gotten around to putting up the paneling in my ‘studio’, of course since it has snowed already I had to purchase a small heater that claims it will heat up a room twice as big as the one I am using.  Finger’s crossed, I hope so because I had to lay out a few home truths to him about the nature of working on a part time basis for a community college and private university, specifically that from my last paycheck in the middle of December I will not get another from those two until February.  Fortunately I have enough crafting supplies stocked up, and just enough pay coming to me in the next six weeks, that I should be able to handle all of the major bills for January relying on my public library pay for food and gas.

I am not certain about the holidays at present, there are some good sales on Turkeys and Hams, so I believe I will stock up a bit on major protein sources.  Life goes on and I am luckier than most.

For crafting, I also picked up the Charollais I received as a part of Holi, I was fascinated by the lock structure and hoped to use it as some texture in a new yarn.  When I picked it up, it felt a touch tacky.  Thinking that a bit of lanolin was left in the locks, I immersed it in some very hot tap water, that immediately turned brown.  I had been harboring unwashed wool!  There is nothing inherently wrong with unwashed wool, if you know it is there so you can keep an eye on it or make sure it is away from the rest of your stash.  Unwashed wool is what attracts Wool Moths and Mice, neither of which I want in my stash.  I gave this wool three really good rinses and hopefully this will be enough, it is almost half way dry as of this morning.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Halloween Aftermath

Between the asterisks * and before the photo is non-crafting related content.  Some may be disturbing, if you’re not interested don’t read.  Crafting content starts at the photo.

*The Trunk or Treat event for Halloween that my public library had, was interesting.  This is the event that I dressed up for.  I believe that my makeup was relatively successful, I certainly got enough complements, however I do not like how the photos turned out so will not be showing those.  To give some background, the Monday before I had one student at my craft class.  We talked about quite a bit and they confided some things to me.  Two most relevant to this conversation, other than their medical issues, were that they tended to become very attached to people and that they were, essentially, interested in me…to date…it was pretty direct.  I, as gently as I could , told them that they were not the gender I was attracted to but I liked them as a person (and that I was a decade older than them).   So during Trunk or Treat when they sought me out, I engaged evasive maneuvers.   Since I am actively seeking employment it is not likely I will remain in the area, so even if I were interested it would not be fair to start anything with them.  A little later, after a tent had blown into a tree, this individual sought me out again.  They were having some medical issues, and in the end they were taken off in an ambulance.  It was a complication of their earlier problems, and part of an ongoing issue.  The last was a lost and then found iPhone, which makes a total of 3 problems that night.  I may see this patron again tomorrow for my silk scarf dyeing class, and I intend to push them toward organizations that may be able to help with their problems.  Not a great Thursday, I must admit.*

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As you can see, I am still making progress on my crewel embroidery.  This, along with my spinning, are quick easy crafts that I can pick up and work on within a couple of minutes of sitting down.  There is no figuring out where I was in the pattern, what row I finished, what my stitch count should be.  Just thread the needle with whatever color wool appeals to me in the moment, or pick up whatever fiber I am spinning on at the time.  As winter approaches and I start to fill out my civil service tests these easy projects are going to be great for me.  If the weather clears up next weekend, and there is significant progress on my studio, I hope to warp the loom Saturday and start weaving so that I have another easy to pick up project.  Speaking of weaving, I have made some progress on my bamboo scarf, however it does not look any different so there is no point in putting a photo of that up.

A couple of weeks ago we had dyeing as the craft du-jour at my public library, dyeing wool specifically.  Since we had left over dye I threw a few pieces of wool in to soak things up.  I forgot them in the car for a week and in my bathroom for another week.  Last night I started to rinse the green out, it was hemorrhaging blue.  I am not certain why I took the time to let it all rinse out and never thought of using the leftover dye to dye something else, silly.  The yellow was sheer perfection, no dye leaking out.

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I love how they look and cannot wait to see what they are like dry.  When the pink started to bleed, I finally realized that I could capture the leftover dye on another fiber.  I happened to have some beautiful grey merino top and I wanted to see what the vibrant hot pink would look like on the grey fiber.  The result was spectacular, and surprising.

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The remarkable hot pink showed up as a completely different, almost raspberry.  This was an amazing end to a decent week.  I believe that this will also be a good start to November.  Life goes on, and so will I.  Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Keeping the Momentum Going

Alright, so I have not precisely kept my momentum going.  This week I have been forced to focus a bit more on my finances, my resume, and working on my crafting plans for the library I work at.  Plan for the worst, plan for the best, hope for the best.  That philosophy is generally how I manage to keep on top of work and my personal life.

My garage studio is coming along quite nicely, I am very pleased with the insulation going in.  There was a minor problem with a squirrel trying to make  nest in the corner, however that has been cleaned out and sealed up quite tightly.  My handyman suggested that I look into indoor outdoor carpeting for the floor once everything is insulated and the paneling is up.

There has been some crafting going on however.  I have not made any real progress on the crocheted sole, I hope to do some this week.  I am almost finished with half of the spinning for the mystery knit along from paradise fibers.  Since that means there is another half to spin, ply, and then start knitting, I do not anticipate that being finished this upcoming week, though tomorrow may surprise me.  I grabbed a drop spindle, one of my less expensive ones, and a piece of fiber to take with me.  I am currently working on spinning that up to be used as embroidery thread for a pretty flower pattern I found.  If we count paper crafting in my list of accomplishments, then I have been working on using the stickers I obtained from Stickii to upgrade my bullet journal, it is looking very fly.  I also purchased some cardstock and a 3 ring binder to create my own version of my samples notebook from Kate Larson’s class.  Wow, I guess I did more crafting than I thought.

Thursday one of my co-workers decided that we should talk about Halloween costumes, I mentioned that I have a red velvet cloak and she suggested that I make cat ears.  I’m not sure how those two topics combine, however I decided to make wolf ears.  My basic plan is essentially Little Red Werewolf.  So far I managed to create the basic outline for the outer part of the ears.  I hope to crochet an inner piece that has white inside along with some white chenille for texture.  The plan is to then sew these ears, probably stuff them a little, onto a headband (which I still have to crochet.)

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I am really happy with how these are turning out.  Tomorrow is my day off.  I had ordered a Blue Apron Box to arrive on Saturday so that I could do the cooking and have the meals ready to grab this week.  Of course that means that the box will arrive on Monday by 9pm, my next short day is Thursday.  This probably means that I will spend some time this week scrambling to make sure that I can cook the meals in the mornings before I leave for work.  The main problem with this is the need for things to be cool before putting them in the fridge.

Life is complicated and every time I think I have things under control something happens.  However, this is not going to stop me from living life A Little More Abstract.

Second Day of EGLFC

I will confess that the first day of classes I spent most of the night in the classroom spinning and carding.  When talking to one of the other students we were a little loud and around 10pm were asked to be quiet because people were trying to sleep.  I managed to finish what I wanted to work on, brought my notebook upstairs to work on, and finally slept around 12:30am.  I woke up just before my alarm at 7am to drink an energy drink and get ready for the day.  Okay, so I then went down to the classroom to do a bit of organizing and tidying.  I knew that we would have opportunity to do some indigo dyeing that day, therefore I decided I wanted to have two skeins ready to be dyed.  The first was a grey skein, the second was chocolate merino, they were both two ply yarns.  As you can see the chocolate merino looked almost navy blue, in certain lights it looks almost black.

After those skeins I kept making embroidery yarn as well as using each of the colors of Shetland to make yarn to try colorwork knitting.  I also decided to make a gradient of white, grey, and black, to try some lace knitting.  I confess I wound up spinning and not knitting.

After an amazing day of spinning, dyeing, as well as carding wool, learning techniques, good food, and wonderful company, we were given an opportunity to do a bit of shopping.  There was an alpaca truck (with alpaca) where I purchased some amazing random locks, a yarn truck (where I bought a Batt and Mini Skeins), and various individuals selling out of their trunks.  I managed to buy a cross holder (for weaving), a shuttle, a book, and lotion bar.

The fashion show was that evening.  There was some distressing news, we were told before the banquet that one of the instructors husband died and had been found earlier that day.  The banquet was lovely, the stress upset my stomach so I missed the first part of the fashion show.  I managed to see some of it, fortunately they had all of the models come through one more time.  I then tried to go back to the classroom to find it locked.  This turned out to be for the best since I spent hours listening to and speaking with the other students and our instructor, as well as discovering a brand of champagne that I not only did not mind but actively enjoyed.

The final day was lovely, with an amazing breakfast, decent lunch (with bread pudding) and a day working on our own pursuits.  For the final day we learned about core spinning, making a lockspun yarn, and chain plying while inserting locks.

I will certainly be planning on saving for the next EGLFC in 2 years.  I am fully converted to attending classes in person.  This class has me looking at my stash in a whole new way.  I love the idea of using some of this yarn as crewel embroidery.  My mind is firing on all creative cylinders, I feel quite rejuvenated.  Remember to live life A Little More Abstract!