Walk-Throughs and Speed Bumps

**** Will denote the crafty updates, house content until then. Today the person buying the house I grew up in will be doing their final walk through. The sale should be finalized tomorrow, with the disbursements happening from there. I hope that this means I can finally get myself settled on a budget that I can stick to. Of course, it is Holy Week (if you’re Catholic…which I am but lapsed), so things are going to be a little strange anyway. Even though it is a religious holiday the secular world seems to come to a bit of a slow down anyway. I did look into the roof grant, only to be told that they were working on finalizing the application and they would have the forms ready in about 90 days…well I’ve needed something done since October so waiting until June/July to fill out an application that could cover 3/4 the cost of it…doesn’t seem like a bad idea at this point in time. When I get someone in to look at the bathroom I imagine I can ask them about the roof as well.

I did start back onto Nutrisystem, only for my monthly concerns to rear their head setting my plans back for a few days. After tomorrow I should be able to go back to my original plan. I am debating if I want to spend my 3 day weekend next week hiding or if I want to go to the buffet next Sunday since I believe they will have lamb, I Love lamb, and don’t want to buy/cook/clean up after cooking lamb this week. Either way I hope to spend at least part of next weekend planting my seedlings in the pots I will use to put them outside in. Yay! I was going to pot the plants this weekend but did not, and I don’t feel bad about that. I need to rest for a couple of days, maybe finish some projects so I’m ready to start some new ones when I am back on an upswing. I have not been to the gym this week, Friday the weather was miserable and I was starting to feel poorly, then Saturday I started to figure out why I was feeling poorly, then today I had work and there was snow on the car so…no. I know it is weird, however I do not plan on going to the gym on days where there is snow, at least not when I am on a tighter schedule. If the weather is warmer and the gym is open at least 3 hours before I have to be at work that will work, 2 hours for the gym (getting there, working out, getting back) and 1 hour to clean up for work, then I will go to the gym. If not, then my iron and cutting board are upstairs, my sewing machine is downstairs, If I feel really good I’ll go up and down my stairs for 10 minutes at a time, that got me sweating the last time I tried that.

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I took Friday and Saturday off, though I am working my other job today. I had made a ‘play date’ with a friend and former colleague to try out a solar dyeing technique, unfortunately the weather did not hold out, however we had a fun time anyway. She had some fabric she did not want to keep and offered it to me, one was a set of 5″ squares pre-sewn together into 4 patches. She told me that it might be good for a disappearing 4 patch, however I know I cannot machine sew the corners properly, no matter how much I try, so I believe I am going to edge the squares using a solid color and either make it into a baby quilt that I can practice my hand quilting on or as a pillow or something similar. She was also kind enough to gift me with a mat for my sewing machine to sit on with pockets in the front and her husband gifted me with a carved bunny that I will treasure. She has this upcoming week off and would like to show me to a quilt shop less than an hour away and I suggested next Saturday since I know I have that day off, not thinking that it was the day before Easter. Oops, I hope it happens but I understand if it does not.

This means that Saturday was a ton of fun, however I tend to drive myself mad sometimes. In preparation for Saturday (and to just get it done) I worked on getting my third quilt attempt finished. I like how it turned out, learned a lot of lessons, and think I am going to give hand quilting a try next.

Wrestling a quilt that fits the top of a queen sized bed through a domestic sewing machine that sits on one of those small square tables you can get from certain craft stores is NOT how I recommend quilting. It did the job, I have a quilted quilt with the binding sewn on the edges. I did a ‘wavy lines’ quilting pattern, which means I tried to do wavy lines and I’m just going with, “Sure, I wanted it to look like that” as my answer when I am questioned about the weird peaks, dips, and straight edges in my wavy lines. The quilting is about 5″ apart, the batting says that the quilting can be up to 8″ apart so I should be alright there. The binding is just the backing folded over like you would do for pot holders.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a Weaver’s guild meeting half-way between where I used to live and where I live now. I love the guild, and it was ironic that the meeting was held at their public library (where I had interviewed for a job 2 years ago). The meeting was lovely, I had a chance to pull out my spinning wheel and show some individuals how to spin. I also reminded myself how much I enjoy the quiet of spinning. I am presently thinking that I will spin on my front porch while watching the world go by. Of course in order to do this I need to get 2 things accomplished. I need to get the porch level again, it looks as though one board likes to swell in the rain which causes it to buckle the porch, and purchase a chair for my front porch. I have been looking online thinking that I would order one, however if I plan on using it for a spinning chair I really should get a good idea of how it feels before actually spinning in it for any extended length of time. I am hoping that this is a once every 30 years purchase. While in town I discovered that they have a quilt shop which I was thrilled to find out…until I looked at their selection. I know that I have particular tastes, and that I do not want to purchase fabric until I KNOW I like it and will use it. This means that I bought a small, simple, pattern and a bag of essentially colorful scraps and asked the owner to keep the change since that was the only way I could spend five dollars in the shop. I feel bad, but I am not buying fabric I cannot see a good use for. I do have plans to use the pattern as a sort of border for one of the panels I hope to create a quilt from next. I also have 3 jelly rolls, not to mention most of a black jelly roll, to still use. Well, I did not know until I was typing that up that I had really decided on the quilt panel next, however that makes sense. I am still working on my EPP Project.

I have started to figure out how I want to place the glued pieces for my first EPP quilt, I have 10 out of 25 pairs sewn for the second part and these bundles put together for the first part that I hope to start sewing soon. I am trying to get some long languishing projects worked on so that I feel a little more freedom to work on this huge project. I am about a dozen rows away from finishing the pillow that started with a new colorwork class that had me knitting what were almost quilt block pieces. I love how this looks and cannot wait to see it finished. I am a little apprehensive about how I am going to finish it since at present I am planning on knitting some extra rows of the back to create a flap that tucks inside the pillow. I thought about just seaming the pillow blank inside however if I ever need to wash it that would cause too many problems.

Next I hope to start getting projects ready for progress. I need to find a charm pack that will go with the panel I hope to work on so I can get that border started. My 16 shaft loom needs to be warped with the towel warp I wound so I can start weaving that up. I need to straighten out my Saori Loom’s warp so I can get back to using up some of that yarn. There is the possibility that we will be playing with weaving looms next month at the guild meeting so I should have my looms ready to be warped and played with, not to mention possibly finding the alpaca tweed yarn I bought to weave a blanket from. Possibly that got lost during the moth-ening though I hope not. Oh, on a not so fun note, I just realized with spring possibly on the way I should consider putting together the push mower I purchased so that when my lawn dries enough I can mow. yay.

I am honestly excited by all of the changes coming, to myself, my house, and my crafting. I have been finding by leaning into what I am feeling and what my body is trying to tell me I can get more done. Some of this is certainly down to having 1 full-time job, no person needing me to take care of them, as well as having the second house off of my shoulders. However I do believe by resting when I need to, finishing things when I have the urge, and starting (some) things when I also have the urge I am completing more than I ever have in the past. Normally I would have become overwhelmed by the quilt and stopped, instead I leaned into wanting to finish it, took it step by step and leaned into binding when I felt like it instead of waffling.

That is me for the week, it has been busy. I’m going to take the next couple of days to lean into recharging and see where the world takes me from there. I am uncertain if I will post next week, it will depend on how much I get done and how I am feeling. Until next time, Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Busy Life = No Posting

Sorry I’ve ghosted you again. Between the movers, my contractor, and the holiday I did not manage to post here for a couple of weeks.

My contractor did manage to get the quarter molding installed, it looks great. I wrote out a check when I got paid, put it in my mailbox…and a week later found out that my mailman did not take it. Oops. It got mailed last night.

The movers managed to get all of my big pieces moved from my old house to my new house in 5 hours including an hour travel time, this was awesome, though it did cost more than the original estimate.

I received a check for the items that they sold, it was a nice amount, I thought I was half a house payment ahead…then I found out that almost the exact amount had been withdrawn from my account for some sort of adjustment to my escrow account, well that sucks. Something else for me to check into on Monday along with cancelling cable at the old house and contemplating setting up cable at the new place…except that my unlimited data on my cell-phone plan is doing well for my tablet and cellphone. If I can get Roku and possibly my PC to route through that wireless signal…hmm. It looks theoretically possible, I have an older mac so it might take some fiddling around, but if I can save that $75 a month I’d like that.

My holiday presents to family (well our holiday presents since I go halfsies with my sister) were ordered this morning. That almost maxes out one of my credit cards, but if I manage to get my storage unit cleared out this month it should not be too bad. Well, what really took up most of my purchasing power was the washer and dryer I had to order…that won’t be delivered until the end of January, yay. If I did not need them, and they were at the best price I am ever going to get, I would not have bothered. The red mechanics cart worked out really well. It doesn’t hold a lot, my impact driver, paint sprayer, and accompanying paraphernalia on one shelf and some other tools on the second. I just realized I should get my license changed to my new address soon…I wonder how much that’ll cost, okay under $20 that’s not too bad.

As you can tell from how scattershot this post is I’m trying to keep all of my balls in the air and it has me a bit all over the place. I completely forgot about Frederick Must Die.

**Talk about Mice and Violence Against Mice, please skip if this is triggering for you**
The Thursday before Thanksgiving I ordered a lovely potroast dinner from the corner shop and took it back to the old house for a relaxing dinner. I went in, set the container on the stove and turned around to put something in the fridge, to see a little body scurry across the dining room and into the kitchen behind something I had yet to get to the new house. I screamed, put my dinner in the fridge (didn’t eat that night) and started panic texting. I then decided that it was early enough for me to do this myself. I made sure that the room I was sleeping in had no signs of invasion, blocked any cracks in the doorway, and went out to buy peanut butter and snap traps (I don’t catch and release, once they know how to get into houses I just kill them, if that offends you..well you do mice your way and I’ll do them mine.). I set up eight traps in spots where I thought they’d do the most good. I had two handled by the morning, I thought it was over. On my way out the door I saw one scurry from the living room behind the loom I had on the floor to be transported to the new house. I called Orkin, was told they couldn’t get to me for two weeks due to the holiday and if I put gloves on that might make a difference. A friend also told me that marshmallow fluff was harder for them to get off, so that might help. The movers came later that week, no other catches had happened so I was barricading myself into the bedroom, and I discovered that there was at least one mouse down in the basement. All the while I had been scouring the house, loudly stomping and hollering, trying to find out where they were staying. I moved the two fluffernutter traps downstairs after the movers had finished, and waited for Orkin to arrive. I called Orkin twice to confirm, once because it was after 4pm and I still didn’t get a confirmation of a time. Turns out he was having a bad time at one of his appointments and was still coming. When he arrived, he was very patient about my near hysteria. I’d been hiding in my room, stomping when I entered the house, and hollering to scare anything lurking around, for two weeks now. I’d been feeling trapped in a house I’d lived in for 30+ years. There were no signs of mice upstairs, he couldn’t find anything. Then downstairs, the fluffernutter trap had caught one, and he could not see signs of anything else anywhere. He looked everywhere and could not find a thing. Orkin rocks, since this was just a ‘consultation’ I didn’t get charged (he even took Frederick Must Die with him to dispose of). Lesson 1: If you have someone doing work in your house or taking things out of your house, do NOT let them prop any doors open or leave the garage door open, especially if you live in the country. Lesson 2: If you are physically capable of setting traps and know that the entry point has been handled then just do it yourself, wearing gloves. In the case of my new house, I’m keeping Orkin hired just to keep myself safe from all sorts of pests I didn’t have in my old one, but for my old house I know that everything is sealed so I’m not bothering there. It has been a very busy couple of weeks.

**End of Mouse Content**

I spent the last two weeks ordering door dash, however my stomach and wallet don’t like that too much. It’s a bit insane to be spending $20 all the time for barely enough food for two meals. This means that cleaning my new kitchen, cupboards, pots, pans and all, just went much higher on my priorities list. Fortunately there is a microwave at work so I can use that and I can justify $1.5 for a bagel when I consider that an entire meal.

Another fun thing that happened: Thanksgiving week I took my garbage down to the corner before I left for work on the day that it was supposed to be taken, this is well before they usually pick it up. I didn’t think anything of it still being there the next day since I might have put it down too late or something. However when I left for work the next week, this past Monday, I was furious to find the garbage still there. I called the company and was told that my service (along with a lot of other people) had been cancelled because it was too far out of their way. A message had been left on a random old number that they had and that was how I had been ‘notified’. I said that I could have sworn I paid the bill, they said no you didn’t. So when I received a bill in my e-mail yesterday I was quite angry. I still don’t have my computer, which has my log in to this account, hooked up yet however I knew I paid the bill, I just checked an they didn’t send me a bill for November, which just makes this stranger. I’m going to have to try to log in again when I get back to my new house, it has all of my current billing things.

Honestly, all of this is getting to me but I just remembered why I didn’t post last week. I had a problem patron, well Security and I had a problem patron. From the beginning, due to a dramatic uptick in COVID cases the library board decided to re-implement mask requirements for the library. Now this library that I work at is an association library. They just became publicly funded this last year, however the library itself (and all contents and employees) are owned (employees are not owned) and managed by our Board of Directors, not the city/school district/county/state. This means that we are not government employees, the library is a privilege (that we try to make available to everyone), not a right. We had a patron and their family come into the library without masks about a week after the policy change. They breezed in and when my colleague on the desk told them that we were requiring masks the woman went off on her spouting about constitutional rights, etc. Of course my colleague had taken a course in constitutional law, but she wasn’t going to argue with someone obviously there to just stir up trouble. To make a very long, and irritating, story short, security got involved, I was securities backup, and it was very frustrating. Further action was threatened, our attorney has been consulted and the rest isn’t my business. In the Two Years and now Four Libraries I have been dealing with this masking nonsense, I hate them too and don’t know of anyone that likes them, this is the first time I’ve encountered this kind of animosity. Thank goodness most people are reasonable and understanding.

In short, yes it’s been a busy couple of weeks. In addition to getting some of my storage unit unloaded I have been able to set up my Saori Loom and taken some time in the evenings to relax and weave a bit. I also have my spinning wheel, Lady, set up and I spend some time spinning. There are several knitting and crochet projects that I have unearthed during the move and I hope to get some of them finished before looking into a new obsession, okay another new obsession. I already started something…quilting. The only real problem is I sort of….really suck at it. I love the idea, I can make half-square triangles until the cows come home. I even have the 4 at a time and 8 at a time methods down. The only problem is when I try to do anything to make those half-square triangle blocks into something else like the pinwheel I lose my points. Instead of nice clean points meeting in the middle I have these flat pieces. I think part of it is that I’m starting with 5″ squares, making 8 half square triangles and then trying to piece these 2″ squares made from two triangles into a bigger square again. Perhaps if I start with larger pieces I’ll get the hang of it better. I’m going to try to make a simple 9 square patch first, I think that is just sewing some 5″ squares 3×3 to make a 9 square patch. If I like that I might do something like a log cabin, or some books for a bookcase quilt and worry about half-square triangles later.

This has turned into a very long catch-up post, however it has also been good for me to look back and see all that I have been fighting through for these past two weeks. I have a tendency to forget troubles once I’ve gotten past them, then I wonder why I’ve been stressed this past however long. Well, in this case, I have had reasons and it is good to see them in black and white. Now it is time for a new week, a new month, and a new outlook. Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Rolling On

Yesterday I attended the Western New York Fiber Fest with a friend that I used to work with. She has two boys, one under 5 one under a year, so I was happy to get her out of the house and doing something fun for the day. We had an absolute blast, I purchased some fiber (not that I needed more) to spin up for National Spinning and Weaving week in the beginning of October. I am so pleased with the mixture of fibers and colors I have to play with, hopefully they will provide a good distraction. On another topic altogether, I have been trying to label things for organizational purposes. Unfortunatly those hard, plastic, sticky labels with punch type on an inexpensive machine; yeah they don’t stick to anything for me. So that creating cute & functional labels is easy, and actually likely to happen, I plan on purchasing a Cricut. Originally I was going to get a Cricut Joy, however with the release of the 3 series the Cricut Explore 2 is only $20 more than the Joy, so I will be ordering one of those.

My supervisor and director have both agreed to allow me to bring my Saori loom to work so that our patrons can have fun weaving rugs for October. I hope to be able to drag it down there tomorrow. Of course the only reason I’m in a hurry to get it to work is so that I don’t start another project on it, lol. I am almost finished with the rug piece, I wound up dismantling some of the toothbrush rug so that I had enough yardage to create this floor rug. It is so exciting to be this close to finishing the rug and allowing a lot of people a chance to play with a floor loom.

That is about all the news I have worth publishing right now. I did realize I’m going to need to rip out every project I have going on that requires sizing since I have changed so drastically, yay.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Progress Has Been Achieved

So I am not finished with anything quite yet. The clothing dilemma is ongoing, and probably will be until I get a few more paychecks under my belt and make a decision. I did speak with a cousin and she promised wardrobe help if I can make it to Jersey for the winter holidays. Since it will be the first time in a couple of years I will get to see her, as well as the first time I’ll meet her second daughter, I hope I can make it.

I have made significant progress on my sock, right now the heel flap is almost done. I do have to pick up the gusset stitches, however I will need to dig up a circular needle of the right size to do so. If I try to fit the gusset stitches on my flexi flips I’ll wind up dropping stitches all over the place. I’m loving the pattern and I cannot wait to see how it turns out in the end!

I finished spinning up the green yarn, so now I’m going to wait and see what my prize box as well as what colors my Paradise Fibers box will bring me (they promised color this month). While I’m waiting I did make some progress organizing my crafting supplies, so I went downstairs to retrieve a few things. I found some sewing supplies, I’ll get back to that in a minute, and brought up some colorful fiber. I’m spinning up bits of various colors of fiber that I can use for a colorwork project or as crewel embroidery thread. Presently I am just spinning up the various colors on one bobbin, then I will wind them off onto individual weaving bobbins so I can later make plying bracelets for each color. This is such a great way to make little bits of fiber useful, especially if I am not sure what breed they are. It is a little involved however I am enjoying the process.

Finally, I did receive my Sprang Loom ordered from Dewberry Ridge Looms. I had to wait until I had a day off to pick it up from the post office, we have an agreement I’ll stop complaining and just pick my packages up from the office if they’ll stop leaving my packages in stupid places like hanging off of the mailbox or on top of the newspaper box. Since picking up my loom I have managed to get it set up, not a problem, and warped up with 20 strands. This is not a very wide warp, however it is certainly enough for me to start to get the hang of Sprang. I’m only going to be a little bit arrogant and say I think Sprang is about as difficult as I believed it to be. This could be due to my watching various videos on the technique for a couple of years until I thought I had the motions down and understood what is going on with the cloth. I’ve woven about six rows (its actually twelve since each row is doubled on the bottom, and had to loosen up the tension on the loom a little bit so the wires were not bent so badly.

The loom is quite tall, which I appreciate. This is before I began weaving, you cannot see it very well but I am using a very pretty rainbow colored yarn. It is likely that in order to figure out how to make the belt I really would like to create sometime in the next month I am going to have to wide the threads/yarns around the two ends of the loom and have them meet on a rod in the middle of the back of the loom. I will see how long this piece is once I have it off of the loom and make a decision from there. I am very happy that I decided to sign up for the Sprang class, I should learn some fun patterning techniques there.

Okay, that is enough for this week. I guess I really did get some things accomplished, hopefully next week will be as productive. Until next time, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

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!

Spinning and Sock

A blue brita water bottle centered in the back with a wooden lazy kate in the front holding two bobbins, a purple bobbin with white fiber on the left and a yellow bobbin with dark multicolored fiber on the right.

I managed to finish spinning the braid of white fiber I had started with. I then spent my free time over two days plying the white and dark fiber together. I am surprised to find out that the darker fiber ran out first, however I also discovered that I had spun a synthetic fiber on the bobbin earlier, I believe that it was intended to be a strengthening strand for a sock yarn or something similar. I did manage to finish the plying, though it appears that there were a few yards of a pastel fiber on the beginning of the bobbin.

A very full green bobbin on a Schacht Ladybug Spinning wheel with a Woolee Winder attachment. The colors on the bobbin are a pastel plied with a white.

The skein is washed and is currently in the process of drying in front of a vent in my bathroom. I am hoping that this will be enough yarn to warp and weave up a scarf, however as a precaution I am planning on starting the cowl with about three inches of the white, then half of the black plied fiber followed by half of the grey plied fiber before continuing in white. I intend to leave 13″ at the beginning to do the Hero Cowl weave technique as well as measuring out when I need to start the grey and black to finish with 3″ of white before leaving a similar 13″ at the back of the piece. Since this is being woven on a 10″ Ashford Sample It loom that should leave me enough ends for about a 2″ fringe on both sides.

A sock crocheted in yarn the color of a sunrise over the ocean on a foot crossed onto a knee. There is a black shoe and hunting sock in the background along with a rolling chair mat.

I managed to finish crocheting the first ACCROchet sock from the Vogue Virtual Knitting Live class earlier in February. I love the color, and using elastic at the top was probably a good idea. I hate the rest of it. I do believe that is my own fault, not the pattern. I should have added more rows in the foot, that would have made it easier to get over my heel. I am not too sure about how the cuff fits over my heel, I think that might (again) have something to do with my foot being too short. There is not enough room from where the top of my foot is to where my heel is supposed to be so trying to yank my sock leg over that is not working too well. I also probably should have added the elastic in earlier on my sock rather than right at the top cuff. Live and learn. I think I am going to try an ankle sock pattern with the remaining yarn. I also pulled out my sherlock socks to look at, they were not nearly as bad as I seemed to recall them being. It is not a ton of fun to try and crochet carrying the elastic thread along with the main yarn while not stretching out the elastic thread, I believe that the results will be worth the irritation. If not then I can worry about sewing in the elastic thread later.

Such has been my week of crafting. I have no idea what next week will bring. I will confess I am trying to find some plus sized skirt patterns so I can give sewing my own skirt a try. There is a free version I think I will try, the pattern pieces are 16 pages long which means I’ll have to pay about $2.40 to print them out. I might just splurge and spend the $15 to order the Plus Sized Victorian Walking Skirt pattern I really want. After that I will have to spend several months saving up enough to purchase the fabric I would need to for the outer layer, inner layer, and interfacing/canvas. I could get the fabric much cheaper, however most of the point is so that I am not contributing to fast fashion and the use of plastics. My ideal would be a cotton under-layer with canvas interfacing and an outer skirt made of wool. That way I can have a skirt to wear when fall and winter come around. While I like being able to wear slacks I have not fit into in years, I still prefer skirts.

Until next week, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Taking My Time In All Things

Please skip to the line of *** if you are only interested in crafting content. This week has been a visceral reminder that I need to slow down in all of the things I am working on. That life is not a race. That I have time to find the house that will become my new home. That if I go 15mph over the speed limit I am going to get a speeding ticket. It has been an interesting week.

I had a viewing for a home that had just come onto the market and was at the lowest end of the price range I was looking for. Right now I am living in a 3 bedroom 2 bath home, and I would like to downsize to a 2 bedroom home. I did not realize just how big my home was until I entered this little shoe box of a house. I swear that the entire first floor would fit into my living room and dining room. This led me to send an e-mail to my realtor and reevaluate what I am looking for. I realized I do have time to figure these things out. I would like to be moved into a new place by next winter, however I do not have to be. On my way home, I was eager to order a fish fry and chill for the night, my lead foot had me speeding right past a state trooper. This ticket is probably going to cost me one of my side hustle paychecks, however I really deserve it. I have to start thinking about my commute as time to listen to an audiobook, think about what I am going to do for work, think about my crafting projects, plans for my new home, basically start taking this as a time to reflect rather than something to get through. I also need to be more careful driving around a busy city, I had a couple of close calls this past week. Life is full of lessons, some are just a little more like a fist to the face than a gentle nudge. No one was hurt, this was a relatively gentle set of life lessons. Time to start the week fresh.

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Saturday was a ton of fun. I felt restless after a frustrating week so I wound up touching on a lot of different projects throughout the day. You are probably not interested in how much laundry I completed, nor about cleaning out my dishwasher drain and running to clean that up. However you might be interested in my crafting projects!

Earlier in the week I had decided to dig up my needle felting supplies and needle felt soles into the inside of my hand knit socks. The socks getting holes in them is entirely my fault, I used a yarn that was completely inappropriate for socks. I hope to use two fingering weight yarns held together for my next pair of socks, especially since I enjoy worsted weight socks in the winter and they work well with my shoes.

Red hand knit sock with a hole in it and purple wool behind the hole.

It will take me some time to complete this, especially since I am trying to find a way to have foam in the right place to felt these pieces together. This weekend I kept working on spinning up my art yarn.

Yarn on a wooden bobbin, moon shaped charms hanging down and curls popping out of the yarn.

I also started spinning my ply for the cowl along. I decided on a 3 yard warp and started winding up the warp with the sample yarn I already had. I managed to wind about 3 inches, 15 ends, before I ran out of yarn. I was going to wait until I had finished the art yarn before spinning the second ply, however I changed my mind and I am spinning the second ply on my Ladybug.

My Mirrix is all warped up with soumak at the top and bottom, I was told that since I cannot weave a 4 selvedge piece I did not need soumak at the top. I am going to leave it in since this gives me a very firm set of weaving parameters, I only need to fill in my rectangle.

In addition to messing with these projects, and some basic chores, I made progress on my knitted skirt. I finished the first panel, learned how to pick up wrap and turn stitches, and started on the second panel. Since this is almost the end of my first hank of yarn I caked up the second and have it ready to go when I run out. I love how easy the pattern is even as I hate how long this is going to take me to complete.

I have also picked up another project that was sitting to the side for a while, my hand sewn skirt. Saturday I double folded the hem, pinned it all the way across, waxed the cotton thread, threaded seven needles and started hand felling the hem. I do not have any photos of this for several reasons. My fabric is wrinkled and I do not need anyone yelling at me about not washing and pressing before I started…I did not press my seams either, I will live with the uneven seams. I am also sewing on a tv tray type table, so I don’t need yelled about that either. I’m having fun and I will stick with that being the entire purpose for this exercise. This also has me looking into medieval sewing patterns, I would love to make a lined medieval hood out of wool. The expense of 2 yards of wool fabric is a bit daunting as well as linen for a lining…ouch for my wallet.

Next Saturday I am getting my oil changed an attending 3 classes on Virtual Knitting Live. Learning Intarsia Knitting, Crochet Socks, and Kitchen Scrap Dyeing. I am so excited for these classes. I do realize that tonight is the Superbowl and that this sporting event is going to make a large difference in the lives of many people. All this has done for me is cause me to realize that 4 chicken wings or 1 slice of pizza are over 200 calories…so I’m not going to partake. If this is your thing I hope you have an absolute blast.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Who Knew?

Who knew that starting a new full-time job would completely disrupt my schedule? Okay, so I probably could have guessed that. Despite this revelation I have managed to get quite a bit done in January. I did start my new job and while there are nuances I believe I still need to learn I have the broad strokes of what the job is going to entail understood. The rest of learning the job is simply going to be living the job and seeing what comes up. Hopefully I will start touring houses this upcoming week and getting my pre-approval finalized. Yay. Onto crafting.

Spin-Off Magazine decided to hold a Cowl-Along for 2021, for this project we are to spin and create a cowl from the spun yarn. I chose the Creepy Corriedale Wool I received from Paradise Fibers in my October 2020 Fiber of the Month Club Box as my base fiber. It spun up beautifully, then I started having some concerns.

The colors changed considerably once I had the yarn spun up, that did not concern me too much as I enjoyed the darker aesthetic. However when I plied the yarn onto itself for a test the problems became apparent.

A small piece of woven fabric, less than 1 inch by 1 inch with a metal weaving needle placed on top. The overall weaving is very dark with few distinct colors.

This view is a little too close, however you can see that the colors just turn to mud when the sample is woven against itself, I do not want a cowl that looks like mud. So we are back to more sampling. I spun up some black bamboo fiber, white wool received in the Dyeing box from paradise fibers, along with some grey kromski merino wool. Once I had the new sampling yarn spun I plied it with the corriedale I already had and created a sheet to start to keep track of some of this stuff. Then I used my bookmark pin loom to weave these yarns into samples.

I adore how all three of these colors turned out. The top is the white, grey in the middle, and black on the end. The white allows the corriedale to brighten back up to what it looked like in the fiber, the grey pulls out the purples, and the black gives the entire project a homogeneous look with it looking too muddy. When I posted my progress in the Ravelry Spin Off Group I received the recommendation from Castielstar to perform a neck test and wear the pieces around my neck to see how they feel after some time. Since I spend so much of my time working I did not see a way to do this test at home (I also did not feel like explaining the three colored pieces of wool on my neck) therefore I decided that I would stick them in my bra and see how it goes. Surprisingly I had to pull the piece with the grey merino wool out before an hour had passed, then I forgot that the other two were even there. This easily narrowed my choices down to black or white. Looking at the woven samples, I know that I am going to go with the White. While the black is amazing I feel that the pops of color in the white sample will look better going into spring. Now for the next part of this project, weaving a cowl. Surprisingly there is another Ravelry group that is hosting something that will come in handy.

The Rigid Heddle Looms Group is hosting JAN/FEB 2021 V-COWL AND MÖBIUS WAL. I did not know what I V-Cowl was (I do now, very neat). This new technique is going to make weaving my handspun cowl very interesting, the next step I need to take is to spin up the rest of my white to ply with the corriedale and figure out what my sett is going to be. Ten inches is, I believe, quite tall for a cowl so I will just use my 10″ sample it loom. I have decided that I would like the warp to be 2.5 yards so that the end piece is a little bigger than 40″ long. This will give it room to go around my neck but not choke me ( I hope).

There is one more weaving project that I have decided to start, Mirrix Looms is hosting a Weave Along (Stay At Home Weave Along), while I cannot stay at home I can certainly have fun weaving along with everyone else. So for this weave along I cut off the piece I have not been weaving on my Mirrix and warped 5″ on my loom with double warp threads this morning. I did not purchase their kit, I’m still trying to cut down on my buying, however I do have plenty of tapestry yarn from my earlier dyeing experiments so I will be winding that onto golf tees this morning, since I cannot afford real tapestry bobbins.

In addition to my weaving, I have not been knitting much I will get back to it, I have been doing a couple of other small projects. One of my friends from the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s guild taught us how to turn paper towels into mini pieces of cloth using watercolor and mod podge. I also obtained one of those wet felted soap kits. I enjoyed making the felted piece and have a ton of fun squishing it in the shower every morning.

I am looking at this post and thinking, “Did you always have this much time?” I know that the answer is no. Right now I am also back to work on Sunday’s at my private university job, just Sundays. It sounds a little silly, however the 8 hours I work on Sundays (if I work 4 Sundays in a month) means about $360 take home pay that month. Perhaps a little more if the mandated minimum wage increase goes through. (Private Universities do not pay nearly what State Colleges do from my experience.) This is about 1/2 a mortgage payment so I cannot afford to sneer at it even with a full-time job. To round out my month I signed up for three classes during the February Vogue Knitting Live Event: Beginning Intarsia, Crochet Socks, Dyeing with Kitchen Scraps. I have also upgraded to the Super Pass, it is very neat to see the recordings of the various demonstrations by vendors. Since I am trying to save up for a down payment on my house I will probably strictly limit any spending during this event however I am excited for the Classes. I used one of my transferring jobs presents to purchase 4 colors of DK yarn for the intarsia class since I seem to only have Fingering and Worsted weight yarn with a little bit of lace weight thrown in here and there. I also love that this is happening during Valentines Day Weekend, so I can genuinely say that I have plans for Valentines…okay so that is a Sunday and I am working at the University..that still counts as plans, right?

So there it is. I’ve had a great month, I am hoping that the trend continues for February. I am finding that my new schedule of getting up at 4: 30 am and going to sleep at 10 pm (on Fridays I need to be out of the house by 6:15 to make sure I get to work on time, it was easier to adjust my entire sleep schedule than have a different one on Friday), means that I have more energy most mornings to do something around the house and get a bit of crafting done. Since this is about a month’s worth of catching up I think that the size of my post is just fine. Until next time, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

November and Crafting Slump

I’m sorry about not posting for a few weeks, November came on like a storm bringing with it quite a bit of uncertainty regarding college/university closings in New York. Between the stress of figuring out plans and back up plans the month simply slipped away from me.

I Hope that, if you celebrate, you had an amazing Thanksgiving or Indigenous Peoples Day or Friendsgiving (even if you could only see your family/friends through zoom). I had a great weekend, which means I was able to finally get back into the groove of crafting.

I did manage to finish weaving my four handspun panels a few weeks ago, now I am debating if they are going to be scarves for my cousins kids, panels for a piece of clothing, or pieces of a bag. I am leaning toward the idea of a bag, maybe bags, since the yarn is a bit rough for next to the skin.

Four multi-colored pieces of woven cloth lying next to each other, the loose threads still need clipped.

I have started another weaving project with yarn from HipStrings out of Pittsburgh, PA. When I ordered some mini’s they were kind enough to send whole skeins, which left me with more than enough to weave the scarf I was thinking of. The colors are supposed to be Steeler’s colors, I think they come close.

Weaving is not all that I have been doing. I recently found out about an event on Ravelry called the Independent Designers Gift Along, or GAL2020. For this you simply have to knit or crochet a single gift. They do have categories and if you do one project in each category then you have achieved a special level that they call Oopadoo (or something like that). To start this off I have cast on a “Dumpster Fire Ornament”; a Headband; as well as a Skirt.

Before I started these projects, which I am supposed to have finished by December 31 to take a photo of all of them….if I were to give one as a present then I would not have it for the group photo…I’m not sure what I am supposed to do about that. Sorry for the digression, as I was saying: Before I started these projects I managed to unearth what I was working on prior to my wrist surgery, I am healing well and still gaining strength in my wrist. I decided to do some work on a slipper that I had gotten almost half way through before my surgery, there is a lot of progress. I am past the heel portion and working my way up the left side, once that is finished I do have a second sole so I can begin the second slipper right away.

Orange and blue slipper-ish thing.

Regarding another craft altogether, I have decided that I am going to spin for colorwork socks. I spun up the bumps of fiber left over from the month when Paradise Fibers sent us Scottish themed items, as well as a bump of the sari/tweed fibers we received. Unfortunately I did not take any photos of the colorful portions, so here is a bobbin of mostly white singles from one of the bags of fiber I purchased specifically for socks. Once I have the singles spun up I plan on transferring them to weaving bobbins so that I can mix them up and create 3 ply yarns of each color.

Yellow bobbin on a Schacht Ladybug with a Woolee Winder. The bobbin is filled with white singles, some pink is peeking through.

Those are my crafting adventures for November. With COVID Still going strong, and let’s be realistic it is going to get worse before it gets better, I plan on doing plenty of crafting over the course of December. Without any immediate family in the area I will send presents to my extended family and lose myself in the rhythms of creation.

Happy Crafting, stay healthy, and remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Unfortunately Correct

I was unfortunately correct in saying that I was being overly optimistic thinking that I would get my wheel varnished on Thursday.

Unfortuntaely, that seems to be theme here, I do not have any photos of my current projects, though I do have a photo of the Chenille Stem (Pipe Cleaner) holiday tree I made for a December Project at my public library.

Pipe Cleaner Christimas Tree, tiny. The branches stick out in all directions, with two round pieces as a base and a paperclip attached to make sure it actually stays upright.

In addition to my holiday crafting I have been working on weaving up the yarn I spun for the Spin Together 2020 contest. I am using my rigid heddle loom, which is 10″ across and weaving 2 yard increments. So far I am on my second panel, I hope to have enough yarn to weave off 4 panels for a 40″ across piece. That should be sufficient to make a nice looking poncho, admittedly I would prefer about 60″. I love how the colors are working together to create something bright and cheerful with a bit of sparkle here and there. I hope to be able to sew the panels together before winter break.

The second project, that I am kicking myself for forgetting in the car, is a knitted shawl from the 716 batt I managed to spin up. I love how the knitting is going, however I can see where I plied loosely and the yarn is splitting with my maneuvering. I believe that this will wind up being a very colorful shawl, it is also a great platform for my experimenting with yarnovers and double decreases. The results are neat, though not what I thought.

I do have a third project in mind. Once I have the red that I am spinning fairly fine finished I hope to spin up another wild batt (maybe I can do this on my new wheel instead of waiting for the ladybug to be free), to create a match to my Blue Moon Halloween 2020 skein. Once I have them both spun I hope to use some wool yarn to weave up a shawl collar/cowl to wear as a decorative piece. I might even hold off on seaming up my panels to see if I can turn them into some sort of shirt…the possibilities are endless!

Okay, so I also have a fourth project I’m actively working on..I know it is a bit much. The Discover Color event is ongoing and I still have not threaded my heddles. I found the perfect excuse to delay until Thursday, the Winter Weavealong will start pretty soon. This is run by Two Ewes Fiber Adventures podcast, and I hope to participate this year.

I was reminded that we only have about 4 more paychecks until Christmas, so that is frightening. I’d better get my presents purchased and shipped before it is too late!

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!