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 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!

Family History and Crafting

This will contain no crafting updates or lessons.  It has been only five months since Mom joined Dad and I am still processing my grief.  If you have any fresh grief or if you are particularly sensitive, you may want to skip this post.  Crafting updates will resume with the next post.

My memories of my Grandmother, Mom’s Mother, are of her smoking at the kitchen table, cooking dinner, eating pretzels while watching Wheel of Fortune, sitting on metal lawn chairs (not those woven ones with metal frames but heavy metal chairs I wish I had today) while listening to the Cleveland Indians on the radio and watching fireflies, and her crocheting.  She was always crocheting or sewing.  I have more memories of my Mom, but still, crocheting, plastic canvas, (she learned loom knitting because it was mentioned in the Knitting Retreat series by Betty Hechtman, a good series that I read because it got Mom interested in Loom Knitting), and always encouraging my desire to learn new techniques.  Mom never tired of telling me how proud her Mother would have been to see me learning all of the new (old/traditional) crafts.   Of course, I never got mom to try spinning, though I did trick her into learning needle tatting so she could help me teach a class on it; that was so much fun.  I came to realize just recently, how lucky I was to have crafting be a part of my memory as far back as I can remember, while I was working.

During a crafting triage session, where people can bring whatever they are working on for a bit more help, I had one patron show up.  She is a lovely middle aged woman who wanted to know why she couldn’t get the same results twice when using her knitting loom.  We determined that she needs to keep better records of what she is doing, and even out her tension.  However, during this session, while she was working from a couple of tangled skeins of yarn I came to realize that she did not know how to hand wind her yarn into a ball.  I’m not talking about using a notepinne to create a center pull ball, just a plain old ball of yarn.  The kind that tends to go bouncing all over the house if you are not careful.  By checking YouTube I see that they are all promoting how to wind a center pull ball as the only method, oh well.  We spent some time working on this new skill, and at the end she had three balls of white yarn and two more tangled skeins of blue to practice on.

What this really caused me to realize is how very lucky I am to have been raised by a Mom that was crafty.  Actually Dad used to make things with macrame and I remember him doing Rug Hooking for a time, so Dad was crafty as well.  I have Aunts, Dad’s sisters,  that Quilt, Sew, Knit, and Crochet so there is still a ton of Crafty influence and encouragement in my life.  You know how it goes, intellectually you understand how lucky you are to have the support and influences that you do, but until you are faced with someone that hasn’t had those advantages it doesn’t occur to you, Not everyone knows how to make a ball of yarn.  Those people that pull a length of yarn from the edge of a skein and cut it off really do not realize how much damage they are doing to the usability of the rest of the skein.

I miss mom, as spring begins to bloom and I realize that I do not need to traipse all over the back hills to pick every single daffodil that dares peek it’s head above ground, the ache becomes more apparent.  I am glad that is is with her parents and Dad, happy that she is no longer trapped by the ever growing limitations of her body, and pleased that she and Dad are looking down on the family.  Remembering the good times helps to ease the ache and deepen the sorrow all at the same time.

Okay, rant and reminiscing over.  There are more crafts to do, the weather is warming up, I should work on cutting down the weeds so I can create pretty flower beds out front.

Until next post, be happy for your support, remember your loved ones, and Live a Life A Little More Abstract.

Shifts in Time and Perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Current Spinning & Class Prep

I thought about not adding in the ‘service announcement’ portion of this post, but politicizing crafting irritates me to no end.  *I am boycotting Jo-Ann Fabrics.  They sent me an e-mail asking me to oppose the tariff because it would increase the cost of their supplies thereby increasing the cost of my ‘American Made’ crafts.  Shinybees podcast just recently mentioned something about that, how a yarn slaps the label on in Britain and calls itself a British Yarn.  Jo-Ann Fabrics buys most of its supplies inexpensively overseas, marks it up horribly so that they can put out their ‘40% off’ coupons all the time, and then sells it to crafters that then create something from those supplies.  If I oppose the tariff it would be for reasons other than to keep Jo-Anns making a fortune off of marking up foreign goods.  If I were to support the tariff I might say that marking up foreign goods may give some domestic products a chance to flourish, but I do not know enough about economics to make an educated guess.* End Service announcement.

I am currently getting ready for a class that I will be teaching in October on Latch Hooking.  Over the past couple of years of teaching crafting classes my students have mentioned that I am willing to  work on just about any craft.  That is true, I love crafting and I adore that I can figure out just about any craft there is.  I’m not always good at them, and sometimes I get bored, but I can usually figure them out.  Latch Hooking is a very simple craft, take a small length of yarn use a tool to form a larks head knot over a piece of canvas  and repeat ad Infinium until you are done with the yarn, and pattern.  I will create a tutorial with step by step instructions and be done with it until the class in October.

More interesting I just received permission to do a Book Binding series of craft classes for NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month in November which is also National Family Stories Month.  The act of binding a book is really three acts that are rolled into one.  First the Cover must be created, then the pages to go inside the cover and finally the entire thing must be assembled.  Since there is considerable amounts of glue involved in the process these three steps need time to dry in between.  A week should do it.  So there will be three separate classes on book binding.

Among all of this I did manage to get some spinning done, Moon Rock Farm of Western NEllen's Flockew York has a sheep named Elvira.  I obtained about 8 ounces of Elvira, the wool spins like a dream, and managed to spin over 148 yards of a 3 ply yarn.  The yarn is 10 wraps per inch, so the yarn is considered a worsted weight yarn.

So I will leave you with a picture of a full bobbin and wishes for Happy Crafting!

Samples for Classes

For the classes that I will be teaching I needed to create some samples.  I have knitted up two different cup cozy’s, the two by two ribbed one is supposed to be the easy one while the cabled on should be intermediate.  I think that the cables actually went faster than the ribbed one since I did not have to move my yarn from the front to the back constantly.  I obtained all of the patterns from Ravelry.  The cabled cup cozy is Pumpkin Spice by Evan Middleton.   The Masala- Two by Two Cup Cuddler by Kara L. Mayfield was the basic ribbed cup cozy.

The really simple pattern that I crocheted was the Christmas Tree Cup Cozy.  It was so much fun to do in less than an hour.  The pattern, also from Ravelry was the Christmas Tree Coffee Cozy by Tamara Kelly.

All three of the patterns were very fun and easy, they were also free!  The directions were very easy to follow and I am so pleased with the results!

Happy Crafting!

Ravelry: What is this?

Have you ever wished that there was a way you could go to a website and see what yarn you have and what projects they might be good for?  Is it a dream of yours to be able to share your Love of All Things Sherlock Holmes and your Love of All Things Knitted/Crocheted with a group of like minded people?  Do you want somewhere that you can see what yarn/fiber/tools/wheels/looms people are willing to trade?  Have you ever had a dream where there was a magical website that knew what yarn you had and could suggest patterns that you could knit/crochet with that exact yarn?

Well, Ravelry is all of that and more (Except the magic part, you have to enter your stash in but it does make suggestions, it rocks like that).  Now I can already hear you advanced to intermediate crafters saying “I am not spending my precious crafting time taking three years to enter my stash into anything, no way, no how.”  To that I will say, “Start with your newest acquisition, then make some project pages, and go from there.”  While I do know someone that inherited their grandmother’s stash and fully intends to put that entire stash into her Ravelry account, that is not something that you have to do.  Like any other tool this is as useful as you make it, but if something overwhelms you then you can give that part a miss, (this is what I keep telling myself is my reason for not putting my stash in there).

To start you need to create a Ravelry Account.  From there I did a search on what interested me and joined several groups.  Okay, I joined a lot of groups, darn my varied interests.  Fortunately the active threads of the group tend to float to the top of that groups feed so you can see what people are talking about, and peek in on what they are up to.  I really enjoy checking out my feeds, especially since I can organize them into different tabs, Podcasts, Everything Else, and Literary Interests.  Since I have really become interested in listening to podcasts, and discovered the Sherlock and Cthulhu boards, I have taken advantage of the tabs to get a bit more organized.  Eventually I hope to create more tabs such as Sales, Weaving, and Spinning.  Instead of doing that I am creating this post, lol.

In addition to the  interactive elements your Notebook allows you quite a bit of creativity and organizational capabilities.  Inside the Notebook menu you have options like:

Projects, Handspun, Stash, Queue, Favorites, Friends, Groups & Events, Needles and Hooks, Library, Message Box, Blog Posts, Contributions, Purchases, and Upload a Photo.

Whew, that is quite a bit to get through.  Some of them are fairly obvious, Favorites are favorite patterns/yarns.  Friends are the friends that you have made within ravelry, message box is like your e-mail inbox, purchases are patterns that you have purchased within ravelry, and Upload a photo is where you can upload a photo to add to your stash/comments/etc.  This function does cost a nominal fee every year, I think $5.

*Projects, these are your current WIPs or Works in Progress.  You can choose your yarn, pattern, progress, name your project, and show off to everyone.  This is a great way to get people interested in what you are working on and also to give yourself some motivation to continue.  As a general rule people are very encouraging and helpful!

*Handspun, if you are a spinner (or just like to buy other people’s handspun) then this is the tab for you.  You can upload information about your yarns, and keep track of what handspun you have available to work with.  There are some great suggestions for information you might want to include in your description of your yarn, some you might not have even thought of but that will help you decide what you want to do with your handspun in the future.

*Stash, okay so this is pretty obvious and I have covered it pretty extensively in an earlier paragraph, but I cannot emphasize it enough.  Once Ravelry knows what yarn you have and how much of it, it Makes Suggestions about Patterns.  That really does rock.

*Queue If you know that you are going to be working on a particular pattern next with a particular yarn, put it in your Queue so that your friends know, and so that you don’t forget what you bought that yarn for.  This is a great way to keep track of what future projects you might want to work on.

*Needles and Hooks Say you are out at your LYS (Local Yarn Store) and you want to know if you have a set of size 8DPN (double pointed needles) for the yarn you are looking at.  Do you buy another set just in case you don’t or do you buy the last three balls of that color and hope you have the needles at home?  You don’t do either, you check your Ravelry page and see Oh, yes I have those needles so I’ll buy the extra yarn instead.  While I’m on Ravelry Anyway I’ll just add this yarn to my stash, oh look at that pretty pattern I can make with that extra yarn!

* Library  I love the library function, I am able to add patterns that I find/purchase on Ravelry as well as patterns that I have available to me through my own book collection.  I have not had a chance to go through my mothers (many decades) of patterns that she has accumulated, but as I discover my own interests/passions I am finding that I can record what patterns I have acquired and where I can find them for future use.  Actually that is one of the most useful tips I found on Ravelry.  As I get a new Magazine, mark it in my stash and mark what patterns are found in that issue.  That way if I go back and look for a pattern I can find it in my library and know which magazine to look for it in.

*Blog Posts  Ravelry is linked up with my blog and so I can see my blog posts, and others can see my blog posts right from Ravelry.  This is a good way to obtain some exposure for my blog.

*Contributions If you are a pattern designer, or if you spin/paint/dye your own yarn then this is where you can make contributions to the fiber arts community, whether for free or for profit.

As you can see, Ravelry is a great way for you to get organized as well as sharing your love of fiber arts with a lot of like-minded individuals.  Whether your love is very general or very specific, if you are organized/would like to be organized/have no interest in organization at all Ravelry has a place for you.  This is a great resource, that I under-utilize, but I hope to become more active in the near future.

Happy Crafting!

 

Pinterest Rocks for Fiber Arts (and a lot of other things too)

I know, I am currently at MS&WF but I’m posting this, What?  Okay so I have written this post earlier and put it up while I’m away because, it is important information that I think people should know, and I am going to be a bit busy right when I get back so I am not sure when I’ll get a chance to express my excitement over MS&WF.  This is, hopefully, the start of a mini-series every few weeks about different digital resources available to crafters that they might not be aware of, or might not have thought of that way.

There are amazing websites/resources out there that I really want to share with you and help you to understand how they fit in with your creative journey.  When I think of methods of creative discovery, Pinterest is one of the first websites I think of.  I will freely admit that I often do not use my resources to their fullest capabilities.  Pinterest is one of those resources, but I really do love it for what I use it for.  I know, that is one of the most confusing sentences ever.  For me Pinterest is inspiration personified, the very essence of every cool picture on the internet in one accessible place, where I can choose what I really love and want to look into further (for free, and with the permission of the pinner.)  I cannot claim it as my personal work, unless it is, but I can use the pictures to inspire my own creativity, instruct me on a technique or craft, or just cause me to pause and think further on something.

When you get started with Pinterest you need to sign up using an e-mail address.  From there you begin by creating boards.  I have boards ranging from Knitting, Sewing, Fiber Lust (all of the really pretty fibers I want or want to make), Cleaning, Cute stuff, Stuff I want in my House, etc.  I have a ‘secret’ board of stocking stuffers, since I really love to buy little useful things that I can give to family and friends.  You really could use this to inspire almost anything.  I have recently created a Mood Board where I put my color inspiration, and I hope to use this at a future date to help me create batts for spinning.  There are plenty of businesses that use these to advertise their goods, and I can easily see myself using this to manage my stash at some point.  I know that Ravelry has similar options to manage their stash within that website, but for my immediate needs Pinterest is faster.  I will be exploring some of the great options on Ravelry in the near future.

If you are looking to upload original pieces to pinterest there is a plus sign near the bottom right of the page when you are on pinterest.  If you press this you almsot always get a message stating that you can get their browser button and use that to pin items, if you hit Not Now then the entire box disappears.  When you press the plus sign a second time you are able to choose to upload a pin.  Your persistence is rewarded, from here you can add a caption, or metadata if you are a librarian or information professional, and pin to a board.  If you are using a personal computer, or if you do not share a work computer, it might be well worth it to obtain the browser button.

In addition to creating your own boards and searching for pins that mesh with your interests Pinterest gives you the opportunity to follow the pins of others.  If you have a favorite business/dyer/etc. or just some friends that have the same interests as you then you can follow their boards, or accounts, to see what they pin and obtain inspiration from there.  Pinterest will also send you e-mails, sometimes a lot of e-mails, suggesting pins and boards.  Sometimes these suggestions are very helpful, sometimes they are just annoying. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Pinterest, I am certain that there are ideas out there I haven’t even touched on, but I hope that this helps some.

If you are looking to start a new project, start a new craft, or just need some inspiration then Pinterest is a great place to start.  Whether you want to learn more about coupon clipping, bobbin lace, sprang, bullet journals, cleaning, or just need some new recipes, Pinterest really does have it all.

Happy Crafting!

Prepping For Class & Akerworks

This has been a very exciting week.  Let me start with the parts not mentioned in the title of this post:

  • My copy of “51 Yarns to Spin Before you Cast Off” By Jacey Boggs Faulkner has arrived, and I have submitted my ‘Default Yarn’ for her competition.  So far I adore this book, although I’m only about 20 pages in.  I plan on reading more today, and writing a review as soon as I can.  For my submission on Ravelry I used my current favorite skein from the Paradise Fibers Olympic Spin, and mentioned that I am more likely to crochet than spin.  Jacey Boggs Faulkner asked if I’d share what I crochet, *squee* so now I’m working like mad to crochet up a shawl using that yarn.  I’m loving how the shawl is turning out and really hope it will be done for Maryland.
  • I added a listing of my spindles owned/desired to my leather notebook I’m taking with me for MS&WF, trying to think of what else to put in there.
  • Ordered & received little presents for my Aunts who are hosting and hauling me for MS&WF.
  • Will finish ordering tickets for all three of us to get into the festival Friday.
  • My first guild meeting of the year we are going to start a lace project, it should be a ton of fun.

Okay, on to the titular subjects.

For my first dyeing class of the year I created samples.  Part of what I hope to get across to the students is that the dyeing is only the beginning of their fiber journey, it changes so very drastically from step to step that you cannot even begin to predict where your fiber will end up.  Not to mention that since it really is just wool, spinning is not the only place that your fiber can end up. wet felting, needle felting, or just using it as an applique.  They are all viable choices, but if you want to spin it, the results can be very different that your starting dyed fiber.  I know, that was almost like a mini class, lol.  I dyed up some samples and carded half of each color into rolags.  This shows how very different the carded rolag is from the original dyed fiber.  Then for one of the colorways, the pink at the top of the post, I spun one of the rolags into a mini skein of yarn.  I don’t have a photo of the mini skein yet, but it again shows how different the fiber is.  I am really looking forward to this first class!

Now the other half of my title, Akerworks Bobbin.  I received my collapsible Akerworks Woolee Winder compatible bulky bobbin for my Schacht Ladybug.  I absolutely adore it.   My minor, well for most people it would be minor but it was driving me insane, problem with the WooleeWinder bobbins was the rattle.  To be entirely fair and honest it wasn’t really a bad rattle, it didn’t shake the teeth out of your head or anything, it was just this noise while I was spinning.  Since I love the convenience of not having to stop to change hooks all the time and still wind up with a nice even bobbin, I thought I would just have to deal with the noise.  Not so!  I still use Lithium Grease on my shaft and orifice, but the rattle is just about gone.  I have a squeak that I think is due to either uneven foot height on my wheel or a loose screw at the back that I need to work on, but that tiny sound is not a problem at all.  The bobbin fills up evenly, it spins beautifully, I can see the fiber between the spokes when the bobbin is filled up more which is just pretty, they hold a ton of yarn, and there is no annoying rattling sound.  I honestly think I’m going to pick up at least 2-3 more of these bobbins once they are officially on sale.  (Probably 3 if a 3-ply is going to be my new default spin I’ll need something to ply onto).

That’s it for this past week, so much more to come next week!  Happy Crafting!