Prioritizing FTW (For the Win)

I not only got the name of the contractor, I went to the quilt shop with my friend as well! This is the fabric I purchased, 1 yard each of 6 rainbow colors, 1/2 yard of a print that looks very Hungarian (Mom was Hungarian so my sister and I are 1/2 Hungarian), and an 1/8th yard of a cute purple that looks like it has black thistle plants on it. (One of my dad’s cousins married a very proud Scotsman, and they have been great so if I can make them a wall hanging I will). I will get into my crafting for the week after the **** but first an update on my prioritizing.

I called the mechanic recommended by a colleague and seconded by another colleague. They are going to do an oil change and look at my front bumper Tuesday morning. Yay! My friend that accompanied me to the quilt shop sent me the contact info for her contractor on Monday night, when I called him Tuesday he offered to come on Thursday to look into what I needed done. While talking with him on Thursday he kept saying, “Oh, that’ll take me a couple of hours and shouldn’t cost above 1k, no real reason to redo the entire bathroom I’ll see what’s going on underneath when I get there. Oh the flooring will cost X (less than the price that was quoted for finishing 1 room), we can get that done whenever. Your garage is under a $100 fix. The sliding glass door, I can get a door and get it installed and the house fixed up in a couple of hours. Your front porch, we’ll jack it up, figure out what is going on, and get it fixed.”

All of the fixes that I was planning on doling out over the course of the summer, because I thought the bathroom alone would be 5k, he is planning on having finished in 2 weeks, and for a lot less than I had planned. The flooring will take a little longer because I need to pull all of the staples out before he can put the flooring down. I think I have one room staple free but I’m working on my bedroom first because I would like that finished ASAP. So, he is fixing my toilet on Wednesday and maybe doing something else, this is my day off so I’ll be hanging around the house. Then on Friday I will let him in before I leave for work so he can take out the very drafty sliding glass door and install a working regular door. I am so excited because this, combined with a garage door, will allow me to actually use my backyard. This is all very exciting and a bit overwhelming. The overwhelm keeps going.

When I got home from work on Friday I had my garbage can on the sidewalk in front of my steps leading up to the house. To clarify, I did not put it there. Someone, likely a passive aggressive neighbor, did. Fine, the snow is likely done for a while, I’ll move my can back around the side of the house. This also prompted me to assemble my manual mower, just a huge cutting blade with a handle that rotates as you push it along, and mow my lawn. This is when I realized the damage the previous owners dogs left behind in the form of brown spots where no grass will grow. I bagged up the leaves left over from last year, realized I have a lovely flower bed in the back yard, and looked into disposing of the yard waste as well as how to repair my lawn. The city wants $3 per bag of yard waste and compost costs $7 a bag. With this in mind I looked into getting a rotating compost barrel, yes it cost me $80, however that is 8 bags of yard waste and compost. Considering how many plants I’m planning on growing this year the compost barrel will be paid off by the end of a season or two. Since I do not use most of my driveway, it is an old house and the driveway is at an angle to the garage, I am going to put the barrel near the garage. For repairing my lawn I discovered a Scotts brand product that claims it will repair and reseed my lawn. Last night, Saturday, after I was done with my day of shopping (more about that soon) I used a weed digger I purchased to aerate the brown spots. The product is supposed to be waiting for me at home so I hope to put that down tonight. Now, about shopping!

I’m going to go in reverse order since I went to the quilt shop first and I would like that to segue into the crafting portion of this post. So given that I’ll lead the shopping segment with: I found a living room chair! After going to three different furniture stores I finally found a chair that I don’t feel I have to heave myself out of and better yet it has both lumbar support and a separately adjustable headrest. I can recline, adjust my lumbar support for my lower back, and raise my head so that I can watch something on TV all at the same time! I didn’t even really know that is what I was looking for! Admittedly the gold/tan color is not my favorite but it might brighten up a bit against the background of my purple room, better than the dark chocolate color that was my other option. Before that I managed to find three dresses that I like and two shrugs that I can use (since I hate sleeveless I need something to cover my upper arms). This means that I have enough outfits that currently fit me to take me through until the winter when I can pull out my sweater dresses again. I plan on going to the laundromat on Wednesday so I can freshen my sheets, wash my quilt, and probably wash my wool dresses for storage. Before the dress and furniture shopping I hit a bookstore, I am a librarian (lol), and found a book I look forward to exploring titled: Sarah Payne’s Quilt School. This segues into the first part of the shopping on Saturday, the Quilt Shop!

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A friend of mine is moving, she wanted to make sure I could find the local quilt shop before she moved. We had a lovely trip and I purchased too much fabric. In the picture at the top of the post you can see a rainbow of 6 colors of fabric, I purchased a yard each. I’m not too sure what I am going to do with this fabric, however I could not resist them. The 6 yards cost me what 4 would have from other retailers, so when there was a full rainbow I had to try. I’m going to look in the Sarah Payne book I purchased from a bookstore later in the day to see if there is a pattern that would look good in these colors.

I did not get much crafting done however I did realize that if the only thing stopping me from knitting up the hat is that I hate doing the ribbing then 3″ of ribbing is going to have to be enough so I can move onto the next part. Speaking of moving on, I did make some progress on the tapestery I have been weaving since last July (I had to look at when I bought the loom since I had it in my mind I had been working on this for a couple of years).

As you can see the edges are not very even and there is a wide mish-mash of different types of weaving in there. This is my sampler piece and I could not love it any more! It is amazingly colorful and has a lot of movement to it.

Okay, that is about it for me this week, so much exciting news!

Remember to take time for yourself and Live Life a Little More Abstract!

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!

Start Strong

January 2022 has given me a lot of opportunities to learn and experiment with crafting. I took part in the Stitch Camp Challenge by TextileArtist.org and while I will not be joining their Stitch Club (since I have too many other interests going on right now) I would certainly recommend it if stitching art is your passion. Using paint, stitches, and wonderful instruction I was able to create a piece of textile art…that I’m not certain what I am going to do with.

That is not the only class I took this January, during Virtual Knitting Live sponsored by Vogue I took a Tunisian Crochet Class with Natalie Thomas where we learned the basics and a bit more, as well as a knitting color work class with Margaret Holzmann that shows how to create knitted blankets that look like quilts piece by piece. Both of the instructors were amazing, and I look forward to experimenting more with the techniques shown. For the tunisian crochet I have started crocheting up the cuff of a sock (using a pattern I already had from a crochet sock book by Rhon Strong) in a rainbow color yarn I already owned. For the knitted class I am going to try and finish the piece as a pillow, I was so happy to see that it fit perfectly on the pillow form I already had, so I will just have to knit up a back for it.

All of these projects, are using yarns that I already had, so yay for using stash!

The final project I am working on for this month is weaving up some alpaca yarn I had on hand into a narrow strip of cloth. Hopefully I can then turn that cloth into a pair of gloves or mittens, since my hands are almost always cold. This is going to be the first piece of weaving that I have created specifically to be sewn as a separate project, so fingers crossed.

I have a couple of other projects in the works, however one is going to wait until my sewing machine is back from the repair shop and the other is a ‘secret project’ for another couple of months.

Happy Crafting, don’t take things too literally, and 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!

Weaving On

My new Saori WX60 Loom. I adore how it went together, though I do plan on posting the video I shot to YouTube at some point. People should see the flubs I made trying to put this thing together. That will have to wait until I have moved and regain the motivation to edit it.

The Saori Loom is, in essence, a general 2 shaft counterbalance loom. The only aspect of this loom that is special is the accessories readily available. With the pre-wound warps available for purchase a large step is taken out of the weaving equation. For me this takes away a very expensive and time consuming aspect of weaving. One of my major stumbling blocks has been the time needed to wind a warp, the expense needed in purchasing the yarn/thread for the warp as well as the time needed to calculate out how much warp might be needed. With this loom I can purchase pre-wound warps in everything from silk and cashmere to the standard cotton. I recently purchased a 33 yard 300 thread black cotton warp that should take advantage of the entire width of my loom. I also appreciate the bobbin winder available incorporated into the loom.

My first projects are off of the loom, I soaked them in warm in my top-loader washer then spun them out so I could hang them to dry. This is the warp that came with the loom.

As you can see there are quite a few projects woven into this single warp. Between the pouches I hope to create out of the hand spun, the yellow and green rug piece that I hope to put together with a piece woven from the wider warp, there is also a brown and pink piece my friend wove that we are going to try to turn into ears for a wolf hat based on the concept of a pussy hat. These pre-wound warps that are relatively easy for me to put onto the loom make it very easy for me to use my handspun yarn to create amazing fabric. I cannot wait until I have more time to experiment, I think that this is going to be a great use of my handspun yarn. I am not sure about how I can utilize these pieces of cloth to create clothing, I think for now I am going to concentrate on making pouches and accessories.

Until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Plans Change

About that belt, well…I’ve decided it really is not going to work. Right now in my weight loss journey I am at a bit of a crossroad, heavy enough that it does not make sense for me to buy things; yet, the things that I own do not fit well at all. To this end I have decided to start working on some half modifications for pieces that I already own. This means pulling out the Dread Machine and learning how to operate my sewing machine again. Despite the nickname my Singer basic machine has been behaving very well this go round. I managed to sew up the inside seams of a pair of pants so that they fit my legs while still leaving room for my ‘Apron’. The Apron is the skin and fat in my stomach region that overhang my hips. When I reach my goal weight, another 50 pounds to go, I should be able to prove that skin reduction surgery is medically needed. This is another reason why I cannot see investing too much in a new wardrobe at this point. I did attempt purchasing a girdle to help with posture and back support, however that only succeeds in pushing my apron down making it more pronounced. Due to these circumstances I have decided to forgo shape wear until I am closer to my final size. I do want to clarify, I am not doing this because I am embarrassed or ashamed of being Fat. There are more fat people in America than there are skinny people, and I firmly believe that almost everyone can carry themselves with beauty and dignity. Many fat people exercise and eat less than their skinny counterparts, they simply have medical conditions or metabolisms that do not allow them to process food in the same way. Some people, like me, simply ingested more calories than they burned. My reasons for starting this weight loss journey are to improve my overall health and well being (hopefully I can get off of my Diabetes medication for a few years, as I age Diabetes will naturally worsen).

Enough heavy topics, did you see what I did there? While I had my sewing machine out I decided to hem some projects I had woven. Unfortunately I had green thread in my machine and could not bring myself to change it while the machine was behaving. So some white projects now have green hemming thread, and I used the clips that I already had on a project so I think I hemmed it upside down. Oh well, when I clipped the threads I like how the project turned out anyway.

The Piece is relatively skinny, though the colors are amazing and I love how the patterns turned out. I believe this was supposed to be a hand towel, however I am not sure if I am going to use it as such.

There has been progress made on my granny square project, the Icelandic Wool has been crocheted in to a square. It is the definition of what people hate about wool garments, coarse and a bit scratchy. However I know that it will be long lasting and hard wearing. If I were to weave cloth for a jacket or an outer garment that would have no contact with my skin this is the wool I would use. I wonder how it would look as a Victorian Style Walking Skirt like Bernadette Banner made? They are not intended to come in contact with anything other than the outside world and petticoats. Unfortunately my spinning and weaving skills are not up to that challenge quite yet, and my sewing skill is no where near good enough for something that complicated. I do like the idea of that as an aspirational project, so hopefully sometime in the future.

Grey Icelandic Wool crocheted into a granny square.

There are two more projects I am working on. The first is my second crocheted sock to make a pair out of this yarn. I do not have a photo. I am changing the pattern quite a bit so this sock should fit better. In addition to making a faux ribbed cuff, I am carrying along a very thin elastic thread with the yarn to give the cuff some elasticity. I find working with the elastic thread to be a bit of a misery, it is so thin and tiny it is easy to lose, yet it is also difficult to make sure I am not stretching it too much while working it. This sock is going to be cuff-down with a heel flap and gusset for the actual heel portion. I am mostly making this one up as I go, since I know what I want the end product to look like. I am not so secretly hoping that I will have enough of this color of yarn to make a sock to match this one, however I will be alright if that is not the case.

Paper Daisy Creations is releasing a set of four sock patterns based on the Anne of Green Gables book. A friend of hers is having a read along while she runs a knit along. I purchased the set of patterns, $5 for 4 sock patterns is nothing to sneeze at, and plan on casting on the sock when the pattern drops on Thursday. The first sock is a toe up with differently colored toes and heels. Since I have a mini skein from one of the pattern sponsors I plan on using that for the toes and heels. I have never read Anne of Green Gables so that should be interesting as well. Hopefully I can actually bring myself to knit these socks, I have an unfortunate tendency to allow socks to intimidate me.

That is all of the crafty content I have for this week. My garden has not progressed any further and is likely stalled until the end of May when planting season for Western NY begins.

Do not settle for the mundane and, Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Getting Back in the Spin of Things

Today I am getting my first vaccination shot, then the second will be three weeks from today. By the beginning of May I should be considered fully vaccinated. I wanted to share this first step toward my personal normal. This has given me a bit of energy and I have started working on my journey to decluttering my house and organizing my craft supplies.

I have chosen to take this as an opportunity to use the breed study wool that I have not been spinning since I did not know what to do with them. It is a ton of fun to spin them into two ply and crepe yarns then crochet up granny squares (labelled with tags) that I hope to eventually crochet into a blanket. I’m not worrying about getting each square precisely the same size as the rest, I believe that if I have a few that are larger I can use some of the left over scraps, when there is not enough yarn to make another round, to fill in with tiny squares.

Grey crocheted square with label on top of two white squares in a plastic bin.

I fully expect that this is going to be something that I lose interest in after a while and come back to eventually. It is fascinating that as I progress I understand how I work so much better, this way I can set myself up for future success. By keeping careful notes now when I get back to the project I will be able to pick up where I left off. I know, some of you are thinking “Why not just try to change how you work, stick with it, persevere, see it through, etc.” However if I try to push my way through I begin resenting the project, it is better if I work with my natural flow. These are also the reasons why it is better for me to have three completely different projects going on at once. Right now in addition to the granny square project, I have a double knit shawl (that I am a bit intimidated by), and a woven belt…well I call it a belt.

Weaving loom with a cotton piece that looks grey and blue yarn higher up.

This was supposed to be a 2 inch wide belt set at 12epi using a blue denim cotton lace yarn. As you can tell it is more grey than blue, the bright blue weft is a Noro Yarn that I decided to go with. At 12 epi this is closer to a weft facing weave which, unless I am completely mistaken, means I should have a narrower sett. I did put some fray check on the plain, or weft faced I guess, first couple of inches so when I take this off I can trim close and then sew the 2 D rings on right away before washing. The Fray Check is considered permanent so it should not wash out. I like the look of the Noro yarn as a straight twill, I am very happy about this since I was not sure what to do with the Noro yarn hating the texture as I do. This might make a nice decorative belt, I am not sure. However I am ‘Fat’ enough that until I am at the weight I wish to be and have my skin reduction surgery this size belt is just going to get lost in folds. To that end I already have plans to make a 5-10″ wide belt at about 18 epi in another yarn of a similar size. That should make a lovely statement piece.

So there we go. I’ve managed to get back in the groove of things, I need to keep in mind that it is better for me to have at least one project to work on at a time…of course when I abandon things here and there that does not help…will the second sock ever get crocheted? Stick around to find out!

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!