I am having a blast crocheting this pair of socks, though I do not really like the heel and will probably go back to the other style of heel once I’ve finished this pair. They are coming along nicely, however I am looking forward to seeing the back of them so I can start a new patterned pair.
I managed to cast on 360 pairs of stitches, with a marker every 10 pairs and a different type of marker every 50 pairs of stitches, for a total of 720 cast on stitches. This is going to be a double sided shawl with a graphic pattern. Fortunately for me, this shawl involves casting on with the number of stitches for the longest side then decreasing as the pattern goes on.
Finally the yarn that I ordered so that I can weave a blanket arrived. I am so excited, and nervous, about warping this up. Since I still have not woven my cowl, this is probably going to take a month or two for me to get to.
I think that is all the news I have fit to write about this week. I have slowed down on some personal projects and decided to redirect my energy into making sure that I have storage that will work for all of my supplies without overwhelming everything. Right now I have my paper projects, quilling, scrapbooking, fiber/dyeing/weaving diary supplies (not the crafts themselves just the supplies to create the diaries_, along with my supplies to make dioramas, on one bookcase with my fiction books and sewing supplies on a second bookcase. The top shelves of these cases are not load bearing so I put my blocking mats up there, the foam essentially does not weigh anything. Perhaps I will take photos when I have my cases the way I want them to be. Next is going to be a case for my crafting books, then one to store my yarn and fiber. This is going to give me an idea of what space I will need in a home to realistically store my supplies, a great project while I am saving up for a down payment on a house.
Don’t let life or obstacles get you down for long! Remember to Roll with Changes and Live Life A Little More Abstract!
Who knew that starting a new full-time job would completely disrupt my schedule? Okay, so I probably could have guessed that. Despite this revelation I have managed to get quite a bit done in January. I did start my new job and while there are nuances I believe I still need to learn I have the broad strokes of what the job is going to entail understood. The rest of learning the job is simply going to be living the job and seeing what comes up. Hopefully I will start touring houses this upcoming week and getting my pre-approval finalized. Yay. Onto crafting.
Spin-Off Magazine decided to hold a Cowl-Along for 2021, for this project we are to spin and create a cowl from the spun yarn. I chose the Creepy Corriedale Wool I received from Paradise Fibers in my October 2020 Fiber of the Month Club Box as my base fiber. It spun up beautifully, then I started having some concerns.
The colors changed considerably once I had the yarn spun up, that did not concern me too much as I enjoyed the darker aesthetic. However when I plied the yarn onto itself for a test the problems became apparent.
This view is a little too close, however you can see that the colors just turn to mud when the sample is woven against itself, I do not want a cowl that looks like mud. So we are back to more sampling. I spun up some black bamboo fiber, white wool received in the Dyeing box from paradise fibers, along with some grey kromski merino wool. Once I had the new sampling yarn spun I plied it with the corriedale I already had and created a sheet to start to keep track of some of this stuff. Then I used my bookmark pin loom to weave these yarns into samples.
I adore how all three of these colors turned out. The top is the white, grey in the middle, and black on the end. The white allows the corriedale to brighten back up to what it looked like in the fiber, the grey pulls out the purples, and the black gives the entire project a homogeneous look with it looking too muddy. When I posted my progress in the Ravelry Spin Off Group I received the recommendation from Castielstar to perform a neck test and wear the pieces around my neck to see how they feel after some time. Since I spend so much of my time working I did not see a way to do this test at home (I also did not feel like explaining the three colored pieces of wool on my neck) therefore I decided that I would stick them in my bra and see how it goes. Surprisingly I had to pull the piece with the grey merino wool out before an hour had passed, then I forgot that the other two were even there. This easily narrowed my choices down to black or white. Looking at the woven samples, I know that I am going to go with the White. While the black is amazing I feel that the pops of color in the white sample will look better going into spring. Now for the next part of this project, weaving a cowl. Surprisingly there is another Ravelry group that is hosting something that will come in handy.
The Rigid Heddle Looms Group is hosting JAN/FEB 2021 V-COWL AND MÖBIUS WAL. I did not know what I V-Cowl was (I do now, very neat). This new technique is going to make weaving my handspun cowl very interesting, the next step I need to take is to spin up the rest of my white to ply with the corriedale and figure out what my sett is going to be. Ten inches is, I believe, quite tall for a cowl so I will just use my 10″ sample it loom. I have decided that I would like the warp to be 2.5 yards so that the end piece is a little bigger than 40″ long. This will give it room to go around my neck but not choke me ( I hope).
There is one more weaving project that I have decided to start, Mirrix Looms is hosting a Weave Along (Stay At Home Weave Along), while I cannot stay at home I can certainly have fun weaving along with everyone else. So for this weave along I cut off the piece I have not been weaving on my Mirrix and warped 5″ on my loom with double warp threads this morning. I did not purchase their kit, I’m still trying to cut down on my buying, however I do have plenty of tapestry yarn from my earlier dyeing experiments so I will be winding that onto golf tees this morning, since I cannot afford real tapestry bobbins.
In addition to my weaving, I have not been knitting much I will get back to it, I have been doing a couple of other small projects. One of my friends from the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s guild taught us how to turn paper towels into mini pieces of cloth using watercolor and mod podge. I also obtained one of those wet felted soap kits. I enjoyed making the felted piece and have a ton of fun squishing it in the shower every morning.
I am looking at this post and thinking, “Did you always have this much time?” I know that the answer is no. Right now I am also back to work on Sunday’s at my private university job, just Sundays. It sounds a little silly, however the 8 hours I work on Sundays (if I work 4 Sundays in a month) means about $360 take home pay that month. Perhaps a little more if the mandated minimum wage increase goes through. (Private Universities do not pay nearly what State Colleges do from my experience.) This is about 1/2 a mortgage payment so I cannot afford to sneer at it even with a full-time job. To round out my month I signed up for three classes during the February Vogue Knitting Live Event: Beginning Intarsia, Crochet Socks, Dyeing with Kitchen Scraps. I have also upgraded to the Super Pass, it is very neat to see the recordings of the various demonstrations by vendors. Since I am trying to save up for a down payment on my house I will probably strictly limit any spending during this event however I am excited for the Classes. I used one of my transferring jobs presents to purchase 4 colors of DK yarn for the intarsia class since I seem to only have Fingering and Worsted weight yarn with a little bit of lace weight thrown in here and there. I also love that this is happening during Valentines Day Weekend, so I can genuinely say that I have plans for Valentines…okay so that is a Sunday and I am working at the University..that still counts as plans, right?
So there it is. I’ve had a great month, I am hoping that the trend continues for February. I am finding that my new schedule of getting up at 4: 30 am and going to sleep at 10 pm (on Fridays I need to be out of the house by 6:15 to make sure I get to work on time, it was easier to adjust my entire sleep schedule than have a different one on Friday), means that I have more energy most mornings to do something around the house and get a bit of crafting done. Since this is about a month’s worth of catching up I think that the size of my post is just fine. Until next time, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!
I’m sorry about not posting for a few weeks, November came on like a storm bringing with it quite a bit of uncertainty regarding college/university closings in New York. Between the stress of figuring out plans and back up plans the month simply slipped away from me.
I Hope that, if you celebrate, you had an amazing Thanksgiving or Indigenous Peoples Day or Friendsgiving (even if you could only see your family/friends through zoom). I had a great weekend, which means I was able to finally get back into the groove of crafting.
I did manage to finish weaving my four handspun panels a few weeks ago, now I am debating if they are going to be scarves for my cousins kids, panels for a piece of clothing, or pieces of a bag. I am leaning toward the idea of a bag, maybe bags, since the yarn is a bit rough for next to the skin.
I have started another weaving project with yarn from HipStrings out of Pittsburgh, PA. When I ordered some mini’s they were kind enough to send whole skeins, which left me with more than enough to weave the scarf I was thinking of. The colors are supposed to be Steeler’s colors, I think they come close.
Weaving is not all that I have been doing. I recently found out about an event on Ravelry called the Independent Designers Gift Along, or GAL2020. For this you simply have to knit or crochet a single gift. They do have categories and if you do one project in each category then you have achieved a special level that they call Oopadoo (or something like that). To start this off I have cast on a “Dumpster Fire Ornament”; a Headband; as well as a Skirt.
Before I started these projects, which I am supposed to have finished by December 31 to take a photo of all of them….if I were to give one as a present then I would not have it for the group photo…I’m not sure what I am supposed to do about that. Sorry for the digression, as I was saying: Before I started these projects I managed to unearth what I was working on prior to my wrist surgery, I am healing well and still gaining strength in my wrist. I decided to do some work on a slipper that I had gotten almost half way through before my surgery, there is a lot of progress. I am past the heel portion and working my way up the left side, once that is finished I do have a second sole so I can begin the second slipper right away.
Regarding another craft altogether, I have decided that I am going to spin for colorwork socks. I spun up the bumps of fiber left over from the month when Paradise Fibers sent us Scottish themed items, as well as a bump of the sari/tweed fibers we received. Unfortunately I did not take any photos of the colorful portions, so here is a bobbin of mostly white singles from one of the bags of fiber I purchased specifically for socks. Once I have the singles spun up I plan on transferring them to weaving bobbins so that I can mix them up and create 3 ply yarns of each color.
Those are my crafting adventures for November. With COVID Still going strong, and let’s be realistic it is going to get worse before it gets better, I plan on doing plenty of crafting over the course of December. Without any immediate family in the area I will send presents to my extended family and lose myself in the rhythms of creation.
Happy Crafting, stay healthy, and remember to live life A Little More Abstract.
I was unfortunately correct in saying that I was being overly optimistic thinking that I would get my wheel varnished on Thursday.
Unfortuntaely, that seems to be theme here, I do not have any photos of my current projects, though I do have a photo of the Chenille Stem (Pipe Cleaner) holiday tree I made for a December Project at my public library.
In addition to my holiday crafting I have been working on weaving up the yarn I spun for the Spin Together 2020 contest. I am using my rigid heddle loom, which is 10″ across and weaving 2 yard increments. So far I am on my second panel, I hope to have enough yarn to weave off 4 panels for a 40″ across piece. That should be sufficient to make a nice looking poncho, admittedly I would prefer about 60″. I love how the colors are working together to create something bright and cheerful with a bit of sparkle here and there. I hope to be able to sew the panels together before winter break.
The second project, that I am kicking myself for forgetting in the car, is a knitted shawl from the 716 batt I managed to spin up. I love how the knitting is going, however I can see where I plied loosely and the yarn is splitting with my maneuvering. I believe that this will wind up being a very colorful shawl, it is also a great platform for my experimenting with yarnovers and double decreases. The results are neat, though not what I thought.
I do have a third project in mind. Once I have the red that I am spinning fairly fine finished I hope to spin up another wild batt (maybe I can do this on my new wheel instead of waiting for the ladybug to be free), to create a match to my Blue Moon Halloween 2020 skein. Once I have them both spun I hope to use some wool yarn to weave up a shawl collar/cowl to wear as a decorative piece. I might even hold off on seaming up my panels to see if I can turn them into some sort of shirt…the possibilities are endless!
Okay, so I also have a fourth project I’m actively working on..I know it is a bit much. The Discover Color event is ongoing and I still have not threaded my heddles. I found the perfect excuse to delay until Thursday, the Winter Weavealong will start pretty soon. This is run by Two Ewes Fiber Adventures podcast, and I hope to participate this year.
I was reminded that we only have about 4 more paychecks until Christmas, so that is frightening. I’d better get my presents purchased and shipped before it is too late!
I managed to finish weaving off some towels that I have had on my loom for over a year. They have been washed and cut apart, now I need to get the courage to pull out my sewing machine and seam them. I am hoping to do a slightly rolled hem, however it is going to depend on how reckless I am feeling when the machine comes out.
I have also been working on the shawl that has been on my tri-loom for a couple of months. This is what it looked like last week, as of the writing of this post the entire shawl is finished and washed (putting it through the dryer for 20 minutes gave it an amazing halo and felted it just right). however I have not had the opportunity to get a good photo of it.
Fortunately for me, with all of this finishing going on, I have had the opportunity to start a few things. There is a new class available for free from Tien Chiu https://classes.warpandweave.com/collections called the Discover Color Weavealong. I have started warping my loom, I really have to cut apart my texsolv heddles before I thread the pattern threads, however I do have everything through my reed. I hope to get the heddles threaded Thursday.
Finally I had the opportunity to get my hands on a Kromski Fantasia Spinning wheel unfinished. I decided to go all in and varnish the wheel using a cherry stain and a topcoat to seal things in. I managed to get the first coat of cherry on all of the pieces, and everything sanded. The next step is to put the top coat on all sides of the pieces. Again, I hope to get this done on Thursday, however I am not holding my breath.
That is all she wrote for now. Until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!
It has been a week since the end of Spin-Together, while I had a lot of fun I am pleased to note that despite there being no deadline my spinning is still progressing. Thanks to Long Thread Media allowing the older editions of their three publications, Spin-Off, Piecework, and Handwoven to be available to all subscribers using their app I have been enjoying looking through old issues. While my current obsession is spinning, I am also planning on warping my loom for a Weave Along. Warp and Weave is having a Discover Color weave along where we are weaving Mug Rugs. I purchased the kit they recommended from Lunatic Fringe using the money I saved with the Ibotta app.
* I never advertise for things here, however through this app I have tried new foods (have not hated many yet) and gotten money back for my purchases. Most of these things are huge scams unless you spend hours on them, for me Ibotta is just convenient. I purchased this kit, my month of Sling that I watched while spinning and 2/3rds of the bags I just bought some of which I’m going to use as holiday presents. Done advertising, I have an affiliate link if you want to sign up.*
Back to spinning. Since this is my current obsession I’ve spent some time going back through past issues of Spin-off magazine and one article from Spring 2002 “Weaving with Singles” By Holly Schaltz inspired me to take the sparkly yarn I was spinning as a single to ply and turn it into a singles that I can weave with. The sparkle is such that I felt it would be fighting with another ply for color attention. I hope to weave it on a loom so that I can make a bag or pouch from it. I have also been doing alternative crafts.
I managed to upcycle a pet bed from two old shirts and some foam. This project cost me $5 and two hours. When compared to the price of similar pet beds, this is well worth the effort. I have also been decorating my public library with spider webs made from corriedale wool. I intend to gather the wool and spin a yarn when the season is over, until then they are eco friendly especially compared to the synthetic webs my boss was going to buy.
I love how crafting tends to insert itself into every facet of my life. There is always something useful I can create. While I have given in a little bit and wound up creating some of what I call “Garbage Crafts”, I am also ensuring that there are creative projects for people of all skill/creativity levels. I also throw them out the moment I am done with them ensuring that they are not hanging around my house.
Minor medical update, non-crafting information in between the *’s
*I have my second cast, this means that I am 1/4 of the way done with wearing a cast! The unnerving tingling that I was feeling, in the form of hot spots going up and down my arm, is apparently my nerves healing. My new cast is slightly shorter, slightly lighter, and firmer around my wrist. This actually means that I have a much greater range of motion than I did with the other cast. Often when I tried to move my fingers, whether to exercise or stretch them, or to accomplish a task, I would get a jabbing pain where I have a pin in my wrist. With the firmer cast, I no longer get that pain, huzzah!*
My new cast went on Thursday and by Friday I was crafting up a storm! I finally managed to finish weaving the bamboo scarf I dyed with the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild last summer. At the time of posting this I have washed the scarf and I am diligently working on the fringe twisting, as my wrist allows.
I love how this has turned out, however the red bled quite a bit, I seem to remember a warning about that. I have also been knitting on my worsted weight socks in Cascade 220 Superwash White. I hope to dye these when I am done. I have the first finished and the cuff on the second completed. With all of this going on, I also decided to bring up my personal larger table loom that has had towels warped up for a couple of years. It is my main goal to finish these towels before I am back to work at my colleges (or in a full-time job).
All of this crafting energy has me jazzed. I managed to attend Vogue Knitting’s Virtual event in July, learning quite a bit from the lectures I attended. I have signed up for the marketplace and extras for the August Virtual event. I had hoped to sign up for classes, however with my wrist it is not realistic that I can knit enough to justify the financial outlay. (Just about $100 for 3 classes and tons of extras, if I could knit normally this would be a really inexpensive way to take expensive classes).
Fortunately I have had some visitors to my back yard to cheer me up (this is not a euphemism).
Hopefully you are as inspired as I am. Until next time, keep crafting and Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!
This has been a learning experience for me. I have put up a fence around my well cap, it is right beside my driveway and but trucks tend to run over it. I put up the remaining two fence pieces by my driveway so that my garbage cans cannot easily fall into the ditch. I warped and started weaving on my rug loom in the detached garage. I can shoot crafting videos, okay so I’m still improving on that. I also discovered that I can spin if I hold my fiber very loosely in my bad hand, to do this I am using my electric wheel because I tend to tightly grasp fiber in my left hand when using my regular wheel. Knitting is something that can happen (on larger needles) because I only need to hold the needle still in my left hand. (Crochet is not going to happen because I pinch my project in my left hand while crocheting to keep it still, that still hurts) Socks still are not going to happen, however I can use size 4 needles.
I finished two plying projects, the one on the left is the Shetland Moorit I started spinning last year for the Spin Off Hap-Along. The project on the right is when I took a couple of lace weight yarns that I plied together to create about a fingering weight yarn. I do not think that this will actually be a fingering weight yarn, however I think it will be a wonderful project eventually.
I was able to swatch for a mitered square blanket I bought a couple of years ago, when a knitted afghan project is under $35 it is hard to resist. I’ve also progressed to knitting a worsted weight shawl out of the Hedgehog Fibres Potluck in a really pretty orange. I crowd sourced whether I should add on some black or just be done, it was decided that I do not need to add on black.
Finally I wound up lightly felting my 7′ shawl from my tri loom. I took a photo before it came off of the loom, I will have a felting photo in another post.
It has been very busy here. One of my supervisors is talking about starting procedures for opening back up, presuming that we will be doing this in Mid May.
Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert check on your extroverts! Be safe!
This has been a really strange week. I have spent most of it thinking that I have not gotten a single thing done. However, when I looked back I have made a lot of progress on many different projects. In the way of domestic chores, I have come to the realization that cooking for myself is just creating more dishes for me to deal with and I am not eating any healthier. To combat this, I have started opening a can of green beans or carrots, heating them up, and using that as a snack. I have also purchased some frozen food that I just need to throw in the oven and that will be food for at least a day if not more. I also purchased salad mix, we will have to see what a difference these steps make in my overall eating/time spent cleaning up. I managed to get the black plastic on my front bed, I’ve been meaning to do that for three years, but I think I mentioned that in my last post.
I live far enough out that I have a well, the heavy cement well cap is right beside my driveway. This means that when big trucks come up my driveway, fedex, ups, oil delivery, repair trucks, they tend to run over that cap often knocking it askew. To combat this I purchased 4 pieces of fencing that arrived a few days ago. I promptly went out and managed to get them temporarily installed around the well cap. I will use a rubber mallet to completely install them when it stops snowing. Since I only needed 2 I will be using the other 2 to create a barrier between my garbage cans and the ditch so I don’t have to retrieve the cans from the ditch on garbage day.
The final home repair I have done is a patch job on a wall in the master bathroom. Half of a toilet paper roll holder that was installed somehow got ripped out of the wall leaving a hole. I honestly cannot remember how, it’s been years. I purchased a repair kit a while back, but like many things, never found the time to fix it. On to Crafty Stuff!
For my public library job I created a video on how to finger knitting for Monday April 13th. This past Monday I created a video on how to weave on cardboard looms, the video turned out pretty well however the process was a mess of cable repairmen, upload times, and time restrictions on unverified Youtube accounts…I’m not dwelling on that. I shot the video on finger knitting, have been requested to create an introduction with my face, and will edit and upload the results on Monday. Until then, here is some finger knitting:
This is Madelinetosh Home in Danger Will Robinson colorway. The bulky yarn shows the stitches pretty well, I used a worsted during the video this will be my intro piece.
I’m trying to organize my stash, during that process I found a shawl I was working on. It’s a very simple shawl, however it is knitted with my handspun yarn on very large needles. I’ve discovered that I can hold these without any real pain, so I am working on that.
Finally we have my shawl. As you could see last week, the weave seemed pretty loose. I spent some time adjusting the yarns so that the structure would be tighter. The results were interesting, I posted them on Instagram and was advised to felt the piece to keep the structure how it was. I decided to stabilize the edges and some of the structures by weaving around them, the results are here:
I am still not certain how well I like it, however I will finish with the edges and give it a wash. I already have two bulky yarns tied together so that I can try another tri-loom shawl once I have the loom cleared.
This is about it for me for the week (not including work stuff, I’m still doing academic library stuff for my other two libraries). I hope that you live life A Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert please check on your extroverts!
During these times I’m still working from home, it is going pretty well actually. I am also doing some cleaning, not as much as I should, and some crafting. For my public library I managed to create a video that uses some simple tools and cardboard to create art-ish. The above is my creation. I also did some work on washing wool. I soaked some wool in cold water to get the basic dirt out:
You can see, it helped a bit but there is still some major dirt and lanolin. I washed a batch by scrubbing each individual lock across a bar of soap. These results were amazingly clean, however very labor intensive:
Then I took one batch and used hot water and unicorn simply clean to soak for ten minutes:
This worked really well, I did not rinse this batch out just soaked and let dry so that I could use them as an example in the video I’m making. For the rest of the picked locks I used hot water and unicorn to soak twice and then rinsed with just water a third time. These results were wonderful, I just adore how well this works.
You can see the amazing difference, how crisply clean and white all of the fleece is. This is some Coopworth Yearling fiber, it started out as 8 ounces. I picked out the washed locks and put them in a plastic bag after it had thoroughly dried. I am so excited to be able to spin this fleece, however it is going to be some time.
I also used a large potholder loom I bought from Harrisville to make two separate potholders that were beautiful. I’m looking at buying some more loopers for the larger loom, however they are a bit pricey.
I’m also doing some work on my 7′ tri-loom. I’m trying to do some cut string weaving as opposed to continuous string weaving. Right now I think that there are too many gaps between the threads, so I am planning on trying to add extra yarn in between several of these picks. Some of them I doubled up in one section, because of this I should be able to add a thread in between these doubled up to tighten things up. In this flash I love how rainbow this looks, neat!