Crafting Palooza!

I have about a week and a half off of my most time-consuming job.  It is a contract job, so I will still get paid the same (some of my colleagues took a vacation in January and I filled in so now they are working over this school-break and I get time off).  I will be filling in some of that time picking up extra hours at my public library job, it works out because my supervisor was having trouble with that schedule, but it will still be fewer hours than I normally work.  What will I do with all of that free time?  Clean the house, I don’t think so.  Do some work outside?  Maybe Wednesday when it is supposed to be over 50 and I have the day off.  Will I craft?  YES! All the Crafts!

I have actually taken advantage of the couple of days I had completely off of work to run the dishwasher a couple of times, cook some curry, run a couple of loads of clothes and finish a couple of my projects.  I also asked my sibling (Transgendered, I use neutral terms, I’m not mad at them the way most people think I am when I use the word ‘sibling’) if they would use a crochet shower pouf  if I made a couple out of cotton so that they were washable, the pattern is linked.  I received an enthusiastic yes, they use the plastic kind that you have to throw away right now, and a request for a colorway I do not own.  Their birthday is six weeks away, and I am fairly certain they do not read my blog, and so I let them think that they would be getting a pouf in the color of my choice from what I already own.  I have crocheted two already so that I knew how the pattern worked (plus it is dead simple) and figured out how I would like to construct them.  It turns out I can get two from one ball of Dishy from Knitpicks, and if I fold them over instead of stacking the layers it creates a very puffy pouf, as you can easily see in this photo.  I have also started a third from a new ball, my sibling has housemates and I think if I crochet through my stash I can have poufs for everyone.

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So, what my sibling doesn’t know, is that I also ordered two balls of dishie in the colorway that they requested from Knitpicks.  Of course, they also had some grab bags of sock yarn (two for the price of one) and a couple of sock yarns in Their preferred colorway as well as an offer of a free ball of knitpicks new yarn line Snuggle Puff, which is a cotton nylon blend intended for baby things and other fluffy patterns.  I am trying to not purchase yarn unless I have a pattern already picked out for it, however I have a new sock pattern and if I can manage a pair of socks (or four, if the pattern is as easy as it looks) then I will be quite happy with my Birthday present to my lovely sibling.

I did finish a couple of projects, namely my first Sherlock Square (love it!) and my first quarter Jimmy Beans project, the crochet pillow/floor pouf.  The pouf is a bit lumpy since I closed it off and overstuffed it.  I did have to purchase 4 extra skeins of the Scheepjes yarn, but I have leftovers of that.  I will have to decide if I am going to find a project for them or if I will keep them for possible repairs to the pouf. At present I plan on using the pouf for somewhere that my Cat can sit on while I am working in the detached garage/studio my handyman is working on fixing up.

I had planned on making a flower motif on the top, but quickly changed my mind when I realized that the motif might mean that the cat would not sit on it.  I have also made some progress on the throw together shawl I started using the Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply yarn I purchased.

IMG_2281The photo really doesn’t show things off too well, but since it is lace I don’t think it will look like much until it is blocked.  I finished the first piece of blue and added in 4 rows of black, it is a simple pattern where I knit the three end stitches and do the yarn overs to create the crescent shape then I did a yarn over knit two together all the way across, purled back (in the appropriate increase pattern for the edge).  I did those two rows twice then I started the green yarn and I have completed 4 rows of knit on one side purl on the other.  It is going to take some time since the yarn is so fine, but this will give me time to decide if I want to try some more patterning in the regular sections or just in the black  and brown bands in between.  Which brings up another point.  I do not have nearly enough black for that to be the only transition color between, however I have a ton of brown.  I believe I will us the black at the top of the shawl until it runs out then switch to brown for the rest. I cannot believe I almost forgot a project!

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This is the Morrigan Shawl by Hedgehog Fibers knit in Madelinetosh Prairie in the Aura colorway.  I obtained the yarn at a considerable discount from Jimmy Beans Wool Wool Watchers.  I am not positive I am doing this correctly, however I am enjoying it considerably.  This is simply the ‘set up’ chart, at the writing of this post I have completed row 10 of the repeating chart.  There are 28 rows to that chart and it is to be repeated 4 times before the edging chart is started so I am just starting this pattern but I love it anyway.

So that is all of the projects I am working on right now.  If I get as much as I hope accomplished then there will be a mid-week update, if not then remember to Live a Life a Little More Abstract until next week!

Reading List Scroll

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I Do not own Terry Pratchett, nor am I affiliated with him in any way.  This is just the next series of books I hope to read.

I have taken the books in the Discworld Series list that I obtained from Terry Pratchett’s website and printed them out as a list in order that they are to be read.

From there I created a ‘scroll’ like list with the most recent book on the bottom and the first book to be read on the top.

Then I taped the end of the scroll to a pencil and tightly wound the list around the pencil until just the first book or two are showing.

I then put a small piece of tape on the back to make sure that the list would not go flying off and unroll itself.

Next I taped the top of the list, the 1″ blank header, to another pencil and rolled it so that just the first book is showing.

As I read through the series I will roll them up to see what is next.  I think that this will be a very fun and visual way of tracking my way through the series.

Given enough time and access to a poster printer I could conceive of doing this on a larger scale for a public or academic library.  This would be a very visual way of tracking reading for kids as well.

Happy Reading (and Crafting!)

Happy News!

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This year I will be attending the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!

I am so very excited, things just fell into place, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing falls out of place, lol.  I was originally supposed to be driving down with a friend from the guild, but she has a wedding to attend the next weekend and that would be too much travel for her.  Then my mother, generously, offered to fly me down there.  I accepted her offer, but as a shot in the dark, asked my library director if the library would pay for the tickets as professional development since I spend so much time teaching craft classes.  She agreed, happily, so I will not even have to spend Mom’s money. My sibling is coming up to make sure that mom is okay while I’m down there, she’s on oxygen 24/7 and doesn’t get around too much.  A couple of my Father’s cousins are going to let me stay with them and they will shuttle me around.  This is going to be so much fun.  I really look forward to seeing a part of my family again as well.

I look forward to bringing back all sorts of stories and goodies.  This is going to be such a great time, now I just have to think of the right presents for my family that will be hosting me.  Perhaps a yarn in the tartan of my dad’s cousin-in-law, maybe a jar of painting supplies for the other cousin, well I have over a month to figure things out.

Happy Crafting!

 

Service Announcement About Valuing Time

While I think it is human nature to underestimate one’s contributions during the day I also believe that by discounting these accomplishments we undervalue our own work.  I had a colleague talk to me about how it wasn’t anyone’s business how many hours she put in since she was under a salary and put in however many hours it took to accomplish the work to her professional satisfaction.  What she didn’t see, or refused to see, is that by putting in extra hours but not letting anyone know that you needed that time to get your work done, you are actually undervaluing your time and contributions.  Yes you have to get your work done to your satisfaction, but if no one knows that it takes you 60 hours to do your current workload then they don’t value your work.

I have found myself doing the same thing.  Yes, creating a breed journal is fun, but I wouldn’t be sticking with it if it were not for my students. I hope to provide them with an idea of the rabbit hole they are jumping down, as well as getting them on the path of tracking their spinning early.  The problem with this is that I spend at least 2-3 hours per night working on spinning, documenting, learning to quilt (something else my students requested), and reading a bit.  This is 10-15 hours per week that I am working on crafts that I intend to use to teach.  Yes, I would be doing some spinning anyway.  Yes, I am embarking on something that I lot of spinners dream of doing.  I also did get into this craft for sheer love of spinning and fiber.  What I didn’t realize is that my supervisor didn’t know that it took me that long to work on spinning, learning techniques (buying classes and videos) or the hours it takes me to plan the classes and write up lectures for those that go beyond the basics.

The purpose of this is to remind you, if you are doing your crafting to teach then value your time and what it costs you to learn.  In any profession take the time to realize how much of yourself you put into your job that you are not getting paid for, or credit for.  Find ways to put these accomplishments into conversation.  If someone praises you on something then let them know, “Thank you, I spent time learning how to do … in the evenings/on the bus/during the weekends but it was well worth it in the end.”  Or, “Thank you, I took a class on that a couple of months ago in the evenings/etc.”

Okay, done with the service announcement.

Crafting Articles

I’ve been neglecting this blog a little bit.  While I’m working on different crafts and working on..well work, I don’t have as much time to blog as I would like.  Fortunately for me much of my work involves my passions so I’m able to read a wide variety of articles, technology, crafts, library science, speech therapies, makerspaces, etc. while I am at work because my work involves everything under the sun.  Very rarely does something that I read not come up in a work situation later, it is a ton of fun and never boring.  Enough about work though, I wanted to let you know I’m going to be posting a series of articles about crafting topics I’ve read recently.  There will be links to the articles as well as a brief synopsis and any comments I care to make.

The first few will be about weaving, and we will see where these lead me from there!

To catch you up on my crafting, I’ve been slightly obsessed with making Hexipuffs.  To the extent that I have deluded myself into thinking that I can make socks.  Cross your fingers and hope for the best…it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Happy Crafting!

Summer is Ending

I cannot, for the life of me, believe that summer is OVER!  It seems like summer just began and here I am looking at my last Wooly Wednesday Class Tomorrow!  We are starting up “Fall Crafting” next Monday during the afternoon but this still seems like the end of an era.

Wooly Wednesday’s could not have gone better if I had tried.  I do have some plans for how to modify these classes for the spring and summer in 2018 so that they are more comprehensive, don’t rush my students as much, and cover more students and class time for the same amount of supplies (my boss will like that one).

LOOK AT ALL OF THE COOL STUFF MY LADIES CREATED THIS SUMMER!!!!!

 

 

 

This summer of Crafting ROCKED, so did my Wooly Wednesday Ladies. I hope to see you this fall, I miss you already!

Happy Crafting

Progress, or not

So spinning every day was a great idea.  Unfortunately it did not take into account my being sick enough that dragging myself to work was about all I could do.  Therefore my spinning has fallen off track a bit, not irreparable though.  While I will not actually get 365 days of spinning this year, my goal was to take each month as it comes and deal with it that way.  January is sort of shot, I missed about 3 days, but I will finish strong and start up with February.

Speaking of starting up, Mom is almost fully recovered from her previous illness.  She has decided to see how many crafts she can finish with the supplies we already have laid in.  Essentially she has declared this her year of Stash Busting Crafts!  So far this month she has crocheted up 2 cowls from yarn she had on hand, I will put up pictures of those in my next post.

I have decided to accompany her on this quest, though for my major tapestry project I will need to purchase more wool in periwinkle, though I will admit to a desire to see how much of that project I can get done with the supplies I had already laid in.  (Warp threads, white weft, and some singles spun in periwinkle, with an addition of gold silk I hope to use to accent a particular portion).

I must freely confess I fear I am already making excuses for not following through, since my next thought is that I wanted to purchase some white wool to test dying techniques.  I suppose the best way of doing that would be to dig out what white wool I already have (alpaca, sheep, etc) and plan on using that to dye with until I have figured out which, if any, of the natural dyes get me the colors I want.  If the natural dyes don’t work the way I want then I will have just used some of my wool-stash anyway.  My next experiment is probably going to be centered around washing the batts that I carded containing ‘sticky wool’.  I am hoping that there is some lanolin or other processing oils contained in the batts that is making them sticky.  If that is the case then a good hot soak should loosen up the oils enough for me to wind up with a fluffy batt.  If not then washing with Dawn, if they start to felt then I might try to spread it thin and experiment with felting.

I am sort of excited to let the wool speak for itself and decide what it will become.  I am still spinning thin with the blues, now that I am feeling better.  So many exciting things going on!

Happy Crafting!