November Already

I cannot believe that November is here already, two more full weeks and it will be Thanksgiving week!  This year has both dragged and flown by.  This past week I received my November Paradise Fibers Box, the fibers look neat but the patterns for knitted ornaments are what has really caught my eye.

I received the more subdued colors of fiber, the white was what everyone received, my second color was a light pink rather than bright pinks and purples.  I enjoy the colors, especially since I have enough brighter fibers to use as pops of color for the ornaments.  I almost repurposed the spinning I was doing to be used as embroidery thread, however I decided to stick to my original plan.  I do still believe that I will use any left-over yarns as crewel embroidery rather than scrap projects (if they are not big enough to knit into hexipuffs).

Speaking of things that I learned from EGLFC I have decided to use the highly textured yarns that I created that weekend as a sort of commemorative scarf.  I managed to get my Ashford Sample It Loom threaded and tensioned using a 7.5dent heddle.

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I love how it is turning out, however this is going to be the very definition of ‘Slow Cloth’ Weaving.  Each time I open a new shed the yarns stick, since the textured yarns are in the slots they do not like to move up and down or separate from their neighbors.  Keeping the actual locks to the top, without interfering with the addition of new horizontal picks, and so many more problems.  The fascinating part of this is, I do not mind the problems at all.  Yes, I am not really happy that one of my warp threads had to be tied back together when it snapped, I’m a bit worried about advancing the warp and how much trouble beating is going to be (I think I’m going to use a fork or tapestry beater at times), however I believe that I am going to enjoy taking my time and letting this scarf become what it wants to be.  IMG_3095

There are several other projects going on in my life right now.  I am working on upping my bullet journaling game, not only because of the class at the end of the month, but because I am trying to be more organized.  As I hinted earlier I finished a small braid that I am going to use for embroidery thread, it was a sample from my Holi Spinning box earlier this year.  At present I am pulling off lengths, allowing them to ply back on themselves and tying them into bundles to be steamed when I have time.

For other projects, my handyman has finally gotten around to putting up the paneling in my ‘studio’, of course since it has snowed already I had to purchase a small heater that claims it will heat up a room twice as big as the one I am using.  Finger’s crossed, I hope so because I had to lay out a few home truths to him about the nature of working on a part time basis for a community college and private university, specifically that from my last paycheck in the middle of December I will not get another from those two until February.  Fortunately I have enough crafting supplies stocked up, and just enough pay coming to me in the next six weeks, that I should be able to handle all of the major bills for January relying on my public library pay for food and gas.

I am not certain about the holidays at present, there are some good sales on Turkeys and Hams, so I believe I will stock up a bit on major protein sources.  Life goes on and I am luckier than most.

For crafting, I also picked up the Charollais I received as a part of Holi, I was fascinated by the lock structure and hoped to use it as some texture in a new yarn.  When I picked it up, it felt a touch tacky.  Thinking that a bit of lanolin was left in the locks, I immersed it in some very hot tap water, that immediately turned brown.  I had been harboring unwashed wool!  There is nothing inherently wrong with unwashed wool, if you know it is there so you can keep an eye on it or make sure it is away from the rest of your stash.  Unwashed wool is what attracts Wool Moths and Mice, neither of which I want in my stash.  I gave this wool three really good rinses and hopefully this will be enough, it is almost half way dry as of this morning.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Trying Double Weave

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Okay, so I decided to go for it and I warped up a loom with 16epi cottolin for 4 yards.  Now I have to figure out how to get it off of my rigid heddle loom and onto one of the tabletop looms, or if I will just use it for a weft for a future project.  I wound the warp, warped the loom, threaded the heddles, made sure I had good tension…still!  Every time I try to move a heddle to get a shed the entire thing starts going loosey-goosey.  I’m done with it.  I’m not really happy about this, however I tried and some days that is all you can do.  I’m going to finally finish weaving off the towel I have on my table loom and see about threading this on there.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a better shed, I really would hate to waste all of this yarn, it wasn’t cheap, and I would love a table runner out of it.

On another note, I have also received my Strickpaner for 2020 and I am really enjoying getting to know it.  They have a particular company that they work with to create planner stickers, I hope to check them out very soon.  They have 7 pages in the front advertising their company and explaining about the planner.  This is followed by a page of conversion charts, a page of time zones then 8 pages covering 2 years (2020 and 2021) with slots for important events each day of those years.  This is followed by pages of goals, reflections, notes, lessons learned, then we get into quarterly overviews.  Seriously, if I use this properly I should be fairly well set for the year.  There are built in trackers, week spreads with inspiration and tips, this planner seriously rocks.  On page 142 the knitting aspect of the planner begins, Project overviews, ideas, project pages, a pattern for a cover for the planner, yarn purchases, wishlists (yarn, book, accessories separated out), festivals, podcasts, stores, each have their own lists to fill in.  There is so much more, spaces for the sizes and measurements of those that you love to knit for, indexed lists and notes.  The notes are separated into index card sized, graph paper, and dotted paper, before going into a contacts section.  After the contacts are schedules (quarterly which works really well with my work life), some more advertisements, and finally a page with a ruler and needle size conversion chart.  This should be an amazing way to keep track of everything.  They even had an option to purchase a huge set of stickers that contain knitting, spinning, crochet, etc. so that I can mark days when I was able to craft, or plan out days to craft.

I did make another purchase over the weekend, I finally bought a table for my 16 shaft floor loom.  I’m not going back to that store in a hurry so they lost a lot of potential sales, but I did get the table I wanted.  Story time: I went in and saw the table, as I was checking out the lavendar (for moths) and Goats Milk Soap, I need something other than Dial, I asked how much the table was.  The saleswoman was very eager to tell me it was 90, I made a comment about getting it in a couple of weeks.  She was all about, well I’m going to take it home if it doesn’t get bought, and such.  I was honest and told her that my paychecks would be sorted out in a couple of weeks and I could afford it then, she put more pressure on and I guess I caved.  Of course, I was honest, I’m going to be pretty flush in a couple of weeks but hey, if she wants to lose out on the purchases for a quick sale it saves me money in the long run.  So, I have a table that will work for my loom and a couple of extra chairs.  Right now I am in the middle of an 11 day straight stretch of work, however after that I hope to be able to begin setting up my studio.  There are a few days where I do not have to be to work super early, so I could do something in the morning.

I think that’s enough for right now, next time I will discuss my silk dyeing and other experiments.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

I Am Infatuated

For Black Friday weekend I decided to obtain a few things that I have been looking at for years.  One of them was the Blue Butterfly Originals 2″X6″ Pin Loom.  I am a librarian and had always wondered about making my own bookmarks.  I was not certain what type of yarn I would like to use with it so I started with a couple of bits of yarn that I had spun.  According to the directions, which I skimmed over, you can use any yarn up to a bulky yarn.  Within two days I had worked out that each bookmarks takes about 4 yards of yarn.  27 bookmarks later, IN TWO DAYS, I am still going strong.  IMG_2094If any of my relatives actually read this blog, you are probably going to get a bookmark.  One of my relatives is turning her old doll house into a car house for her two sons, and race car driving husband I am sure,  so I think that these would make great little blankets or rugs for the cars.

I have ten more balls of yarn measuring 4 yards each wound up and ready to be woven, alas I actually have to work today.  Since each of the bookmarks seems to take around 10-15 minutes to create I anticipate needing more yarn wound tomorrow morning.  At first this loom seemed a bit expensive, with shipping it wound up being around $29 (Which is why I took so long to buy it), but since in two days I have woven over 20 of the bookmarks, using smaller amounts of yarn that I wasn’t sure what project I made them for, I think that this is well worth it.  I think that this would be something that I would certainly consider adding to a craft show, though in order to justify the yardage of the yarn they would probably be about $3 each.  I might make it $5 each or 3/$12.  As the year winds down I am trying to figure out where I want things to go from here.

Right now I am balancing my books with some of the insurance money, and since my work is seasonal and two of my jobs have almost a month long break, January will be supplemented as well.  In February I am going to start seeing if I can live off of my three jobs and what changes I need to make to my current situation.  Starting in March I will be calling the Handyman that Mom and I have been hiring and seeing what he wants to put siding on the house and fix up the external garage.  Those will be my two major home improvements for the year, and hopefully for longer than that.  I do have someone currently working on getting rid of the mice in the house, I have high hopes for that situation.

That is what my life looks like now, though I think I’m going to give up on the food boxes, I do not think that they worked out how I wanted them to.  I do not like sour flavors and everything seemed to have lemon juice or vinegar in them.  I will see about using my instant pot to explore some other cultures with flavors I know I have a chance of liking.

Happy Crafting!

Threading and Weaving Trick

Really quick, I have not been spinning too much recently.  My lovely Ladybug has gained a weird clunking noise, it really is only a couple of years old, and so I have not been enjoying spinning as much.  I found out that a little black hexnut on my wheel is quite loose, I have contacted Schacht and expect a fix really quickly.  So I will be back to spinning soon.  Until then, Weaving!

Removable white board tape is a new thing.  I purchased a sewing table/box/thing that had to panels beside the cubbies that were blank white walls.  I wanted to be able to make notes on them so I bought restickable whiteboard tape and LOVE the effect.  That has little to do with weaving, except that it is the advent of my obsession with this type of tape.  I decided when I was having a bit of trouble deciding what threading pattern to use next on my random twill I would use the tape to keep track of things.  That looks something like this:

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Well I can never leave good enough alone.  Since this is a variable twill, and I do not know when I will get time to work on it again, I decided to record where I left off on the front of the loom.  It is my loom, I bought it second hand and an amazing guild member delivered it for me, but I do not really want to lose the sticker that contains information about what loom it is.  So instead of putting a piece over the front of the entire loom, I used a smaller piece off to one side of the loom.  That looks like this:

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These are just a couple of things that I have come up with to improve my weaving life and make things easier for myself.

Happy Crafting!

Weaving Through Time

Whew, Around Easter time I decided I wanted to weave some spring towels.  I had some lovely spring-like colors, including a great variegated cone, that would be perfect to create towels from.  I decided how many epi, how many inches wide I wanted the piece to be, and how many yards I wanted the warp to be to get the right number of towels.  I was so excited as I wound the warp, carefully counting the threads.  Then I started threading the reed…and ran out of time to work on that project.

My mother had a bout of pneumonia over the winter that turned into double pneumonia, so she has not been feeling well.  Finals occurred at my school libraries so my time became very scarce.  I managed to thread a few slots of the reed here and there.  Finally I had the reed threaded and only the heddles left.  Since I was going to have a horrible week at work my sibling decided to come up and take care of Mom some.  I decided to take advantage of another pair of hands and finish warping my towels.  Since then I have started weaving a bit, each stripe on the warp corresponds to a different pattern of threaded heddles.

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While I had an extra pair of hands, and a weaving class coming up at the public library work for, I decided to warp up a scarf on my rigid heddle loom.

Scarf with Lace patterning 2018

Again, I love the colors and really appreciate my sibling’s help in setting up my looms.   I cannot wait to have some time to work seriously on these projects.  Fortunately the scarf is very transportable.  The towels have to be kept in one spot but that is such a fun pattern to mess with it should go quickly once I find the time.

Happy Crafting!

On Vacation

Leno Lace

3/2 cotton woven using a combination of Leno Lace and Brooks Bouquet lace weaving.  The Leno Lace is with an open shed bringing the two bottom threads over the top threads and then I go around one more time so that the threads are in their starting positions but wrapped around each other.  I think that this gives the lace a cleaner look.  Then I do seven plain picks followed by a set of brooks bouquet, which is wrapping your weft thread around three of your warp threads on the up shed twice so that it forms a little bouquet, all the way across.  I have a different number of threads across so I have five in the final bundle, but I really like how it looks.  You can do the brooks bouquet in any combination you like.  I follow this with seven plain picks and repeat the brooks bouquet twice more before starting over with a Leno Lace.  This is the project pictured above.

I am currently on my first vacation in over ten years that does not involve a family reunion or major family obligation.  I love family reunions, but travel with mom is really difficult at this time.  I did go to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in the beginning of May which could also be considered a vacation, however I really consider this my first vacation.

So far I have gotten the kitchen scrubbed, the repairman came to look at the oven which has been broken for a while.  He will be back later this week with the right part to finish fixing the oven.  It’s been broken for a few years, so this is a big move!  I also managed to drop the car off at the garage, there was some major body damage because a little bit of the bottom of my driveway washed out so every time I exited the driveway I would bump the bottom of the car and it caused some major damage.  The car should be done by the end of the week and they will pick me up then.

I have been doing more then just getting caught up on major chores, though I am happy that I am getting more crafts hauled down into our new craft room, I have also washed the first back of alpaca seconds one of my spinning students gave to me.  I have learned a lot of great lessons from this.

* Do NOT wash a whole bag of alpaca seconds at once if you only have one sweater rack to lay this out to dry on.

* DO let the alpaca soak in the water for at least 30 minutes, do not run the alpaca through the water and call it washed, it isn’t.

*Do NOT set your fleece out underneath a tree that is shedding a ton of those whirly gig things.

* If you left your hand cards at work, this might not be the right time to wash fleece.

Despite these, hard won, lessons I have been having a ton of fun with this alpaca.  I Have my flick brush and the bee hive decappers that are working as wool combs.

There are two knitting projects I am working on as well as a crochet project but I think that will be separate posts when I am done with them or when I am so sick of them I need inspiration to get back to working on them.

So this is my vacation, I am trying to get some work done around the house and some crafting accomplished so that I can go back to work relaxed and re energized.  I just wanted to post this update, and will try and get back to updating next week.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

Still Practicing

I purchased some Fluorescent fiber from Blue Barn Fiber and spun it up.  I then plied the resulting yarn with a Black Bamboo that I loved spinning.  This created a beautiful yarn that fluoresces under black light, I had to buy a little black light to prove this but it really is amazing.  Well, I loved the yarn but didn’t know what i was going to do with it.  Since I am practicing with my weaving I thought it would be the perfect fiber to practice weaving with.  I love how well, and proudly, my yarn stands out from the warp and the simple pattern is just beautiful.

I am really pleased with how this has turned out, and I will probably purchase more of the fluorescent fiber in the future.  I am very pleased with how my weaving and spinning are going.  I know that I am no where near expert in either craft but I am enjoying myself and learning all the time.

Happy Crafting!