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!

Week of Blah

This post starts off with Non-Crafting content. If you are only here for the (little) crafting I did, then skip to the *****

Have you ever had a week where everything just seems like, blah? That is what last week was like for me. I know where it is coming from, there were a lot of ‘business’ related things that I needed to get done, my sister and I are trying to get our mom’s estate settled. We sort of left everything up to the lawyer, now that we had to do some bugging the lawyer in finally telling us what needs to get done to finalize this. It’s stressful, since my sister is not good about getting this sort of thing done. I can already tell I’ll have to bug her to order the form to switch the name on the little bit of stock we are inheriting as well as calling the house and car insurance company to get our names on the policies. It turns out inheriting (even mom’s tiny ‘estate’ which is a house, car, and a couple of small stocks) is pretty complicated, oh well. I’m not going to be coming into any sort of money from this to be clear, just having legal co-ownership of the house I’m living in and the car I’m driving. This should all be done by next month, along with my taxes which I dropped off yesterday. So my free time, after and before work, was spent figuring out what I might need and gathering paperwork. Oh well, other than calling the insurance company to make sure that the house and car insurance are in my name I think we’re done.

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I did not take much time to craft this week. Last week I started a project where I was going to take the samples of each breed of sheep I have wool for and spin it up to create granny squares with it. I started with the Hog Island, I do not have photos, and I did a two ply as well as a crepe ply. Crepe ply is where I took a section of the two ply (I kept 40 yards of the yarn as a 2 ply for the first square) and plied it back onto itself. This might have been a tidier construction if I had overplied the first 2 ply yarn, so I might do that for the next breed. Take 40 yards off of the 2 ply to make a square then overply the rest so that when I crepe ply it looks tidy. Things to learn!

The Hog Island fleece was a bouncy dream to spin up, though there was considerable VM (vegetable matter) in the combed top so it will take a few years for the fleece to be ‘really clean’. I’m not using any harsh chemicals to clean it so that will have to do. I then started spinning up some Icelandic Fleece I had as a worsted yarn using short forward draw. I was really good about keeping up with this….then I got bored. Okay, so the Icelandic top is probably a year or two old and has compacted down a bit. Since the wool is pretty grabby to begin with this means that it is a bit of a pain to draft from. I believe that I have plenty to make my two samples with, however the granny squares are going to be quite open since I am going to use the same size crochet hook and this yarn is much finer than my first breed. I really look forward to seeing how it will turn out. In order to use up the rest of the fiber I am also spinning up a woolen preparation for the rest of the Icelandic I have on hand. It goes faster and I am pulling the fiber sideways instead of straight out so they do not seem to grab as much. Of course using a long back draw helps as well, well it is an attempt at a long back draw.

The only photo I have for this week is some of the Icelandic on a bobbin as I spun.

As you can see the grey yarn is quite fine, I really hope I was patient enough to get enough yardage that I can crepe ply some of this.

Until next time I hope that you have a great week and 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!

EGLFC 2019

From Friday October 11th until Monday October 14th I attended the Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference (EGLFC).  The class that I signed up for was Colorful Crimp,
Preparing & Spinning Dyed Locks class with Kate Larson.  I have to say that Kate was an amazing instructor, she had such a wide width and breadth of knowledge that she freely shared.  She not only explained the notebook that she uses to keep track of her projects, she provided all of the materials (Which can be ordered from her website) so that we were able to create our own notebooks with samples and information about the fleece and spinning construction.

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During lunch the second day we were given a lovely set of magnets, provided by Heddlecraft.

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During the final banquet we had a lovely centerpiece consisting of amazing chainmaille around a wine goblet that I was lucky enough to win.  They also gifted us with coasters and little purses that were provided by the Rochester Weaving Guild. During the fashion show, which made me positively green with envy for all of the remarkable pieces, we were given cookies.

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I will get into details in later posts, but I did want to mention that after the fashion show I spent a lovely evening with several members of my class and the teacher.  Some of the ladies had wine, I caved in and tried the champagne.  This was the first alcohol, other than a bit of Midori, that I have actively enjoyed.  I took the bottle back to my room to photograph the label.

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Next post will focus on my arrival, the room, as well as our first day of classes.  Until then, remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

Finn and Firefly

Spinning for the Hap begins tomorrow, so I have cleared the Finn that I spun for a breed sample off of my bobbins.  I managed to get 56 yards before washing, I love how it looks.  I am aware that I tend to overspin my yarn in places creating those little curls in the plies, but I really like that effect so it will probably remain.  I spun the Finn singles on the Ladybug and really enjoyed the process.  I used the Spinolution Firely to ply the finn as well as another sample I had created.  Let me back up a bit.

I obtained the Firefly for Christmas so that I can use the 2 pound bobbin (32oz) capacity to create very large skeins.  I originally intended to spin singles using my Ladybug and ply using the Firefly.  I did have to try the Firefly spinning singles first (I just had to, there was a leader already on the wheel) and this was a great way to figure out how the controls work and how well I like this wheel.  The truth is that I really do like this wheel, though I cannot pinpoint why.  There are a lot of options that allow this wheel to work however you want it to, if you like it on the floor then that works, you can put it on an angle, if you prefer it on the table then do so, you can even angle it on the table.  Should you be working with larger yarns then there is a hook rather than an orifice option.  You can easily switch between the larger and smaller heads, though the drive band is a bit finicky.  When using the 32oz option you need to turn the speed to the second dot before it will begin moving, and at that point it moves at a leisurely pace.  It is easily set up with so little pull you have to almost force the yarn onto the bobbins.

If you are looking for a wheel to help a beginning spinner focus on twist and draft then I highly recommend this wheel.  Without worrying about treadling at all the beginning spinner can focus on twist and draft while the yarn gets spun at a very leisurely pace.  If you are an intermediate spinner that wants to become more mindful of your spinning, or simply wants to be able to ply two completely full Bulky Plyer Flyer bobbins of singles together into a single skein, then this is the wheel for you, with the 32 oz head.  Actually, I think that any spinner that wants to work on bulky yarns and art yarns would benefit from this wheel.  I am certain that expert spinners can come up with even more options than I have mentioned here.

For me, there was a bit of a learning curve, but I believe that this is true of any new tool.  I like the idea of the hook orifice so I have kept that one on, but I do find that I do best when I hold the yarn straight out from the hook.  If I hold the yarn to one side or another I tend to get little jerky shakes in the yarn which can lead to breaks in finer yarns.  For plying, this is an absolute dream.  Since I am not worrying about treadling I get to focus on the yarn forming those little perfect bumps and then feeding onto the wheel.  I get to slow down my plying and see how everything looks without worrying about bobbin chicken or hurrying up to get the wheel free for more spinning.  The ability to change the speed at which I am spinning simply by twisting a knob, as well as the lack of worry about speeding up or slowing down as I get excited by the yarn/music/book/show is amazing.

If you are thinking of getting an electric spinning wheel then focus on what you want out of it.  I do not recommend the Electric Eel Wheel mini, the drive band broke on mine and I purchased the replacement recommended.  Right now, and for the last couple of months, it is under some extra tension to stretch it out a bit so that when it is on the wheel the little motor can actually spin the bobbin so that I can get some twist in the yarn.  Splurge a bit, get a really good wheel by a very reputable maker.  Maybe some of the other eel wheels are fine, but I am not impressed.  If you want to be able to spin really big yarns make sure that your model has larger spinning heads, if you want portability check weight, if you want lace weight see if the wheel you are looking at is good for that.  Above all, check reviews!

Happy Spinning!

 

Sheep

I cannot for the life of me believe that I almost forgot to post the pictures of the sheep that I saw at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!  This is only a very small portion of the sheep that they had there, and yes I know that the first picture is a pair of baby Alpaca.  I cannot remember the breed names of each individuals sheep photo but I believe that the white one with black spots, that has our back to us because he is being so friendly with the farmer next to his stall, is a jacob sheep.  He was such a sweetie, he wanted everyone to pet him and scratch his nose.

So much Cuteness!  I loved spending time in the barn to see how very different each breed of sheep was.

Happy Crafting!

51 Yarns week 7

I cannot believe that it is week 7 already!  I did a really neat lockspun yarn from some Mohair locks I obtained off of facebook and the faux angora that I received from the Paradise Fibers April box.  I spun this on my Ladybug with a short forward draw, I did not plan on this for my faux angora but I really like how it turned out.  I cannot wait to see how it knits up.

This is my first lockspun yarn, I wound up splitting the fiber while I spun the singles to add in the locks.  Then I wound the yarn onto weaving bobbins to even everything out.  I wound up having two weaving bobbins of the lockspun singles, part of that is simply how bulky the lockspun singles are.  I then wound off the rest of the faux angora onto four other bobbins.  I decided to make this into a three ply yarn, I am not sure of the yardage since my Niddy Noddy was in the cellar and I wasn’t going down there last night.

Happy Crafting!

 

MS&WF 2- Wools and Sheep

I managed to add at least 13 new breeds to my fiber study.  There was one booth that had over 60 breeds, but mostly unwashed wool.  Since my mother has COPD (and is recovering from double Pneumonia) I am unwilling to bring unwashed fleece into the house.  While I am certain that the sheperds do their best, Wool Washer’s Disease is also known as Anthrax, so I am not going to take chances.

Below please find some of my amazing finds, I cannot wait to get started spinning them!D9786F29-BD2F-4F4A-B1A4-796420E78E90522df623-edcd-4526-be6a-4540e5008031.jpeg

Above are my two braids of Rambouillet from two different vendors.  As you can see one is white and combed top while the other is a natural brown and I believe carded.  The preparations and probably micron count are so very different but both are extremely springy.  I cannot wait to get my hands on them to test and spin!152BD26D-40F5-4FD8-9A9C-3E6957FA59F2

Above is my Tunis top, I have half of this section already spun into a single, I hope to ply and create samples over this weekend.  It was an amazing spin, if a bit coarse.  The dyed blues and pinks have mixed together in places to create an amazing purple effect that I am fascinated to see plied.2CBA7F34-70FA-481C-B641-8523292E1013

The extremely rare hog island I obtained is extremely full of vegetable matter.  The texture is very springy and I am looking forward to working with this fiber, but I also believe I might try to use the Hackle to get out a lot of the vegetable matter before attempting to spin this fiber.

I must have jiggled the camera an extreme amount while trying to photograph this Black Welsh, but the fiber is divine anyway.  A little coarse, but with that deep black color who cares?  24caf879-a0f6-44e0-a96c-b67c4ef94c82.jpeg

 

I managed to obtain lincoln roving as pictured here, and lincoln lamb locks as pictured below.  I will admit I made a mistake, the lincoln lamb locks are not the beautiful long locks I envisioned, they are quite short and I will probably use them to add texture to a batt instead of flicking them open for a true worsted yarn as I first envisioned.  The roving is luscious, though a bit coarser than I was expecting.F9B71DA4-4BB3-4F26-91CE-1F4ECBBAE662

This half pound of Karukal is just begging me to sink my fingers into it’s pretty softness and spin like the wind.  Soon, I promise soon!C839AED6-AF55-47BE-A7F7-DB5581FEB20D

This beautiful black braid of Zwartables is going to be a blast to spin, again it is on the coarser side of things, but who knows what it will do once it is spun and washed.  The guessing is half of the fun!694FFC24-009C-4604-8C3C-22B4BAA684A5

I went a little overboard with the Wensleydale, but I cannot for the life of me regret it.  I have this amazing half pound that I can use to spin worsted and see how well the finished yarn takes to dye as well as a braid of yellow Wensleydale near the bottom of the post that I can spin up and see the different shades of yellow pop out!99B83696-ACD8-42D6-864C-BBDAE22412C4

This braid of Textel seems to be on the downy side of wool, it should be a fun, soft spin, and the resulting yarn will be amazing (in its own way just like the rest of the yarns).714329AA-6DFF-4C20-8E65-B340C4891842

At the Coopworth booth they didn’t have any prepared roving but they did have an amazing selection of curls.  I love how they look in their bags and did manage to comb out a tiny portion on my new hackle.  They comb out beautifully, I think that as I have time I will pick apart the locks that I can find for combing and then use the drum carder for the rest.  This will give me a great chance to explore differences in preparation and how they effect the finished product.  So much fun and so much to learn!4CD66172-5F89-47F8-A734-B2F4FE163DEB

One of my patrons assured me that I already had some Finn that they spun as a part of their breed sample.  Oh well, I didn’t have it written down as a breed that I own, but even so this is such a fluffy bunch (and I was able to practice on an electric wheel for the first time with some skirted finn at the Folk Art Booth, so there is a special memory in this wool already).F1BC11E6-57B0-4035-9532-CDD205ABD86C

This mohair along with the pink locks below were obtained at a booth with two amazing ladies that offered to let me go see their goats anytime I wanted.  Even though I don’t live in Maryland I am tempted anyway!  At least I have this amazing roving and curls to play with!15633D07-5A4C-4293-AA33-771153D5DB4580BEA30B-B92E-4F76-B946-1F7FD546E4BC1CDB9AB4-EE61-46EF-ACF3-3E430363AF4B

No one ever told me that Cormo is one of the softest breeds ever.  I don’t know how this is going to spin up, but for now it is like petting my faux angora, so soft and beautiful!

The Cotswold below is such a delight to pet.  I cannot wait to spin it up.  The Ross Farm was one of two booths at which I found Four different Breeds that I had not spun yet. It was so much fun finding these different companies that raised or processed different heritage breeds.

7D9C0379-E0AC-4D5D-9E48-7D73DA6BEDF8This fiber is like trying to spin very coarse hair.  I have not gotten a chance to even pull it out of the bag other than the tail sticking out the top but I can already tell that spinning this is going to be interesting.  I cannot wait!93A291E2-CFBD-4828-A7FB-3F69B766DC8565BD7A1B-91DF-4006-8059-F0C4032B8F334885860F-0036-4032-981D-F46DCE671153

The last, but certainly not least, bit of fiber I purchased was some Superwash Targhee from a vendor that is friends with my father’s cousin who took me to Maryland Sheep and Wool on Saturday.  The colors are interesting but more than that I love spinning Targhee for it’s springy texture.  I am not thrilled that it is superwash, I have heard that some people have skin troubles with the chemicals used to make it superwash, but I look forward to working with it anyway.C7CBF171-AD58-43F8-AEC5-967E8E1CB892

So, there you have it, my stash haul from Maryland Sheep and Wool.  I cannot for the life of me believe that it was two weeks ago already.  Oh well, more time to save up for next year!

Happy Crafting!

Final Getting Ready

I am on the final stretch of getting ready for my trip.  My sibling, who is going to come up and keep an eye on Mom while I’m gone, let me know that I can have a carryon and a purse so I don’t have to worry too much about that.  I am getting really weird about this.

I have made sure that I have enough room in my favorite Timbuk2 bag to hold my yarn that I am trading Buffalo Wool Co. for a discount on a skein of their yarn, as well as all of the bags I am hoping to take since many of the vendors do not provide bags, and the first aid kit I picked up for this trip.  I have a bunch of little wallets to squirrel away my money so that I do not spend it all at once and so that I can keep track of how I am doing with the spending.  My personal grooming equipment is in a plastic box that I plan on putting in my suitcase.  There are two pairs of sneakers that I picked up with good arch support so that my plantar fasciitis doesn’t flare up during the trip.  It is quite painful when the muscle in the arch of your foot is pulled so tight you cannot sleep.

I plan on packing my pill container as well as a list of the medications I take so that the TSA doesn’t have any reason to be concerned.  I know, I’m a bit obsessed.  I messaged with my second cousins to see if they have any advice, and now I can only hope that things are going to go well.  I’ve got a great class to teach tomorrow and then I’ve got three more days of work to get through before I will be winging my way off to Maryland.

More to report from the road, and maybe something about my class.

Happy Crafting!