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!

Choosing a Supplies and Accessories Part 2

Honestly there are so many different accessories available for spinning wheels it gets a bit overwhelming at times.  The best way I am finding to narrow things down is to remind myself what kinds of yarns I like to work with.  In looking at the different wheels I became dismayed that none of the double drive wheels have a jumbo flyer with an orifice of more than 1″.  But wait a second, the flyers of more than 1″ are for making those big funky artsy yarns….I hate knitting and crocheting with those kinds of yarns, so why would I want to make them?

Keeping considerations like that in mind allow me to remain happy with my choice of a double drive wheel while also being able to choose the accessories that will work well for me.

The main accessories I am looking into getting are:

Niddy Noddy- this will allow me to keep my skeins organized and tidy, as I get better I will want to know at least approximately how big they are so this will help with that also.

Yarn Swift- Once I know how big they are I will want to roll them into balls, I already have a center pull ball winder I love so a Yarn Swift is probably going to be my next purchase.  It will allow me to use the ball winder without the tangles I am currently getting.

Lazy Kate- this will allow me to ply my yarns without tangles and while they are tensioned.  A few of the wheels I am looking at have integrated Lazy Kates, but some reviews have indicated trouble when you have to pull the threads forward from the Lazy Kate then allow them to ply.  It would make more sense to have the Lazy Kate on the floor a big away from the wheel.  There seem to be two kinds, vertical and horizontal (arched).  I am looking at the arched version simply because I can see the entire thing toppling over if the yarn (I keep thinking of it as thread but it really is considered yarn) on the top is somehow heavier than the ones on the bottom.

Hand Carders- Okay, so this comes down to, I have a long haired cat.  I brush her constantly and she sheds a ton.  Recently I decided to keep this fur and see if I can make something from it, a bracelet or the like.  To have the fiber in a shape where I can use it to spin I can either comb it (big sharp tines) or I can card it.  I think that carding will have fewer chances that I will stab myself with the really big tines, so I am going to start with that!

Blending Board- I have some beautiful Bamboo fibers that I bought way back when.  While I might be able to spin them with the Spindolyn, odds are I am going to want to blend them with wool to create wonderful Rolags I can spin into a wonderful blended yarn.  This is also a great way to experiment with color and create my own rolags, I also have some flashing so I can add sparkle. Yay!  Okay, so these boards cost almost $200, it is probably something that will wait a while.

There are a ton of different options for all of these devices.  For the most part I will get the best quality that my budget allows.  For the yarn swift there is one on amazon that looks to be adjustable and of good quality for a very low price, I will ‘cheap-out’ and purchase that one.  Also for the ‘Niddy Noddy’ since I do not plan on using it to display yarns and only intend to have it as a functional piece I will ‘cheap-out’ on it as well and get a version made of PVC pipe.  Yes, in theory I can make this myself but for almost a cheap as the PVC pipe I can avoid the risks of cutting myself and buy it pre-made.  These are a lot of accessories when I haven’t even bought the wheel yet!  Most of them are usable before I have purchased my wheel, it might be nice to see how large some of my spun silk singles wound up being.  If I decide to make some yarn as a double or try to triple ply then the Lazy Kate will come in handy, once I have some yarn on the Niddy Noddy then the yarn swift will come in handy to use the ball winder.  Essentially these small steps all go toward the goal of having what I need to make the yarn I want.  If I can take some of these small steps without compromising the goal of saving toward my spinning wheel then so much the better.  It is a better thing to do to buy a small device than lose hope on obtaining the large!