Finishing Projects and Starting Anew

Colorful towels in pastels with various weaving patterns across them. Sort of random with dark stripes of other colors running vertically and horizontally.

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.

Brown and white strands of yarn on a 7 foot triangle peg loom. There is about 15 inches in the middle with just horizontal strands while the rest is tightly woven in triangles going toward the left and right points.

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.

16 shaft table loom with junk underneath and green threads being held in a cross formation with leases sticks.

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!

The Finish Line

Vogue Knitting sponsored Virtual Knitting October 2020 where I was able to take a class from Jillian Moreno. The class was focused on all of the different ways you can spin and ply a braid of colorful roving. This included different ways you can get your precious fiber to stretch and how plying colors can effect eachother. I loved this class. As she was talking I was recalling that I had read quite a bit of what she was discussing when I read her book “Yarnitecture” which I cannot recommend enough. During and after the class, 2 hours long, I spun up samples based on roving I had purchased years ago and that I had fallen out of love with. The samples certainly reinvigorated my interest, and I look forward to playing with my Allegheny Fiber Arts batt in Mango in the near future. All of my playing around managed to net me about 344 yards credit for Spin Together 2020.

I had finished the first half of my big spin about Wednesday, which yes was a little late but as I told the captain of my team I lost about 15 hours spinning time between physical therapy and filling in for a colleague that had surgery. If I had the option I think I would take this week as vacation…if only I were full-time. Anyway. I actually got quite a bit of spinning done between Wednesday night and before my class on Thursday morning, that is the blue bobbin. Then I took everything off of my wheel to spin up my samples, they were so much fun. I thought about spinning more on the blue bobbin, however I decided to just start a new bobbin, this is the yellow bobbin. I finished spinning the singles late Thursday night and started plying with my first two bobbins immediately afterwards.

Before work on Friday I had managed to ply up one bobbin full, and knew that I would have to split the skein. Next year I am going to have to ply on my 64oz Firefly bobbin. Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild had a meeting Friday night, the first I have been able to attend in months. I spent this time getting some plying done so that by Saturday morning I had managed to ply up all three bobbins of yarn, the first skein I measured off as 300 yards. This is 900 credit yards for spin together (2 plies and the act of plying). During the zoom meeting with the Paradise Fibers Team I managed to get all of my samples organized onto their pages (I’m still using the organization method I learned at EGLFC from Kate Larson).

In the end my Total Mileage was 1.66 Miles. This does not include my first day making an art skein. This is probably one of the lowest totals, however I did manage to spin over a mile of yarn, so I am pretty happy. Reading over the documentation we were sent at the beginning of things, oops, I realized that Paradise Fibers will be sending everyone that participated a ‘little something’ exciting. According to Tamara, our team leader, one of the other participants has sheep and will be providing everyone with a little gift. In addition to the ‘big prizes’ paid for by everyone’s entrance fee, Paradise Fibers is sponsoring prizes within our teams. First and second place prizes for: Most beautiful skein, art yarn, and mileage spun. Perhaps my art yarn skein will get something? No matter really, I am just happy to have participated and spun up some of my stash.

Actually that reminds me, I took this opportunity to spin 2 and 3 ply samples of my Unicorn in the Library by Hipstrings as well as my October box by Paradise Fibers. Now I have to remember that Cleaning Your House is also on the list of things I need to do, not just spinning more yarn.

Until next time, remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Freedom of Movement

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.

Beaded scarf in reds, greens and yellows with a bit of blue. Draped over a 4 harness table loom.

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).

4 harness table loom warped with pastel yarn, yellow plastic boat shuttle with blue cotton resting on top. Completed wool sock to the right of the shuttle, with the knitted cuff to the left of the completed sock and below the shuttle. On the table is a Leclerc fringe twister with the bamboo scarf to the left.

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!

Introverts, Check on Your Extroverts

March 2020 Ramen Pandemic

This is packaged ramen with 1/2 can each green beans and carrots and the meat from 2 drumsticks.  If I would have felt fancy I might have added spices (pepper, curry, etc.).

I meant to get this post up earlier, however my workplaces (I’m a librarian) went insane.  My community college went completely online early this week (late last week), and the library has been figuring out how to support the students.  My private University still has some students on campus, if it is not too safe for them to go home & international students, as of the writing of this e-mail so the library has been figuring out how to support them.  My public library has been having limited staff on site and is currently working on online programs we can do to support our patrons.  It looks like I might be doing online video classes, however I am not going to think about that until Monday.

Only time is going to tell if we are over-reacting, under-reacting, or taking the right steps.  We can ‘fight government oppression’ once we know that we are safe again.  While we are in the middle of this, remember if you are an introvert the Extroverts in your life are not doing well with this situation.  They need you to reach out, video chat, text, and get reminders that you love them.  I’m already texting with a couple and I have a video chat planned with another sometime this weekend.

For now, I’m going to take the rest of today to curl up and sleep (it’s been a busy week and my stomach is making me pay for it).  Later I hope to get some home-stuff done, but if I do not I still have most of tomorrow.  I’m supposed to be working at the Private University tomorrow from 12-5, which gives me plenty of time to do things between now and then.  I did finish my crewel embroidery piece, and due to free shipping I ordered some more linen and crewel embroidery thread to experiment with for an in-person project at the public library when we get back.

I’m going to plan several posts in the near future, probably a bit more frequently than my usual 1/week.  Until then, Keep Safe & Healthy, Check on Your Extroverts, Live Life a Little More Abstract!

 

Where There is a Will

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I adore my mirrix weaving loom.  Due to my earlier sampling efforts with handspun yarn my mirrix tapestry loom was already warped and ready to go.  I created a line to keep my weft from slipping too far down my warp, and started weaving away.  My first few picks were created using a paperclip and my weft yarn, then I went looking for tapestry bobbins.  Unfortunately for me, and my budget, tapestry bobbins are about $20 for three wooden ones.  Balancing my desire to not purchase any more plastic than absolutely essential, and my want for several bobbins to create my multi-colored tapestry, I was concerned that my budget was going to go out the window.  One persistent search later and I discovered that some enterprising individuals discovered that they can use 4-inch golf tees as tapestry bobbins.  They work well, I have to be careful because the weft can slip off of the point creating a bit of a tangle.  It is with great shock that I discovered passing these bobbins back and forth under the warps does not seem to bother my wrist at all.  I firmly believe that this is due to the amazing shedding device on the mirrix.

The other major crafting that I am doing this week involves needle felting.  I have to admit I adore stabbing something a few hundred times with a piece of art or other useful object as a result.  IMG_2777

With less than an hour’s work I managed to create these two pouches, I believe that they will be useful for small objects such as tapestry bobbins on the go.  I will be teaching two needle felting classes in the next two weeks, one will involve creating coasters while the other focuses on sculptures.   I am really looking forward to both of these classes, I also hope to incorporate a very small amount of the slow fashion/slow cloth movement by mentioning that you can create your own decorative patches for repairing clothing using needle felting.

Have a great week and remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract.

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!

Halloween Aftermath

Between the asterisks * and before the photo is non-crafting related content.  Some may be disturbing, if you’re not interested don’t read.  Crafting content starts at the photo.

*The Trunk or Treat event for Halloween that my public library had, was interesting.  This is the event that I dressed up for.  I believe that my makeup was relatively successful, I certainly got enough complements, however I do not like how the photos turned out so will not be showing those.  To give some background, the Monday before I had one student at my craft class.  We talked about quite a bit and they confided some things to me.  Two most relevant to this conversation, other than their medical issues, were that they tended to become very attached to people and that they were, essentially, interested in me…to date…it was pretty direct.  I, as gently as I could , told them that they were not the gender I was attracted to but I liked them as a person (and that I was a decade older than them).   So during Trunk or Treat when they sought me out, I engaged evasive maneuvers.   Since I am actively seeking employment it is not likely I will remain in the area, so even if I were interested it would not be fair to start anything with them.  A little later, after a tent had blown into a tree, this individual sought me out again.  They were having some medical issues, and in the end they were taken off in an ambulance.  It was a complication of their earlier problems, and part of an ongoing issue.  The last was a lost and then found iPhone, which makes a total of 3 problems that night.  I may see this patron again tomorrow for my silk scarf dyeing class, and I intend to push them toward organizations that may be able to help with their problems.  Not a great Thursday, I must admit.*

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As you can see, I am still making progress on my crewel embroidery.  This, along with my spinning, are quick easy crafts that I can pick up and work on within a couple of minutes of sitting down.  There is no figuring out where I was in the pattern, what row I finished, what my stitch count should be.  Just thread the needle with whatever color wool appeals to me in the moment, or pick up whatever fiber I am spinning on at the time.  As winter approaches and I start to fill out my civil service tests these easy projects are going to be great for me.  If the weather clears up next weekend, and there is significant progress on my studio, I hope to warp the loom Saturday and start weaving so that I have another easy to pick up project.  Speaking of weaving, I have made some progress on my bamboo scarf, however it does not look any different so there is no point in putting a photo of that up.

A couple of weeks ago we had dyeing as the craft du-jour at my public library, dyeing wool specifically.  Since we had left over dye I threw a few pieces of wool in to soak things up.  I forgot them in the car for a week and in my bathroom for another week.  Last night I started to rinse the green out, it was hemorrhaging blue.  I am not certain why I took the time to let it all rinse out and never thought of using the leftover dye to dye something else, silly.  The yellow was sheer perfection, no dye leaking out.

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I love how they look and cannot wait to see what they are like dry.  When the pink started to bleed, I finally realized that I could capture the leftover dye on another fiber.  I happened to have some beautiful grey merino top and I wanted to see what the vibrant hot pink would look like on the grey fiber.  The result was spectacular, and surprising.

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The remarkable hot pink showed up as a completely different, almost raspberry.  This was an amazing end to a decent week.  I believe that this will also be a good start to November.  Life goes on, and so will I.  Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Second Day of EGLFC

I will confess that the first day of classes I spent most of the night in the classroom spinning and carding.  When talking to one of the other students we were a little loud and around 10pm were asked to be quiet because people were trying to sleep.  I managed to finish what I wanted to work on, brought my notebook upstairs to work on, and finally slept around 12:30am.  I woke up just before my alarm at 7am to drink an energy drink and get ready for the day.  Okay, so I then went down to the classroom to do a bit of organizing and tidying.  I knew that we would have opportunity to do some indigo dyeing that day, therefore I decided I wanted to have two skeins ready to be dyed.  The first was a grey skein, the second was chocolate merino, they were both two ply yarns.  As you can see the chocolate merino looked almost navy blue, in certain lights it looks almost black.

After those skeins I kept making embroidery yarn as well as using each of the colors of Shetland to make yarn to try colorwork knitting.  I also decided to make a gradient of white, grey, and black, to try some lace knitting.  I confess I wound up spinning and not knitting.

After an amazing day of spinning, dyeing, as well as carding wool, learning techniques, good food, and wonderful company, we were given an opportunity to do a bit of shopping.  There was an alpaca truck (with alpaca) where I purchased some amazing random locks, a yarn truck (where I bought a Batt and Mini Skeins), and various individuals selling out of their trunks.  I managed to buy a cross holder (for weaving), a shuttle, a book, and lotion bar.

The fashion show was that evening.  There was some distressing news, we were told before the banquet that one of the instructors husband died and had been found earlier that day.  The banquet was lovely, the stress upset my stomach so I missed the first part of the fashion show.  I managed to see some of it, fortunately they had all of the models come through one more time.  I then tried to go back to the classroom to find it locked.  This turned out to be for the best since I spent hours listening to and speaking with the other students and our instructor, as well as discovering a brand of champagne that I not only did not mind but actively enjoyed.

The final day was lovely, with an amazing breakfast, decent lunch (with bread pudding) and a day working on our own pursuits.  For the final day we learned about core spinning, making a lockspun yarn, and chain plying while inserting locks.

I will certainly be planning on saving for the next EGLFC in 2 years.  I am fully converted to attending classes in person.  This class has me looking at my stash in a whole new way.  I love the idea of using some of this yarn as crewel embroidery.  My mind is firing on all creative cylinders, I feel quite rejuvenated.  Remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

First Day of EGLFC

I worked at my Community College from 11:30am-4pm, dropped off some pop bottles at the recycling center, grabbed money from the ATM, and used my phone and the maps app as a GPS system.  This worked really well, except for a momentary stop at the rest stop, and I arrived around 5:30pm.  I did end up parking in the lot a little way away from where the dorms and classes were.  This made for a lovely walk, though I did have to make 3 trips back to my car for my belongings.  I will admit that next year I will bring a couple of blankets as well as my memory foam pillow.

I was fortunate enough for my classroom to be present in the same building as I was sleeping.  There were plenty of plugs, I sprung for a single bathroom and no room mate.  After I dropped everything off in my room I was only slightly late for the cocktail hour, managed to hit the entirety of the bingo game, and saw the vast majority of the introduction to the instructors presentation.  I did only get a tiny portion of each of the three appetizers saving room for the after presentation mingling event.  Unfortunately, there was no wine and cheese after the presentation and were were admonished to get a good nights sleep (fortunately I had some veggie chips and granola bars).

After a decent nights sleep I dropped my wheel off in my classroom and had an amazing breakfast.  The participants and instructors were so friendly, willing to talk about everything, interested in every aspect of crafting and amazing conversationalists.  Fortunately for me they listened to my rambling and let me observe (which I tend to prefer).  During the first part of the day we were given our materials and introduced to the concepts of recording and organizing.  Kate also gave us a look at her examples as well as lovely fiber to get our spinning legs under us.  Throughout the first day we were given a wide range of mind blowing concepts.

Between spinning my own embroidery thread (learning how to do crewel embroidery) as well as creating project pages my first day was so busy.  Lunch and Dinner were both amazing with tons of vegetables.  I really appreciated the variety and tried to keep the carbohydrates down.  The night ended in a vendor sale, I wound up buying 8 oz of merino lamb wool in white (named Dr. Watson) and adult merino in brown (named Morrigan), some yarn, and a few other tidbits.  We were given shopping bags with adorable stamps (that must be lost in my suitcase somewhere).

I’ll write more about the second day and trunk sale.

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!