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!

 

Getting Down To It

I have been able to do a little bit of weaving, after a short amount of time my wrist begins to hurt.  Not too bad, but enough that I do not want to risk my surgery going well.  Even with that I have managed to accomplish about a quarter inch of weaving, as well as drawing part of the outline onto my warps (the ink is on the threads not the paper separator).

This has been a very busy 10 days since my last post, I started writing this post last week, however the panic/closures/uncertainty started so I had to put a pause on this post.  My needle felting class for the public library that kick started my career went well, we wound up with some very lovely critters and a class of 15 students.  I also had a needle felting class for the public library I currently work at, there were 3 students however they created lovely little landscapes, hearts, and flowers.  I have also had another critter class with 12 students that went extremely well at the first library.  One student’s creature went from a turtle, to an owl, and somehow ended up a snail.  It was a very cute snail, so I think the entire class was a success over all.

As some of you might know if you follow my book reading blog, AYearofBooksInReview.wordpress.com I have been reading a lot of materials about organization, decluttering, and making my home my own again.  Even some empowering books on feminism.  I’ve been on a read non-fiction rampage this winter.  All of these books advocate decluttering through a method of “Have I used this in X number of years?”  Usually around 5.  For most things this is working amazingly well.  Except for craft books I have not read a print fiction book in over 5 years (I’m still keeping some absolute favorites) since kindle is my favored reading method.  I have not opened the dressers in the bedrooms I am not using in over 5 years, so I can downsize to just one dresser, etc.  However I find that there is one significant exception to this rule that non-crafty organizers (or even monogamous crafty organizers) cannot comprehend.  This exception is crafty tools and complete kits.  I am NOT in any way advocating that you save every scrap of cloth/yarn/etc.  I am talking about those tools that you bought for a craft, then another craft overtook your attention, so the tools got stored away.

These tools often represent a bit of an investment, maybe not much however it might be relatively significant.  The organization/decluttering experts will tell you “Thank the item for the joy it brought, and let it go.”  I will give you two examples of why I do not often let larger tools go, one is immediately relevant the other will be in the future.  As you might know if you have been following this blog, I have a snapped ligament in my wrist, I am waiting for surgery (less than 2 weeks now) and there will be a 3 month period where my wrist is in a cast. This has severely limited my crafting options.  While doing my organization thing I came across my crewel embroidery that I started at Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Fest last year.  Then I remembered, I have an embroidery hoop thing that I can put under my leg that holds the hoop up for me, this makes stitching a one-handed craft!  I have not used that since my days of interest in embroidery, probably 2009 or so, but I knew where it was (approximately since I had been pushing it around) so now when I do not have a ton of expendable income I did not have to go hunting for it.

I have made quite a bit of progress on this little piece, I am quite proud.  In a very similar circumstance, when I was making a latch hook rug for my cousin I purchased a latch hook frame.  My cousin’s daughter, for whom the rug was intended, is now about 6.  I have not touched the frame since I finished off the rug, however I also have 3-5 other kits that I fully intend to hook someday.  The thing is, I really will hook those rugs some day.  Just like I pulled out my embroidery frame because I needed it (I do have a piece of linen that will fill the frame that I intend to use as soon as this piece is done).

What I am trying to say is, only you know yourself.  If you are a single craft type person, amazing!  You do you, stick with the craft you are best at.  Don’t be afraid to try new things if you want, but do not feel pressured either.  If you just knit there is so much to explore, lace, socks, sweaters, cables, double knit, steeking, colorwork, intarsia, etc.  If you just crochet, granny squares, those complicated granny squares, tunisian, colorwork, lace crochet, doilies, etc.  If you like needlework, I love the Fiber Talk podcast, there are so many types of needlework, cross stitch, blackwork, whitework, samplers, hand painted canvas, etc.  There is nothing wrong with that type of crafter, if you then picked up a needle tatting set and know that you will not pick it up again, then get rid of it.

If you are like me and you fully intend to try every craft that catches your interest and at least get decent at it, then do not worry about your supplies. (Unless we are talking hoarder where you do not have room to move in your house).  I’ve picked up a couple of crafts I did not have time for previously, I’m also working on more paper based projects.  This works for me, I go in bursts, do whatever works for you.  Do NOT Allow Anyone to Stash Shame You! Especially if they do not craft themselves.  Admittedly if you have two huge rooms of sock yarn and you only knit using worsted, then you might have to rethink a few things.

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.