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!

Spinning and Sock

A blue brita water bottle centered in the back with a wooden lazy kate in the front holding two bobbins, a purple bobbin with white fiber on the left and a yellow bobbin with dark multicolored fiber on the right.

I managed to finish spinning the braid of white fiber I had started with. I then spent my free time over two days plying the white and dark fiber together. I am surprised to find out that the darker fiber ran out first, however I also discovered that I had spun a synthetic fiber on the bobbin earlier, I believe that it was intended to be a strengthening strand for a sock yarn or something similar. I did manage to finish the plying, though it appears that there were a few yards of a pastel fiber on the beginning of the bobbin.

A very full green bobbin on a Schacht Ladybug Spinning wheel with a Woolee Winder attachment. The colors on the bobbin are a pastel plied with a white.

The skein is washed and is currently in the process of drying in front of a vent in my bathroom. I am hoping that this will be enough yarn to warp and weave up a scarf, however as a precaution I am planning on starting the cowl with about three inches of the white, then half of the black plied fiber followed by half of the grey plied fiber before continuing in white. I intend to leave 13″ at the beginning to do the Hero Cowl weave technique as well as measuring out when I need to start the grey and black to finish with 3″ of white before leaving a similar 13″ at the back of the piece. Since this is being woven on a 10″ Ashford Sample It loom that should leave me enough ends for about a 2″ fringe on both sides.

A sock crocheted in yarn the color of a sunrise over the ocean on a foot crossed onto a knee. There is a black shoe and hunting sock in the background along with a rolling chair mat.

I managed to finish crocheting the first ACCROchet sock from the Vogue Virtual Knitting Live class earlier in February. I love the color, and using elastic at the top was probably a good idea. I hate the rest of it. I do believe that is my own fault, not the pattern. I should have added more rows in the foot, that would have made it easier to get over my heel. I am not too sure about how the cuff fits over my heel, I think that might (again) have something to do with my foot being too short. There is not enough room from where the top of my foot is to where my heel is supposed to be so trying to yank my sock leg over that is not working too well. I also probably should have added the elastic in earlier on my sock rather than right at the top cuff. Live and learn. I think I am going to try an ankle sock pattern with the remaining yarn. I also pulled out my sherlock socks to look at, they were not nearly as bad as I seemed to recall them being. It is not a ton of fun to try and crochet carrying the elastic thread along with the main yarn while not stretching out the elastic thread, I believe that the results will be worth the irritation. If not then I can worry about sewing in the elastic thread later.

Such has been my week of crafting. I have no idea what next week will bring. I will confess I am trying to find some plus sized skirt patterns so I can give sewing my own skirt a try. There is a free version I think I will try, the pattern pieces are 16 pages long which means I’ll have to pay about $2.40 to print them out. I might just splurge and spend the $15 to order the Plus Sized Victorian Walking Skirt pattern I really want. After that I will have to spend several months saving up enough to purchase the fabric I would need to for the outer layer, inner layer, and interfacing/canvas. I could get the fabric much cheaper, however most of the point is so that I am not contributing to fast fashion and the use of plastics. My ideal would be a cotton under-layer with canvas interfacing and an outer skirt made of wool. That way I can have a skirt to wear when fall and winter come around. While I like being able to wear slacks I have not fit into in years, I still prefer skirts.

Until next week, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Socks, Shawls, and More

I am having a blast crocheting this pair of socks, though I do not really like the heel and will probably go back to the other style of heel once I’ve finished this pair. They are coming along nicely, however I am looking forward to seeing the back of them so I can start a new patterned pair.

I managed to cast on 360 pairs of stitches, with a marker every 10 pairs and a different type of marker every 50 pairs of stitches, for a total of 720 cast on stitches. This is going to be a double sided shawl with a graphic pattern. Fortunately for me, this shawl involves casting on with the number of stitches for the longest side then decreasing as the pattern goes on.

Finally the yarn that I ordered so that I can weave a blanket arrived. I am so excited, and nervous, about warping this up. Since I still have not woven my cowl, this is probably going to take a month or two for me to get to.

I think that is all the news I have fit to write about this week. I have slowed down on some personal projects and decided to redirect my energy into making sure that I have storage that will work for all of my supplies without overwhelming everything. Right now I have my paper projects, quilling, scrapbooking, fiber/dyeing/weaving diary supplies (not the crafts themselves just the supplies to create the diaries_, along with my supplies to make dioramas, on one bookcase with my fiction books and sewing supplies on a second bookcase. The top shelves of these cases are not load bearing so I put my blocking mats up there, the foam essentially does not weigh anything. Perhaps I will take photos when I have my cases the way I want them to be. Next is going to be a case for my crafting books, then one to store my yarn and fiber. This is going to give me an idea of what space I will need in a home to realistically store my supplies, a great project while I am saving up for a down payment on a house.

Don’t let life or obstacles get you down for long! Remember to Roll with Changes and Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Progress and Reflection

I have made progress on knitting my skirt as well as the tapestry challenge. I do not have photos of either accomplishment, though I can tell you I moved the top of my weaving so that it is closer to the bottom before I started experimenting with weaving slits. I’m using a pick up stick to open a shed then weaving the top and bottom at the same time before pulling the stick out to switch sheds. It’s fun to see the piece grow. I’ve also started my second skein of yarn on the skirt about an inch into the second panel.

The classes that I took for Vogue Knitting Live were amazing. The Intarsia Class was taught by an instructor in England, she was so patient and kind. She is WithCherriesOnTopToo on instagram, just an amazing knitter and teacher. She made the techniques very accessible and easy to learn, she was very patient with the students that did not catch on too quickly, and she was great about tagging me back when I tagged her on my Insta posts.

I managed to finish my piece the same day I started it, knitting through the start of my other classes until those projects got rolling. I did not finish weaving in my ends until this morning however, I still plan on blocking this out lightly. I love how this turned out, I know that there are probably some mistakes, I’m hoping a quick wash evens out the starts of each colorwork section. I’m so excited to see what else I can do with this, it also has reminded me that I took the double sided knitting class last month, or maybe the month before, and I still have not cast the shawl on. A friend told me to place stitch markers every 10 with a special one at 50s, so I’m going to do that when I wind the skeins up at home. NO FEAR, okay so I have fear, I’m just not going to let it stop me.

I loved my crochet socks class, it was a great reminder that crochet can look great and socks don’t have to be scary. We cast on the toes, well started crocheting, and used bulky yarn to practice two types of heels. I’m definitely going to stick with the heel flap, though I’ll probably put stitch markers in each step that will need picked up later. I adore how the colors are showing up in this yarn, the toe is done by crocheting in a spiral while the body of the foot is done by going back and forth in rows. The spiral makes it hard to keep track of rows, while the back and forth leaves more of a ladder structure, they are both very interesting. I loved my instructor, the genius behind ACCROchet and her passion for crochet. As she said, “I can knit, I just choose not to.”

The natural dyeing class was interesting and informative. I loved that the instructor mentioned that in some practices, such as witchcraft, individuals might choose to dye with certain plants not for the colors they obtain but for the properties that the plant might imbue into the fabric. I love this concept, and I really enjoyed the thought experiments that she brought forth about how to ecologically obtain material and dispose of the same. Her main thought is that the dyepot should be the last place that dyestuff is used after medicinal and culinary uses. She was a fascinating instructor with the unfortunate need to use the word ‘Shit’ in almost every other sentence. I understand that we are all adults, however it just did not do anything to add to the conversation. I can understand that once in a while a bit of strong language is needed, or conveys what you want to convey best. I just cannot get why some need to use it every other word. Oh well, that combined with her disinterest in sending links (or putting them on her handouts) means that I will probably not take a class with her again. I will look at the resources I managed to screen capture (my stove where I was dyeing and my PC where I could take a note were three rooms away). The dyeing went well.

I dyed two skeins of tapestry wool and one length of white wool, pre mordanted using alum and baking powder (the mixture was all that I had on hand), in spring water. I also boiled the yellow onion skins in spring water to extract the dye for a bit over an hour. There is also a cotton bag, also mordanted in the same mix in my well water (I believe that I have an high iron content in my well water). I dyed up the skeins and wool in class last night, letting it set overnight before rinsing this morning. I simmered the second pot for about 30 minutes last night and another 30 or so this morning before adding the bag to simmer for an hour. I let that cool thoroughly, though I have not pulled it out to rinse yet. The first dyebath exhausted so I poured it down the drain before hanging up my dyed pieces to dry. The photos are in reverse process order.

I really enjoyed my time taking these classes, I love learning the new techniques and putting them to practice. Maryland Sheep and Wool is also holding their classes virtually, unfortunately they are holding them Monday-Friday so I cannot really attend any. That stinks. Oh well, this has been a great weekend and I hope that the trend continues through next week. I’ve tomorrow off for the federal holiday and plan on using the time to do some work around the house since it looks like I will not be moving in the next year or so, the realtor finally told me that he will need proof that I have 10-14% of the price of a house available even if I am pre-approved for a certain amount…I don’t have the scratch yet and will need time to save.

Until next time Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Taking My Time In All Things

Please skip to the line of *** if you are only interested in crafting content. This week has been a visceral reminder that I need to slow down in all of the things I am working on. That life is not a race. That I have time to find the house that will become my new home. That if I go 15mph over the speed limit I am going to get a speeding ticket. It has been an interesting week.

I had a viewing for a home that had just come onto the market and was at the lowest end of the price range I was looking for. Right now I am living in a 3 bedroom 2 bath home, and I would like to downsize to a 2 bedroom home. I did not realize just how big my home was until I entered this little shoe box of a house. I swear that the entire first floor would fit into my living room and dining room. This led me to send an e-mail to my realtor and reevaluate what I am looking for. I realized I do have time to figure these things out. I would like to be moved into a new place by next winter, however I do not have to be. On my way home, I was eager to order a fish fry and chill for the night, my lead foot had me speeding right past a state trooper. This ticket is probably going to cost me one of my side hustle paychecks, however I really deserve it. I have to start thinking about my commute as time to listen to an audiobook, think about what I am going to do for work, think about my crafting projects, plans for my new home, basically start taking this as a time to reflect rather than something to get through. I also need to be more careful driving around a busy city, I had a couple of close calls this past week. Life is full of lessons, some are just a little more like a fist to the face than a gentle nudge. No one was hurt, this was a relatively gentle set of life lessons. Time to start the week fresh.

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Saturday was a ton of fun. I felt restless after a frustrating week so I wound up touching on a lot of different projects throughout the day. You are probably not interested in how much laundry I completed, nor about cleaning out my dishwasher drain and running to clean that up. However you might be interested in my crafting projects!

Earlier in the week I had decided to dig up my needle felting supplies and needle felt soles into the inside of my hand knit socks. The socks getting holes in them is entirely my fault, I used a yarn that was completely inappropriate for socks. I hope to use two fingering weight yarns held together for my next pair of socks, especially since I enjoy worsted weight socks in the winter and they work well with my shoes.

Red hand knit sock with a hole in it and purple wool behind the hole.

It will take me some time to complete this, especially since I am trying to find a way to have foam in the right place to felt these pieces together. This weekend I kept working on spinning up my art yarn.

Yarn on a wooden bobbin, moon shaped charms hanging down and curls popping out of the yarn.

I also started spinning my ply for the cowl along. I decided on a 3 yard warp and started winding up the warp with the sample yarn I already had. I managed to wind about 3 inches, 15 ends, before I ran out of yarn. I was going to wait until I had finished the art yarn before spinning the second ply, however I changed my mind and I am spinning the second ply on my Ladybug.

My Mirrix is all warped up with soumak at the top and bottom, I was told that since I cannot weave a 4 selvedge piece I did not need soumak at the top. I am going to leave it in since this gives me a very firm set of weaving parameters, I only need to fill in my rectangle.

In addition to messing with these projects, and some basic chores, I made progress on my knitted skirt. I finished the first panel, learned how to pick up wrap and turn stitches, and started on the second panel. Since this is almost the end of my first hank of yarn I caked up the second and have it ready to go when I run out. I love how easy the pattern is even as I hate how long this is going to take me to complete.

I have also picked up another project that was sitting to the side for a while, my hand sewn skirt. Saturday I double folded the hem, pinned it all the way across, waxed the cotton thread, threaded seven needles and started hand felling the hem. I do not have any photos of this for several reasons. My fabric is wrinkled and I do not need anyone yelling at me about not washing and pressing before I started…I did not press my seams either, I will live with the uneven seams. I am also sewing on a tv tray type table, so I don’t need yelled about that either. I’m having fun and I will stick with that being the entire purpose for this exercise. This also has me looking into medieval sewing patterns, I would love to make a lined medieval hood out of wool. The expense of 2 yards of wool fabric is a bit daunting as well as linen for a lining…ouch for my wallet.

Next Saturday I am getting my oil changed an attending 3 classes on Virtual Knitting Live. Learning Intarsia Knitting, Crochet Socks, and Kitchen Scrap Dyeing. I am so excited for these classes. I do realize that tonight is the Superbowl and that this sporting event is going to make a large difference in the lives of many people. All this has done for me is cause me to realize that 4 chicken wings or 1 slice of pizza are over 200 calories…so I’m not going to partake. If this is your thing I hope you have an absolute blast.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Who Knew?

Who knew that starting a new full-time job would completely disrupt my schedule? Okay, so I probably could have guessed that. Despite this revelation I have managed to get quite a bit done in January. I did start my new job and while there are nuances I believe I still need to learn I have the broad strokes of what the job is going to entail understood. The rest of learning the job is simply going to be living the job and seeing what comes up. Hopefully I will start touring houses this upcoming week and getting my pre-approval finalized. Yay. Onto crafting.

Spin-Off Magazine decided to hold a Cowl-Along for 2021, for this project we are to spin and create a cowl from the spun yarn. I chose the Creepy Corriedale Wool I received from Paradise Fibers in my October 2020 Fiber of the Month Club Box as my base fiber. It spun up beautifully, then I started having some concerns.

The colors changed considerably once I had the yarn spun up, that did not concern me too much as I enjoyed the darker aesthetic. However when I plied the yarn onto itself for a test the problems became apparent.

A small piece of woven fabric, less than 1 inch by 1 inch with a metal weaving needle placed on top. The overall weaving is very dark with few distinct colors.

This view is a little too close, however you can see that the colors just turn to mud when the sample is woven against itself, I do not want a cowl that looks like mud. So we are back to more sampling. I spun up some black bamboo fiber, white wool received in the Dyeing box from paradise fibers, along with some grey kromski merino wool. Once I had the new sampling yarn spun I plied it with the corriedale I already had and created a sheet to start to keep track of some of this stuff. Then I used my bookmark pin loom to weave these yarns into samples.

I adore how all three of these colors turned out. The top is the white, grey in the middle, and black on the end. The white allows the corriedale to brighten back up to what it looked like in the fiber, the grey pulls out the purples, and the black gives the entire project a homogeneous look with it looking too muddy. When I posted my progress in the Ravelry Spin Off Group I received the recommendation from Castielstar to perform a neck test and wear the pieces around my neck to see how they feel after some time. Since I spend so much of my time working I did not see a way to do this test at home (I also did not feel like explaining the three colored pieces of wool on my neck) therefore I decided that I would stick them in my bra and see how it goes. Surprisingly I had to pull the piece with the grey merino wool out before an hour had passed, then I forgot that the other two were even there. This easily narrowed my choices down to black or white. Looking at the woven samples, I know that I am going to go with the White. While the black is amazing I feel that the pops of color in the white sample will look better going into spring. Now for the next part of this project, weaving a cowl. Surprisingly there is another Ravelry group that is hosting something that will come in handy.

The Rigid Heddle Looms Group is hosting JAN/FEB 2021 V-COWL AND MÖBIUS WAL. I did not know what I V-Cowl was (I do now, very neat). This new technique is going to make weaving my handspun cowl very interesting, the next step I need to take is to spin up the rest of my white to ply with the corriedale and figure out what my sett is going to be. Ten inches is, I believe, quite tall for a cowl so I will just use my 10″ sample it loom. I have decided that I would like the warp to be 2.5 yards so that the end piece is a little bigger than 40″ long. This will give it room to go around my neck but not choke me ( I hope).

There is one more weaving project that I have decided to start, Mirrix Looms is hosting a Weave Along (Stay At Home Weave Along), while I cannot stay at home I can certainly have fun weaving along with everyone else. So for this weave along I cut off the piece I have not been weaving on my Mirrix and warped 5″ on my loom with double warp threads this morning. I did not purchase their kit, I’m still trying to cut down on my buying, however I do have plenty of tapestry yarn from my earlier dyeing experiments so I will be winding that onto golf tees this morning, since I cannot afford real tapestry bobbins.

In addition to my weaving, I have not been knitting much I will get back to it, I have been doing a couple of other small projects. One of my friends from the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s guild taught us how to turn paper towels into mini pieces of cloth using watercolor and mod podge. I also obtained one of those wet felted soap kits. I enjoyed making the felted piece and have a ton of fun squishing it in the shower every morning.

I am looking at this post and thinking, “Did you always have this much time?” I know that the answer is no. Right now I am also back to work on Sunday’s at my private university job, just Sundays. It sounds a little silly, however the 8 hours I work on Sundays (if I work 4 Sundays in a month) means about $360 take home pay that month. Perhaps a little more if the mandated minimum wage increase goes through. (Private Universities do not pay nearly what State Colleges do from my experience.) This is about 1/2 a mortgage payment so I cannot afford to sneer at it even with a full-time job. To round out my month I signed up for three classes during the February Vogue Knitting Live Event: Beginning Intarsia, Crochet Socks, Dyeing with Kitchen Scraps. I have also upgraded to the Super Pass, it is very neat to see the recordings of the various demonstrations by vendors. Since I am trying to save up for a down payment on my house I will probably strictly limit any spending during this event however I am excited for the Classes. I used one of my transferring jobs presents to purchase 4 colors of DK yarn for the intarsia class since I seem to only have Fingering and Worsted weight yarn with a little bit of lace weight thrown in here and there. I also love that this is happening during Valentines Day Weekend, so I can genuinely say that I have plans for Valentines…okay so that is a Sunday and I am working at the University..that still counts as plans, right?

So there it is. I’ve had a great month, I am hoping that the trend continues for February. I am finding that my new schedule of getting up at 4: 30 am and going to sleep at 10 pm (on Fridays I need to be out of the house by 6:15 to make sure I get to work on time, it was easier to adjust my entire sleep schedule than have a different one on Friday), means that I have more energy most mornings to do something around the house and get a bit of crafting done. Since this is about a month’s worth of catching up I think that the size of my post is just fine. Until next time, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

BAO and Knitting

The first part is about my new BAO.  Eileen’s Tacky Glue overnight managed to keep the loose brad from being a problem, YAY!  I have since the last post received my two Stickii club packs, as well as moving all of my previous washi tapes, most of my pens, and other accessories into my BAO.  There were a few stickers in  my Stickii Pop Pack that were not seated properly on their backing, but I blame the cold and shifting in the package for that.  It just gave me an excuse to use them right away.  I love my BAO.  The only reason that I am unable to fit all of my pens into the BAO is because I love my pen case that converts into a cellphone holder/pen cup.  If I were willing to leave that home I would have all of my current supplies in one location.  As it is, both of my journals, all of my washi tapes, glues, and stickers fit wonderfully into this case.

I ordered some Washi Tape Cards Sample Boards that I hope to use for my Bullet Journal Class.  This will give the students a chance to try out some of the washi tapes without a lot of fighting over, “I wanted this one, why can’t I have some of that one.”  This should be a fun class, and I can show the students how simple or complex this hobby can get.

Speaking of simple and complex hobbies, I have made some progress on knitting the second section of my slipper.  This one is a bit more complex, and I am not certain how I can work on the second slipper before receiving my third installment.  The end of this patter requires leaving both yarns attached and the stitches live on the needles.  I can deal with the live stitches, I have cord caps and extra cords I can knit with, I am not sure if I want to go through the mess of knitting with the other end of the yarn that I was given for the pattern.  I can easily find the other end, for the contrasting color I would need to pull from the outside; without getting it tangled with the other slipper, and while changing colors every two rows.  I think once I have this portion done, I am going to quietly work on my crocheted slippers until I get my final knitting kit installment.

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I love how potato-chippy this knitting is.  I am a bit worried about the next part of this installment since it involves casting on stitches, however if I take my time things usually work out alright.

I am so glad that I have taken this year to try new things and discover new ways of doing old things.  I am still not sure that  I will sign up for any of the jimmy beans clubs for next year, but I will still have plenty of knitting and crochet to do, not to mention my new passion for paper crafts.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!