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.

IMG_3094

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.*

IMG_3086

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.

IMG_3088

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.

IMG_3087

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!

The Week After EGLFC

This past week has been an absolute blast of creativity as well as work ‘stuff’.  On Tuesday I mailed out 4 applications for Civil Service Tests for Librarian positions in the larger county to the north of me.  If I get a job there it will be a 90 minute commute each way, however I will be able to stay in my home for a couple of years and save up a down payment on a home there.  I also re-interviewed for a position at one of my current jobs, I am not saving this as my only hope right now.  There is a job in Philadelphia I will submit an application for this afternoon.  Since my skill level is quite high, it really is a matter of which library will obtain me.  Enough about work, let’s talk about crafts!

Since I’ve gotten home I have been forcibly reminded why I need to make time to craft.   The weekend was amazing, and just in time since this past Saturday was the first anniversary of my mom’s passing.  I had a lot of fun, and this creativity stuck with me when I came home.  I have quite a few projects, KALs and more, that I want to be working on.  I took the time to finish the two soles for my knitted slippers for the Jimmy Beans Wool October-December project.

IMG_2906

They are the width of the large, however when I went to measure my foot, I decided to go with the length of the medium.  There seems to be enough yarn left over to create a pair of kids slipper soles, however I want to make sure I am not going to need this yarn for anything else before committing to that project.  I will confess that when I really got into ensuring that these were done they took about 2 days of knitting each.

I received the crochet project and have begun, though I have not gotten very far yet.

IMG_2907

I did manage to learn a new stitch, that is foundation single crochet.  This is going to be the basis of the slipper sole, I planned on working on this, however I managed to forget a stitch marker.  While the pattern does not call for any stitch markers I feel that it will be easier to keep track of where I am supposed to join the round using a slip stitch if I have a marker there.  Each sole is a total of 9 rounds, so even with the rather extreme number of stitches I will be working with toward the end these should not take too long.

The crochet hook I am working with is a Furls hook in an attempt to stave off carpal tunnel syndrome as early as possible.  With my extreme interest in all forms of craft, I need to keep my hands in tact as much as possible.  You may also notice underneath my project bag and hook is a colored piece of paper, that is my first experiment in ‘art’ since college.

IMG_2903This is a simple wash with watercolors on a special pad of watercolor paper with cheap Walmart watercolors.

I actually don’t think this turned out too badly, I plan on using similar techniques in the near future, though I believe I will have to work much harder to obtain clear color results.  The pigmentation does not layer very well at all when wet. I hope to try and improve this when I next have a stretch of time not occupied by crochet or spinning.  It is entirely possible that I will have better results if I try to work with Tube Watercolors instead of the hard palette, also if I try to wet the pigments more thoroughly.

7B969592-7C70-44CD-8E68-B82CC99F95D4The final crafts I managed this week were started at EGLFC. The first is to knit a lace sample with handspun Shetland yarn.  I love how this turned out, and fully intend to knit up the grey and black samples of yarn I have available. The other craft was to create stick-on sheets that can be applied to linen for crewel embroidery.  I found some sheets that I can print onto as well as several designs that were labelled on images.google.com as available for reuse.

I believe that these are going to be very difficult to spin the samples for and stitch, I really look forward to the challenge.  The D&D Dragon on the bottom left is certainly going to be a project for when I am a very good stitcher, until then I have plenty to work on .

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.