Progress and Planning

Crafty Content at the top, no photos this week.

I’ve been touching on a lot of different projects while deciding what is staying out and what is getting packed away. I found a plastic box of mostly forgotten fibers that I am spinning up one after the other. These fibers are all going onto one bobbin. Once that bobbin is full each fiber section, I am putting drastically different colors next to each other to keep the different fiber sections easy to see, they will be plied back onto themselves for crewel embroidery floss, or to be used for color-work knitting in the future.

I am using different colors of my tatting thread to make a warp for my sprang loom, since I want this warp to be wider it makes sense to use up bits of thread I have lying around. This is one of the longer term projects I plan on keeping out.

I did order and receive the special thimble I will need to work on the Sashiko kit I received for Christmas. I plan on keeping the kit out as well as my sewing machine for any alterations I can make to my clothing in the next couple of months.

A few more rows have been worked on the gusset of my second sock, it looks like I will not get through all 4 however getting 2 completed by the end of May is still quite the accomplishment. That is about all for the crafting content, though much of my moving has to do with crafting since crafts are my hobby.

Most of what I have been working on is packing. While I have adjusted my plans some, it doesn’t make much sense to be in another city when I still have a lot of cleaning to do in my house, the basics remain. I need to pack what I plan on keeping so that it can go into storage. This will free up a lot of room and mental space for me to begin getting rid of what needs to be eliminated and cleaning places that I have not been able to get to for years. I love mom, she however, has 10+ boxes of Christmas decorations that we have not taken out in years. That is before all of the other decorations for Easter and Halloween. I plan on keeping the pieces that she made as well as the family ornaments from years gone by and getting rid of the rest of it. I am even thinking about re-packing one of the boxes I already packed simply because I have realized that I do not really value the stuffed animals within. I’ll keep one to remind me, then get rid of the rest. The decision makes me feel free and relaxed rather than anxious. Going through all of the paper that has built up over the years…that is another story. That has me stressed out. My sister is planning a series of bonfires as we sort through and burn the papers we do not need to keep, it should actually be a bit of fun.

That is about it, I have a very busy week ahead of me. I am trying to take some time every single day to get some crafting done so that I do not burn out. Right now I think I have gone as far as I can with the packing and I will wait until I get some breathing room in the house before worrying about the rest. Okay, that’s a lie. The handyman will be coming Monday to take some things from the external garage to the dump, then I plan on moving several plastic boxes out to the garage so I have room to get the bed set up for my sister to have somewhere to sleep on Wednesday night.

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

Life Derailed (in a good way)

First, since this seems to be of interest to people, for the first time since I was in High School (maybe middle school) I am under 200lbs. Nutrisystem really does rock. Next is a life update, so if you just want crafting content skip to the row of *********.

On Thursday I spoke with a financial advisor, he was supposed to be advising me on my 403b non-profit retirement account, instead I wound up spilling essentially the entirety of my financial concerns to him. He really helped me to see that I was ignoring the obvious solutions in favor of not having to ask for help, essentially being a stubborn, independent cuss. Due to his advice, my sisters advice, and an offer (and advice) from relatives, I am going to be putting almost all of the household items I want to keep in storage, moving to an apartment closer to work temporarily, and putting my childhood home up for sale. I hope to get all of this done by July, I’m thinking of seeing about an ‘I’m selling the house’ 3rd of July party so my friends, work colleagues old and new, can see the house and I can see the fireworks over the lake one last time, before I actually put the house officially on the market. There is about a million things I need to do first, however I have already started packing up. My sister is coming to town in about 10 days to sign some paperwork and we will probably work on getting some things taken to a storage unit at that time.

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If you skipped to the crafting content, the long and the short of the above paragraph is that I will be moving into an apartment temporarily and putting a lot of stuff into storage.

This past week was quite busy. I had a lot of fun with the crafting I was able to do, and a few cranky moments as well. Let’s start with the bad news. I had to put almost all of my wool yarn into my upright freezer as well as the freezer attached to my refrigerator. I saw a couple of moth corpses in some wool I pulled out of another area of the house and when I started to spin a bit of wool that had been stored downstairs a bug I am afraid is a carpet beetle fell out (it was dead, I simply became concerned). I have not been as attentive to the wool downstairs as I should be, one of the main reasons I need a smaller place, I just cannot get to everything. I am trying to keep myself looking on the bright side. I purchased a big bottle of lavender essential oil to keep the rest of the fiber/yarn (the stuff that did not fit) from getting into trouble. Since I will be moving and putting items into storage this is going to give me an opportunity to choose a couple of kits/projects to leave out and then I ‘have to’ work on them since I am going on a buying hiatus until I am settled into a new house. My sister does not know it yet, however I am going to make sure that my kits are near the front of the storage unit just in case, by some miracle, I finish the projects I am leaving out I will have access to some new ones without having to purchase anything.

I loved playing with my new Sprang loom, the technique is fun and easy! Well, mostly easy. When doing Sprang do NOT EVER take out all of your skewers holding the rows in place. I was getting to the middle and my fingers were not fitting very well with the skewers in so I decided to take the skewers out for the row…then messed up and I was not able to go back because the skewers were out. I cut down the middle and wound up tying the ends to make two shorted pieces. They are a great lesson and I love the structure. They are also not wide enough to be useful even as a misers purse since my fingers cannot get into it when it is sewn together. Oh well, the next piece will just have to be wider, I also plan on practicing with a circular warp to make the piece longer as well. I might as well just jump off the deep end!

When you boil up orange peels you had in the freezer for natural dyeing, try to then use the resulting dye before a week has gone by…I had to throw it out because some mold had decided to start growing on the surface. Lesson learned.

The sock heel flap is knit, now the entire thing is on a circular needle so I can work on the gusset. That is as far as the project has gotten, technically I have this entire month to finish this sock and knit the other two so I am giving myself a little bit of grace, however this gusset had best be finished by next week.

Okay, I think that is enough for one week. Next week will probably be me whining about having to pack everything (I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with my drum carder or Sizzix Big Shot). Until then, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Progress Has Been Achieved

So I am not finished with anything quite yet. The clothing dilemma is ongoing, and probably will be until I get a few more paychecks under my belt and make a decision. I did speak with a cousin and she promised wardrobe help if I can make it to Jersey for the winter holidays. Since it will be the first time in a couple of years I will get to see her, as well as the first time I’ll meet her second daughter, I hope I can make it.

I have made significant progress on my sock, right now the heel flap is almost done. I do have to pick up the gusset stitches, however I will need to dig up a circular needle of the right size to do so. If I try to fit the gusset stitches on my flexi flips I’ll wind up dropping stitches all over the place. I’m loving the pattern and I cannot wait to see how it turns out in the end!

I finished spinning up the green yarn, so now I’m going to wait and see what my prize box as well as what colors my Paradise Fibers box will bring me (they promised color this month). While I’m waiting I did make some progress organizing my crafting supplies, so I went downstairs to retrieve a few things. I found some sewing supplies, I’ll get back to that in a minute, and brought up some colorful fiber. I’m spinning up bits of various colors of fiber that I can use for a colorwork project or as crewel embroidery thread. Presently I am just spinning up the various colors on one bobbin, then I will wind them off onto individual weaving bobbins so I can later make plying bracelets for each color. This is such a great way to make little bits of fiber useful, especially if I am not sure what breed they are. It is a little involved however I am enjoying the process.

Finally, I did receive my Sprang Loom ordered from Dewberry Ridge Looms. I had to wait until I had a day off to pick it up from the post office, we have an agreement I’ll stop complaining and just pick my packages up from the office if they’ll stop leaving my packages in stupid places like hanging off of the mailbox or on top of the newspaper box. Since picking up my loom I have managed to get it set up, not a problem, and warped up with 20 strands. This is not a very wide warp, however it is certainly enough for me to start to get the hang of Sprang. I’m only going to be a little bit arrogant and say I think Sprang is about as difficult as I believed it to be. This could be due to my watching various videos on the technique for a couple of years until I thought I had the motions down and understood what is going on with the cloth. I’ve woven about six rows (its actually twelve since each row is doubled on the bottom, and had to loosen up the tension on the loom a little bit so the wires were not bent so badly.

The loom is quite tall, which I appreciate. This is before I began weaving, you cannot see it very well but I am using a very pretty rainbow colored yarn. It is likely that in order to figure out how to make the belt I really would like to create sometime in the next month I am going to have to wide the threads/yarns around the two ends of the loom and have them meet on a rod in the middle of the back of the loom. I will see how long this piece is once I have it off of the loom and make a decision from there. I am very happy that I decided to sign up for the Sprang class, I should learn some fun patterning techniques there.

Okay, that is enough for this week. I guess I really did get some things accomplished, hopefully next week will be as productive. Until next time, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Interesting Week (not really)

Now, before I start writing this post I would like to remind everyone that I have Never claimed to be a good, or fast knitter. That being said, it took me 8 days to knit the cuff for the second Anne of Green Gables sock by Paper Daisy Creations. I really love the pattern, I will be starting the lace portion today, and I adore the color in the Purl Soho yarn I purchased on clearance when I visited Los Angeles with my sister in 2019.

17 rows of knitting using pink yarn on size 2.25mm Addi Flexi Flip Knitting needles.

I have been spinning on the lovely green wool I received, it spins up like a dream. The pin roving drafts so smoothly it is practically effortless while also being very meditative. I am really enjoying the process. The 2 ply sample I created looks great, however I believe I will wait to see what next months box brings me before figuring out what I want to do with this single.

MAFA (MidAtlantic Fiber Association) is having their Bi-Annual event this June as a Virtual event. This means that I will finally be able to attend. I had to skip Maryland Sheep and Wool since they mostly had their classes during the week and…well….I still have to work. Fortunately one of the classes I wanted to take is a class learning how to make Sprang Lace. I contacted the instructor early and our conversation was a bit weird. I asked her if I could purchase the loom kit she was selling as a part of the class even if I miss out on getting into the class. She responded that it wasn’t really a beginner Sprang class (then why are you selling beginner supplies as the supplies?!?) but I could take her 6 week course over zoom to learn Sprang in preparation for the class. Well since the course was several hundred dollars, and at 4pm on a Thursday I had to pass. Instead I purchased the loom through a source she recommended and the video she produced. Now I am going to spend the next month teaching myself Sprang so I am ready for her class mid-June.

The only other crafty related content is that I am trying to figure out what I want to do in regards to spring/summer wear. Originally I was thinking about purchasing cloth to make a few skirts and blouses for myself, not only to learn to sew and be a bit more eco friendly, but to have clothing that fits. There are several flaws in that plan however, the first being that eco-friendly cloth costs at minimum $20 a yard and a skirt seems to take about 3 yards for a plus sized skirt. The Victorian Walking Skirt I am in love with would take over 5 yards and is intended to be lined. $60-$100 for a skirt, plus the cost of the pattern ($10-$20) would probably be worth it if I have a one-of-a-kind skirt that fits me. However, I am also hoping to get down to my goal weight, then have surgery to remove the excess skin. Yes, I know that the end goal is still about a year away. However, it seems sort of wasteful to spend that much money on a single piece in my wardrobe that I would hope to outgrow in a year (well lose enough weight same difference). Admittedly, I spent more than that on my current shoes. However, I wear those shoes every day and will polish them to be put away for the fall and winter next year. Because of this dilemma, I believe I am going to purchase relatively inexpensive pieces from Dharma Trading Co. that are made out of natural fibers in a relatively eco-friendly process. They are not the best in the world, and I am still going to have to do some dyeing and possibly modifying to have them looking the way I want them to, however this is better than purchasing all new materials.

I spent yesterday gathering all of the clothes in the house and washing them. This morning I set my ‘get ready for work alarm’ an hour early so I could try on the clothes while clean and almost ready for work. I found out that most of the clothing I have been unable to wear because it was too tight, is now too loose. There are a couple of scoop neck shirts that I have to pin in such a way that the neckline looks sort of like a keyhole neckline. This accomplishes two positive things and one negative. The positives are that I do not have to worry about my bra straps showing, and I do not have to worry too much about the odd stray hair (PCOS Stinks), however since this is not the original neckline it does tend to pouch out a bit looking weird. I tried to look up modifying necklines, I might have to see if there is such a thing as taking a dart out of a neckline. The only other major modification that I plan on making is to figure out the correct way to take in some of the width of my pant legs. I’m probably going to look at the Curvy Sewing Collective or similar sites. I understand that there are plenty of heavy people that carry their weight in the their thighs and legs (one of my friends and colleagues has this figure), however I carry mine in deposits on my back as well as an apron on my stomach. This means that I have rather shapely legs that are very lost in voluminous pant legs.

Okay, that is about it for the week. Knitting Socks, signing up for learning new skills, and trying to figure out a spring wardrobe. I am fortunate that I already have quite a few clothes, hopefully I can modify them to fit well with how I would like to present myself. I hope that everyone has an amazing week.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Fun and Busy Week

I did it! Well almost, I managed to finish the sock in 8 days! I have the next sock in the set cast on, though it does not seem to be progressing as quickly.

Yesterday the weaving guild I belong to had an amazing Ice Dyeing Day, where we learned how to take ice, silk cloth, and some vinegar water along with powdered dyes to create amazing works of art. I managed to mess up my folding so instead of meeting in the middle the point was on one edge, I think I figured out where I went wrong in case I decide to do this again…okay let’s be real, as soon as I have my bills under control I plan on ordering more silk from Dharma Trading Co to try this again.

The Raven Black was supposed to turn into its component colors, I’m pleased it stayed mostly black.

I could not bring myself to throw away the left over dye so I took some Grey I obtained from my Paradise Fibers Fiber of the Month Club Box along with some white I had to pan dye the fiber. I then took some left over dry fiber and decided to do a cold dye with that to see what it does.

I hope that they turn out nicely.

To round out an amazing week I received my installment from Ewethfulfibermill on Instagram. I was the lucky winner and had my choice of fiber of the month club box or yarn box, I chose the fiber and received this amazing gift.

I cannot wait to spin it up. That is all for this week (it is more than enough don’t you think?).

Happy Crafting and Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Thanks for All The Fish

Okay, so not the fish. Thanks so much for the support I received on my last post, I was concerned about sharing my personal journey and I appreciate the positive reaction to my journey.

I am absolutely adoring the new sock pattern from Paper Daisy Creations as well as the Knit Along for her Anne of Green Gables Sock Patterns.

It has taken me so much longer to create these socks than so many on the Knit Along, however I am having a ton of fun working on it. I believe that it has taken me about four hours to finish three repeats of the pattern which is really only about 24 rows. However I’ve also had to check the pattern a ton to check on whether I’m doing it right or not, so I’m good with my slow knitting journey. I’m also not sure if I’m ever going to do the second sock, however I’m going to be happy if I finish one of each of the socks in the 4 pattern set. Actually, I’m going to be happy if I finish one sock though I’m aiming for 4. I’m going to work on the heel flap later today, and hopefully I can get this completed by Thursday when the next pattern comes out.

This is going to be a nice short post, if you Celebrate Easter then I hope you have a Happy Easter for He Is Risen. If not, then I hope you had an amazing weekend and that your week brings you joy!

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract.

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!

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!