Taking Time During the Week

So, this week has not been as bad as I had feared.  My doctor was relatively pleased with my progress, apparently I lost 8 lbs.  During the first of my two car appointments I managed to knit 8 rows on my poncho adding on one new color and coming close to adding on the second.  My day at work was relatively productive, and my evening at work was spent updating my book blog as well as discovering a book that I have meant to read for a while.  It is titled Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation by Maggie Shannon.  I have not gotten terribly far in this book however it certainly does introduce a new way of thinking in regards to crafting.  Unfortunately since starting this post and actually posting this post I have not had much momentum in regards to actually reading this book.  It tends to be a bit on the preachy side, religious, meditation, mindfulness, etc.

Though I have not gotten much reading done, I did manage to accomplish a few of my more pressing tasks for the week.

  • I submitted a cover letter, resume, and references to a local job.
  • I obtained my transcripts so that I can send in applications for 4 civil service exams by next week.
  • I created a basic cover letter for another job, there are two things that I will be able to add to my resume by next week, I want them on this version before I send the application in
  • I chose to attempt to sell my two DODEC Wheels this upcoming weekend at EGLFC
  • I discovered that my supplies fee is due to my teacher for EGLFC
  • I plied a yarn that has been sitting for a while, since I plied from a center pull ball I also have an amazing example of Yarn Barf to show my students tonight
  • I cleaned and oiled my wheel.  I also got fed up with one of the arms of my WooleeWinder keeps hitting my mother of all and making a clunking noise no matter how much I tighten things down.  I sanded the edge of the clunking arm just enough that it can get past my mother of all without any noise.  I Hate being sensitive to noise.
  • I cleared out the back and passenger seats of my car
  • Now I’m at work, getting ready to teach a spinning class tonight

I have not made much progress on my knitted poncho since the garage, though I did find out that while I am on ball 13 I will need to attach ball 22 before beginning the decreases to end the first half of the poncho.  Since it is about 12 rows of knitting before I manage to add on another ball, we are talking about a lot of knitting left, just for the first half.  The second half of the poncho is a mirror of the first, this makes the entire project quite time consuming.  The next two projects are slippers, both in knitting and crochet, along with a mystery knit along being offered with my paradise fibers box in October.  I also need to cast on my mermaid knit along.

Next weekend I will be attending Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference (EGLFC), to take a lock preparation and spinning class with Kate Larson, I am very excited.   Check in will be after work on Friday (after I drive up there), then a light dinner and other events, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are class sessions and shopping opportunities.  Due to this event I am suspending all non-essential (and some essential, lol) purchases until after EGLFC.  There are a couple of local and semi-local vendors that will be selling and I hope to get a souvenir skein or two.  A colleague and fiber friend of mine is leaving one of the jobs that I work at (she is then starting at another of my jobs) so as a farewell from the first job our company is going together to purchase a gift card for an online yarn store I know she has been wanting yarn from.  There is also a conference on Grant Writing that I will be able to attend part of tomorrow morning, so this week is also busy.

For this week, I need to:

  • Keep my spending very low
  • Work on Civil Service Entrance Exams
  • Pack for my Weekend Trip
  • Empty as many bobbins as I can, without yarn barf
  • Return the pop bottles, put that money aside for the trip if possible
  • Plan on bringing poncho for mindless (if big) knitting to do
  • Decide if you are going to bring 3 large energy drinks, and 3 2-liters of Dew so that you can stay caffeinated and hydrated throughout the conference.
  • Seriously consider bringing some kind of low-carb, shelf stable, snacks for the trip
  • Check if the local casino is having a promotion that you can hit on your way back to town that Monday.

This looks like a busy week, however I believe it will be tons of fun.  Okay, time for me to get ready for my class.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

New Tools

One of my new philosophies has to do with having the tools you need to achieve the results you want.  Can I weave tapestries with a picture frame?  Yes, but I will not like the process or the results.  Given that I have decided to invest in a couple of tools to make my crafting life a bit easier and my results a bit better. Before I get to the actual reviews, a disclaimer, I am in no way affiliated with any of the products below.  I purchased them using my own funds, I am not making any profit from these reviews/products.

Recently I have decided to up my knitting and crochet game.  I have started with socks, but I hope to progress to garments like cardigans, shawls, and sweaters soon.  Learning Tunisian Crochet, filet crochet, and lace knitting are also on my list of projects to work on.  With fitted garments gauge is extremely important.  To this end I have invested in the Akerworks Swatch Gauge, but I went all out and invested in the knitting tool kit.

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This includes, tape measure, scissors, two darning needles, knitting needle measuring tool, locking stitch markers, and various magnets across the back in addition to the gauge swatch tool.  Essentially this is everything that I would need to knit or crochet on the go in one compact tool.

The stitch gauge has the numbers engraved on the side that is facing down toward the fabric, but they are engraved backwards so when the tool is being used the numbers show in the right direction, but there is no real explanation as to what the numbers are.  Going horizontally across the top there are the numbers 1-4 and under the horizontal line are the numbers 1-10.  Comparison with a ruler proves that 1-4 measures inches while 1-10 measures centimeters.

The tape measure can be slid out of the compartment that houses it, but can also be easily used from its nest in the tool.  The scissors have comfortable finger holes as well as proving themselves quite sharp when put to the test against yarn.  The darning needles in addition to the stitch markers are standard but since they are metal they stay where the magnets put them quite easily.

When my studio is completed I believe that this will have a place stuck to the metal rack I intend to install.  The swatch gauge will be just at home measuring picks per inch as it will stitches per inch.

I have been lusting after the Eszee twist tool for about 2 years now.  Spinning is still my main passion, however all of the math tends to intimidate me.  No longer!  With the Eszee Twist tool I can measure the angle of twist, but more importantly I have a gauge which I can put my yarn on and have a  fairly good idea of what the wraps per inch are going to be without making a mini skein of yarn.  This kit comes with much more than just the measuring tool, it has a bookmark, knitting needle gauge, yarn tracker, in addition to a user guide that does double duty as an Everything You Need to Know to Get the Yarn You Want guide.

In addition to explaining what twist is, s twist, z twist, and angles of twist, this guide goes on to explain different yarn constructions such as 2 ply, 3 ply, Navajo plied, core spun, cables, worsted, and woolen.  The part that I find most useful is the simple math needed to calculate what size your finished yarn will be.  This simple formula was well worth the investment, but the guide and other tools provide everything you need to gain a deeper understanding of yarn construction.

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Yes, they are stitch markers.  Actually what they are is a charm bracelet I purchased through amazon and repurposed using some split rings and lobster clasps.  I just love the BBC production of Sherlock (except the last season and I HATE Mary) so I wanted stitch markers that reflected me.  However, I did not want to spend $5 for one to three stitch markers that really had little to do with Sherlock.  So I found a charm bracelet, there were 20 charms on it, a little manipulation, and I have 20 stitch markers that I thoroughly enjoy.  Since I made the entire batch in less than an hour I can certainly see the appeal in buying up a lot of charms and making these by the hundreds.  I wonder if I can recoup some of my yarn/fiber expenses by starting a stitch marker business?

Happy Crafting!

Bargain Hound

When it comes right down to brass tacks I tend to be a bargain hound, I find it very hard to resist a good deal.  This, of course, gets me into a bit of trouble, but who needs groceries some weeks when I’ve got yarn?  It isn’t quite as bad as that, but I do stock on freezer meals when they are on sale so I don’t have to worry about getting something for dinner some days.  Part of that is the fact that between my 3 jobs I work 6 days a week therefore cooking is a luxury not an every day thing.  Enough of my digressions, the point of this is that I subscribe to a lot of different crafting sites mailing lists so that I can take advantage of bargains when I come across them.  Some are well worth my time, some I can do without.  My weaknesses come in the form of under $10 bargains, especially those touted as half-off.

If something is under $10 and I can use it, I will probably pick it up.  With under $20 I tend to take some time to think about it, will I actually use it, do I have enough of this already, etc. then I buy it or not.  Anything over $20 has to be something that I have been thinking about/craving for at least 2 weeks before I even consider it.  This causes me some problems with the independent knitting patterns for sale on Ravelry.  I know that it took you quite some time to come up with your pattern and you are trying to make a living off of it, but at $7.50 it is a bit expensive for me, especially if it is novelty and not like a sock or a sweater.  This brings me to the new quagmire I have gotten myself into, Happily Hooked, a digital magazine I subscribe to, is having a 26 week course called the Stitch Mastery Program starting tomorrow, and guess what?  It was under $10.

This course, for non members, is $20.  It comes with 26 weeks of learning a new stitch every week complete with videos and 2 projects for each stitch.  So my bargain hound soul is singing with the idea of 52 projects in 26 stitches, and six months of learning for $1O.  Those of you thinking about the hooks, yarn, etc. I have a ton of that from Mom.

While I did not need another project/set of projects, I am very happy to be learning yet another new skill.  I think that 2019 is going to be a year of learning.  When I get working on the projects I will let you know more.

Happy Crafting!

Weaving Update

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The lighting is not great, I used my ipad instead of my iphone so the photo quality is not the best, but I did finish weaving off my sibling’s scarf!  It is just as well, my sibling returned to Pittsburgh on Sunday and by Tuesday we had to ask them to come back because mom was not doing well.  She is doing better now, but the extreme humidity is making things difficult for her COPD.

My sibling loves their scarf, and I am so very happy that I was able to give it to them.  This took me less than a week to weave up, and then a day to wash and full it.  Then it dried for a couple of days, but the entire process was so much fun.

Just today I finished my cotton weaving sampler, Acadian, for my guild.  I took it off of the loom and washed it.  The next step is to let it dry then seam it.  I made the bottom a little bigger than might be advised using rags to create a very solid base.  I wound up running with the idea and made the ‘handle’ (well I thought it would be a handle) the same weight and width.  It turns out that it will be just long enough to create the sides and reinforce the bottom.  In the past this might have discouraged me, right now I think it will either make a great basket for the table or, perhaps, I can practice making inkle bands and use one of those for a good handle for this bag.  I will have to see how sturdy the bottom and sides look when this band is inserted.

As further updates, I have completed about 7″ on my spring towels, I think I want my first one to be about 18 inches long, so this is a decent amount!  My rigid heddle loom is currently empty as  is the guild loom.  I have two projects in mind that I need to get my courage up for.  I would like to weave a silk pouch out of some gold yarn I have so that I can use that to hold my USB drives.  I would want it to be about 3″ across and a total of 12″ long.  This would be a 4.5″ high pouch with a  3″ flap to hold it closed.  I will probably chicken out, find a very small crochet hook, and crochet the pouch I have envisioned.  This will give me an excuse to use the ‘left over’ yarn to experiment with a fancy weave, lol.  The tricks we play on ourselves. In addition, Kelly Casanova has held a Krokbragd weaving course.  I just obtained the yarn that I plan on using for this ($16 from $36  yay!), and hope to be able to warp my loom this weekend.  The Krokbragd can be done on a rigid heddle or a 4 shaft loom.  I think for my first effort I will use the 4 shaft so I can avoid the thought of a pick up stick.  I have to read the instructions very carefully before I attempt this.

That’s all for now!  Happy Crafting!

Pre-empting the Scheduled Post

I had another post scheduled, it will be out on Wednesday, but I could not wait to share this Month’s Paradise Fibers Monthly Club Box.  *SPOILERS*  If you do not want any spoilers, just skip this post.

Dyeing with highlighters step oneI was not going to go into the details of how to accomplish this but if you look you can find most of them.  In essence you are extracting the dye from the tubes of the highlighters, then applying it to the wool.  The more concentrated the dye the better the effects.  To get to this point you need to put on gloves, pry the back of the highlighter off, and pull out the tube.  I used scissors and pushed the end cap off, it is a wonder I didn’t break anything with the flying plastic.

Dyeing with highlighters step 2

After soaking for  a while it looks like there is quite a bit of dye extracted from the highlighter ink tubes.  The next time I try this, and I will be trying it again, I intend to just squeeze out the highlighter fluid instead of soaking it out.

Dyeing with highlighters step 3

I soaked the wool in the standard combination of water and vinegar to get the wool ready to accept dye.

Dyeing with highlighters step 4

I squeezed out the wool and put the dye on top.  Things looked good, until I looked down the side of the containers.

Dyeing with highlighters complication

The Dye did not reach the bottom of the wool.  Some adjusting fixed this for the pink and the orange, but the yellow was too light to be effective.  I took that piece of yarn and the left over orange and pink dye to form a variegated piece of wool.

Finished hIghlighter dyeing

When everything was dried the results were amazing.  I have not had them under sunlight long enough to tell if they do fluoresce, but even if not they are very pretty to look at.

This box, in addition to this neat new dyeing technique, came with a pencil pouch, sheep sticker, sheep pin, Paradise Fibers backpack, four mesh bags, and four bumps of shredded sari silk (intended to make a tweed).

The colors of Sari Silk that I obtained are pictured below.  These boxes are always an amazing value.  I love them, and cannot wait to see what is in them each month.

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Happy Crafting!

Getting Ready for The Trip

I am having so much fun planning for my trip.  The Ravelry group is a ton of help with advice and other tips.  So far my favorites are:

  • Bring something to sit on
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Plenty of bags for purchases
  • First aid kit
  • Kleenex
  • Sturdy, Comfortable shoes
  • Cash
  • If you don’t like fried food, bring your own

There is conflicting information as well: Bring cash/everyone takes credit cards; Remember to write down what you wanted from the vendor so you can go back to pick it up/there is still plenty of items on the second day/vendors tend to sell out of things; and other examples.  When it comes to the conflicting information I think I’ll just have to go with my experiences; bring cash with debit as a backup and pick something up when you see it (it will not be there if you go back for it).

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I think that it is really neat that there are vendors that don’t sell online as well as local vendors so I can obtain some materials that I would not be able to other wise.  I am also hoping to see something new/innovative/revolutionary at the festival as well.  There will be so much to learn and do, I am very excited!

Happy Crafting!

Happy News!

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This year I will be attending the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!

I am so very excited, things just fell into place, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing falls out of place, lol.  I was originally supposed to be driving down with a friend from the guild, but she has a wedding to attend the next weekend and that would be too much travel for her.  Then my mother, generously, offered to fly me down there.  I accepted her offer, but as a shot in the dark, asked my library director if the library would pay for the tickets as professional development since I spend so much time teaching craft classes.  She agreed, happily, so I will not even have to spend Mom’s money. My sibling is coming up to make sure that mom is okay while I’m down there, she’s on oxygen 24/7 and doesn’t get around too much.  A couple of my Father’s cousins are going to let me stay with them and they will shuttle me around.  This is going to be so much fun.  I really look forward to seeing a part of my family again as well.

I look forward to bringing back all sorts of stories and goodies.  This is going to be such a great time, now I just have to think of the right presents for my family that will be hosting me.  Perhaps a yarn in the tartan of my dad’s cousin-in-law, maybe a jar of painting supplies for the other cousin, well I have over a month to figure things out.

Happy Crafting!