Memories in Crafts

Yes, right now my room still looks like an absolute mess.  However, I can see what this room will be once I get these large pieces of furniture out of the way.  Right now I have the cabinet I showed you last posted filled an organized, I am amazed how much fits in there.  The cardboard tube organizer that I used in a maker video for my public library turned out really well so I am using it on top to keep supplies visible.

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I did have to buy a second cubby in a different size and configuration that you can see next to the original.  I put a storage rack that was mostly empty into the corner to hold a combination of mom’s kits and some of my kits.  I am using the open blocking mats as shelf liners.  You can see part of one of the dressers I need to destash in the near future, with a lamp and a sock project on it.

I am not completely finished getting everything sorted and organized, however I have made a ton of progress.  There is still a bin I need to sort through, however I have also started displaying some yarn for inspiration.  I believe that this is the first time ever that a large majority of my crafts have been entirely in one place that I am likely to frequent.  I still have items downstairs however it is cold, and since I live right by the woods I am concerned I might have another dang mouse.  Most of mom’s acrylic yarn is down there also.

During all of this frenzy of organization I have found many things that I forgot were around, or simply did not know where they were.  There is a pair of Christmas stockings that I need to sew the trim on, Mom made the stockings and never finished them.  Mom had a ton of plastic canvas kits that she wanted to make, when I feel up to it I am going to have to sort through those.  The one that brought a tear to my eye, though I’m telling myself it might have been dust, is the alpaca yarn squares that I wove and mom edged for me.  We were going to make a vest out of them, however the project was abandoned well before finishing them.  I am going to make a table runner out of them to remember her by, I just need to find the right yarn to use to attach them together.

*whisper* I also found the organizer in which I stashed all of my DPNs, I knew I had DPNs!*whisper*

I have also found out that I can do more crafting than I thought I could if I hold my wrist carefully.  I’ll make a post about progress in crafts later.  Until then!

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert please check on your extroverts!  Stay safe!

Organizing My Self and Stash

Two weeks ago I thought that I would be able to pass along two of the dressers left in my home.  My sibling and I inherited my home from my parents along with the 30+ years of accumulated stuff that goes with a family of 4.  My sibling is uninterested in much of this and I have realized that it is way too much stuff for me alone.  Truthfully we have a chest of drawers, what I think is called an armoire, and three dressers.  Out of these five pieces I only want to keep one of the dressers so the other 4 need to be re-homed.  All of this is just to say that I had plans for what I call the computer room, which is where I am doing my work from home work.  I planned on streamlining my work space, bill paying station, and adding in craft storage.  Even though I have not gotten rid of the dressers yet, I have prospects, I have moved forward on the craft storage part.  Right now everything is boxed up…randomly..in my living room.  I have no idea how I thought that was organizing anything.  Instead I purchased a 12 cubby system.  I love it, however when I was putting it together many parts were held together by little wooden dowels….that I managed to snap every single one (it really was my fault but shoot).

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I did manage to get this put together, however at this point it is not very sturdy.  I have t-brackets coming that I will install on the back to stabilize the entire structure.  Honestly this might be for the best, the metal pieces should stabilize things better than the wooden dowels.  I also purchased black fabric bins to hold my yarn and fiber.  I think I’m going to start with my fiber and see how much I can store.  You see a mostly empty bookshelf to the right, those are my comic books on top, I hope to greatly curate my book collection as well.  The bookshelf there will hold my treasured favorites, there is another to the right of the shown shelf that holds my crafting books.

This deliberate organization of my stash has allowed me an opportunity to actually look at the kits that I own, stash them in a single space, and eventually plan on which ones I can work on when I get my hand fixed.

With trying to get organized, and spring break being finished with at one of my libraries, I have not gotten a lot of crafting done.  I’ll post next week with how my storage and crafting are doing.  Until then remember to live life A Little More Abstract and if you are an introvert please check on your extrovert!

Getting Down To It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Planning for Spring

The beginning of this year has afforded me a lot of opportunity to think about my future, both immediate and long term.  What I want out of my life immediately, in the near future, and in the distant future.  There are some things that are abstract, and others that are concrete.  I am not going to detail these things here, however one aspect is organization.  Right now I am working on sorting and organizing all of my craft supplies.  The current job, since yarn, periodicals/patterns, and fiber are finished, is my weaving supplies.  I have a great rolling laundry basket I had purchased last year, and it occurred to me that the 8/2 cotton I have for weaving towels would do great in cloth boxes in the bottom of the laundry hamper, then if I put another cloth box on top I can put reeds, shuttles, etc, in that box.  I believe some of my supplies like the sticks to hold crosses and rag shuttles are going to have to be stored upright beside or behind the boxes.  I will get photographs to show you how well this does/does not work out. I have a plastic box I am using for bobbins, spare parts, oils, etc. for my Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel.  I am not sure if I want to find something different or not.  My Spinolution Firefly is a little more difficult to store as I have two flyer heads for it (one quite large).  I had hoped to be able to at least continue my gigantic plying project, however upon further reflection there is no need to risk further damage to my wrist.

In the midst of all of this organizing I was thinking about my home.  When I get a full-time job I fully intend to move to where I will be working and purchase a house.  If it is possible for me to commute for a few years that would be ideal, I can save up to put a good down-payment on a house, find the precise property I want, and organize everything for moving.  It has also become apparent that the large pieces of furniture in my home might become refreshed with a simple change in color scheme.  Right now everything is either stark white or very dark.  I am planning on getting some paint chips to change this.

This week, in addition to my usual workload, I intend to corral my weaving supplies as well as my spinning supplies.   My final crafty home related task is to pick up some paint chips to tape to my furniture.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Organizing Fiber

Since I have been unable to craft I have decided to go on an organizing spree.  I’ve also had an amazing amount of energy these past three weeks, since reading the book “Do Less” by Kate Northrup, I wonder if it is tied in with the moon cycles or my personal cycle.  I’ll try to keep track and figure this out.  On to organization, below see the two metal laundry baskets I picked up to fit my fiber and yar…okay.  I have more fiber than I thought, I filled both of these.

Yes, I know my carpet is ugly.  Okay so I filled up these two Laundry baskets….and most of a third smaller laundry basket…

While I do still intend to retain my subscription to Paradise Fibers, I also plan on creating projects so that I can spin more intentionally and spin down some of this stash…in July…when I can craft again.  *sigh*.

I have not been entirely idle on the crafting front, in addition to finding out that I absolutely cannot knit, I cannot sew a needle minder, and I cannot wire wrap bookmarks (that really has more to do with me not understanding types of wire and how to harden them than anything else).

I can still needle felt, and do Bullet Journal Activities, so not all is lost.  This is going to be for the best, I hope to have all of my crafts in easily transportable boxes by the end of February.  My ‘reach’ goal, that will happen if I get everything packed away in time, is to be able to take down my modular shelving as well.

Adversity exists to prove to ourselves how strong we can be.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!  (Normal is so boring).

The Mice Are Dead!

Christmas Eve I wound up setting four snap traps with peanut butter around my kitchen and going out to see the New Mary Poppins movie.  It turns out that this is not a great movie for someone recovering from a recent loss, though in all other respects it will certainly become a new classic in short order.  When I came home the traps were untouched.  I went to bed that night, sort of.  I was up and about, I believe I caught about 3 hours of sleep between midnight and 3 am.  When I got up at 3 all four of the traps had been emptied of their peanut butter, but not set off.

I was furious.  I decided that I would reset the traps, Christmas Day, go to Mass and head to the local casino where I knew they were having a buffet.  I did so, the food was good, and came home to untouched traps again.  I spoke to the carpenter who is acting as an exterminator for me, and he said that he set the traps a bit differently so he would be up the next day to do so and hopefully that would help.  I, for the life of me, could not figure out how you could set a snap trap differently, so I decided to experiment.  Since I was essentially feeding the mice at this point, I smeared the peanut butter further up the triggering mechanism to try and force them to knock against the pin to get the peanut butter.  This worked, and I had to have someone get rid of the mouse that day.  The traps were reset, and my home organizers were due the next day, so I did not get much sleep that night either.  So out of the six days I had off I did not sleep much for four of them.  I did get two mice killed and I have had three days without any detritus anywhere else so I believe that they are all dead.  Now I just have to run everything I own through the dishwasher and scrub the entire kitchen before I cook in it.

On the other hand the home organization went extremely well.  I cannot believe how much they managed to get done in the 8 hours they were in my home.  No other animal byproducts were found anywhere in the house, not even flies.  I know that there are some people thinking that because I had a couple of mice, I live in the country, I have a dirty household.  Now that I am finished with my major destash I can finally focus on what I need and love in the house and making sure that I am surrounded by what I need and love.  The final note for 2018 is that I went to a buffet for New Year’s Eve Dinner and must have gotten food poisoning.  I will have to get the car detailed within a week so that I can comfortably drive it.  Needless to say I have not gotten much crafting done in the past 2 weeks, so sad.  What a way to end 2018, hopefully 2019 will be better.

Happy New Year!

A Good Idea in Progress

I now have two pages completed for my new fiber artist journal.  Grey Norwegian Wool Top and White Charollas Wool Top.  They are both spun, knit in lace & cable, then crocheted.  Mom suggested putting them in sleeves, which is where the glare came from, so that they will stay cleaner for longer.  It was a fascinating experience working with these two fibers and then yarns.  I can certainly see why a lot of people are hesitant to take the time to sample.  There were seven fibers in the Paradise Fibers Sample Box from January, I managed to spin five up quite quickly.  The sixth is spun, but the seventh is going to take a bit of time (I don’t feel too well so I don’t want to spin sick, knitting seems fine though).  Since spinning, plying, setting the ply, drying, balling up the yarn, it has taken quite a bit of time for me to knit up a lace and cable sample then crochet the left overs using single, double, half double crochets.  Once the samples are knit and crocheted they get another wash, then they are blocked and left to dry for a couple of days.  That is what is happening with the Black Welsh Fiber, once it is dry I will get started on the Mixed Blue Faced Leicester (I have the lace knit, I’m working on the cable next then crocheting the rest.)

In addition to creating a new, healthy, useful, practice, I am learning a lot about my spinning.  Mostly I am learning that I am not spinning nearly as thin as I thought I was, but that isn’t a bad thing really.  I don’t like working with the very fine yarns, okay I do want to make a very light fine shawl some day, for the most part I like having a sturdy yarn in my hand.  My knitting has gotten a lot better, I am not really afraid of ‘knit two together, yarn over, repeat 3’.  I am starting to understand what the lace looks like, I know I’m not doing it really ‘correctly’ yet, but I enjoy it.  My cables are getting better too, talk about something else I was afraid of, and I am starting to understand how many rows should be between cables to create certain effects.  The entire process is enlightening.  I am beginning to, sort of, see what knitters are talking about when they say that a two ply is better for lace than shawls, but I like how my cables are popping…I think that has more to do with using needles too small for the cables.

This is really a learning experience all around, and I hope to be able to instill some of these practices into my students…LOL.  I still have to figure out how to sample my yarns as weaving also.  Fortunately I have the backs of these samplers to put any weaving samples I can manage.

Happy Crafting!