Who Knew?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Finish Line

Vogue Knitting sponsored Virtual Knitting October 2020 where I was able to take a class from Jillian Moreno. The class was focused on all of the different ways you can spin and ply a braid of colorful roving. This included different ways you can get your precious fiber to stretch and how plying colors can effect eachother. I loved this class. As she was talking I was recalling that I had read quite a bit of what she was discussing when I read her book “Yarnitecture” which I cannot recommend enough. During and after the class, 2 hours long, I spun up samples based on roving I had purchased years ago and that I had fallen out of love with. The samples certainly reinvigorated my interest, and I look forward to playing with my Allegheny Fiber Arts batt in Mango in the near future. All of my playing around managed to net me about 344 yards credit for Spin Together 2020.

I had finished the first half of my big spin about Wednesday, which yes was a little late but as I told the captain of my team I lost about 15 hours spinning time between physical therapy and filling in for a colleague that had surgery. If I had the option I think I would take this week as vacation…if only I were full-time. Anyway. I actually got quite a bit of spinning done between Wednesday night and before my class on Thursday morning, that is the blue bobbin. Then I took everything off of my wheel to spin up my samples, they were so much fun. I thought about spinning more on the blue bobbin, however I decided to just start a new bobbin, this is the yellow bobbin. I finished spinning the singles late Thursday night and started plying with my first two bobbins immediately afterwards.

Before work on Friday I had managed to ply up one bobbin full, and knew that I would have to split the skein. Next year I am going to have to ply on my 64oz Firefly bobbin. Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild had a meeting Friday night, the first I have been able to attend in months. I spent this time getting some plying done so that by Saturday morning I had managed to ply up all three bobbins of yarn, the first skein I measured off as 300 yards. This is 900 credit yards for spin together (2 plies and the act of plying). During the zoom meeting with the Paradise Fibers Team I managed to get all of my samples organized onto their pages (I’m still using the organization method I learned at EGLFC from Kate Larson).

In the end my Total Mileage was 1.66 Miles. This does not include my first day making an art skein. This is probably one of the lowest totals, however I did manage to spin over a mile of yarn, so I am pretty happy. Reading over the documentation we were sent at the beginning of things, oops, I realized that Paradise Fibers will be sending everyone that participated a ‘little something’ exciting. According to Tamara, our team leader, one of the other participants has sheep and will be providing everyone with a little gift. In addition to the ‘big prizes’ paid for by everyone’s entrance fee, Paradise Fibers is sponsoring prizes within our teams. First and second place prizes for: Most beautiful skein, art yarn, and mileage spun. Perhaps my art yarn skein will get something? No matter really, I am just happy to have participated and spun up some of my stash.

Actually that reminds me, I took this opportunity to spin 2 and 3 ply samples of my Unicorn in the Library by Hipstrings as well as my October box by Paradise Fibers. Now I have to remember that Cleaning Your House is also on the list of things I need to do, not just spinning more yarn.

Until next time, remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Really Busy Week

Non-Crafting Content, skip to second set of asterisks to skip this part. **Sorry I have not gotten around to posting anything last week, the world seemed to explode around me. A colleague found out that she needs surgery because her IUD impaled her uterine wall, I had 2 staff meetings, 2 major projects, a transgendered person answered my “What do you want for Christmas?” with “A Vagina” (this is the first time bottom surgery has been brought up as even a consideration in conversation with this individual), and I’m trying to balance paying the guy painting my house with paying my school taxes and other bills. It’s been a bit stressful. Of course, I am still a very lucky individual. I’m going to have a conversation with my transgendered individual this afternoon, my colleague is getting her surgery and the shifts will be covered easily, I have one project complete and a handle on the other, my federal stimulus came through so I have the beginning of October’s Bills covered, I made a deposit payment on the painting, and I can concentrate on saving for the taxes. **

The painting of my house is going amazingly well. Some basic repairs and filling in of cracks, left by prior contractors, had to be done but now the paint is going on smoothly. There had been no prior discussion of painting my railings, which once I saw them against the new paint, had to be accomplished. I looked up painting color schemes and settled on a coral that would look amazing against the new color. I purchased the spray paint and started working on this new aspect to the project.

In addition to my adventures in painting, this makes me want to re-paint my entire interior which is not realistic at this point, I’ve got two bathroom vents that need replaced and my external garage still needs to be turned into a workspace. Ah Well.

I’ve found some time to spin this week, I managed to finish spinning and plying a dark sparkly set of fibers. I cannot believe that after plying I had 500 yards of yarn. I believe after washing I can safely assume that I still have over 400 yards of black sparkly yarn.

I look forward to figuring out what I want to do with this yarn when it is finished drying. This is not the only spin I have been working on, I have also been experimenting with the September Fiber of the Month Club Box/Bag I received from Paradise Fibers and the autumn spin I already had planned. I did a spin with the autumn fibers included and a spin with out the autumn fibers, already I think I am going to add in the autumn fibers. I then started knitting a test swatch for a garter tab cast on triangle shawl.

I love how this spin turned out so much I went stash diving and decided to pull out all of the fiber I can find that will fit into this criteria, I also added in some yellow for a bit of a bright splash. I have not started this spin quite yet however. There is an event called Spin Together 2020 that I have signed up to participate in on Team Paradise Fibers. This event runs from October 3-10, so short lived, and is based on yardage, beautiful skeins, or wild spins. I look forward to participating in this event, I’ll try almost anything once!

Back to Everything and More

I managed to schedule art journal prompts for the entire month of September onto Facebook with examples for each prompt. I still have a video to shoot for Monday, and I just found out that we are going to be doing crafts for our teens at the public library. I am really excited to be working with a colleague to figure out what we can have them doing with minimal supervision.

This past weekend I had so much fun watching the speakers for FiberWorld 2020 and getting plenty of spinning done. I managed to spin up the Batt that I purchased from the 716 yarn truck:

Multi Colored batt with a card explaining the fibers. There is a ladybug spinning wheel with a 3-d printed bobbin on it behind the batt, and a stool as well as a television behind it.
Photo of the spun singles on a schacht ladybug with a 3-d printed bobbin. Bright pinks, greens, blues, yellows, and bits of white.

I made the mistake of only putting 2 ties into the skein…then one snapped when I was trying to open up the skein…now I’m procrastinating winding that skein into a ball.

For the August Paradise Fibers Fiber of the Month Box we received a selection of a lot of the previous fibers.

Basket containing a lot of different pieces of fiber

I realize I’ve shared this photo before. I managed to get the mini batts spun up and plied. I have a photo of the yarn on the bobbin.

Singles from the fiber pictured above. On a schacht ladybug spinning wheel with a 3-d printed bobbin.

For this skein I put 4 ties into this, the washing went well. I’m drying the skein and will get a photo up soon.

Right now I am going to start spinning up a combination of 3 dark pieces of fiber with sparkles and some other colors bleeding through. I hope that I can keep myself interested throughout this spin.

So, my first full week of work is this week. 46 hours, down from my previous 55 hours. I’m excited to see what this semester brings. Teen crafting, spinning, weaving, new experiences, and fascinating work. What more can I ask for!

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Back to Work Soon

I am back to having an absolute blast spinning yarn. Thanks to a friend of mine I remembered that I had a batt from a local company.

Television on in the background, spinning wheel and stepstool in front of the television. In the foreground is a small table with a colorful batt of fiber, card in front that states 716 Batt, description of fiber content and 4+ Oz priced at $20.

This batt spun up within a couple of days, it was so much fun. It filled up about 2/3rds of a bulky bobbin.

Filled 3d printed bobbin on a Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel with a WooleeWinder.

This batt is currently in the form of singles into a center pull ball that I will be using to ply from once I have my current project off of the wheel. My soap has not arrived quite yet, the package seems to have been lost. While I am waiting I received my Paradise Fibers August Spinning Box. I love it so far. It is a batch of samples from many of the past boxes. I dug right in, the little bits are just enough that I do not get bored with a color. I spun up about 10 in one day. I am trying to keep track of what I am doing with the spinning.

Big Kantha Basket containing little balls of fiber in a wide variety of colors and fibers.

While I am ready to turn the heel on my worsted weight sock, I have not gotten around to it yet. I am about 2/3rds of the way through sewing the hem…thing that I am going to pull my drawstring through my dress…thing.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Crafting Single Handed (Literally)

2020 is going to be a very interesting year for me regarding my crafting life.  As shown above, I can certainly work with polymer clay, though the stamp on the left that was meant for wax is not working as well as I would have liked.  I will try it again with shallower cuts, if that does not work then I’ll put some cooking spray or olive oil on it to make the wax release.  The bowl on the right turned out wonderfully.  I am also doing well with my bullet journaling and other written/artistic activities such as watercolors, and Japanese Stab Binding.

My MRI showed that the ligament in my wrist has been completely torn, I will need to have surgery and then spend 3 months in a cast.  Scheduling the surgery will need to wait until I have received approval from the insurance company, this can take 25-40 days.  I will likely not be having surgery until March at the earliest.  March-April, April-May, May-June would be three months in a cast, so hopefully sometime in June I will get the cast off.  Realistically I will then need physical therapy since my wrist has not been actively used since November 2019.

These facts, combined with my need for a full-time job means that this is a year of:

  • Organizing and packing up my yarn, fiber, and crafting equipment.  This is also a perfect time to catalog my collection.
    • Goal is to have most easily transportable, non essential, items ready to travel when I need to move.
  • Go on a complete yarn diet.  Do not buy any yarn, still get paradise fibers monthly box
    • No purchases during Feb., March, & April  = Cotton/fine handcards when $50 is reached in PF Rewards points.

These goals should put me in a good place June of 2020, when I will reevaluate.  Until then, I have plenty of reading to do, plenty of organizing, as well as Bullet Journaling!

Remember to live life A Little More Abstract!

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.

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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!

Sherlock’s Great Afghan Adventure V by Susan Woodly

I am an extreme fan of Sherlock, and I mentioned in an earlier post that I had signed up for Sherlock’s Great Afghan Adventure V which was created by Susan Woodly, the pattern cost $11.99 (there was a sale) but there are quarterly prizes for the trivia and word scrambles.  This is going to not only give me a reason to listen to the Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which I purchased but never got to, but to take the year to knit a very large project.  I began purchasing some bits of worsted weight superwash yarn so that I could begin knitting March 16th when the first part of the pattern is released.  I had already ordered Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Yarn – 1305 October Sky from Jimmy Beans Wool for $8.10.  I also ordered a skein of Malbrigio Worsted yarn from Darn Good Yarn for $11.60.  This means that I was about $31.69 into this project already.  I was hoping to get one brand/type of yarn for the entire project, but since I would need 14-16 skeins of yarn and most of the Worsted Weight Superwash Wool yarns are 8-25/skein this did not seem like a reasonable goal.

However, I had a $100 coupon from Paradise Fibers Points system and they were running a 20% off flash sale.  These two things combined were enough to have me order one yarn for the entire project.  Originally these 14 skeins of Cascade 220 would have been $154.  Because of the flash sale, $30.80 was taken off of the top, and then I had a $100 coupon.  This means that for these skeins that would have been $11 each I paid less than $1.70 each shipped.  I am pleased that this will mean that all of these squares will be made out of the same yarn, ensuring a form of continuity throughout the project.  This would not have been the case if I had continued to piece together the project, especially since the Malbrigio is a singles yarn.

This brings the total spent for this project so far up to:

$54.90.  If I only use the Cascade Superwash this will be reduced to $35.20.  Since the true cost does include the $100 coupon that I spent on this project, it is safe to say that this is the reason that crafters cannot get what they deserve for things like this afghan.  Even with the simple 3X your supplies cost this blanket would be $405.60.  That calculation does not include the time spent actually knitting the project.  Oh well, these purchases should be enough to keep me happily crafting for an entire year, if not longer.  If I do not wind up using my initial purchases for this project they will be great for a hat, arm warmers, fingerless mittens, cowls, and more.  I was trying to think of what the moral of this experience is, but unfortunately all I get are conflicting ones.  I guess the best I can come up with is: Keep your eyes peeled for a good sale, but have a backup in mind (or stashed).

Happy Crafting!

Quick Spinning Post

Paradise Fibers decided to have a Spinlympics again this year even though it is not any olympics year.  Since I had a grab bag pack of the merino wool they recommended I decided to see if I could make something with it.  I decided to use my Brother Drum Carder to blend some silk and bamboo into each of the colors I chose.  There was a sky blue, yellow/gold, and bright yellow.  When I pulled the fiber off of the drum carder I created rolags instead of a batt.  In addition to the merino/bamboo/silk I added a couple of rolags of Yak/Silk I already had on hand.IMG_2313

Once I had spun the singles in a long backward draw on my Ladybug I created a center pull ball to ply from.  I know that a lot of people have trouble with this method and I will concede that there is probably a twist difference from the outside strand and the inside one. However I find that as long as I take care when plying to ensure even tension as well as taking care that the inside fiber does not tangle as it comes out, I love the results.  Also the lack of waste really appeals to me.

Once plied I ended up with about 110 yards of a yarn that I believe is sport weight.  Once this yarn is washed I will have a better idea of what size the finished yarn will be.

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As I was spinning the quote from S.E. Hinton’s the Outsiders kept floating through my head, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”.  With the shades of gold, a bit of blue skies as well as a bit of shades of grey, I am calling this skein, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”.  I had so much fun experimenting with the long draw, and I cannot wait to see this washed up.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

Paradise Fibers Video

I am always surprised when I realize that there is something that I have not even attempted.  I consider myself a fairly tech savvy person, while I do not like how I look or sound on camera I did think that I made a conscious decision not to get involved with uploading videos to Instagram and Youtube.  WRONG!

It turns out I was just a big chicken.  With the help of iMovies and my photo library I have been able to upload unboxing videos and tutorial videos quite easily from my iPad.  I admit that I have added no verbal commentary nor any music to my videos, since I tend to mute those anyway I choose to believe my lack of sound does not detract from my videos.  My explanation of how I am spinning my fiber is in this video.  I am very grateful for the Paradise Fibers challenges with this month’s Fiber of the Month Box since it required me to think outside my usual box and try something new.

On another note the first yarn for my first set of curtains has arrived.  As soon as I figure out how long I want this first warp to be I will warp a loom for my first set of curtains.  The yarn is a cottolin blend that I hope will turn into amazing curtains.

I have not set up my 2019 crafting goals, so that is in the works.  Until then, try something new!

Happy Crafting!