I Hate Colds

*Little to no Crafting Content in this Post*

So when I had Influenza this past spring it was three days, 2 of fever, one recovery, then I’m almost back to normal.  This blasted cold however is still going quite strong 8 days in, I actually had the pleasure of waking up with a bloody nose since I must have blown a blood vessel trying to keep this cold from turning into an infection.  So yesterday was my first day off in over 10 days, and I really just planned on sleeping.  There are things I needed to do in my house, I really hate that my garbage has to be out Sunday night for Monday Morning Pickup, but since I got most of that sorted out yesterday I should be good.  I simply have to put the garbage into the cans, it is already downstairs, and haul the cans to the end of the driveway.  Then tomorrow morning before I leave for work, pick up what the crows and vermin have managed to scatter out of the can.  Between running a few loads of laundry and getting the dishwasher loaded and run I managed to catch up on rest for the day, if not actual sleep.  I had hoped to go through with the 30 books in 30 days challenge, however we are almost to the middle of the month and I have read/listened to about 2 books.  There is the possibility that if I were to listen to audiobooks every free moment of the day I could finish the challenge strong, since that isn’t going to happen I will have to resign myself to not meeting that challenge.

I did manage to complete another row on the sleeves of my sweater, this means that I have 7 of the 14 rows I need to do before the 2 rows of single crochet.  It looks like I am lucky I decided to just have 16 rows total on the sleeves, my yarn is getting a bit short.

I hope to get more knitting done on my poncho from Jimmy Beans Wool, really I just need to buckle down and work on it.  I haven’t even gotten through the first month of the knit poncho or the crochet shawl and I received the third months kit in the mail yesterday.  I do realize that a good deal of my problem revolves around my need to start new projects all the time, my lack of free time, and the simple fact that I come home tired, eat something, take my pills (vitamins, diabetes, etc.), read some fanfiction, then go to sleep.

Checking on my schedule I am working about 50.5 hours a week, with 2.5 hours unpaid travel time between places and, honestly, about 12 hours travel time to and from work with time added in to grab fast food.  This means that for about 65 hours out of every week I am in pursuit of work related activities.  Then take into account that I should be getting about 40 hours of sleep a week and there are 168 hours in a week that should mean that I have about 60 hours free per week.  Of course, 2 hours each day to get ready eat breakfast, coffee, etc. 6 days a week takes this total down to about 50 hours free time.  Well, this is unexpectedly eye opening. I know that I waste about an hour each day playing a few facebook games, however I think this total means that I am spending about 30-40 hours a week reading fanfiction.  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that, sometimes, however I might need to move out of my rut.  Huh, with these revelations (and figuring out that it takes me about 5 minutes to knit a row on the poncho) I am going to start tracking where some of my time goes a bit better.  I realize that I tend to get into obsessions, not always a bad thing, and that Glee Fanfiction is my current obsession.  I also realized that the Glee Lads Singing “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” are much better than the original artist, especially since Chris Colfer is an actual Countertenor.  Who knew that the music appreciation class Dad helped me with during my undergrad days would pay off even though I am effectively tone deaf.  Okay, that is enough random ramblings:
GOALS THIS WEEK:

  • Figure out where my time Goes
  • Finish the Sleeves
  • Finish the first month of my poncho
  • Work on the first month of my crochet cowl
  • Decide on next project (not Jimmy Beans Wool)
    • Socks, knit
    • Ladybug Cowl from Kelly’s Knit Club
    • Cover for Strickt Planner, Knit
    • New Sweater from Kit (You have about 3)
  • Finish Winding the warp for your first rug, 10 epi
  • Figure out how many inches each of the sections on the sectional warp beam are supposed to cover
  • Look up information about job for interview, figure out some questions like benefits package, outreach efforts, community demographics, etc.

Okay, it looks like my week is going to be busy.  Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Family History and Crafting

This will contain no crafting updates or lessons.  It has been only five months since Mom joined Dad and I am still processing my grief.  If you have any fresh grief or if you are particularly sensitive, you may want to skip this post.  Crafting updates will resume with the next post.

My memories of my Grandmother, Mom’s Mother, are of her smoking at the kitchen table, cooking dinner, eating pretzels while watching Wheel of Fortune, sitting on metal lawn chairs (not those woven ones with metal frames but heavy metal chairs I wish I had today) while listening to the Cleveland Indians on the radio and watching fireflies, and her crocheting.  She was always crocheting or sewing.  I have more memories of my Mom, but still, crocheting, plastic canvas, (she learned loom knitting because it was mentioned in the Knitting Retreat series by Betty Hechtman, a good series that I read because it got Mom interested in Loom Knitting), and always encouraging my desire to learn new techniques.  Mom never tired of telling me how proud her Mother would have been to see me learning all of the new (old/traditional) crafts.   Of course, I never got mom to try spinning, though I did trick her into learning needle tatting so she could help me teach a class on it; that was so much fun.  I came to realize just recently, how lucky I was to have crafting be a part of my memory as far back as I can remember, while I was working.

During a crafting triage session, where people can bring whatever they are working on for a bit more help, I had one patron show up.  She is a lovely middle aged woman who wanted to know why she couldn’t get the same results twice when using her knitting loom.  We determined that she needs to keep better records of what she is doing, and even out her tension.  However, during this session, while she was working from a couple of tangled skeins of yarn I came to realize that she did not know how to hand wind her yarn into a ball.  I’m not talking about using a notepinne to create a center pull ball, just a plain old ball of yarn.  The kind that tends to go bouncing all over the house if you are not careful.  By checking YouTube I see that they are all promoting how to wind a center pull ball as the only method, oh well.  We spent some time working on this new skill, and at the end she had three balls of white yarn and two more tangled skeins of blue to practice on.

What this really caused me to realize is how very lucky I am to have been raised by a Mom that was crafty.  Actually Dad used to make things with macrame and I remember him doing Rug Hooking for a time, so Dad was crafty as well.  I have Aunts, Dad’s sisters,  that Quilt, Sew, Knit, and Crochet so there is still a ton of Crafty influence and encouragement in my life.  You know how it goes, intellectually you understand how lucky you are to have the support and influences that you do, but until you are faced with someone that hasn’t had those advantages it doesn’t occur to you, Not everyone knows how to make a ball of yarn.  Those people that pull a length of yarn from the edge of a skein and cut it off really do not realize how much damage they are doing to the usability of the rest of the skein.

I miss mom, as spring begins to bloom and I realize that I do not need to traipse all over the back hills to pick every single daffodil that dares peek it’s head above ground, the ache becomes more apparent.  I am glad that is is with her parents and Dad, happy that she is no longer trapped by the ever growing limitations of her body, and pleased that she and Dad are looking down on the family.  Remembering the good times helps to ease the ache and deepen the sorrow all at the same time.

Okay, rant and reminiscing over.  There are more crafts to do, the weather is warming up, I should work on cutting down the weeds so I can create pretty flower beds out front.

Until next post, be happy for your support, remember your loved ones, and Live a Life A Little More Abstract.

Shifts in Time and Perspective

Today is when we set our clocks ahead an hour, thereby losing an hour of sleep but gaining an hour of daylight.  For me this means that spring is ever closer, and a quarter of the year is almost gone.  I know, that will not be true until closer to the end of March, but time is certainly marching on.  Taxes are soon going to be filed, the cat is going to the vet tomorrow, gardens need to be prepared, and it really needs to stop snowing.  Thinking about all of this is giving me time to remember what the name of this blog is really about.  It is too easy to take life very seriously, and think of things in a very linear way.  Sometimes you need to think in ways that are A Little More Abstract, about life as well as craft.

February is always a bad month for me.  The end of January was my parents wedding anniversary, February 21st was the closing of the 10th year since we lost my father.  This is my first full year without my mother.  March begins a new month, a fresh month, working our way toward spring.  Lent is upon us, if you are Christian, so we begin a march toward Easter.  The word ‘March’ in the phrases, “March toward Easter”, and “Time is Marching on” tend to bring the unfortunate connotation of drudgery.  You think of an army slogging its way toward a battle, instead I think of a steady progression.  When soldiers March they tend to do so with their heads held high, marching proudly toward their destiny, whatever that may be.

This is where my shift in perspective is coming into play.  I need to figure out where my destiny is going to lay.  These past 10 years working several part-time jobs and taking care of mom has been a wonderful learning experience.  I have had the time as well as freedom to learn a lot about myself and what I am capable of in addition to some of my limitations.  Now it is time for me to face what the spring and summer will bring.  I know, this entire entry is a bit maudlin, but that is what this time of year does to me.

Yesterday I managed to wrap all of the warps for the shoelace weaving project I will be teaching tomorrow, put together a shelving unit for my studio when it is completed, and set up pans for the 12 stepping stones I hope to make out of cement.  I intended to begin pouring the stones yesterday, but since the weather is supposed to get up to almost 50 by the middle of the week I decided to hold off on actually mixing and pouring the cement.  I have the sand poured and the glass set, so it is just a matter of adding the cement and leaving them to harden.  Hopefully things will be in good shape by Wednesday, when they are coming to install my new garage door, and Thursday when I hope to mix the cement.  The decorations on these stones are pieces of glass, but I believe I will change that out for mosaic tiles or decorative stone for the actual class.  The glass shards are too much of a liability to consider as a good solution.

I have completed 2/3rds of the Jimmy Beans Knitted Cowl and have begun the final third.  It is actually my goal to have that knitted by the end of this week so that I can block it out and take a final picture for a blog post next week, fingers crossed.  I have not make much progress on the second installment of the Crochet Pouf but that is going to be my second goal, I believe.  This may get sidetracked depending on how complex the first installment of the Sherlock Afghan is on Saturday.  I also have socks and dishcloths I am fiddling with, hopefully things will get past the stage of stitching into nothingness and some progress will be made.

So that is the end of it for now.  Shifting time, shifting perspective, and a shifting list of priorities.  Learning more about myself and what I can do, playing with cement is new, and reminding myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.  So until next installment.

Keep crafting and remember to keep your life a little more abstract.

Mice and Me

The handyman that my colleague recommended to me is amazing, he has done so much work over the past week I can hardly believe it.  He is getting the basement cleared out, going to set up traps, seal any holes, and generally make sure that more mice getting in is impossible.  He has also managed to greatly disturb the existing nest and last night I heard what sounded like claws on the linoleum.  So, I didn’t sleep last night at all.  I dragged all of the cardboard out of the house, I had to put it by the external garage since pickup is not this week but next.  I looked for detritus, mouse droppings, and found none.  I called the handyman and he mentioned that since I have drop tiled ceilings in the basement the scratching  could have been coming from below the floor, which means I might be able to sleep tonight.

This is sort of a relief, however I think I need to get a professional organizer in the house anyway.  I had it in my head that I was going to take this one room at a time, blah, blah, blah.  In reality I know what I want to do, but have no idea how to achieve it.  Hopefully hiring a professional to accomplish this will help me to succeed and overcome this overwhelming sense of not enough space, not enough time.

On another note, I have received my Mirrix Little Guy Loom and I am enjoying myself a great deal.  I have begun to understand where this shopping retail is coming from and it actually is not depression.  My sibling’s (transgendered) driving force is travel.  They have always wanted to go to Japan and see the world.  I would like to see the world, but my driving force is Crafting.  Part is the primal driving force to connect with my fore-mothers through the crafts that they used to spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years learning and perfecting.  A portion is to try everything and find out what I am good at.  Another portion is simply a love of creating something tangible, meant to be used, held, and worn out.  If I gift you a bookmark, use it until the threads fall out, I’ll make you another.  If I give you dishtowels, please use them, I would love to hear that you wore a hole in them.  Art is pretty and it functions to decorate walls, Tapestries are prettier, decorate walls, and insulate your house.  So while my sibling is going on a trip to Japan in 8-10  weeks I am stocking up my studio to see what I can create in a year.  Right now I have a pair of tapestry cuffs on my Mirrix loom, I am enjoying testing out the different weights of wool and silk that I have to see what they will do on the loom.

IMG_2024.JPG

It really is true, you can get by with inferior tools but working with the right tools makes all the difference.  This loom warps up amazingly quickly, I am using the 8 dents per inch, and the shedding device allows me to add weft to the tapestries at an amazing rate.  I can easily adjust them up and down so that I have more room to work, and the tension system allows me to get a much tighter weave.  Looking at these it would take some imagination to think of what a worse beat is, I have to work hard on my selvedges.  This loom is also good for bead weaving which is an art that I want to become involved in.  I look forward to that exploration.

There are three more weeks before the end of the year.  In the next post I hope to have an update on the mouse issue, the organizer issue, my current tapestries, as well as a review of my Spinolution Firefly wheel.  To clarify, I purchased a 16 shaft Ashford loom which I will be discussing, the pin loom which was in the last blog post (I still love it), the Mirrix Loom which I will be exploring in depth this year, the Spinolution Firefly (electric) wheel package that includes a skein winder, lazy kate, 32oz and 16 oz heads, and more, as well as a variety of Jacquard dyes to color my weft threads.  It turns out that four or five skeins of weft from Treenway Silks costs about the same as a big skein of undyed silk yarn from knitpicks and some Jacquard dyes.  I had a pink dye already and found a good deal on Salmon (which is a brighter pink than I would have thought).  All of these supplies should stand me in good stead for working on my breed spinning experiment this year, making bookmarks, finding the right diameter of yarn for my 7′ triangle loom, and working on my curtains for the kitchen.

For now, Happy Crafting!

Ordered and Delayed

I officially have my Spinolution electric Firefly spinning wheel ordered.  Since they are an American based company and they make each wheel to order it will be between 4-6 weeks before mine is shipped.  This is actually a good thing, it will give me time to enjoy the anticipation and look forward to seeing if there are any huge sales that are going to occur for the other crafting materials I hope to obtain.

I know that this seems like a sudden spree, and fairly irresponsible.  Truthfully I have ensured that I am spending less than half of what I have come into, saving what I can when I can, and that I have enough left over to cover the major expenses that are going to come up in the next year.  These three purchases are not going to significantly impact my financial situation, however they will significantly improve my productivity.

For the rest of 2018 I will be working and learning to enjoy what I have and what I can do.  For most of 2019 I will be figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life, what my priorities are, and how I am going to achieve them.  At present I am overwhelmed by possibilities, and need to have time to settle down and figure out where I want my energies to go.  I know that spinning and weaving are two things that I want to have as a priority in my life.

Paradise Fibers November 2018 box was themed around Harry Potter, to the extent that they are running a house cup.  Once specific goals have been accomplished then points are assigned and the house with the highest number of points will win.  The prize is 500 paradise points for each member of the house, which in reality is five dollars off of an order, nothing to sneeze at.

On another note, my first Green Chef box was scheduled to be delivered this past Saturday, I thought Wednesday but checked again and it was supposed to be Saturday.  This did not happen, due to the weather, and I am anxious to see how the ingredients have held up over the weekend.  I will report more about this in my next post.

So, major life decisions are on hold, but pending.  Expenditures are not beyond what is feasible at this time (though some house repairs might have to be accomplished using loans).  This is going to be a year of self exploration and renewal.  It will also be a year of renewal for my home and sweeping out what I do not (realistically) need.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

Days 5&6 of Tour De Fleece

IMG_1364

I have made some progress on my major spin for Tour De Fleece.  More importantly from my perspective, I have decided to take my time and enjoy the step I am working on.  My personality is such that I am usually looking toward the next thing.  The next project, the next skill, the next thing to learn, etc.  This means that I do not really spend much time, if any, enjoying the step that I am on.  Recently I have been reading where several spinners talk about the hours of enjoyment they have gotten from a piece of fleece/fiber.  I have, for me, a large project that I am spinning toward.

Paradise Fibers sent me 8 oz of their Merino Blend in Bloom.  I split that in half to perform a Monet Spin, if you’ve been following me you know this already.  At present I am spinning about 4oz of the top in a straight short forward worsted spin on my ladybug.  This is resulting in the finest and most consistent spin I have ever accomplished.  However, instead of relaxing and enjoying this spin I am eager to get to the next step, spinning up the carded fibers.  I am also eager to see what the final plied yarn will look like, I have done two ply back samples and I believe I will have either a lace weight 2 ply or a DK weight 4 ply.  (it’s pretty fine)

Right now, I have spend almost three hours spinning up this first part of my fiber.  I am only capable of spinning about an hour or so at a time, the fineness of this spin means that should my concentration waver too much I will lose my consistency.  In those three hours, I have barely made a dent in my top.  This being said,  I have made a conscious decision to do my best to enjoy this time creating this yarn.  Haste makes waste is very apt in this case.  I am spinning a fine consistent yarn, taking my time, concentrating on how I am spinning and the results that I am obtaining will be key to enjoying this spin.  At my current rate of spinning I should get another 21 hours of enjoyment from this fiber.  Let’s see how it goes!

Happy Crafting!

Keeping the Spin Going

I have not been slacking off!  Ever since my guild meeting I feel like I have been slacking off, sure I’ve been working on weaving an eyeglass case, starting my tapestry, spinning at least 15 minutes a day, prepping for a crochet class and figuring out how I’m going to afford a weaving loom of my own, other than the one in the garage. but I still feel like I’ve been slacking.  Right up until I think about what I have been doing these past 22 days, I’ve done a lot.  I love English Leischester Longwool locks, they are such a dream to spin!  I’ve got three bobbins of ‘Art Yarn’ singles waiting to be plied with some acrylic I’ve got lying around.  I managed to ply the yarn for an experiment I will detail in a later post, I just have to knit it up and figure out the results.  I have the yarns caked, the patterns printed, and the hooks bought for the crochet class I’m teaching (fingerless gloves).

Remember to take the time and reflect on your achievements before pushing to achieve more.  It is wonderful to look toward the next project, but not when you forget to enjoy what you are doing right now.  Craft on, but don’t forget to look back and enjoy what you have created.