Realizing That Prioritizing is a THING

This is more of a realization post than a crafting one, other than finishing sewing a lunch bag, I have not made any progress on any of my crafts in the past week. Stay tuned for (hopefully) crafting content next week.

I want to do everything, I even have the skill to do most of it. What I really lack right now is time and motivation. Fortunately I know how to deal with both of these obstacles as soon as I get motivated to do that, lol. This week I need to call for an oil change in my car, and see if they can get the front plastic bumper to stop dragging on the ground when I turn corners, you can hear me from a mile away. This is with a new mechanic since I have moved, which is why I keep hesitating but I cannot justify an hour drive to go to a mechanic I trust…believe me I have tried justifying that but it doesn’t fly with gas prices the way they are. That is my easily solvable problem.

I was informed about an initiative that will help fund my new roof, when trying to contact someone about that I was informed it will be about July until they get applications created. I’m likely going to need someone to put some emergency shingles on my roof until then, I’ll fill out an application for the grant then minute I can because I would like a permanent solution rather than temporary. There is also an initiative about heating and cooling that I might have to go for even though the smart thing would be to wait a year or two since my furnace works alright however I am not sure the initiative will be valid by then and I would rather not risk an emergency heating and cooling problem. The main effort that I need to accomplish is getting the floor in my upstairs bathroom leveled and a new toilet installed, there was some mention of renovating the entire bathroom but I’m not sure how much more that would cost then fixing the toilet and installing shower doors. Tomorrow I am going to a quilt guild meeting and hope to get the name of a contractor I can contact then, if not I’ll have to go to the local home improvement store (that is not a chain) to find someone to do the work…not a chain because the chain does not do the work I need…I checked.

Once the floor is level and I have a working bathroom on the second floor I can begin to move myself up there and actually, well, live in my house rather than just the living room. Of course I also need to still pull the padding out of the third floor and pull up the tack strips from where the carpet was. When I was leaving my family home I jam packed a storage unit with everything I thought I wanted to keep, I was also (I thought at the time) pretty ruthless in what I wanted to keep. It turns out that I was probably pretty liberal in what I wanted to keep, yet I hesitate in getting rid of anything else until I feel settled in the house…but I am not sure I’m going to feel settled when an entire room is basically jam packed with storage totes. At present I am torn between taking them up to the third floor once I have that cleared out or trying to use the third floor as a quilting room. Since I am planning on trying hand quilting the first and third floors are the only two with enough room to consider putting a quilting frame. I’m still hand washing my clothes, though I did invest in a rack to try drying my clothes outside. To do that I need to get my back door fixed up so I can actually use it…..some days I love that I get to organize my house just the way I want it and others I feel like I made a huge mistake in purchasing something that needs so many little (and big) fixes. Only time will tell how I feel about the house in the long run, I believe that once I have these major events completed (the bathroom, the roof, back exit, and heating/cooling) I will feel more inclined to like the house.

Time, that is another constraint. I work 6 days a week, I know of people that work 7 without any real break, but at present I do not have to do that. In two weeks the semester will end on my side hustle, and I will ask my supervisor if she wants me to stay on the books until the new semester or put my resignation in at the end of this semester. I know she wants me to stay as an emergency contact, however it would take 5 hours of work to pay for the gas and an entire day off is worth more than a tank of gas and $30. While it feels selfish to have that attitude I am beginning to understand my self-worth as a person and as a librarian. An entire day off, 10 hours because the job is an hour away from where I live, is worth more than the gas it takes to get there and $30. By reclaiming this day I will be able to take a day to rest and a day to get things accomplished, or feel like I have more time to socialize and spend time on weekend jaunts around the city.

Three other priorities that I am working my way through are: Diet, Exercise, and wardrobe. Between November of 2020 and September of 2021 I lost 70 pounds. Since October of 2021 I have gained back 40. This means that the summer wardrobe I purchased last year does not fit me any longer, as well as meaning that I am better off trying to stick to my Nutri-System diet than do it on my own. As with everything that is easier said than done. I did join a gym, however I am being rather precious about when I go. If it is snowing and I will need to go to work afterwards, I’m not going to sweat at the gym, go out in the snow still sweaty, and shower for work. The last segment is wardrobe.

This is the hardest for me. I want to have a sustainable capsule wardrobe that fits me. Since my size is currently fluctuating, I cannot justify spending over $100 for a single piece that I am not sure will flatter me. This means that, in the immediate future, I am still contributing to Fast Fashion though I am still trying to ensure that my footprint is as light as I can afford to make it. I have purchased a skirt pattern with the intention of learning to sew my own wardrobe using eco-friendly fabrics…which cost about $20 a yard…and the pattern takes 6 yards…so we are back to $120 for a single piece that I am not sure will flatter me…wait I spend $11 on the pattern….so $131. This means that for now, until I have a better handle on my style and a steady figure, I am going to have to stick with second-hand and clearance options purchased in moderation. For the entire winter I cycled through my three wool dresses, tights, and two dresses that were heavy enough to wear with wool tights. This means that I essentially wore a uniform, which kept me from having to make any drastic decisions about wardrobe. With a limited number of pieces I will be able to do the same throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall. As soon as it looks like snow is no longer on the horizon I plan on running my wool dresses through the laundromat and packing them away in a vacuum sealed bag until Autumn.

I woke up this morning, at 11 pm, 2 am, and 5 am. I thought that my body was trying to reset my sleep schedule, however I now realize that I am using one or two days off strange sleep patterns to mess up my own sleep schedule. I plan on going to bed at 10pm and setting my alarm for 4:30am. This gives me time to do anything I need to do in the mornings before work. If the weather looks like it will hold out then I will try to go to the gym in the morning, if not the gym then I will try to go onto the third floor to pull up some of the carpet padding. This is where I have to figure out my priorities.

There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Right now I work 6 of them, in 2 weeks I will only work 5. At present my priorities are: Work, Me, Friends and Family, then House. I am going to spend the rest of spring and the summer figuring out what these priorities mean to me. Feeding my own soul involves spending time with my friends and family. I have made arrangements to spend a weekend at a family reunion, and there are 2 fiber festivals I plan to go to with a friend this autumn. I have invited another friend to come to Erie so we can visit a quilt shop next Saturday, if she says at the meeting she cannot make it then I will contact two of my other friends to see if they can make it. If no one else can come, I will still go to Erie, the quilt shop, and possibly some furniture stores. For myself, because it is alright to do something like that for myself. That is the lesson I need to get through, also that this diet is actually a good thing. That one is getting harder, I need to spend some time focusing on that concept.

That is the end of my self-reflection…hopefully for quite some time. These thoughts are exhausting, figuring out why I am doing what I am doing takes a lot out of me. Having an understanding to my motivations and a written list of what needs to get done and in what order is invaluable. Sharing it makes it more concrete to my mind. Hopefully by next week I can let some of the mundane go and get back to living my life in a way that is A Little More Abstract. (Thereby getting my creative mojo back!)

Walk-Throughs and Speed Bumps

**** Will denote the crafty updates, house content until then. Today the person buying the house I grew up in will be doing their final walk through. The sale should be finalized tomorrow, with the disbursements happening from there. I hope that this means I can finally get myself settled on a budget that I can stick to. Of course, it is Holy Week (if you’re Catholic…which I am but lapsed), so things are going to be a little strange anyway. Even though it is a religious holiday the secular world seems to come to a bit of a slow down anyway. I did look into the roof grant, only to be told that they were working on finalizing the application and they would have the forms ready in about 90 days…well I’ve needed something done since October so waiting until June/July to fill out an application that could cover 3/4 the cost of it…doesn’t seem like a bad idea at this point in time. When I get someone in to look at the bathroom I imagine I can ask them about the roof as well.

I did start back onto Nutrisystem, only for my monthly concerns to rear their head setting my plans back for a few days. After tomorrow I should be able to go back to my original plan. I am debating if I want to spend my 3 day weekend next week hiding or if I want to go to the buffet next Sunday since I believe they will have lamb, I Love lamb, and don’t want to buy/cook/clean up after cooking lamb this week. Either way I hope to spend at least part of next weekend planting my seedlings in the pots I will use to put them outside in. Yay! I was going to pot the plants this weekend but did not, and I don’t feel bad about that. I need to rest for a couple of days, maybe finish some projects so I’m ready to start some new ones when I am back on an upswing. I have not been to the gym this week, Friday the weather was miserable and I was starting to feel poorly, then Saturday I started to figure out why I was feeling poorly, then today I had work and there was snow on the car so…no. I know it is weird, however I do not plan on going to the gym on days where there is snow, at least not when I am on a tighter schedule. If the weather is warmer and the gym is open at least 3 hours before I have to be at work that will work, 2 hours for the gym (getting there, working out, getting back) and 1 hour to clean up for work, then I will go to the gym. If not, then my iron and cutting board are upstairs, my sewing machine is downstairs, If I feel really good I’ll go up and down my stairs for 10 minutes at a time, that got me sweating the last time I tried that.

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I took Friday and Saturday off, though I am working my other job today. I had made a ‘play date’ with a friend and former colleague to try out a solar dyeing technique, unfortunately the weather did not hold out, however we had a fun time anyway. She had some fabric she did not want to keep and offered it to me, one was a set of 5″ squares pre-sewn together into 4 patches. She told me that it might be good for a disappearing 4 patch, however I know I cannot machine sew the corners properly, no matter how much I try, so I believe I am going to edge the squares using a solid color and either make it into a baby quilt that I can practice my hand quilting on or as a pillow or something similar. She was also kind enough to gift me with a mat for my sewing machine to sit on with pockets in the front and her husband gifted me with a carved bunny that I will treasure. She has this upcoming week off and would like to show me to a quilt shop less than an hour away and I suggested next Saturday since I know I have that day off, not thinking that it was the day before Easter. Oops, I hope it happens but I understand if it does not.

This means that Saturday was a ton of fun, however I tend to drive myself mad sometimes. In preparation for Saturday (and to just get it done) I worked on getting my third quilt attempt finished. I like how it turned out, learned a lot of lessons, and think I am going to give hand quilting a try next.

Wrestling a quilt that fits the top of a queen sized bed through a domestic sewing machine that sits on one of those small square tables you can get from certain craft stores is NOT how I recommend quilting. It did the job, I have a quilted quilt with the binding sewn on the edges. I did a ‘wavy lines’ quilting pattern, which means I tried to do wavy lines and I’m just going with, “Sure, I wanted it to look like that” as my answer when I am questioned about the weird peaks, dips, and straight edges in my wavy lines. The quilting is about 5″ apart, the batting says that the quilting can be up to 8″ apart so I should be alright there. The binding is just the backing folded over like you would do for pot holders.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a Weaver’s guild meeting half-way between where I used to live and where I live now. I love the guild, and it was ironic that the meeting was held at their public library (where I had interviewed for a job 2 years ago). The meeting was lovely, I had a chance to pull out my spinning wheel and show some individuals how to spin. I also reminded myself how much I enjoy the quiet of spinning. I am presently thinking that I will spin on my front porch while watching the world go by. Of course in order to do this I need to get 2 things accomplished. I need to get the porch level again, it looks as though one board likes to swell in the rain which causes it to buckle the porch, and purchase a chair for my front porch. I have been looking online thinking that I would order one, however if I plan on using it for a spinning chair I really should get a good idea of how it feels before actually spinning in it for any extended length of time. I am hoping that this is a once every 30 years purchase. While in town I discovered that they have a quilt shop which I was thrilled to find out…until I looked at their selection. I know that I have particular tastes, and that I do not want to purchase fabric until I KNOW I like it and will use it. This means that I bought a small, simple, pattern and a bag of essentially colorful scraps and asked the owner to keep the change since that was the only way I could spend five dollars in the shop. I feel bad, but I am not buying fabric I cannot see a good use for. I do have plans to use the pattern as a sort of border for one of the panels I hope to create a quilt from next. I also have 3 jelly rolls, not to mention most of a black jelly roll, to still use. Well, I did not know until I was typing that up that I had really decided on the quilt panel next, however that makes sense. I am still working on my EPP Project.

I have started to figure out how I want to place the glued pieces for my first EPP quilt, I have 10 out of 25 pairs sewn for the second part and these bundles put together for the first part that I hope to start sewing soon. I am trying to get some long languishing projects worked on so that I feel a little more freedom to work on this huge project. I am about a dozen rows away from finishing the pillow that started with a new colorwork class that had me knitting what were almost quilt block pieces. I love how this looks and cannot wait to see it finished. I am a little apprehensive about how I am going to finish it since at present I am planning on knitting some extra rows of the back to create a flap that tucks inside the pillow. I thought about just seaming the pillow blank inside however if I ever need to wash it that would cause too many problems.

Next I hope to start getting projects ready for progress. I need to find a charm pack that will go with the panel I hope to work on so I can get that border started. My 16 shaft loom needs to be warped with the towel warp I wound so I can start weaving that up. I need to straighten out my Saori Loom’s warp so I can get back to using up some of that yarn. There is the possibility that we will be playing with weaving looms next month at the guild meeting so I should have my looms ready to be warped and played with, not to mention possibly finding the alpaca tweed yarn I bought to weave a blanket from. Possibly that got lost during the moth-ening though I hope not. Oh, on a not so fun note, I just realized with spring possibly on the way I should consider putting together the push mower I purchased so that when my lawn dries enough I can mow. yay.

I am honestly excited by all of the changes coming, to myself, my house, and my crafting. I have been finding by leaning into what I am feeling and what my body is trying to tell me I can get more done. Some of this is certainly down to having 1 full-time job, no person needing me to take care of them, as well as having the second house off of my shoulders. However I do believe by resting when I need to, finishing things when I have the urge, and starting (some) things when I also have the urge I am completing more than I ever have in the past. Normally I would have become overwhelmed by the quilt and stopped, instead I leaned into wanting to finish it, took it step by step and leaned into binding when I felt like it instead of waffling.

That is me for the week, it has been busy. I’m going to take the next couple of days to lean into recharging and see where the world takes me from there. I am uncertain if I will post next week, it will depend on how much I get done and how I am feeling. Until next time, Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Why Not Go All in?

So when I start something I tend to go all in. Case in point, I decided to give English Paper Piecing a try. Learning one type of quilting at a time wasn’t enough for me apparently.

Lesson 1. 1.5” hexagons measure 2.5” across and 1.5” on each side. this means that getting a jelly roll so you have 10 coordinating fabrics of 40+ inches each….does not work. Oh well.

Lesson 2. Why plan one extremely complicated pattern for your second try at English Paper Piecing when you can go for 2?

To clarify these lessons, I am having an absolute blast with English Paper Piecing (EPP). I have finished 2 flowers and have most of the pieces cut out for Tula Pink’s Nova Quilt Pattern. I purchased the pattern and papers as a kit from Amazon along with the Acrylic templates to cut the fabric out. I think I could have done fine with cutting the fabric, though not very fast, without the templates however I plan on doing some fussy cutting for the second quilt and the templates will be invaluable then.

The pattern, there are a lot of small squares to this
The paper templates are amazing, however it is going to take me forever to get the fabric pasted on

It has taken me several hours to get most of the pieces cut out for my trial version of the quilt. I love the colors and I am looking forward to seeing how it will turn out. Right now I am working on pasting the 170 tiny paper triangles onto the tiny fabric triangles and tacking them down with the fabric glue. I use Wonder Clips to hold the three points down to ensure a good seal, then stack about 10 in the clip for about 15-30 minutes. Then I make sure each triangle will separate, since I like using a good amount of glue, and stack them in the box. About 3 hours in and I have about 100 of the 170 ready to go. Of course this is just the first of 7 shapes, it is also the most abundant. After this the numbers drastically reduce per shape, the largest has only pieces 11 to it.

I do have this quilt finally completed, there is a flower on the back and writing on the front to hide where I messed up the binding, however I love how it looks. It is really just a lap sized sort of thing, however I adore it. I have also made some progress on following patterns and made the 29″x29″ heart below, I am hoping to add other squares and sashing to make this a 90″x90″ piece so I can use it as a queen sized quilt.

I had a quilt night at my library and my machine kept jamming up, despite just having been serviced I was spitting mad. Luckily enough one of the patrons, the step-mother-in-law (ex?) of one of my supervisors, had a Janome LE she was not using and offered it to me. She would not take anything in return, which was very nice of her. I made the heart up in the week between classes, since I had the idea floating around in my head, just no reliable machine to use! Eventually I am going to have to consider getting the Janome professionally seen to, however I might see who else does that in the area.

If that were not enough I also have been doing some work on my house. This is crafting related I promise. A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends house for a sewing day, it was amazing. Her set up was so inspiring I immediately went looking for something similar, and promptly got sticker shock. A week or so later and I found a sale at Michaels that would go along with my $10 coupon, and for under $100 I had a table that was 55″ unfolded by over 22″ deep, and waist height. I have found that as a responsible adult, I have to trick myself into doing stuff, lol.

In this case I was not able to assemble my new table until I had called the garbage company to arrange pickup of the carpet pieces from the third floor AND hauled the carpet to a point where taking them out the afternoon before pick-up would be easy. (I have to put them out after 4pm the day before, no earlier.) Right now they are on my front porch, looking really ugly, however I did not really have anywhere else to store them until pickup.

Well, now that the carpet is done, okay so I still have one more small piece….and all of the padding…and the linoleum that someone put down on top of the hardwood floors…other than that the carpet is done, I could assemble my new table. The plan was, yes was, for me to use the good table to sew and a card table with adjustable height to press and cut. I put the card table, well it is a bit closer to picnic table length, up and started to do some cutting. Only to find that even at its highest the table is a bit too short for me to comfortably cut on it. I think it’s a good height if I am sitting at it, however, so this might become my sewing station instead. The rolling cart however, with the 55″ width when unfolded, is just at my waist height making it virtually perfect for cutting and pressing. While assembling this I had to run downstairs and put two different bandages on, one was due to the folding nature of the particular screw driver I was using, and I still have to tighten a couple of screws down before I trust that flap for cutting. Other than that the entire thing is assembled.

I also have an origami rack in the odd corner, right now it is going out into the room, however I think I will turn it to nestle into the corner to give me more room around my sewing table. You can see that the white table has considerably more height on it. The floors are a bit scarred looking, I was thinking of seeing how much it would be to get them professionally refinished, however someone pointed out it might be better to just get a faux wood laminate or something similar over top. This wood is so scarred and there are such gaps between boards I think the entire floor would have to be relaid and there is a lot more that needs done to the house before that. (Such as a new roof, heater/air conditioner, etc.).

I am very happy with these wall storage pieces. The spool rack is from amazon, but the other rack is from 5-below. I was able to bend out the hooks on the bottom so they can fit a pair of scissors and some other small objects. While I love the look of table top storage rack things, I knock them over. I just do. This is a similar problem I am going to have with acrylic ruler storage…I knock them over. There are some really neat ones with slots and places for pins…One bad bump and I have pins all over the floor along with ruler (just my luck I would break one).

My sewing room is coming along wonderfully. I hope that I will be able to keep the other pink desk in there so that this can be a multi craft room since I have too many interests to make a room for each one. When the second leaf of the tall white table is unfolded I cannot get by the pink desk. If I move the white table or the black table then I lose maneuverability. If I move the pink desk any closer to the window I cannot get into the closet…which I am only worried about so that Orkin can make sure I don’t have mice…but that is important to me. I might move the pink desk back into the corner and make a nest of tables with my resin and possibly paper craft supplies by the pink desk. The white table is just about 1″ to shallow for the entire width of my largest cutting mat, which frankly sucks, however I believe I can live with that (and being careful about cutting) since it completely fits my pressing mat.

That is about it for my big news. I am loving these new crafts, and using the momentum to make progress on other things. This is my active cycle, which according to traditional wisdom this should be the end of my resting cycle but whatever, so I am going to lean into it and enjoy while I can. This week I am taking the second in a two part book binding class and the first in a two part embroidery class. While I have a full week of work ahead of me it is exciting to know that I now have some room and freedom to explore. I still do better when I plan my days out and stick to them within the parameters given, I have the freedom to change those parameters as well. No pet or person waiting on me to get home, no major obligations other than to myself, work, and my bills. The freedom is a bit heady, I can get involved in other organizations without worrying that it will cause problems for my ill mother or that it cannot be worked around my crazy work schedule (I now have a regular work schedule). It has taken a bit over a year for these facts to begin to sink in, now that they have I ensured that I would be available for every meeting of the 3 guilds I belong to as I could. 2 meetings of one guild occur during major events at work I need to be at. Okay, enough pseudo therapy for right now.

I hope to have more crafting news for you next week, until then Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

The Universe Was Not Finished With Me Yet

*Very little crafting content in this post, it will begin after the ***

So, I didn’t post last week. I usually post while I’m at my side hustle job, I do my work but there are periods of down time. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to my side hustle last week, well, let me back up a bit. Not this past Thursday but the one before that we put our old house up for sale. The realtor recommended we give it the weekend and start looking at offers the following, this past, Tuesday. My sister and I agreed. A friend/colleague from my side hustle job wanted to get together so we did a shopping trip that Saturday, February 12th. We had a bit of fun, I showed her my new house and she assured me that it does not smell of cat (yay!). As we were getting ready to end the night, she was going to try some Skinny Syrup Mermaid Flavor since I had some and wanted her to be able to try it before purchasing a bottle. She let me out and I started walking up the neighbors driveway, and I fell….hard…landing on the wrist where I had previously snapped a ligament. I hopped back up and tried to ignore the pain, thinking I would put a hot pack on once my friend had left.

She asked if I was alright, brought in my purchases, and all in all was amazing. I served her the flavored water, it tastes like coconut and all things tropical I love it. Then I noticed that a bulge was protruding from the back of my bad wrist, heat and ice were not going to do the trick. My friend took me to the urgent care center, we were seen within 10 minutes. It was a bit of fun hanging out with my friend, especially since ( a week later) I know that it was just a sprain. Since I was in pain, and did not feel up the the hour drive the next day (or another 8 hours of work followed by another hour drive) I called off of work/side hustle last week. This resulted in my, effectively, sulking for the entirety of last Sunday…which I needed. I slept a lot, rested my wrist, and generally had a very relaxing day. This past Tuesday we accepted an offer on the old house (we had 2, one was 66% of asking price and one was 100.5% of the asking price, so we accepted the full offer). Then came prepping for the inspection, which was just yesterday, and now we are going to wait for the next steps.

I’ve only given myself enough time to breathe today and realized that I was trying to work ‘full speed’ through my fallow period. Since I have so much going on I was trying to force myself to be productive instead of settling down and dealing with life as it comes….okay, since I have tomorrow completely off I’m going to rest, read, relax, and enjoy myself. *whew* That’s a load off of my mind, and probably what the universe was trying to tell me.

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I did discover that I can still use my sewing machine while wearing a wrist brace and with a sprained wrist. I am not really sure why quilting is hitting me so hard as the craft I want to do, but I am going with it right now.

This is my curvy log cabin quilt squares, well half of them before the final trim. I am supposed to trim off the last white section to square up the blocks…however I am seriously thinking about leaving that part on for this half of the blocks. For the second half I plan on reversing how they look, putting the white sections toward the center, and for that I will trim the white down to a square. I know, there are wrinkles everywhere, and I am certain there are ways to prevent them…I just don’t know what those are. I am not sure what I am going to do with the finished blocks, though I am really leaning toward a sampler quilt. I have a 108″x108″ backing piece that I can use to create a queen sized quilt. I also have two panel pieces that I fell in love with that I need to figure out what to do with. At present my quilting station is sufficient, but irritating so I am also looking into ways to make that situation better. Fortunately, for my wallet at least, there is not enough room for me to pick up a Create Room Co. Dream Box, though I’m still looking at their sewing station.

***This is going to be about home decoration, while craft room organization is a big part of that the actual crafting content is done***

As I am finding out looking for home furnishings, furniture of any quality is quite expensive. A really nice work desk is about $700, I can get similar from Amazon but I have to think that the quality will not be there. Of course I just did some more looking at the Dream Box, as I have been for the past three years or so, and discovered the Dream Cart. I will do some measuring and look into it further, however it looks like a reasonable solution. While it does not have the recessed sewing machine storage or the specific thread storage it does have two leaves that operate independently of each other, one can be used for pressing and the other for cutting. There is storage in the center column, on both sides so that it can easily be used from the ‘front’ or the ‘back’. Frankly if this works out the way it appears that it will I could see this becoming a great writing desk for me as well, but back to storage. I have full-sized origami racks, which I adore due to their portability and capacity.

They are also metal and rather…industrial looking. For right now they are doing great at storing the decorations I inherited, and cannot bear to part with right now, from Mom. That is taking up over half of my computer room right now, yet I do not see a way around that at present. I thought about putting the decorations downstairs, but I would need the smaller origami racks, and I would need about 4 of them, since they run 75 each I’m not willing to pay $300 right now for storage I can get elsewhere. I may decide to store them on the third floor if I do not find another use for that area. I have most of the carpet padding out of my final bedroom, plus I purchased curtain rods to install.

It is a bit difficult to drill holes to install curtain rods with one really good hand, so that has been put off a little bit. Even once the rods are installed I will have to find appropriate curtains to install, specifically blackout curtains. I think I have what I would like chosen, they are only about $45 per pair and I would need 5 sets. While I love the idea of weaving my own curtains I acknowledge that is not realistic; at least not for me to weave curtains that would be light proof.

As you can probably tell from this long and rambling post, organizing a craft room/house is quite a set of compromises. You can absolutely get furniture for under 1k; the main issue is you will likely be re-purchasing that furniture over and over again as it breaks.

I think that is enough rambling for today. I am going to take this week to enjoy my fallow period and work on finding what will relax and recharge me while trying to listen to what the universe is telling me. One of those messages seems to be ‘Don’t make any large purchases right now’; so I hope to spend time enjoying what I already have.

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

2022 Planning

This is going to be my year of learning and using what I have. This move has emphasized how much fiber and yarn I already have, so I plan on trying to use a lot of what I have and investing in learning experiences.

I am going to work on getting my home organized and just the way I want it this upcoming year. I am also going to focus on my new job, fortunately I know what I am doing and I am already good at my job. Without the distraction of buying a new house and driving a couple of hours each day I believe I am going to be able to up my work game considerably.

The final plan I have for this year is getting back on track with my diet. I went a bit off the rails this holiday season, however this will get fixed in the next couple of months.

Until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

2021 Wrap-up

This had been an amazing year. Starting a new full-time job, purchasing a new home, and learning all sorts of DIY projects.

With my full time job i now have the opportunity to plan for months and years in advance. previously I planned days and weeks in advance, these days I have most of my 2022 main programs planned and a couple of things to work on in 2023. I have been able to ask that I be allowed to schedule around a couple of things i want to do, some craft classes and my guild meetings. I’m not ’taking time off’ though I could if I had to, just not working the Saturday’s were having meetings and the I have a class scheduled for Stitches online in January.

With my new home, I am learning more every day. I did lose two boxes of yarn and books to moths and one had signs of mice. Since my unit is empty, and I’m not too mad about the losses, this was a pretty good experience. My new house is ready for me to completely customize.

DIY jobs are so much work however, they are so satisfying when they are done. I’m still sleeping in my living room, I did finally order a frame for my Queen bed, and I love looking at my amazing purple paint every day when I wake up! I’ll give a rundown my my new DIY discoveries in my next post.

2021 was amazing, 2022 will bring more amazing opportunities and challenges. For the new year I will be able to customize my new home, actually get my budget under control with a steady paycheck and steady bills, as well as selling my old home. I hope that you have a great new year and I will write again next week.

Until then remember to live life a little more abstract.

Spinning and Sock

A blue brita water bottle centered in the back with a wooden lazy kate in the front holding two bobbins, a purple bobbin with white fiber on the left and a yellow bobbin with dark multicolored fiber on the right.

I managed to finish spinning the braid of white fiber I had started with. I then spent my free time over two days plying the white and dark fiber together. I am surprised to find out that the darker fiber ran out first, however I also discovered that I had spun a synthetic fiber on the bobbin earlier, I believe that it was intended to be a strengthening strand for a sock yarn or something similar. I did manage to finish the plying, though it appears that there were a few yards of a pastel fiber on the beginning of the bobbin.

A very full green bobbin on a Schacht Ladybug Spinning wheel with a Woolee Winder attachment. The colors on the bobbin are a pastel plied with a white.

The skein is washed and is currently in the process of drying in front of a vent in my bathroom. I am hoping that this will be enough yarn to warp and weave up a scarf, however as a precaution I am planning on starting the cowl with about three inches of the white, then half of the black plied fiber followed by half of the grey plied fiber before continuing in white. I intend to leave 13″ at the beginning to do the Hero Cowl weave technique as well as measuring out when I need to start the grey and black to finish with 3″ of white before leaving a similar 13″ at the back of the piece. Since this is being woven on a 10″ Ashford Sample It loom that should leave me enough ends for about a 2″ fringe on both sides.

A sock crocheted in yarn the color of a sunrise over the ocean on a foot crossed onto a knee. There is a black shoe and hunting sock in the background along with a rolling chair mat.

I managed to finish crocheting the first ACCROchet sock from the Vogue Virtual Knitting Live class earlier in February. I love the color, and using elastic at the top was probably a good idea. I hate the rest of it. I do believe that is my own fault, not the pattern. I should have added more rows in the foot, that would have made it easier to get over my heel. I am not too sure about how the cuff fits over my heel, I think that might (again) have something to do with my foot being too short. There is not enough room from where the top of my foot is to where my heel is supposed to be so trying to yank my sock leg over that is not working too well. I also probably should have added the elastic in earlier on my sock rather than right at the top cuff. Live and learn. I think I am going to try an ankle sock pattern with the remaining yarn. I also pulled out my sherlock socks to look at, they were not nearly as bad as I seemed to recall them being. It is not a ton of fun to try and crochet carrying the elastic thread along with the main yarn while not stretching out the elastic thread, I believe that the results will be worth the irritation. If not then I can worry about sewing in the elastic thread later.

Such has been my week of crafting. I have no idea what next week will bring. I will confess I am trying to find some plus sized skirt patterns so I can give sewing my own skirt a try. There is a free version I think I will try, the pattern pieces are 16 pages long which means I’ll have to pay about $2.40 to print them out. I might just splurge and spend the $15 to order the Plus Sized Victorian Walking Skirt pattern I really want. After that I will have to spend several months saving up enough to purchase the fabric I would need to for the outer layer, inner layer, and interfacing/canvas. I could get the fabric much cheaper, however most of the point is so that I am not contributing to fast fashion and the use of plastics. My ideal would be a cotton under-layer with canvas interfacing and an outer skirt made of wool. That way I can have a skirt to wear when fall and winter come around. While I like being able to wear slacks I have not fit into in years, I still prefer skirts.

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

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!

New Year, New Challenges

*This post is not going to be very crafting heavy, though I do have a crafting section, if you are only here for crafting please skip to the line of asterisks.**

2021 is going to be my year! I am looking forward to the new challenges that I will face this year as well as the changes I am choosing to make. Do I think everything is going to be smooth sailing, no of course not, however I am going to control what I can and leave the rest up to fate.

From the late 90s to the early 00s Mom and I collected Beanie Babies. We had a lot of fun and I have some amazing memories of the times we spent looking for certain beanies. The prices of these toys have not help up to the times so I found myself with literally hundreds of beanies sitting in tubs in the back hallway of my childhood home. In theory I could create sets, set up sales on ebay and see what I could get for them. I put up three posts of some beanies that had sold for huge amounts in the week I put the posts up. Two weeks later, I have not received a single offer. Oh well, to the donation box the rest of the beanies are going to go. I kept a few for myself that I have very fond memories of, okay so I kept a small tub for myself (I cleared out three huge tubs so this is still a lot of progress), and sent some to my sister that she would like. I made the conscious decision that I was not going to take these tubs of toys into my new life, and eventually new home. I did ensure that some of my friends and colleagues with children wound up with some, okay a lot, and I feel good about these decisions. I still have four huge tubs I need to put into garbage bags to donate, however I have made significant progress.

Along those lines later today I am going to be clearing out my car of junk so that I can start fresh for my new job. Theoretically I should be vacuuming and getting things detailed, that is not going to happen so I will focus on what I can do. I have also cleaned out my fridge of all of the items I have not eaten the past two years (condiments included) and need to wipe that out later. I know, some people are able to do these tasks on a regular basis and so accomplishing them is no big deal. I am not one of those people, I have been listening to decluttering books, organizing books, and minimalism books in the hopes of gaining control over my ‘stuff’. These changes are not just for today, this week, or this year, these changes are how I am going to be able to maintain these changes long term. They will take time and effort, however I will be rewarded in the end by only being surrounded with a functional, aesthetically pleasing, home that I enjoy being in.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith allowed me to understand what I need to do in order to craft my new home to work with my aesthetic as well as my needs. As much as mom used to make fun of my Grandmother’s bill paying desk, I am going to buy a little desk with cubbies right on top so I can organize and pay my bills in one cleared off space. Right now I am doing that on my computer desk with my supplies in a little metal drawer underneath my computer monitor. I hate having to move my keyboard out of the way, or going to a separate table to write out my Thank You notes as well as greeting cards. I have also made up some pinterest boards that are going to help me with my decorating choices when the time comes.

The Clutter Connection and Real Life Organizing by Cassandra Aarssen have both helped me to understand that I need my items to be visually available. Aarssen also runs an organization that talks about clutterbugs and she frames all of her information in that terminology, this is well worth a look. She also helped me to understand that I am not ‘lazy’, ‘naturally messy’ or any of those other self-defeating terms. I simply organize in a visual way because if I try to do the ‘everything put away’ thing I lose stuff or forget I own it. Since I have started trying this method I can find things when I look for them. This means that in my new home I am going to go for bookcases with baskets for my crafting supplies as well as two glass cabinets. I already have one that I am going to store Mom’s Hummels in, the other is going to be for the beanie babies I choose to keep. That way things are not tucked away but displayed with pride for me to enjoy.

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K White has allowed me to embrace ‘the container concept’. This is simply coming to accept that the size of the container designated for something is the size that it is. That means if something has to be eliminated because it does not fit in the container and is not loved as much as something else then that is it. You cannot keep more than a container holds. This is going to be very helpful to me when it comes to Mom’s collections. One cabinet for her Hummels, one for the Beanies. If there are items that do not fit in the container, then ask “what gets taken out?”

I am cringing even as I write this next part, I am going to apply these concepts to my craft collections. I know, it hurts to think about it. I do plan on setting up book cases for each of my major hobbies, knitting/crochet, weaving, spinning, papercrafts, and dioramas. I also intend to have two bookcases for books, one crafting books and the other fiction/DVDs. This does seem like a lot of bookcases yet for me this is the perfect balance of organized and visual. If the items are in baskets while on bookcases they are contained, organized, and visual enough for me to see.

I realize that for some people these concepts are completely ‘duh’ yet for plenty of other people like me these books will make you sit up and take notice. The best advice I received from these organizing and decluttering books, I am not alone. There are other people quietly suffering with the same problems that I have and grew up with. Mom did not know that she was a non-visual organizer compared to my visual organizer so things were a constant misery of lost items and accusations of slovenly behavior. I cannot tell you the number of times mom ‘knew’ that someone came in and stole something because she could not put her hands on it. Dana had the same story to tell.

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Onto the crafting! Purl Together has come up with a ‘Finish it or Frog It’ challenge that they have started for 2021. The first step is to gather all of your WIPs or Works In Progress and take a photo. Having some people talk about their 15-50 unfinished items makes me feel better about my nine. Six of these were put on hold while I had surgery and recovered from my surgery, and at least two are probably going to be frogged.

Nine unfinished knitting and crochet projects in various stages of completion.

The forest green piece on the bottom right side of the photo is a baby cardigan I waned to have finished by today, as you can see that did not happen. I have finished 2″ out of the 6″ I need on the first sleeve then I need to pick up the second sleeve, seam the sides, hide the ends and sew on buttons. The buttons are supposed to arrive on Monday or Tuesday so if I finish then I will be very happy. The 8×8 cabled cowl on the bottom far left of the photo is something that I am capable of, however the tight, huge, cable makes the width of the cowl much too small for my tastes. Since it is a bulky Knitpicks yarn I can easily find another pattern. I was very happy to find the cardigan that I started with a Jimmy Beans Wool Kit almost half done, I hope to finish that. There are a couple of mindless projects I can take with me, the half-granny triangle shawl out of lace weight yarn will take forever to crochet up, yet I love how it is turning out.

Between the New Job, Organizing, De-Cluttering, and a New House, 2021 is certainly going to be A Little More Abstract.

Spin In Day 1

Good Morning, I’m posting this well before the Spin In Begins. Today the spin in starts at noon, I will be home at 2:30pm until about 5pm. I hope to spin my first project today, which is my wild skein. For this skein I purchased two ounces of curls, the vendor had some emergency vet bills I wanted to help with, and will use these couple of ounces in addition to the other fiber I had already prepped.

For my first regular spin I plan on using my two bags/baskets of fiber bits to spin up randomly on two bobbins.

Various bits of fibers with a green bobbin in an African Bolga Basket.

I think right now, except for the art yarn, I hope to do all of my spinning beforehand and plying on the last day (Maybe Friday just to ensure everything is counted.) For my second spin I hope to spin up my pound of Unicorn in the Library from HipStrings.

Purple, pink, black, grey, white mixed roving labelled The Unicorn in the Library.

If I get around to a fourth spin, third for credit, I have two batts I would love to see spun up and center plied. One is mostly purple while the other is mostly black and sparkly. The sparkly one has been split into three parts, and both have been kept in plastic boxes.

Next would be a winter gradient set I obtained from paradise fibers fiber of the month club some time back, I’m not sure if I would split each section in half to spin them onto separate bobbins, or just spin and do a center pull ball in the end.

Four balls of roving clockwise from top right: Black and purple; white and light blue; light blue and gray; medium blue and black.

If I finish spinning that up then I can work on the highland package I received from Paradise Fibers not too long ago.

Roving balls from left to right; Dusty blue; Green above beige; Red; White on a piece of cloth.

Should I manage to finish all six of these spins, including the wild skein, then I still have a variety of fibers to choose from. 3-4 sock packs that I can later dye, several exotic fibers, still a few more Paradise Fibers Boxes that I have not managed yet. I hope to get through at least three of my spins, especially since I loaded up long spins in the first three (well really the two that count for yardage) allowing myself some freedom within the last three.

I am very excited to get started, I’m not sure how I am going to last through work today! I might have to see if I can sneak one of my drop spindles in with me so I can spin a bit during my lunch break. Live Life a Little More Abstract!