2 AM Brain

Starting off, I hope that everyone had a Happy Easter, Happy Passover, or a lovely weekend. I took a 3 day weekend and went through all the stages. I signed my taxes and went out to eat one day. Bleached my kitchen cupboards the second day. Went shopping for spring clothes and got caught in a snowstorm yesterday. This morning at 2am my brain decided that I had forgotten a notice about jury duty, that I could not find so I emailed the county I moved from to check I don’t have a warrant out for skipping jury duty. (The house closed though it took an entire week for the money to get to me).

What do you do when you wake up at 2am and your brain will it let you sleep? Well you hide threads on your sewing projects so that you’re ready for the next stages. I started making a lunch box and needed to hide the threads before I can put the zipper in, so I hid threads until my hand cramped.

I hope to get more done this week, until then remember to live life a little more abstract!

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!

So Much Happening

So, last Sunday my side hustle was on break and I wound up having a quilting day with an amazing new friend/colleague from my full-time job. The afternoon started off worryingly, I shut the top of my metal storage rack on my finger…that was not a good time to discover I did not have any band-aids in my new house! One trip to the pharmacy later, and I went to my friends house. She is a part of the Pointer Rescue Organization and had a foster dog that I was able to meet. That makes it so hard to remember that I do not have time/space for a dog right now. I was able to get some ideas about how I can/should set up a sewing area. Since she is planning on making a long distance move soon she offered me her folding table…until her husband found out how much it would cost to replace that table, lol. I deeply appreciate the offer, and I do realize that this is the sort of table I am going to need. I gained a deeper understanding of cutting and pressing.

I am having so much fun sewing and quilting right now that I cannot believe I have allowed myself to be intimidated by quilting for this long! The aspects that have allowed me to get into this form of quilting is the understanding that there is more out there than half-square triangles. I am working better when I do not have to meet corners perfectly (though there are certainly arguments that there is no perfect in quilting). I finished a 6 column quilt that comprised of 4 colors in different saturation points that were sashed by black jelly roll strips on all sides. Since this was made of 24 blocks with simple sashing I was able to finish in 2 days. I then made the quilt sandwich, switched out needles when the machine started ka-thunk-ing, and sewed 90% around the edge of the quilt sandwich. Changing the needle once more after the tip broke off at a corner ( digging a sharp needle tip out of quilt batting is not fun). After I cut the excess of batting and backing off of the edges I turned the quilt inside out before I sewed about a quarter inch around the edges to close the seam and get a more finished edge.

The last two steps involved the binding around the edge of the quilt. I sewed the binding strips together, then with the right sides together (with the bulk of the binding on top of the quilt, then once you have sewn around the edge you flip the binding around to the back) I sewed the binding onto the top of the quilt. Next I folded the binding over the edge of the quilt, folded under the edge of the binding and faced hand felling this binding….and I decided to take a shortcut. I decided that I was going to use a decorative stitch from the top of the quilt to machine fell the edges of the binding. In retrospect I really should have at least watched a video on how to machine fell a seam…so after I did that I went back to fell the parts of the seam that did not work, embroidered some text in a corner that the stitching did not work in, and now I’m embroidering a flower on the back so that the embroidery stitches from the text do not show as random thread on the back… Oh well. The batting and backing I used were left over from earlier purchases and I plan on using this as a rug once I have shown it to the quilt guild I joined because my new friend is a member. This experience has also taught me that I need to take some in person classes about quilting, and properly finishing a quilt. Hopefully I can find some that are not cost prohibitive.

One of the main take-aways that I have from this experience is that I really enjoy quilting. For me to do this new craft properly I am going to need a space to create within. My Library room is likely going to become my sewing room. Before I can start using my second and third floors I need my second floor bathroom to be usable, so once the old house has sold this has become my second priority (the roof is still first). I also am going to need a better sewing machine at some point in the relatively near future. I am half thinking about getting a machine that also does embroidery so that I can use the hoop to do some pre-programmed quilting designs on the quilt.

Not everything has been about the quilting however, well there is work and how I will be starting a teen crafting class every week in April but that is a different post, as I have been working with UV resin. UV resin is a form of resin that is quickly set using ultraviolet light, it is said that sunlight works however I have found that UV nail lights work well. The kind that nail salons use to set acrylic nails. I know that this sounds really scary, however with the exception of using mica powder for coloring I have found UV resin to be relatively easy to work with. Small bookmarks turned out well, The medium journal cover needs work, I’m not sure if it is because the mold was not on a flat surface or that the mold warped a little due to the heat of the reaction but this cover is not flat. I’m going to try again with the small cover when the new resin arrives. I am experimenting with different brands of resin to obtain the best value/quality ratio. My boss is already planning on how this can be used at the library, which I am all on board with.

I think that is enough for now, sorry I don’t have any WIP photos.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Unexpected hiatus and revelations

Very little of this post is going to have to do with crafting, the first paragraph I will update on my projects and the rest is going to be about the move, my weight loss journey, and revelations about clothing fit.

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the gusset of my second sock, and reading an article about sock knitting tips caused me to realize that I want to make a plain foot. I’m having a ton of fun spinning small bits of yarn that I hope to use for crewel work. I decided to practice sprang using worsted weight acrylic yarn, partially to get a longer warp using less yarn, partially to have really thick yarn to work with.

Onto packing and moving content. My sister and I did not get as much done as I had hoped, though papers are pretty much sorted out. Next weekend I am going to have four days off that I am going to spend hopefully concentrating on getting things completed. I have not yet been able to rent a storage unit, however the basement is mostly cleared out and I can store things there. I have started wet vaccing the carpets. I also found that if you don’t touch your fly tying equipment in 15 years, it causes moths. So I now have that baking in my car, and the stuff that actually got touched by moths has been eliminated.

My sister and I did some shopping while she was here. This is going to get into personal clothing content, so if you don’t want to hear about brassieres you might want to stop reading.

In the past couple of months I have noticed that my bras seem to be more padding than actual bust. I thought that I had lost weight in my bust region, it turns out that if the band of your bra is too big you will not fill out the cups. Now that I have a band that fits around my torso properly, I am wearing a bigger cup size than ever, and the girls look better than ever.

Six months ago when I begin this journey I was 60 pounds heavier and wearing a 3X. Now I am capable of wearing a large, for the most part, however due to the excess skin around my torso I do not have a significant change to my profile unless I wear a tight belt like object right underneath my bust. I am currently questioning whether I am ever going to be wearing anything other than a large, because even some of the larges do not fit over my shoulders. To be honest this is very demoralizing, and I do understand that skin reduction surgery is going to help quite a bit with my profile. I also understand that that is likely over nine months away. I hope to lose another 30 pounds over the next three months and then my understanding is that I have to maintain that weight for six months before they will do the surgery. I completely understand this and don’t anticipate a problem with it. I’m starting to get a better understanding of what regular foods I can eat and how to maintain the diet.

To be frank a lot of this has me looking much more seriously into creating my own clothing. Altering what I already have is not a realistic concept, simply due to my lack of knowledge and inability to focus on reading a tailoring book. To be blunt I am so much smaller than I have been in years and finding out that ready-to-wear sucks has me quite, not depressed but with the potential to be in a bad place mentally. I used to think that it was simply that plus size clothing was horrible, now I realize it pretty much all is. If the regular sized large fits me so badly, it makes me think that I would have to be in a medium or smaller to look decent. I know that this is not true, so I am going to find some patterns that will fit me. This is not a great time for me to start this with moving and everything, however for my own morale I believe it’s something I need to do.

OK, I have to get ready for work now but I wanted to get this post out I’ve been meaning to for a week. I will update you as things change, but for now remember to live life a little more abstract.

Interesting Week (not really)

Now, before I start writing this post I would like to remind everyone that I have Never claimed to be a good, or fast knitter. That being said, it took me 8 days to knit the cuff for the second Anne of Green Gables sock by Paper Daisy Creations. I really love the pattern, I will be starting the lace portion today, and I adore the color in the Purl Soho yarn I purchased on clearance when I visited Los Angeles with my sister in 2019.

17 rows of knitting using pink yarn on size 2.25mm Addi Flexi Flip Knitting needles.

I have been spinning on the lovely green wool I received, it spins up like a dream. The pin roving drafts so smoothly it is practically effortless while also being very meditative. I am really enjoying the process. The 2 ply sample I created looks great, however I believe I will wait to see what next months box brings me before figuring out what I want to do with this single.

MAFA (MidAtlantic Fiber Association) is having their Bi-Annual event this June as a Virtual event. This means that I will finally be able to attend. I had to skip Maryland Sheep and Wool since they mostly had their classes during the week and…well….I still have to work. Fortunately one of the classes I wanted to take is a class learning how to make Sprang Lace. I contacted the instructor early and our conversation was a bit weird. I asked her if I could purchase the loom kit she was selling as a part of the class even if I miss out on getting into the class. She responded that it wasn’t really a beginner Sprang class (then why are you selling beginner supplies as the supplies?!?) but I could take her 6 week course over zoom to learn Sprang in preparation for the class. Well since the course was several hundred dollars, and at 4pm on a Thursday I had to pass. Instead I purchased the loom through a source she recommended and the video she produced. Now I am going to spend the next month teaching myself Sprang so I am ready for her class mid-June.

The only other crafty related content is that I am trying to figure out what I want to do in regards to spring/summer wear. Originally I was thinking about purchasing cloth to make a few skirts and blouses for myself, not only to learn to sew and be a bit more eco friendly, but to have clothing that fits. There are several flaws in that plan however, the first being that eco-friendly cloth costs at minimum $20 a yard and a skirt seems to take about 3 yards for a plus sized skirt. The Victorian Walking Skirt I am in love with would take over 5 yards and is intended to be lined. $60-$100 for a skirt, plus the cost of the pattern ($10-$20) would probably be worth it if I have a one-of-a-kind skirt that fits me. However, I am also hoping to get down to my goal weight, then have surgery to remove the excess skin. Yes, I know that the end goal is still about a year away. However, it seems sort of wasteful to spend that much money on a single piece in my wardrobe that I would hope to outgrow in a year (well lose enough weight same difference). Admittedly, I spent more than that on my current shoes. However, I wear those shoes every day and will polish them to be put away for the fall and winter next year. Because of this dilemma, I believe I am going to purchase relatively inexpensive pieces from Dharma Trading Co. that are made out of natural fibers in a relatively eco-friendly process. They are not the best in the world, and I am still going to have to do some dyeing and possibly modifying to have them looking the way I want them to, however this is better than purchasing all new materials.

I spent yesterday gathering all of the clothes in the house and washing them. This morning I set my ‘get ready for work alarm’ an hour early so I could try on the clothes while clean and almost ready for work. I found out that most of the clothing I have been unable to wear because it was too tight, is now too loose. There are a couple of scoop neck shirts that I have to pin in such a way that the neckline looks sort of like a keyhole neckline. This accomplishes two positive things and one negative. The positives are that I do not have to worry about my bra straps showing, and I do not have to worry too much about the odd stray hair (PCOS Stinks), however since this is not the original neckline it does tend to pouch out a bit looking weird. I tried to look up modifying necklines, I might have to see if there is such a thing as taking a dart out of a neckline. The only other major modification that I plan on making is to figure out the correct way to take in some of the width of my pant legs. I’m probably going to look at the Curvy Sewing Collective or similar sites. I understand that there are plenty of heavy people that carry their weight in the their thighs and legs (one of my friends and colleagues has this figure), however I carry mine in deposits on my back as well as an apron on my stomach. This means that I have rather shapely legs that are very lost in voluminous pant legs.

Okay, that is about it for the week. Knitting Socks, signing up for learning new skills, and trying to figure out a spring wardrobe. I am fortunate that I already have quite a few clothes, hopefully I can modify them to fit well with how I would like to present myself. I hope that everyone has an amazing week.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Prairie Girls Knit & Spin Podcast

Prairie Girls Knit & Spin, I will confess I have not managed to get caught up with this series at the time I wrote this review.  Even saying that CHECK THIS PODCAST OUT!  It is amazing.  The ladies that are responsible for this podcast are very funny, knowledgeable, and willing to let their knitting geek flags fly proudly.  They are always working on new projects or finishing up new projects.  If I was at all willing to spend more than 15 minutes knitting at a time I would be very jealous at how much they can achieve from week to week.  Since knitting is just a minor hobby of mine I’m not too worried about it and I really enjoy hearing about their progress.  They are always hosting new contests and other events, they have KALs or Knitalongs (but they don’t have very firm deadlines, which I can get behind).  While Prairie Girl Susie seems to be a strict knitter Prairie Girl Danie knits, dyes, sews bags for her website, and spins, so there is a variety of topics to keep a listener interested (and that is how they refer to themselves, as Prairie Girls).

If you are looking for a podcast featuring two very enthusiastic knitters that love to share their wisdom, enthusiasm, and donated goodies then this is the podcast for you.  They can go on for 40-60 minutes so this is not a quick listen podcast.

Happy Listening!