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.

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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!

I Am Infatuated

For Black Friday weekend I decided to obtain a few things that I have been looking at for years.  One of them was the Blue Butterfly Originals 2″X6″ Pin Loom.  I am a librarian and had always wondered about making my own bookmarks.  I was not certain what type of yarn I would like to use with it so I started with a couple of bits of yarn that I had spun.  According to the directions, which I skimmed over, you can use any yarn up to a bulky yarn.  Within two days I had worked out that each bookmarks takes about 4 yards of yarn.  27 bookmarks later, IN TWO DAYS, I am still going strong.  IMG_2094If any of my relatives actually read this blog, you are probably going to get a bookmark.  One of my relatives is turning her old doll house into a car house for her two sons, and race car driving husband I am sure,  so I think that these would make great little blankets or rugs for the cars.

I have ten more balls of yarn measuring 4 yards each wound up and ready to be woven, alas I actually have to work today.  Since each of the bookmarks seems to take around 10-15 minutes to create I anticipate needing more yarn wound tomorrow morning.  At first this loom seemed a bit expensive, with shipping it wound up being around $29 (Which is why I took so long to buy it), but since in two days I have woven over 20 of the bookmarks, using smaller amounts of yarn that I wasn’t sure what project I made them for, I think that this is well worth it.  I think that this would be something that I would certainly consider adding to a craft show, though in order to justify the yardage of the yarn they would probably be about $3 each.  I might make it $5 each or 3/$12.  As the year winds down I am trying to figure out where I want things to go from here.

Right now I am balancing my books with some of the insurance money, and since my work is seasonal and two of my jobs have almost a month long break, January will be supplemented as well.  In February I am going to start seeing if I can live off of my three jobs and what changes I need to make to my current situation.  Starting in March I will be calling the Handyman that Mom and I have been hiring and seeing what he wants to put siding on the house and fix up the external garage.  Those will be my two major home improvements for the year, and hopefully for longer than that.  I do have someone currently working on getting rid of the mice in the house, I have high hopes for that situation.

That is what my life looks like now, though I think I’m going to give up on the food boxes, I do not think that they worked out how I wanted them to.  I do not like sour flavors and everything seemed to have lemon juice or vinegar in them.  I will see about using my instant pot to explore some other cultures with flavors I know I have a chance of liking.

Happy Crafting!

Weaving Update

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The lighting is not great, I used my ipad instead of my iphone so the photo quality is not the best, but I did finish weaving off my sibling’s scarf!  It is just as well, my sibling returned to Pittsburgh on Sunday and by Tuesday we had to ask them to come back because mom was not doing well.  She is doing better now, but the extreme humidity is making things difficult for her COPD.

My sibling loves their scarf, and I am so very happy that I was able to give it to them.  This took me less than a week to weave up, and then a day to wash and full it.  Then it dried for a couple of days, but the entire process was so much fun.

Just today I finished my cotton weaving sampler, Acadian, for my guild.  I took it off of the loom and washed it.  The next step is to let it dry then seam it.  I made the bottom a little bigger than might be advised using rags to create a very solid base.  I wound up running with the idea and made the ‘handle’ (well I thought it would be a handle) the same weight and width.  It turns out that it will be just long enough to create the sides and reinforce the bottom.  In the past this might have discouraged me, right now I think it will either make a great basket for the table or, perhaps, I can practice making inkle bands and use one of those for a good handle for this bag.  I will have to see how sturdy the bottom and sides look when this band is inserted.

As further updates, I have completed about 7″ on my spring towels, I think I want my first one to be about 18 inches long, so this is a decent amount!  My rigid heddle loom is currently empty as  is the guild loom.  I have two projects in mind that I need to get my courage up for.  I would like to weave a silk pouch out of some gold yarn I have so that I can use that to hold my USB drives.  I would want it to be about 3″ across and a total of 12″ long.  This would be a 4.5″ high pouch with a  3″ flap to hold it closed.  I will probably chicken out, find a very small crochet hook, and crochet the pouch I have envisioned.  This will give me an excuse to use the ‘left over’ yarn to experiment with a fancy weave, lol.  The tricks we play on ourselves. In addition, Kelly Casanova has held a Krokbragd weaving course.  I just obtained the yarn that I plan on using for this ($16 from $36  yay!), and hope to be able to warp my loom this weekend.  The Krokbragd can be done on a rigid heddle or a 4 shaft loom.  I think for my first effort I will use the 4 shaft so I can avoid the thought of a pick up stick.  I have to read the instructions very carefully before I attempt this.

That’s all for now!  Happy Crafting!

Weaving Through Time

Whew, Around Easter time I decided I wanted to weave some spring towels.  I had some lovely spring-like colors, including a great variegated cone, that would be perfect to create towels from.  I decided how many epi, how many inches wide I wanted the piece to be, and how many yards I wanted the warp to be to get the right number of towels.  I was so excited as I wound the warp, carefully counting the threads.  Then I started threading the reed…and ran out of time to work on that project.

My mother had a bout of pneumonia over the winter that turned into double pneumonia, so she has not been feeling well.  Finals occurred at my school libraries so my time became very scarce.  I managed to thread a few slots of the reed here and there.  Finally I had the reed threaded and only the heddles left.  Since I was going to have a horrible week at work my sibling decided to come up and take care of Mom some.  I decided to take advantage of another pair of hands and finish warping my towels.  Since then I have started weaving a bit, each stripe on the warp corresponds to a different pattern of threaded heddles.

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While I had an extra pair of hands, and a weaving class coming up at the public library work for, I decided to warp up a scarf on my rigid heddle loom.

Scarf with Lace patterning 2018

Again, I love the colors and really appreciate my sibling’s help in setting up my looms.   I cannot wait to have some time to work seriously on these projects.  Fortunately the scarf is very transportable.  The towels have to be kept in one spot but that is such a fun pattern to mess with it should go quickly once I find the time.

Happy Crafting!

Weave by Sarah Resnick

This is a relatively new podcast, but they have been updating pretty frequently.  In this podcast Sarah tends to interview individuals involved in the weaving industry.  People like Rebecca Mezoff who is very involved in weaving and teaching how to weave tapestries, the creators of Mirrix Looms, and so many more.  This is a good podcast for people that are interested in the humans behind the products that they are investing in.  For example, Mirrix Looms grew out of one woman’s desire to have a tapestry loom that had easy sheds.  For more of that story you would need to listen to the interview.  This is a great way to learn more about this fiber community we are a part of.

On Vacation

Leno Lace

3/2 cotton woven using a combination of Leno Lace and Brooks Bouquet lace weaving.  The Leno Lace is with an open shed bringing the two bottom threads over the top threads and then I go around one more time so that the threads are in their starting positions but wrapped around each other.  I think that this gives the lace a cleaner look.  Then I do seven plain picks followed by a set of brooks bouquet, which is wrapping your weft thread around three of your warp threads on the up shed twice so that it forms a little bouquet, all the way across.  I have a different number of threads across so I have five in the final bundle, but I really like how it looks.  You can do the brooks bouquet in any combination you like.  I follow this with seven plain picks and repeat the brooks bouquet twice more before starting over with a Leno Lace.  This is the project pictured above.

I am currently on my first vacation in over ten years that does not involve a family reunion or major family obligation.  I love family reunions, but travel with mom is really difficult at this time.  I did go to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in the beginning of May which could also be considered a vacation, however I really consider this my first vacation.

So far I have gotten the kitchen scrubbed, the repairman came to look at the oven which has been broken for a while.  He will be back later this week with the right part to finish fixing the oven.  It’s been broken for a few years, so this is a big move!  I also managed to drop the car off at the garage, there was some major body damage because a little bit of the bottom of my driveway washed out so every time I exited the driveway I would bump the bottom of the car and it caused some major damage.  The car should be done by the end of the week and they will pick me up then.

I have been doing more then just getting caught up on major chores, though I am happy that I am getting more crafts hauled down into our new craft room, I have also washed the first back of alpaca seconds one of my spinning students gave to me.  I have learned a lot of great lessons from this.

* Do NOT wash a whole bag of alpaca seconds at once if you only have one sweater rack to lay this out to dry on.

* DO let the alpaca soak in the water for at least 30 minutes, do not run the alpaca through the water and call it washed, it isn’t.

*Do NOT set your fleece out underneath a tree that is shedding a ton of those whirly gig things.

* If you left your hand cards at work, this might not be the right time to wash fleece.

Despite these, hard won, lessons I have been having a ton of fun with this alpaca.  I Have my flick brush and the bee hive decappers that are working as wool combs.

There are two knitting projects I am working on as well as a crochet project but I think that will be separate posts when I am done with them or when I am so sick of them I need inspiration to get back to working on them.

So this is my vacation, I am trying to get some work done around the house and some crafting accomplished so that I can go back to work relaxed and re energized.  I just wanted to post this update, and will try and get back to updating next week.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

Have a Very Crafty New Year

Right now my New Year looks to be full of crafts.

Almost every week I will be teaching a craft class at my public library.  They will cover a wide variety of topics from spinning yarn, weaving, making bath bombs, and much more.  I am really looking forward to these Monday’s.

In addition to this, my mother has decided that I need to needle felt a nativity for next year.  I’ve tried to explain that I’ll have to do one animal a month or some similar method to that, she is adamant so assembling the fibers for this project is next.

This year, my crafting goals are a little different.  I hope to work on assembling a collection of types of spindles from around the world.  This should be a ton of fun, and I am really looking forward to discovering how to use all of these different spindles.  In addition to my spindle and spinning exploration (and my new felting projects) I hope to advance my weaving skills in the new year.  With the Nativity I am now going to felt, I was thinking about seeing if it is viable to weave the camel coverings in bright and beautiful colors.  I do not intend for this to be anything too fancy, but I do plan on making several variations and enjoying the process.

The first step in my new year of crafting, in addition to buying the wool I need, is to cut off all of my old warps (since I wasn’t weaving them anyway) and starting fresh in the new year!

Happy Crafting All!