November and Crafting Slump

I’m sorry about not posting for a few weeks, November came on like a storm bringing with it quite a bit of uncertainty regarding college/university closings in New York. Between the stress of figuring out plans and back up plans the month simply slipped away from me.

I Hope that, if you celebrate, you had an amazing Thanksgiving or Indigenous Peoples Day or Friendsgiving (even if you could only see your family/friends through zoom). I had a great weekend, which means I was able to finally get back into the groove of crafting.

I did manage to finish weaving my four handspun panels a few weeks ago, now I am debating if they are going to be scarves for my cousins kids, panels for a piece of clothing, or pieces of a bag. I am leaning toward the idea of a bag, maybe bags, since the yarn is a bit rough for next to the skin.

Four multi-colored pieces of woven cloth lying next to each other, the loose threads still need clipped.

I have started another weaving project with yarn from HipStrings out of Pittsburgh, PA. When I ordered some mini’s they were kind enough to send whole skeins, which left me with more than enough to weave the scarf I was thinking of. The colors are supposed to be Steeler’s colors, I think they come close.

Weaving is not all that I have been doing. I recently found out about an event on Ravelry called the Independent Designers Gift Along, or GAL2020. For this you simply have to knit or crochet a single gift. They do have categories and if you do one project in each category then you have achieved a special level that they call Oopadoo (or something like that). To start this off I have cast on a “Dumpster Fire Ornament”; a Headband; as well as a Skirt.

Before I started these projects, which I am supposed to have finished by December 31 to take a photo of all of them….if I were to give one as a present then I would not have it for the group photo…I’m not sure what I am supposed to do about that. Sorry for the digression, as I was saying: Before I started these projects I managed to unearth what I was working on prior to my wrist surgery, I am healing well and still gaining strength in my wrist. I decided to do some work on a slipper that I had gotten almost half way through before my surgery, there is a lot of progress. I am past the heel portion and working my way up the left side, once that is finished I do have a second sole so I can begin the second slipper right away.

Orange and blue slipper-ish thing.

Regarding another craft altogether, I have decided that I am going to spin for colorwork socks. I spun up the bumps of fiber left over from the month when Paradise Fibers sent us Scottish themed items, as well as a bump of the sari/tweed fibers we received. Unfortunately I did not take any photos of the colorful portions, so here is a bobbin of mostly white singles from one of the bags of fiber I purchased specifically for socks. Once I have the singles spun up I plan on transferring them to weaving bobbins so that I can mix them up and create 3 ply yarns of each color.

Yellow bobbin on a Schacht Ladybug with a Woolee Winder. The bobbin is filled with white singles, some pink is peeking through.

Those are my crafting adventures for November. With COVID Still going strong, and let’s be realistic it is going to get worse before it gets better, I plan on doing plenty of crafting over the course of December. Without any immediate family in the area I will send presents to my extended family and lose myself in the rhythms of creation.

Happy Crafting, stay healthy, and remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Unfortunately Correct

I was unfortunately correct in saying that I was being overly optimistic thinking that I would get my wheel varnished on Thursday.

Unfortuntaely, that seems to be theme here, I do not have any photos of my current projects, though I do have a photo of the Chenille Stem (Pipe Cleaner) holiday tree I made for a December Project at my public library.

Pipe Cleaner Christimas Tree, tiny. The branches stick out in all directions, with two round pieces as a base and a paperclip attached to make sure it actually stays upright.

In addition to my holiday crafting I have been working on weaving up the yarn I spun for the Spin Together 2020 contest. I am using my rigid heddle loom, which is 10″ across and weaving 2 yard increments. So far I am on my second panel, I hope to have enough yarn to weave off 4 panels for a 40″ across piece. That should be sufficient to make a nice looking poncho, admittedly I would prefer about 60″. I love how the colors are working together to create something bright and cheerful with a bit of sparkle here and there. I hope to be able to sew the panels together before winter break.

The second project, that I am kicking myself for forgetting in the car, is a knitted shawl from the 716 batt I managed to spin up. I love how the knitting is going, however I can see where I plied loosely and the yarn is splitting with my maneuvering. I believe that this will wind up being a very colorful shawl, it is also a great platform for my experimenting with yarnovers and double decreases. The results are neat, though not what I thought.

I do have a third project in mind. Once I have the red that I am spinning fairly fine finished I hope to spin up another wild batt (maybe I can do this on my new wheel instead of waiting for the ladybug to be free), to create a match to my Blue Moon Halloween 2020 skein. Once I have them both spun I hope to use some wool yarn to weave up a shawl collar/cowl to wear as a decorative piece. I might even hold off on seaming up my panels to see if I can turn them into some sort of shirt…the possibilities are endless!

Okay, so I also have a fourth project I’m actively working on..I know it is a bit much. The Discover Color event is ongoing and I still have not threaded my heddles. I found the perfect excuse to delay until Thursday, the Winter Weavealong will start pretty soon. This is run by Two Ewes Fiber Adventures podcast, and I hope to participate this year.

I was reminded that we only have about 4 more paychecks until Christmas, so that is frightening. I’d better get my presents purchased and shipped before it is too late!

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Finishing Projects and Starting Anew

Colorful towels in pastels with various weaving patterns across them. Sort of random with dark stripes of other colors running vertically and horizontally.

I managed to finish weaving off some towels that I have had on my loom for over a year. They have been washed and cut apart, now I need to get the courage to pull out my sewing machine and seam them. I am hoping to do a slightly rolled hem, however it is going to depend on how reckless I am feeling when the machine comes out.

I have also been working on the shawl that has been on my tri-loom for a couple of months. This is what it looked like last week, as of the writing of this post the entire shawl is finished and washed (putting it through the dryer for 20 minutes gave it an amazing halo and felted it just right). however I have not had the opportunity to get a good photo of it.

Brown and white strands of yarn on a 7 foot triangle peg loom. There is about 15 inches in the middle with just horizontal strands while the rest is tightly woven in triangles going toward the left and right points.

Fortunately for me, with all of this finishing going on, I have had the opportunity to start a few things. There is a new class available for free from Tien Chiu https://classes.warpandweave.com/collections called the Discover Color Weavealong. I have started warping my loom, I really have to cut apart my texsolv heddles before I thread the pattern threads, however I do have everything through my reed. I hope to get the heddles threaded Thursday.

16 shaft table loom with junk underneath and green threads being held in a cross formation with leases sticks.

Finally I had the opportunity to get my hands on a Kromski Fantasia Spinning wheel unfinished. I decided to go all in and varnish the wheel using a cherry stain and a topcoat to seal things in. I managed to get the first coat of cherry on all of the pieces, and everything sanded. The next step is to put the top coat on all sides of the pieces. Again, I hope to get this done on Thursday, however I am not holding my breath.

That is all she wrote for now. Until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Summer Crafting Coming to a Close

It is hard to believe that the fall semester is starting up in a couple of weeks! At present it looks like I will be working at all three of my jobs starting at the end of this month. This is going to greatly decrease my financial stress, increase my workload, and decrease my crafting time. Since I love to work, this is a positive move overall. However I am planning on taking these next couple of weeks to organize some projects so that they are easy to pick up and put down. The first is my insane idea that I am going to sew myself a very simple pencil skirt. For my first try I have measured the fabric so that there is plenty to go around my waist and that the length is something I can live with. I have then folded over the top to create a channel for a drawstring. I pinned down the edge of the channel so that the raw edge is tucked under and I can try to stitch the folded edge down.

Ecru cotton fabric with a top hem pinned, iron on the upper left hand with foldable scissors on the upper right hand.

By pre-threading my needles and running the thread over beeswax, I am ready to start stitching when I have a couple of minutes. I can only take a couple of stitches at a time before my back starts killing me, so I have to find a way to work on that.

My melt and pour experiment did not work out how I wanted it to. Either I put too much glitter between the layers or there was too much wait time between pours.

soap loaf molds, a bottle of glitter, small chunks of blue soap as well as chunks of pale pink and purple layered soaps.

I have some goats milk melt and pour soap coming in the mail this week so soap will get a take 2 next weekend. Hopefully the next batch is better.

I have also managed to get Lady, my spinning wheel, cleaned up and ready to go. My Firefly electric wheel has been a lifesaver, however I am now able to get back to spinning some with Lady. I managed to finish spinning a small batt of Corriedale, and there was even enough for me to weave a sample on my Ashford Sample It Loom at 5 ends per inch.

Brown wool yarn warped and woven loosely on a rigid heddle loom.

The final project that I have made progress on is my second worsted weight sock. I am ready to turn the heel! These are going to work wonderfully with the new shoes I purchased, in the hopes that they will last more than six months. If they fit, I might just plan on using the yarn I purchased for my Sherlock afghan as socks instead.

Clear ball yarn holder with a ball of white yarn inside, sock cuff on addi flexiflip needles with one poking through the project.

With Lady ready to go, end plenty of fiber to spin, needles threaded and ready to be stitched, as well as socks ready to knit (we aren’t discussing the shawl I’m knitting, it’s a KAL so I am not going to get it done on time), my fall is looking to be full of fun, crafting, and work.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Freedom of Movement

Minor medical update, non-crafting information in between the *’s

*I have my second cast, this means that I am 1/4 of the way done with wearing a cast! The unnerving tingling that I was feeling, in the form of hot spots going up and down my arm, is apparently my nerves healing. My new cast is slightly shorter, slightly lighter, and firmer around my wrist. This actually means that I have a much greater range of motion than I did with the other cast. Often when I tried to move my fingers, whether to exercise or stretch them, or to accomplish a task, I would get a jabbing pain where I have a pin in my wrist. With the firmer cast, I no longer get that pain, huzzah!*

My new cast went on Thursday and by Friday I was crafting up a storm! I finally managed to finish weaving the bamboo scarf I dyed with the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild last summer. At the time of posting this I have washed the scarf and I am diligently working on the fringe twisting, as my wrist allows.

Beaded scarf in reds, greens and yellows with a bit of blue. Draped over a 4 harness table loom.

I love how this has turned out, however the red bled quite a bit, I seem to remember a warning about that. I have also been knitting on my worsted weight socks in Cascade 220 Superwash White. I hope to dye these when I am done. I have the first finished and the cuff on the second completed. With all of this going on, I also decided to bring up my personal larger table loom that has had towels warped up for a couple of years. It is my main goal to finish these towels before I am back to work at my colleges (or in a full-time job).

4 harness table loom warped with pastel yarn, yellow plastic boat shuttle with blue cotton resting on top. Completed wool sock to the right of the shuttle, with the knitted cuff to the left of the completed sock and below the shuttle. On the table is a Leclerc fringe twister with the bamboo scarf to the left.

All of this crafting energy has me jazzed. I managed to attend Vogue Knitting’s Virtual event in July, learning quite a bit from the lectures I attended. I have signed up for the marketplace and extras for the August Virtual event. I had hoped to sign up for classes, however with my wrist it is not realistic that I can knit enough to justify the financial outlay. (Just about $100 for 3 classes and tons of extras, if I could knit normally this would be a really inexpensive way to take expensive classes).

Fortunately I have had some visitors to my back yard to cheer me up (this is not a euphemism).

Hopefully you are as inspired as I am. Until next time, keep crafting and Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

All the Crafts

This has been a learning experience for me.  I have put up a fence around my well cap, it is right beside my driveway and but trucks tend to run over it.  I put up the remaining two fence pieces by my driveway so that my garbage cans cannot easily fall into the ditch.  I warped and started weaving on my rug loom in the detached garage.  I can shoot crafting videos, okay so I’m still improving on that.  I also discovered that I can spin if I hold my fiber very loosely in my bad hand, to do this I am  using my electric wheel because I tend to tightly grasp fiber in my left hand when using my regular wheel.  Knitting is something that can happen (on larger needles) because I only need to hold the needle still in my left hand.  (Crochet is not going to happen because I pinch my project in my left hand while crocheting to keep it still, that still hurts)  Socks still are not going to happen, however I can use size 4 needles.

 

I finished two plying projects, the one on the left is the Shetland Moorit I started spinning last year for the Spin Off Hap-Along.  The project on the right is when I took a couple of lace weight yarns that I plied together to create about a fingering weight yarn.  I do not think that this will actually be a fingering weight yarn, however I think it will be a wonderful project eventually.

I was able to swatch for a mitered square blanket I bought a couple of  years ago, when a knitted afghan project is under $35 it is hard to resist.  I’ve also progressed to knitting a worsted weight shawl out of the Hedgehog Fibres Potluck in a really pretty orange.  I crowd sourced whether I should add on some black or just be done, it was decided that I do not need to add on black.

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Finally I wound up lightly felting my 7′ shawl from my tri loom.  I took a photo before it came off of the loom, I will have a felting photo in another post.

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It has been very busy here.  One of my supervisors is talking about starting procedures for opening back up, presuming that we will be doing this in Mid May.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert check on your extroverts!  Be safe!

Progress and Change

This has been a really strange week. I have spent most of it thinking that I have not gotten a single thing done.  However, when I looked back  I have made a lot of progress on many different projects.  In the way of domestic chores, I have come to the realization that cooking for myself is just creating more dishes for me to deal with and I am not eating any healthier.  To combat this, I have started opening a can of green beans or carrots, heating them up, and using that as a snack.  I have also purchased some frozen food that I just need to throw in the oven and that will be food for at least a day if not more.  I also purchased salad mix, we will have to see what a difference these steps make in my overall eating/time spent cleaning up.  I managed to get the black plastic on my front bed, I’ve been meaning to do that for three years, but I think I mentioned that in my last post.

I live far enough out that I have a well, the heavy cement well cap is right beside my driveway.  This means that when big trucks come up my driveway, fedex, ups, oil delivery, repair trucks, they tend to run over that cap often knocking it askew.  To combat this I purchased 4 pieces of fencing that arrived a few days ago.  I promptly went out and managed to get them temporarily installed around the well cap.  I will use a rubber mallet to completely install them when it stops snowing.  Since I only needed 2 I will be using the other 2 to create a barrier between my garbage cans and the ditch so I don’t have to retrieve the cans from the ditch on garbage day.

The final home repair I have done is a patch job on a wall in the master bathroom.  Half of a toilet paper roll holder that was installed somehow got ripped out of the wall leaving a hole.  I honestly cannot remember how, it’s been years.  I purchased a repair kit a while back, but like many things, never found the time to fix it.  On to Crafty Stuff!

For my public library job I created a video on how to finger knitting for Monday April 13th.  This past Monday I created a video on how to weave on cardboard looms, the video turned out pretty well however the process was a mess of cable repairmen, upload times, and time restrictions on unverified Youtube accounts…I’m not dwelling on that.  I shot the video on finger knitting, have been requested to create an introduction with my face, and will edit and upload the results on Monday.  Until then, here is some finger knitting:

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This is Madelinetosh Home in Danger Will Robinson colorway.  The bulky yarn shows the stitches pretty well, I used  a worsted during the video this will be my intro piece.

I’m trying to organize my stash, during that process I found a shawl I was working on.   It’s a very simple shawl, however it is knitted with my handspun yarn on very large needles.  I’ve discovered that I can hold these without any real pain, so I am working on that.

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Finally we have my shawl.  As you could see last week, the weave seemed pretty loose.  I spent some time adjusting the yarns so that the structure would be tighter.  The results were interesting, I posted them on Instagram and was advised to felt the piece to keep the structure how it was.  I decided to stabilize the edges and some of the structures by weaving around them, the results are here:

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I am still not certain how well I like it, however I will finish with the edges and give it a wash. I already have two bulky yarns tied together so that I can try another tri-loom shawl once I have the loom cleared.

This is about it for me for the week (not including work stuff, I’m still doing academic library stuff for my other two libraries).  I hope that you live life A Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert please check on your extroverts!

Crafting Through These Times

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During these times I’m still working from home, it is going pretty well actually.  I am also doing some cleaning, not as much as I should, and some crafting.  For my public library I managed to create a video that uses some simple tools and cardboard to create art-ish.  The above is my creation.  I also did some work on washing wool.  I soaked some wool in cold water to get the basic dirt out:

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You can see, it helped a bit but there is still some major dirt and lanolin.  I washed a batch by scrubbing each individual lock across a bar of soap.  These results were amazingly clean, however very labor intensive:

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Then I took one batch and used hot water and unicorn simply clean to soak for ten minutes:

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This worked really well, I did not rinse this batch out just soaked and let dry so that I could use them as an example in the video I’m making.  For the rest of the picked locks I used hot water and unicorn to soak twice and then rinsed with just water a third time.  These results were wonderful, I just adore how well this works.

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You can see the amazing difference, how crisply clean and white all of the fleece is.  This is some Coopworth Yearling fiber, it started out as 8 ounces.  I picked out the washed locks and put them in a plastic bag after it had thoroughly dried.  I am so excited to be able to spin this fleece, however it is going to be some time.

I also used a large potholder loom I bought from Harrisville to make two separate potholders that were beautiful.  I’m looking at buying some more loopers for the larger loom, however they are a bit pricey.

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I’m also doing some work on my 7′ tri-loom.  I’m trying to do some cut string weaving as opposed to continuous string weaving.  Right now I think that there are too many gaps between the threads, so I am planning on trying to add extra yarn in between several of these picks.  Some of them I doubled up in one section, because of this I should be able to add a thread in between these doubled up to tighten things up.  In this flash I love how rainbow this looks, neat!

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Where There is a Will

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I adore my mirrix weaving loom.  Due to my earlier sampling efforts with handspun yarn my mirrix tapestry loom was already warped and ready to go.  I created a line to keep my weft from slipping too far down my warp, and started weaving away.  My first few picks were created using a paperclip and my weft yarn, then I went looking for tapestry bobbins.  Unfortunately for me, and my budget, tapestry bobbins are about $20 for three wooden ones.  Balancing my desire to not purchase any more plastic than absolutely essential, and my want for several bobbins to create my multi-colored tapestry, I was concerned that my budget was going to go out the window.  One persistent search later and I discovered that some enterprising individuals discovered that they can use 4-inch golf tees as tapestry bobbins.  They work well, I have to be careful because the weft can slip off of the point creating a bit of a tangle.  It is with great shock that I discovered passing these bobbins back and forth under the warps does not seem to bother my wrist at all.  I firmly believe that this is due to the amazing shedding device on the mirrix.

The other major crafting that I am doing this week involves needle felting.  I have to admit I adore stabbing something a few hundred times with a piece of art or other useful object as a result.  IMG_2777

With less than an hour’s work I managed to create these two pouches, I believe that they will be useful for small objects such as tapestry bobbins on the go.  I will be teaching two needle felting classes in the next two weeks, one will involve creating coasters while the other focuses on sculptures.   I am really looking forward to both of these classes, I also hope to incorporate a very small amount of the slow fashion/slow cloth movement by mentioning that you can create your own decorative patches for repairing clothing using needle felting.

Have a great week and remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract.

Fibershed by Rebecca Burgess

I received this book from my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Kathleen for Christmas in 2019, Thank You. This post is going to go into a lot of biology, environmental concerns, and more serious topics.  If this is not for you, my organization story will continue next week.

As a bit of my background relating to this book, my thesis to receive my bachelors degree in sociology surrounded the relationship between early menarche and hormones being fed to the animals that we, as Americans, derive our meat from.  Essentially I looked at the research tying children getting their first period as early as 5 years old and the hormones being pumped into the cows and chickens from which we get milk, eggs, and meat.  Hormones, and antibiotics really, that are not flushed out in any way before being fed to ourselves and our children.  Though I do not have that paper, there was certainly a correlation.  In the past decade or so I have all but forgotten that paper that managed to land me my bachelors degree, which I only needed so that I could get a my Masters in Library Studies.  To be frank, it is not financially viable for me to live an organic life.  This does not mean that these concerns should not be addressed, even if sweeping changes are not realistic.  My reading of FiberShed is not replacing the knowledge I gained from my thesis, but building on it in ways that I had not considered.  This is going to be a quick review designed to encourage you to read this book and others like it.  This review in no way replaces the joy, and extensive knowledge gained, by reading this book.

Synthetic fibers are derived from petroleum products, or have gone through chemical laden processes to be created and turned into clothing.  When these processes are occurring many safety precautions have to be taken to ensure the health of the workers, then the run-off has to be carefully disposed of so as to not contaminate the local drinking water.  The fact that all too often both of these steps are not taken seriously causes great ecological problems.  We are wearing these products on our skin, the largest, permeable organ on our body.  How many of these chemicals are we absorbing?  This book tackles these problems on both a local and global scale from a crafting point of view.  We as crafters can take charge of the yarns we buy, the fiber we spin, and the clothing we create.  This book goes from fiber, dyes, and encompasses all of the processes in between.  Exploring every aspect of fabric creation from where the cotton is grown, and from what kind of seed, to the sheep, processing the materials, dyeing the materials (naturally, of course), weaving/knitting these materials, even recycling them.  There is an amazing wealth of information, including how the methods of agriculture detailed will be profitable for not only the environment but the farmers and consumers also.  All of this information is interspersed with personal tales from herself as well as her friends and companions along this journey.

For a fascinating, if terrifying, look at our fast fashion culture check out this book.  Inside we are also taken through a journey of some steps that we might take to regain our chemical independence, as well as the steps that some conglomerates are taking to help our ecology, economy, and general sustainability.  Since this book comes at this from a crafting perspective there is some lamenting, but there are many more solutions.  Fantastic Read.

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!