Start Strong

January 2022 has given me a lot of opportunities to learn and experiment with crafting. I took part in the Stitch Camp Challenge by TextileArtist.org and while I will not be joining their Stitch Club (since I have too many other interests going on right now) I would certainly recommend it if stitching art is your passion. Using paint, stitches, and wonderful instruction I was able to create a piece of textile art…that I’m not certain what I am going to do with.

That is not the only class I took this January, during Virtual Knitting Live sponsored by Vogue I took a Tunisian Crochet Class with Natalie Thomas where we learned the basics and a bit more, as well as a knitting color work class with Margaret Holzmann that shows how to create knitted blankets that look like quilts piece by piece. Both of the instructors were amazing, and I look forward to experimenting more with the techniques shown. For the tunisian crochet I have started crocheting up the cuff of a sock (using a pattern I already had from a crochet sock book by Rhon Strong) in a rainbow color yarn I already owned. For the knitted class I am going to try and finish the piece as a pillow, I was so happy to see that it fit perfectly on the pillow form I already had, so I will just have to knit up a back for it.

All of these projects, are using yarns that I already had, so yay for using stash!

The final project I am working on for this month is weaving up some alpaca yarn I had on hand into a narrow strip of cloth. Hopefully I can then turn that cloth into a pair of gloves or mittens, since my hands are almost always cold. This is going to be the first piece of weaving that I have created specifically to be sewn as a separate project, so fingers crossed.

I have a couple of other projects in the works, however one is going to wait until my sewing machine is back from the repair shop and the other is a ‘secret project’ for another couple of months.

Happy Crafting, don’t take things too literally, and remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Busy Life = No Posting

Sorry I’ve ghosted you again. Between the movers, my contractor, and the holiday I did not manage to post here for a couple of weeks.

My contractor did manage to get the quarter molding installed, it looks great. I wrote out a check when I got paid, put it in my mailbox…and a week later found out that my mailman did not take it. Oops. It got mailed last night.

The movers managed to get all of my big pieces moved from my old house to my new house in 5 hours including an hour travel time, this was awesome, though it did cost more than the original estimate.

I received a check for the items that they sold, it was a nice amount, I thought I was half a house payment ahead…then I found out that almost the exact amount had been withdrawn from my account for some sort of adjustment to my escrow account, well that sucks. Something else for me to check into on Monday along with cancelling cable at the old house and contemplating setting up cable at the new place…except that my unlimited data on my cell-phone plan is doing well for my tablet and cellphone. If I can get Roku and possibly my PC to route through that wireless signal…hmm. It looks theoretically possible, I have an older mac so it might take some fiddling around, but if I can save that $75 a month I’d like that.

My holiday presents to family (well our holiday presents since I go halfsies with my sister) were ordered this morning. That almost maxes out one of my credit cards, but if I manage to get my storage unit cleared out this month it should not be too bad. Well, what really took up most of my purchasing power was the washer and dryer I had to order…that won’t be delivered until the end of January, yay. If I did not need them, and they were at the best price I am ever going to get, I would not have bothered. The red mechanics cart worked out really well. It doesn’t hold a lot, my impact driver, paint sprayer, and accompanying paraphernalia on one shelf and some other tools on the second. I just realized I should get my license changed to my new address soon…I wonder how much that’ll cost, okay under $20 that’s not too bad.

As you can tell from how scattershot this post is I’m trying to keep all of my balls in the air and it has me a bit all over the place. I completely forgot about Frederick Must Die.

**Talk about Mice and Violence Against Mice, please skip if this is triggering for you**
The Thursday before Thanksgiving I ordered a lovely potroast dinner from the corner shop and took it back to the old house for a relaxing dinner. I went in, set the container on the stove and turned around to put something in the fridge, to see a little body scurry across the dining room and into the kitchen behind something I had yet to get to the new house. I screamed, put my dinner in the fridge (didn’t eat that night) and started panic texting. I then decided that it was early enough for me to do this myself. I made sure that the room I was sleeping in had no signs of invasion, blocked any cracks in the doorway, and went out to buy peanut butter and snap traps (I don’t catch and release, once they know how to get into houses I just kill them, if that offends you..well you do mice your way and I’ll do them mine.). I set up eight traps in spots where I thought they’d do the most good. I had two handled by the morning, I thought it was over. On my way out the door I saw one scurry from the living room behind the loom I had on the floor to be transported to the new house. I called Orkin, was told they couldn’t get to me for two weeks due to the holiday and if I put gloves on that might make a difference. A friend also told me that marshmallow fluff was harder for them to get off, so that might help. The movers came later that week, no other catches had happened so I was barricading myself into the bedroom, and I discovered that there was at least one mouse down in the basement. All the while I had been scouring the house, loudly stomping and hollering, trying to find out where they were staying. I moved the two fluffernutter traps downstairs after the movers had finished, and waited for Orkin to arrive. I called Orkin twice to confirm, once because it was after 4pm and I still didn’t get a confirmation of a time. Turns out he was having a bad time at one of his appointments and was still coming. When he arrived, he was very patient about my near hysteria. I’d been hiding in my room, stomping when I entered the house, and hollering to scare anything lurking around, for two weeks now. I’d been feeling trapped in a house I’d lived in for 30+ years. There were no signs of mice upstairs, he couldn’t find anything. Then downstairs, the fluffernutter trap had caught one, and he could not see signs of anything else anywhere. He looked everywhere and could not find a thing. Orkin rocks, since this was just a ‘consultation’ I didn’t get charged (he even took Frederick Must Die with him to dispose of). Lesson 1: If you have someone doing work in your house or taking things out of your house, do NOT let them prop any doors open or leave the garage door open, especially if you live in the country. Lesson 2: If you are physically capable of setting traps and know that the entry point has been handled then just do it yourself, wearing gloves. In the case of my new house, I’m keeping Orkin hired just to keep myself safe from all sorts of pests I didn’t have in my old one, but for my old house I know that everything is sealed so I’m not bothering there. It has been a very busy couple of weeks.

**End of Mouse Content**

I spent the last two weeks ordering door dash, however my stomach and wallet don’t like that too much. It’s a bit insane to be spending $20 all the time for barely enough food for two meals. This means that cleaning my new kitchen, cupboards, pots, pans and all, just went much higher on my priorities list. Fortunately there is a microwave at work so I can use that and I can justify $1.5 for a bagel when I consider that an entire meal.

Another fun thing that happened: Thanksgiving week I took my garbage down to the corner before I left for work on the day that it was supposed to be taken, this is well before they usually pick it up. I didn’t think anything of it still being there the next day since I might have put it down too late or something. However when I left for work the next week, this past Monday, I was furious to find the garbage still there. I called the company and was told that my service (along with a lot of other people) had been cancelled because it was too far out of their way. A message had been left on a random old number that they had and that was how I had been ‘notified’. I said that I could have sworn I paid the bill, they said no you didn’t. So when I received a bill in my e-mail yesterday I was quite angry. I still don’t have my computer, which has my log in to this account, hooked up yet however I knew I paid the bill, I just checked an they didn’t send me a bill for November, which just makes this stranger. I’m going to have to try to log in again when I get back to my new house, it has all of my current billing things.

Honestly, all of this is getting to me but I just remembered why I didn’t post last week. I had a problem patron, well Security and I had a problem patron. From the beginning, due to a dramatic uptick in COVID cases the library board decided to re-implement mask requirements for the library. Now this library that I work at is an association library. They just became publicly funded this last year, however the library itself (and all contents and employees) are owned (employees are not owned) and managed by our Board of Directors, not the city/school district/county/state. This means that we are not government employees, the library is a privilege (that we try to make available to everyone), not a right. We had a patron and their family come into the library without masks about a week after the policy change. They breezed in and when my colleague on the desk told them that we were requiring masks the woman went off on her spouting about constitutional rights, etc. Of course my colleague had taken a course in constitutional law, but she wasn’t going to argue with someone obviously there to just stir up trouble. To make a very long, and irritating, story short, security got involved, I was securities backup, and it was very frustrating. Further action was threatened, our attorney has been consulted and the rest isn’t my business. In the Two Years and now Four Libraries I have been dealing with this masking nonsense, I hate them too and don’t know of anyone that likes them, this is the first time I’ve encountered this kind of animosity. Thank goodness most people are reasonable and understanding.

In short, yes it’s been a busy couple of weeks. In addition to getting some of my storage unit unloaded I have been able to set up my Saori Loom and taken some time in the evenings to relax and weave a bit. I also have my spinning wheel, Lady, set up and I spend some time spinning. There are several knitting and crochet projects that I have unearthed during the move and I hope to get some of them finished before looking into a new obsession, okay another new obsession. I already started something…quilting. The only real problem is I sort of….really suck at it. I love the idea, I can make half-square triangles until the cows come home. I even have the 4 at a time and 8 at a time methods down. The only problem is when I try to do anything to make those half-square triangle blocks into something else like the pinwheel I lose my points. Instead of nice clean points meeting in the middle I have these flat pieces. I think part of it is that I’m starting with 5″ squares, making 8 half square triangles and then trying to piece these 2″ squares made from two triangles into a bigger square again. Perhaps if I start with larger pieces I’ll get the hang of it better. I’m going to try to make a simple 9 square patch first, I think that is just sewing some 5″ squares 3×3 to make a 9 square patch. If I like that I might do something like a log cabin, or some books for a bookcase quilt and worry about half-square triangles later.

This has turned into a very long catch-up post, however it has also been good for me to look back and see all that I have been fighting through for these past two weeks. I have a tendency to forget troubles once I’ve gotten past them, then I wonder why I’ve been stressed this past however long. Well, in this case, I have had reasons and it is good to see them in black and white. Now it is time for a new week, a new month, and a new outlook. Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Rolling On

Yesterday I attended the Western New York Fiber Fest with a friend that I used to work with. She has two boys, one under 5 one under a year, so I was happy to get her out of the house and doing something fun for the day. We had an absolute blast, I purchased some fiber (not that I needed more) to spin up for National Spinning and Weaving week in the beginning of October. I am so pleased with the mixture of fibers and colors I have to play with, hopefully they will provide a good distraction. On another topic altogether, I have been trying to label things for organizational purposes. Unfortunatly those hard, plastic, sticky labels with punch type on an inexpensive machine; yeah they don’t stick to anything for me. So that creating cute & functional labels is easy, and actually likely to happen, I plan on purchasing a Cricut. Originally I was going to get a Cricut Joy, however with the release of the 3 series the Cricut Explore 2 is only $20 more than the Joy, so I will be ordering one of those.

My supervisor and director have both agreed to allow me to bring my Saori loom to work so that our patrons can have fun weaving rugs for October. I hope to be able to drag it down there tomorrow. Of course the only reason I’m in a hurry to get it to work is so that I don’t start another project on it, lol. I am almost finished with the rug piece, I wound up dismantling some of the toothbrush rug so that I had enough yardage to create this floor rug. It is so exciting to be this close to finishing the rug and allowing a lot of people a chance to play with a floor loom.

That is about all the news I have worth publishing right now. I did realize I’m going to need to rip out every project I have going on that requires sizing since I have changed so drastically, yay.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Weaving On

My new Saori WX60 Loom. I adore how it went together, though I do plan on posting the video I shot to YouTube at some point. People should see the flubs I made trying to put this thing together. That will have to wait until I have moved and regain the motivation to edit it.

The Saori Loom is, in essence, a general 2 shaft counterbalance loom. The only aspect of this loom that is special is the accessories readily available. With the pre-wound warps available for purchase a large step is taken out of the weaving equation. For me this takes away a very expensive and time consuming aspect of weaving. One of my major stumbling blocks has been the time needed to wind a warp, the expense needed in purchasing the yarn/thread for the warp as well as the time needed to calculate out how much warp might be needed. With this loom I can purchase pre-wound warps in everything from silk and cashmere to the standard cotton. I recently purchased a 33 yard 300 thread black cotton warp that should take advantage of the entire width of my loom. I also appreciate the bobbin winder available incorporated into the loom.

My first projects are off of the loom, I soaked them in warm in my top-loader washer then spun them out so I could hang them to dry. This is the warp that came with the loom.

As you can see there are quite a few projects woven into this single warp. Between the pouches I hope to create out of the hand spun, the yellow and green rug piece that I hope to put together with a piece woven from the wider warp, there is also a brown and pink piece my friend wove that we are going to try to turn into ears for a wolf hat based on the concept of a pussy hat. These pre-wound warps that are relatively easy for me to put onto the loom make it very easy for me to use my handspun yarn to create amazing fabric. I cannot wait until I have more time to experiment, I think that this is going to be a great use of my handspun yarn. I am not sure about how I can utilize these pieces of cloth to create clothing, I think for now I am going to concentrate on making pouches and accessories.

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

Plans Change

About that belt, well…I’ve decided it really is not going to work. Right now in my weight loss journey I am at a bit of a crossroad, heavy enough that it does not make sense for me to buy things; yet, the things that I own do not fit well at all. To this end I have decided to start working on some half modifications for pieces that I already own. This means pulling out the Dread Machine and learning how to operate my sewing machine again. Despite the nickname my Singer basic machine has been behaving very well this go round. I managed to sew up the inside seams of a pair of pants so that they fit my legs while still leaving room for my ‘Apron’. The Apron is the skin and fat in my stomach region that overhang my hips. When I reach my goal weight, another 50 pounds to go, I should be able to prove that skin reduction surgery is medically needed. This is another reason why I cannot see investing too much in a new wardrobe at this point. I did attempt purchasing a girdle to help with posture and back support, however that only succeeds in pushing my apron down making it more pronounced. Due to these circumstances I have decided to forgo shape wear until I am closer to my final size. I do want to clarify, I am not doing this because I am embarrassed or ashamed of being Fat. There are more fat people in America than there are skinny people, and I firmly believe that almost everyone can carry themselves with beauty and dignity. Many fat people exercise and eat less than their skinny counterparts, they simply have medical conditions or metabolisms that do not allow them to process food in the same way. Some people, like me, simply ingested more calories than they burned. My reasons for starting this weight loss journey are to improve my overall health and well being (hopefully I can get off of my Diabetes medication for a few years, as I age Diabetes will naturally worsen).

Enough heavy topics, did you see what I did there? While I had my sewing machine out I decided to hem some projects I had woven. Unfortunately I had green thread in my machine and could not bring myself to change it while the machine was behaving. So some white projects now have green hemming thread, and I used the clips that I already had on a project so I think I hemmed it upside down. Oh well, when I clipped the threads I like how the project turned out anyway.

The Piece is relatively skinny, though the colors are amazing and I love how the patterns turned out. I believe this was supposed to be a hand towel, however I am not sure if I am going to use it as such.

There has been progress made on my granny square project, the Icelandic Wool has been crocheted in to a square. It is the definition of what people hate about wool garments, coarse and a bit scratchy. However I know that it will be long lasting and hard wearing. If I were to weave cloth for a jacket or an outer garment that would have no contact with my skin this is the wool I would use. I wonder how it would look as a Victorian Style Walking Skirt like Bernadette Banner made? They are not intended to come in contact with anything other than the outside world and petticoats. Unfortunately my spinning and weaving skills are not up to that challenge quite yet, and my sewing skill is no where near good enough for something that complicated. I do like the idea of that as an aspirational project, so hopefully sometime in the future.

Grey Icelandic Wool crocheted into a granny square.

There are two more projects I am working on. The first is my second crocheted sock to make a pair out of this yarn. I do not have a photo. I am changing the pattern quite a bit so this sock should fit better. In addition to making a faux ribbed cuff, I am carrying along a very thin elastic thread with the yarn to give the cuff some elasticity. I find working with the elastic thread to be a bit of a misery, it is so thin and tiny it is easy to lose, yet it is also difficult to make sure I am not stretching it too much while working it. This sock is going to be cuff-down with a heel flap and gusset for the actual heel portion. I am mostly making this one up as I go, since I know what I want the end product to look like. I am not so secretly hoping that I will have enough of this color of yarn to make a sock to match this one, however I will be alright if that is not the case.

Paper Daisy Creations is releasing a set of four sock patterns based on the Anne of Green Gables book. A friend of hers is having a read along while she runs a knit along. I purchased the set of patterns, $5 for 4 sock patterns is nothing to sneeze at, and plan on casting on the sock when the pattern drops on Thursday. The first sock is a toe up with differently colored toes and heels. Since I have a mini skein from one of the pattern sponsors I plan on using that for the toes and heels. I have never read Anne of Green Gables so that should be interesting as well. Hopefully I can actually bring myself to knit these socks, I have an unfortunate tendency to allow socks to intimidate me.

That is all of the crafty content I have for this week. My garden has not progressed any further and is likely stalled until the end of May when planting season for Western NY begins.

Do not settle for the mundane and, Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Getting Back in the Spin of Things

Today I am getting my first vaccination shot, then the second will be three weeks from today. By the beginning of May I should be considered fully vaccinated. I wanted to share this first step toward my personal normal. This has given me a bit of energy and I have started working on my journey to decluttering my house and organizing my craft supplies.

I have chosen to take this as an opportunity to use the breed study wool that I have not been spinning since I did not know what to do with them. It is a ton of fun to spin them into two ply and crepe yarns then crochet up granny squares (labelled with tags) that I hope to eventually crochet into a blanket. I’m not worrying about getting each square precisely the same size as the rest, I believe that if I have a few that are larger I can use some of the left over scraps, when there is not enough yarn to make another round, to fill in with tiny squares.

Grey crocheted square with label on top of two white squares in a plastic bin.

I fully expect that this is going to be something that I lose interest in after a while and come back to eventually. It is fascinating that as I progress I understand how I work so much better, this way I can set myself up for future success. By keeping careful notes now when I get back to the project I will be able to pick up where I left off. I know, some of you are thinking “Why not just try to change how you work, stick with it, persevere, see it through, etc.” However if I try to push my way through I begin resenting the project, it is better if I work with my natural flow. These are also the reasons why it is better for me to have three completely different projects going on at once. Right now in addition to the granny square project, I have a double knit shawl (that I am a bit intimidated by), and a woven belt…well I call it a belt.

Weaving loom with a cotton piece that looks grey and blue yarn higher up.

This was supposed to be a 2 inch wide belt set at 12epi using a blue denim cotton lace yarn. As you can tell it is more grey than blue, the bright blue weft is a Noro Yarn that I decided to go with. At 12 epi this is closer to a weft facing weave which, unless I am completely mistaken, means I should have a narrower sett. I did put some fray check on the plain, or weft faced I guess, first couple of inches so when I take this off I can trim close and then sew the 2 D rings on right away before washing. The Fray Check is considered permanent so it should not wash out. I like the look of the Noro yarn as a straight twill, I am very happy about this since I was not sure what to do with the Noro yarn hating the texture as I do. This might make a nice decorative belt, I am not sure. However I am ‘Fat’ enough that until I am at the weight I wish to be and have my skin reduction surgery this size belt is just going to get lost in folds. To that end I already have plans to make a 5-10″ wide belt at about 18 epi in another yarn of a similar size. That should make a lovely statement piece.

So there we go. I’ve managed to get back in the groove of things, I need to keep in mind that it is better for me to have at least one project to work on at a time…of course when I abandon things here and there that does not help…will the second sock ever get crocheted? Stick around to find out!

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Cowls and Dioramas

I spent the entire week warping, weaving, and finishing the cowl. I am lucky that I was able to take my loom off of the stand or I do not know how I would have untangled my cowl. While I adore the end product, keeping some tension on the warp end I was weaving while keeping the end I was using for weft was a delicate dance. It is entirely possible I did not pack nearly enough weft into each pic, the loose gauzy feel will suit me better as the warmer months come around.

Woven cowl hanging from a towel rod in a bathroom.

I have also started spinning several different breeds, okay so two so far, and plan on crocheting some granny squares based on a challenge another person on Ravelry mentioned. The Sheepspotters society is running 1 fiber 5 ways spin along, the first day was short forward drafting more efficiently and faster. I enjoyed this, however the Hog Island I chose was a little too rustic for this to be effective. The Icelandic I picked for my second spin is turning out much smoother. I did a 2 ply for 40 yards then took the rest of the two ply and counter plied it to make a crepe yarn. That did not turn out so well, however the granny squares are quite effective. I hope to have photos of those next week. To keep track of the project I batch cut some tags using my cricut and some colored paper. Since I had to cut a couple of tags it made sense to just do an entire batch at once.

Colored tags with a blue pen and hole punch on a slightly stained wooden tv tray.

I have also been playing around a bit with the diorama I had hoped to make of an alleyway. I have the main portions painted and I had used some layering techniques to paint wooden squared off dowels in stone like colors. I had planned to cut them down into pieces that could be used like stones, roughing up the edges and adding on some color. I tried this, however I also had a container of stones…unfortunately for my efforts with the dowels I think that the actual stone looks better.

I also experimented with the width, please ignore the junk in the background. You can see in the bottom right most photo the longer strips were a little too narrow to get any kind of depth while the stick pieces looked like nothing more than grey rectangles, in no way can they be stone. The actual stone however looks amazing, I cannot wait to see what it will look like as a road between the sides. I decided on the very square pieces on the top right most photo, in single file. Double file is a bit too much space for me to cover, too much room to check out details. It will likely be several months of contemplation before I bring myself to figure out the next set of steps. Until then, I love how this diorama is turning out. Next is probably going to be trying to make some buildings for the sides and perhaps thinking about how I am going to stick pieces together.

I look forward to what next week is going to bring me. Until then, 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!

Socks, Shawls, and More

I am having a blast crocheting this pair of socks, though I do not really like the heel and will probably go back to the other style of heel once I’ve finished this pair. They are coming along nicely, however I am looking forward to seeing the back of them so I can start a new patterned pair.

I managed to cast on 360 pairs of stitches, with a marker every 10 pairs and a different type of marker every 50 pairs of stitches, for a total of 720 cast on stitches. This is going to be a double sided shawl with a graphic pattern. Fortunately for me, this shawl involves casting on with the number of stitches for the longest side then decreasing as the pattern goes on.

Finally the yarn that I ordered so that I can weave a blanket arrived. I am so excited, and nervous, about warping this up. Since I still have not woven my cowl, this is probably going to take a month or two for me to get to.

I think that is all the news I have fit to write about this week. I have slowed down on some personal projects and decided to redirect my energy into making sure that I have storage that will work for all of my supplies without overwhelming everything. Right now I have my paper projects, quilling, scrapbooking, fiber/dyeing/weaving diary supplies (not the crafts themselves just the supplies to create the diaries_, along with my supplies to make dioramas, on one bookcase with my fiction books and sewing supplies on a second bookcase. The top shelves of these cases are not load bearing so I put my blocking mats up there, the foam essentially does not weigh anything. Perhaps I will take photos when I have my cases the way I want them to be. Next is going to be a case for my crafting books, then one to store my yarn and fiber. This is going to give me an idea of what space I will need in a home to realistically store my supplies, a great project while I am saving up for a down payment on a house.

Don’t let life or obstacles get you down for long! Remember to Roll with Changes and 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!