Progress On My Studio

Okay, so late this past winter a contractor that was recommended to me by a friend and colleague started work on getting my unattached garage turned into a studio.  Truthfully this has been very slow going, I think he started in March and it is now the end of August, however that is not entirely his fault.  It turns out that in addition to the mouse problem, we live in the country there are going to be mice if you have any holes at all, the garage did not have any gutters.  So after I purchased and had a new garage door installed, gutters were installed eliminating that problem.  The rafters were reinforced, apparently they had not been and the entire structure was leaning a bit, and a new door frame was installed.  The entire building is now insulated, however two weeks ago the wiring shorted out.  I received a phone call saying that things would be delayed due to the flames shooting out of the wall.  Needless to say, I am happy that this happened when my handyman was there and not when I was by myself.

Now the wiring is fixed, and the last things to do are install the paneling and haul my stuff over there.

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The new garage door and doorframe look amazing, one of the gutters runs into a rain barrel.  It is going to be amazing that I can use grey-water for dyeing and possibly washing fleeces.

Right now the entire thing does not look like much, however it really is quite a bit of space.  I have a metal floor loom that I plan on installing so that I can finally weave the rag rugs I want to.  I procured a potting stand for a steal that I believe will be amazing for dyeing.  I also bought an ergonomic rolling chair so that I can, hopefully, avoid any back issues, as well as a heavy duty storage rack.  Once I see how much room I have left over I will have to consider weather I am going to install my 16 shaft table loom out there, or keep that in the house.  Now that I think about it, it might make sense for me to just move my old kitchen table out into the garage for my table loom instead of purchasing a new one.  I already am going to have to buy at least a heater for the garage and probably an air conditioner as well for when the summer hits.

It is my greatest hope that this will get done by October so that I can have everything ready to go by time winter really hits.  With the new door, and relatively air tight structure I should be able to spend some time weaving and dyeing throughout the winter.  Since I have a mild form of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, I believe that having a place that I can do some work that does not give me easy access to an area that I can just lay down and sleep will help me to keep my spirits up throughout the winter months.

Remember to keep Living Life a Little More Abstract!

19 More Rounds to Crochet

Since the last posting I managed to crochet 9 more rows on my sweater.  This means that I have 17 more rows before I am ready to start the sleeves.  With a lot of luck I can finish this by time I am back to academic librarianship the week of August Nineteenth.  Each sleeve is about 35 rows, however they are smaller rows so they should go much faster.  I am about five rows from beginning the straight portion of the knitted poncho which is the 3rd quarter project from Jimmy Beans Wool Knit Club.   I have not begun the crochet project and honestly I am quite far behind on my other clubs.  At this point I do not know if I should cancel some of the subscriptions that I belong to, or if I should keep them in case I cannot afford them next year so that I have the option to knit or crochet them then.  I am still waiting for the external garage to be finished so that I can move my metal loom, chair, shelves, and a few other things over there.  It is my fondest wish to be able to create rag rugs over the winter out there.

I am not only working on these two projects however.  Just a couple of weeks ago while I was looking out my back door I saw a pair of fawns on my back hill.  While I could not obtain a photo with both of the babies in the same photo, I think that this one turned out quite nicely.

Deer photo Cuba ny backyard for tapestry cartoon

I am hoping ot be able to turn this into a tapestry cartoon and hopefully weave it up on my Mirrix 12″ loom.  I was thinking about tracing the important parts in outline on a piece of white paper, however I would need a light box.  Instead I believe that I will try to warp up the loom the correct width and then draw the important aspects onto the warp threads.  Right now I am aware that I will need at least 3 shades of medium to light brown, white, black, yellow, greens.  I will likely need some other shades of brown or off white to represent the switches that are everywhere, and at least some black and dark greys to cover the woods and gnarled tree behind the deer.  It should be quite a bit of fun, even if the end results are a bit abstract.

I am also playing around with resin some, I presently am expected to create a collage of berries, leaves, and the library logo for my director to commemorate a tree that had to be cut down on library property.  I have created two small pieces already with intentions of doing one more experiment with the greenery and another berry before completing the project with the full-sized pour.  The final experiment is to see if the greenery will foul the resin with moisture or if the results will be as rock solid as my last two versions.  I will confess to being quite excited to see how this project will end, I simply need to remember to grab some greenery before I leave one of these days!

Tomorrow I will be getting a new drive shaft in my car, according to what I have found this should take between 1-3 hours, I hope to use this time to work on my poncho!  I hope to post photos next week to demonstrate my progress.  I will receive my next installment sometime this weekend, and I have not finished my first installment yet, I am 4 out of 15 mini skeins into it.  I will also confess, I have not started this quarter’s crochet club project either.  I did complete last quarters crochet and ignoring the knitting project.  It is my fondest hope to be able to complete the crocheted sweater, knitted poncho, and at least one of my weaving projects this month.  That’s right, I have not mentioned my weaving!  I have been working some on my bamboo straight twill scarf with beads, it is my fondest hope to be able to finish the scarf with nine strands twisted together with a few beads to create a lovely fringe.  I love how it is weaving up and look forward to completing it.  For the cotton that I have warped up on my rigid heddle loom, things look lovely.  I have a plain weave edge already on the piece, however, I am not certain what pickup techniques I would like to use.

All of this means that I have a very happy and fulfilling crafting life.  While I do not have three knitting projects on the needles at once (I don’t count the things I am not actively working on, nor the ‘I need to make socks sometime’ projects) I instead have two or three other crafts that I am working on.  I love being busy, I hope that I can keep some of this up during the school year.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Weekend of Crafting

Since I will be missing my August Meeting of the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild I decided to warp up my hand dyed bamboo warp this weekend.

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This is a straight twill draft with beads added in.  The yellow is  fairly dominating at this point in the weave, I hope that the red and other colors will begin to balance this out as I progress.  I love the shine, pattern, as well as the bit of pop the beads give the overall effect.  I am having such fun weaving this piece, I cannot wait to get to the next segment.

My rigid heddle piece is made from cotton and, while lighter, has a bit more heft to the individual strands.  I am playing around on the last part of the towels I have been weaving for a couple of years to see what the different manipulation techniques will look like.  This is the section where I placed bobby pins to delineate each of the sections for brooks bouquet.  The technique worked well, I did not like the resulting lace however.

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I also managed to pour three pieces of resin, two are for my director and one was a sample piece.  Since the piece of resin did release from the mold cleanly that aspect was a success, however there are streaks from where the petroleum jelly was in the mold giving the end result a failing grade.  The other two pieces are lovely and I believe I will have some bath bomb molds ordered to create a perfectly spherical result for the second attempt at a paperweight.

This was an exciting new project, and I love how they turned out!  I am going to see if my director will approve the purchase of new materials for this project, the initial results are simply amazing!

Finally is an update on my Furls Crochet Coffee Cups Pullover.  I have 24 rounds left alternating Half Double Crochet and Double Crochet, then two rounds of Single Crochet and I am ready to start the sleeves.  Right now I like how the resulting sweater looks and fits.  While the sweater is a bit heavy, the double crochets leave enough of a gap that I believe I will need to wear something underneath.  Perhaps just a tank or cover-up over my bust and stomach areas.  (I will probably pay more attention to where the collar fits when it is finished as well.)

Furls coffee cup sweater progress july 29 2019

In conclusion, this past weekend was a very craft heavy weekend. I had a ton of fun, managed to accomplish quite a bit, and since I just found out my external garage needs rewired, I will not be in my new studio any time soon!

Happy Crafting and remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

A Studio

This was slightly unplanned.  I have an external garage that has been neglected a bit over the past ten years since Dad died.  The wood around the garage door has rotted away, looking horrible, and up until recently there were a lot of mice inhabiting it.  Last year Mom had someone put on a new roof, she also asked for an estimate to get the place fixed up.  That person quoted 5k to insulate, seal, panel, and fix the outside door so that it looked better.  Mom was  hesitant, so it did not get done last year.  This is probably for the best.  It turns out that the majority of the problems with the garage stem from a lack of gutters, this causes water to run down into the walls and rot away wooden portions.  There are also no supports anchoring the beams holding the walls to the ceiling which is causing them to bow in the middle.  I found this out because the gentleman that acted as my exterminator is a carpenter so I casually mentioned that I wanted the other garage fixed up if possible at or under the other estimate.  Admittedly I am currently 3,600 into it, but there is insulation and paneling already installed, he will be working on the wiring as well as the ceiling this week.  I have contacted an external source to get my garage door repaired, mostly a new opener as well as bottom gasket for the seal, in addition to a quote for a screen door that will fit on my garage door to increase air circulation.

Because my garage is getting fixed up, I feel that it is the perfect time to turn it into a studio.  With a metal therapy loom that will be perfect for making rag rugs, my supplies for dyeing wool, and possibly a section for gardening since I hope to create a dye garden, this would certainly give me plenty of crafting options for the spring, summer, and early fall.  At present my floor loom, the therapy loom, cannot be used since it is blocked in by my car.  By putting it into the other garage where there is plenty of space I should be able to start weaving rag rugs.  I am quite excited about this, I think that the rag rugs will be a good addition to my home as well as something that I can conceivably sell.  Right now my dyeing studio and kitchen are the same space.  If I can find a worktable I like then I can utilize my mini-crockpots to create  my own dyed colorways in addition to having a well ventilated space to begin experimenting with natural dyes.  In theory I would also want to begin looking into a rain barrel for natural water collection, but at $90 I do not know if that is something I would want to invest in, although not having to haul water from the house is an appealing idea.

So far I am looking into:

A workbench that will work well with my dyeing setup.  I have 4 mini crockpots, should I be able to use all at once on a surface that would be ideal.

Some form of storage, I had originally thought of a metal cabinet that can close, but if I have a utility shelving unit that can hold not only the dye supplies but weaving also that would be useful.

Potentially another shelving unit or a potting bench for my gardening section.  This is the part I am not certain about however.  I want a dye garden but I am loathe to introduce dirt into my new workspace.  Perhaps a potting bench that I can take outside?

This is going to take some time and effort to get right.  There is also the possibility of just using this space as some form of storage, but I am loathe to do that.  Not only would I be likely to forget what is there, not having frequent human habitation tends to encourage animals to take root in unoccupied spaces.

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!