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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!