Walk-Throughs and Speed Bumps

**** Will denote the crafty updates, house content until then. Today the person buying the house I grew up in will be doing their final walk through. The sale should be finalized tomorrow, with the disbursements happening from there. I hope that this means I can finally get myself settled on a budget that I can stick to. Of course, it is Holy Week (if you’re Catholic…which I am but lapsed), so things are going to be a little strange anyway. Even though it is a religious holiday the secular world seems to come to a bit of a slow down anyway. I did look into the roof grant, only to be told that they were working on finalizing the application and they would have the forms ready in about 90 days…well I’ve needed something done since October so waiting until June/July to fill out an application that could cover 3/4 the cost of it…doesn’t seem like a bad idea at this point in time. When I get someone in to look at the bathroom I imagine I can ask them about the roof as well.

I did start back onto Nutrisystem, only for my monthly concerns to rear their head setting my plans back for a few days. After tomorrow I should be able to go back to my original plan. I am debating if I want to spend my 3 day weekend next week hiding or if I want to go to the buffet next Sunday since I believe they will have lamb, I Love lamb, and don’t want to buy/cook/clean up after cooking lamb this week. Either way I hope to spend at least part of next weekend planting my seedlings in the pots I will use to put them outside in. Yay! I was going to pot the plants this weekend but did not, and I don’t feel bad about that. I need to rest for a couple of days, maybe finish some projects so I’m ready to start some new ones when I am back on an upswing. I have not been to the gym this week, Friday the weather was miserable and I was starting to feel poorly, then Saturday I started to figure out why I was feeling poorly, then today I had work and there was snow on the car so…no. I know it is weird, however I do not plan on going to the gym on days where there is snow, at least not when I am on a tighter schedule. If the weather is warmer and the gym is open at least 3 hours before I have to be at work that will work, 2 hours for the gym (getting there, working out, getting back) and 1 hour to clean up for work, then I will go to the gym. If not, then my iron and cutting board are upstairs, my sewing machine is downstairs, If I feel really good I’ll go up and down my stairs for 10 minutes at a time, that got me sweating the last time I tried that.

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I took Friday and Saturday off, though I am working my other job today. I had made a ‘play date’ with a friend and former colleague to try out a solar dyeing technique, unfortunately the weather did not hold out, however we had a fun time anyway. She had some fabric she did not want to keep and offered it to me, one was a set of 5″ squares pre-sewn together into 4 patches. She told me that it might be good for a disappearing 4 patch, however I know I cannot machine sew the corners properly, no matter how much I try, so I believe I am going to edge the squares using a solid color and either make it into a baby quilt that I can practice my hand quilting on or as a pillow or something similar. She was also kind enough to gift me with a mat for my sewing machine to sit on with pockets in the front and her husband gifted me with a carved bunny that I will treasure. She has this upcoming week off and would like to show me to a quilt shop less than an hour away and I suggested next Saturday since I know I have that day off, not thinking that it was the day before Easter. Oops, I hope it happens but I understand if it does not.

This means that Saturday was a ton of fun, however I tend to drive myself mad sometimes. In preparation for Saturday (and to just get it done) I worked on getting my third quilt attempt finished. I like how it turned out, learned a lot of lessons, and think I am going to give hand quilting a try next.

Wrestling a quilt that fits the top of a queen sized bed through a domestic sewing machine that sits on one of those small square tables you can get from certain craft stores is NOT how I recommend quilting. It did the job, I have a quilted quilt with the binding sewn on the edges. I did a ‘wavy lines’ quilting pattern, which means I tried to do wavy lines and I’m just going with, “Sure, I wanted it to look like that” as my answer when I am questioned about the weird peaks, dips, and straight edges in my wavy lines. The quilting is about 5″ apart, the batting says that the quilting can be up to 8″ apart so I should be alright there. The binding is just the backing folded over like you would do for pot holders.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a Weaver’s guild meeting half-way between where I used to live and where I live now. I love the guild, and it was ironic that the meeting was held at their public library (where I had interviewed for a job 2 years ago). The meeting was lovely, I had a chance to pull out my spinning wheel and show some individuals how to spin. I also reminded myself how much I enjoy the quiet of spinning. I am presently thinking that I will spin on my front porch while watching the world go by. Of course in order to do this I need to get 2 things accomplished. I need to get the porch level again, it looks as though one board likes to swell in the rain which causes it to buckle the porch, and purchase a chair for my front porch. I have been looking online thinking that I would order one, however if I plan on using it for a spinning chair I really should get a good idea of how it feels before actually spinning in it for any extended length of time. I am hoping that this is a once every 30 years purchase. While in town I discovered that they have a quilt shop which I was thrilled to find out…until I looked at their selection. I know that I have particular tastes, and that I do not want to purchase fabric until I KNOW I like it and will use it. This means that I bought a small, simple, pattern and a bag of essentially colorful scraps and asked the owner to keep the change since that was the only way I could spend five dollars in the shop. I feel bad, but I am not buying fabric I cannot see a good use for. I do have plans to use the pattern as a sort of border for one of the panels I hope to create a quilt from next. I also have 3 jelly rolls, not to mention most of a black jelly roll, to still use. Well, I did not know until I was typing that up that I had really decided on the quilt panel next, however that makes sense. I am still working on my EPP Project.

I have started to figure out how I want to place the glued pieces for my first EPP quilt, I have 10 out of 25 pairs sewn for the second part and these bundles put together for the first part that I hope to start sewing soon. I am trying to get some long languishing projects worked on so that I feel a little more freedom to work on this huge project. I am about a dozen rows away from finishing the pillow that started with a new colorwork class that had me knitting what were almost quilt block pieces. I love how this looks and cannot wait to see it finished. I am a little apprehensive about how I am going to finish it since at present I am planning on knitting some extra rows of the back to create a flap that tucks inside the pillow. I thought about just seaming the pillow blank inside however if I ever need to wash it that would cause too many problems.

Next I hope to start getting projects ready for progress. I need to find a charm pack that will go with the panel I hope to work on so I can get that border started. My 16 shaft loom needs to be warped with the towel warp I wound so I can start weaving that up. I need to straighten out my Saori Loom’s warp so I can get back to using up some of that yarn. There is the possibility that we will be playing with weaving looms next month at the guild meeting so I should have my looms ready to be warped and played with, not to mention possibly finding the alpaca tweed yarn I bought to weave a blanket from. Possibly that got lost during the moth-ening though I hope not. Oh, on a not so fun note, I just realized with spring possibly on the way I should consider putting together the push mower I purchased so that when my lawn dries enough I can mow. yay.

I am honestly excited by all of the changes coming, to myself, my house, and my crafting. I have been finding by leaning into what I am feeling and what my body is trying to tell me I can get more done. Some of this is certainly down to having 1 full-time job, no person needing me to take care of them, as well as having the second house off of my shoulders. However I do believe by resting when I need to, finishing things when I have the urge, and starting (some) things when I also have the urge I am completing more than I ever have in the past. Normally I would have become overwhelmed by the quilt and stopped, instead I leaned into wanting to finish it, took it step by step and leaned into binding when I felt like it instead of waffling.

That is me for the week, it has been busy. I’m going to take the next couple of days to lean into recharging and see where the world takes me from there. I am uncertain if I will post next week, it will depend on how much I get done and how I am feeling. Until next time, Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

434 Out of 471 Glued Down

Catch up about life and the house(s) before crafting. Crafting content starts at ****. According to our real estate agent the closing date for the sale of the house should be within the next 2 weeks. This is a little sooner than anticipated, however that will likely work out in our favor in the end. When we get the final closing date I will call the oil company so that we can be reimbursed by the new owner for the oil left in the tank (they will essentially buy the oil off of us) and we can notify the insurance company as well as the electric company. Yay. I’m feeling relieved about this, not as sad as I expected (it really was too much house for me and mom had gotten into some minor hoarding tenancies which made it more difficult to keep up with than it already was.) My supervisor, that was supposed to pick up the loom, is on medical leave….I don’t have any details and feel that if she wanted me to know she would have told me so I’m not asking for any details….so her Father picked up the loom yesterday. He also worked for the city works administration where I now live and had plenty of advice about my getting a new roof and fixing up my bathroom. About the roof, apparently where I live doesn’t qualify for financial help getting a solar paneled roof, however they do offer financial help in installing a new roof. So I will look into that on Monday and make inquiries. He also advised that since the floor is going to have to be semi-leveled to fix the problem with the toilet I should think about just getting the bathroom completely redone. He pointed out that if the toilet had been leaking then it might have caused structural damage anyway, and if I’m going to possibly pull everything out I might as well budget for it and get it done the way I want it to be in the first place. It’s a little strange, however I think it also makes complete sense.

For some reason the shower in that bathroom doesn’t have any doors or rod for a shower curtain, I’ve been making due with a tension rod but that sort of sucks as well. When I try to hang up some things to dry, if it is more than some hand towels or underthings the weight tends to bring the rod down…which is not fun in the middle of the night. Getting the bathroom done the way it needs to be and the roof on the house should be enough for this year. I would like to get a heating/air conditioning unit installed since I don’t do well in the heat, however that will likely have to wait for another year. Part of why I have never done too well in the heat is simply being overweight. Since stopping nutrisystem I have been finding myself falling back on old bad habits. To counteract this I have decided to resume Nutrisystem, and to stop delaying any further I reinstated myself today. This combined with going to the gym, yes I only managed once last week however that was more than I had been doing before and I have plans for this upcoming week, should lead to results I enjoy. I will not be purchasing a scale, instead I will be looking into how my clothing fits at a given time.

Of course, if these two fixes to the house do not cost a huge amount I can look into other fixes for this upcoming year. If they do, then I will choose one fix each year until the place is the way it needs to be. Alright, I’m back. Thinking about a new bathroom promptly sent me on a spiral to look at Victorian Bathroom Fixtures and two hours later I have emerged from that rabbit hole with several ideas. I will have to work with the individuals doing the renovations to ensure that I do not have too many conflicting points of interest, especially since I would like to minimize the white in the room. Enough of this for now, decisions will be made when the time comes, and I have a chance to speak with a couple of contractors my friends and colleagues have recommended.

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As in the title I have 434 out of 471 pieces of Tula Pink’s Tula Nova English Paper Piecing quilt glue basted. I did start sewing together the second set of pieces where the initial step is to attach two pentagons together along one side. The first step is to actually attach 5 triangles around a pentagon then attach diamonds in between each of the triangles to completely encase the pentagon. I have not taken the first step since I am still gluing down diamonds and have not made a design choice about these pentagons yet. As I will be making 11 of these they are the focal points of the quilt and need quite a bit of attention, I believe. After that I make some stars which will be modified to create the next portion of the quilt. I’m thinking of laying several pieces down to try and form a semi-cohesive view of the finished product before I do any intense stitching.

Oh, you didn’t think I was only doing one project did you? As stated before I tend to go in fits and spurts as well as leaning into my need to have more than one project on the go at a time. I have made progress on the sampler quilt top I am playing with, when laying it on the bed it goes across the bed rather well despite being only about 60″ wide however the length leaves a lot to be desired. I have another strip ready to add on to the initial portion so that I can decide where to go from there. I thought about adding more onto this smaller strip and then adding that onto the larger quilt, however upon reflection (which is why I didn’t add it on right away) I believe I would be better off seeing how this strip adds to the pattern before making any drastic design decisions. While I do have some blocks that I could add on, and at looking at what I have now I think it might be neat to add on some 10″ squares outlined and baste in my EPP flowers as centerpieces…hmmm. What if I add strips of 10″ squares to the length of the top and bottom of the quilt, balancing them out. This might complete the project if the strip I am going to add on tonight or tomorrow means that I only need about 20 more inches added onto the length of the quilt. I don’t think that is going to be the case, so I might be cutting some more strips to add onto the top and bottom to flesh things out so to speak. Adding in EPP Motifs as I play around with them on top of the 10″ square border pieces would certainly add visual interest. It might take me a little longer….unless I give my current project a sewing pause as I make some more EPP flowers…it would give me a chance to play with some of the ideas I have going on regarding patterning in my second Tula Nova Quilt…

Oh, I did mention that I was making a second Tula Nova Quilt despite each quilt being positively huge right? I’m sure I did. Anyway, the Wolfsbane print from Spoonflower arrived as well as a yard of rainbow stripe fabric I ordered from amazon. I have cut the pieces that will act as the star centers out of the wolfsbane fabric so that each wolf is howling, it took some time to fussy cut each one out, however I LOVE the effect. I was thinking about fussy cutting some diamonds out of the same fabric, however I do not want to risk overusing one print in a potentially dynamic quilt. To that end I am going to do some experimenting with how the wolfsbane fabric looks as hexi flowers since I have about a 1/2 yard left, and I will play around with the stripes as well.

Once I have the new quilt top finished I intend to use the cotton batting as well as one of the 108″ backing fabrics to create my quilt sandwich. Then I plan on doing some form of free-motion quilting, trim the batting down and folding the edges of the backing to act as my binding. It is a little unconventional, however I haven’t followed a pattern for this quilt yet, why start now?

So, selling houses, potential bathroom renovations, new roofs, English paper piecing, diets, exercise, quilt tops, did I forget anything? Actually I did! My cousin’s daughters are very into Fairies right now, and I am into playing with resin. As with any of my projects I wanted to ensure that I was making something that would get some use, so I decided to figure out which colors the little girls would like. One likes rainbows and the other purple (girl after my own heart). So I made up two resin fairy pieces, and it took several weeks since I attempted to mix two different brands of resin to create the second (I was out of one type and added in a second). It turns out that doesn’t work…at all. No matter how much you try to cure it stays tacky. There is a vague possibility this was due to the humidity over a 3 day period that I tried to get the dang thing to cure…but I have Natural Gas heating and I believe the house gets quite dry. I finally got these pieces in the mail yesterday, YAY! I also told my supervisor to purchase Roxy Epoxy if she wants me to do this craft with the teens, so I had a bottle of that waiting for me. I have found that the three brands I tried, one from Michaels and 2 from Amazon, worked just fine if they were cured on their own and not too much coloring was added in. When I did try Mica Powder (which I will not be using with the teens) the result wanted to take a very long time to cure, which I did not find out until I stuck my finger in it.

It is my fondest hope that the girls like their little fairy friends.

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

Unexpected hiatus and revelations

Very little of this post is going to have to do with crafting, the first paragraph I will update on my projects and the rest is going to be about the move, my weight loss journey, and revelations about clothing fit.

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the gusset of my second sock, and reading an article about sock knitting tips caused me to realize that I want to make a plain foot. I’m having a ton of fun spinning small bits of yarn that I hope to use for crewel work. I decided to practice sprang using worsted weight acrylic yarn, partially to get a longer warp using less yarn, partially to have really thick yarn to work with.

Onto packing and moving content. My sister and I did not get as much done as I had hoped, though papers are pretty much sorted out. Next weekend I am going to have four days off that I am going to spend hopefully concentrating on getting things completed. I have not yet been able to rent a storage unit, however the basement is mostly cleared out and I can store things there. I have started wet vaccing the carpets. I also found that if you don’t touch your fly tying equipment in 15 years, it causes moths. So I now have that baking in my car, and the stuff that actually got touched by moths has been eliminated.

My sister and I did some shopping while she was here. This is going to get into personal clothing content, so if you don’t want to hear about brassieres you might want to stop reading.

In the past couple of months I have noticed that my bras seem to be more padding than actual bust. I thought that I had lost weight in my bust region, it turns out that if the band of your bra is too big you will not fill out the cups. Now that I have a band that fits around my torso properly, I am wearing a bigger cup size than ever, and the girls look better than ever.

Six months ago when I begin this journey I was 60 pounds heavier and wearing a 3X. Now I am capable of wearing a large, for the most part, however due to the excess skin around my torso I do not have a significant change to my profile unless I wear a tight belt like object right underneath my bust. I am currently questioning whether I am ever going to be wearing anything other than a large, because even some of the larges do not fit over my shoulders. To be honest this is very demoralizing, and I do understand that skin reduction surgery is going to help quite a bit with my profile. I also understand that that is likely over nine months away. I hope to lose another 30 pounds over the next three months and then my understanding is that I have to maintain that weight for six months before they will do the surgery. I completely understand this and don’t anticipate a problem with it. I’m starting to get a better understanding of what regular foods I can eat and how to maintain the diet.

To be frank a lot of this has me looking much more seriously into creating my own clothing. Altering what I already have is not a realistic concept, simply due to my lack of knowledge and inability to focus on reading a tailoring book. To be blunt I am so much smaller than I have been in years and finding out that ready-to-wear sucks has me quite, not depressed but with the potential to be in a bad place mentally. I used to think that it was simply that plus size clothing was horrible, now I realize it pretty much all is. If the regular sized large fits me so badly, it makes me think that I would have to be in a medium or smaller to look decent. I know that this is not true, so I am going to find some patterns that will fit me. This is not a great time for me to start this with moving and everything, however for my own morale I believe it’s something I need to do.

OK, I have to get ready for work now but I wanted to get this post out I’ve been meaning to for a week. I will update you as things change, but for now 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.