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!

Falling Hard for Quilting

So, the truth of the matter is when I start something that I enjoy I tend to fall very hard for that craft. Here are the quilt squares that I have made and that I am presently working on squaring up…

Spools were a theme then I moved onto other things. I love how everything is turning out, though I know that they are not perfect and will not be square in the end. I did have a binding mishap on a quilt I finished rather quickly and have learned what I did wrong to fix that in the future. On a similar note…quilting leads to fabric design. I know, not for most but go along with me here.

I have been watching episodes of Quilting Arts TV online via a monthly subscription, and it is giving me ideas. One of those ideas is about Cyanotype printing, or printing on fabric using sunlight/uv. I tried something similar withy Cyanotype paper last year for a program and absolutely hated it. Well, what I hated was that the results were not consistent. Some of the papers printed fine while others would not print at all. This made for disappointing results for several children and I hate disappointing children. I have already told my bosses that I am doing some experimenting but this is not going to be ready to go as a program until next year at the earliest. Of course, I cannot be content with just one exploration.

I am also playing with the ideas of block fabric printing, fabric painting, and wet fabric paint dyeing. There is a medium that can be used to turn acrylic paint into heat set fabric paint. Using that and some stamps I plan on giving block printing on fabric a try. Fabric painting is straightforward, use the acrylics with medium to paint onto fabric. The last is a little different, again on Quilting Arts TV they had a wet fabric painting technique that I would like to explore.

You may think me mad, however you cannot say that I am linear!

I was also fortunate enough to have been gifted a Janome sewing machine, it is a bit old but the manual is available online and I have been able to start sashing several squares already in hopes of turning them into a quilt top.

*Unrelated to crafting, I have had confirmation that the buyer of my family home has financing, so that will be one more worry off of my mind in a few weeks.*

Remember to Live Life in a way that is A Little More Abstract.

So Much Happening

So, last Sunday my side hustle was on break and I wound up having a quilting day with an amazing new friend/colleague from my full-time job. The afternoon started off worryingly, I shut the top of my metal storage rack on my finger…that was not a good time to discover I did not have any band-aids in my new house! One trip to the pharmacy later, and I went to my friends house. She is a part of the Pointer Rescue Organization and had a foster dog that I was able to meet. That makes it so hard to remember that I do not have time/space for a dog right now. I was able to get some ideas about how I can/should set up a sewing area. Since she is planning on making a long distance move soon she offered me her folding table…until her husband found out how much it would cost to replace that table, lol. I deeply appreciate the offer, and I do realize that this is the sort of table I am going to need. I gained a deeper understanding of cutting and pressing.

I am having so much fun sewing and quilting right now that I cannot believe I have allowed myself to be intimidated by quilting for this long! The aspects that have allowed me to get into this form of quilting is the understanding that there is more out there than half-square triangles. I am working better when I do not have to meet corners perfectly (though there are certainly arguments that there is no perfect in quilting). I finished a 6 column quilt that comprised of 4 colors in different saturation points that were sashed by black jelly roll strips on all sides. Since this was made of 24 blocks with simple sashing I was able to finish in 2 days. I then made the quilt sandwich, switched out needles when the machine started ka-thunk-ing, and sewed 90% around the edge of the quilt sandwich. Changing the needle once more after the tip broke off at a corner ( digging a sharp needle tip out of quilt batting is not fun). After I cut the excess of batting and backing off of the edges I turned the quilt inside out before I sewed about a quarter inch around the edges to close the seam and get a more finished edge.

The last two steps involved the binding around the edge of the quilt. I sewed the binding strips together, then with the right sides together (with the bulk of the binding on top of the quilt, then once you have sewn around the edge you flip the binding around to the back) I sewed the binding onto the top of the quilt. Next I folded the binding over the edge of the quilt, folded under the edge of the binding and faced hand felling this binding….and I decided to take a shortcut. I decided that I was going to use a decorative stitch from the top of the quilt to machine fell the edges of the binding. In retrospect I really should have at least watched a video on how to machine fell a seam…so after I did that I went back to fell the parts of the seam that did not work, embroidered some text in a corner that the stitching did not work in, and now I’m embroidering a flower on the back so that the embroidery stitches from the text do not show as random thread on the back… Oh well. The batting and backing I used were left over from earlier purchases and I plan on using this as a rug once I have shown it to the quilt guild I joined because my new friend is a member. This experience has also taught me that I need to take some in person classes about quilting, and properly finishing a quilt. Hopefully I can find some that are not cost prohibitive.

One of the main take-aways that I have from this experience is that I really enjoy quilting. For me to do this new craft properly I am going to need a space to create within. My Library room is likely going to become my sewing room. Before I can start using my second and third floors I need my second floor bathroom to be usable, so once the old house has sold this has become my second priority (the roof is still first). I also am going to need a better sewing machine at some point in the relatively near future. I am half thinking about getting a machine that also does embroidery so that I can use the hoop to do some pre-programmed quilting designs on the quilt.

Not everything has been about the quilting however, well there is work and how I will be starting a teen crafting class every week in April but that is a different post, as I have been working with UV resin. UV resin is a form of resin that is quickly set using ultraviolet light, it is said that sunlight works however I have found that UV nail lights work well. The kind that nail salons use to set acrylic nails. I know that this sounds really scary, however with the exception of using mica powder for coloring I have found UV resin to be relatively easy to work with. Small bookmarks turned out well, The medium journal cover needs work, I’m not sure if it is because the mold was not on a flat surface or that the mold warped a little due to the heat of the reaction but this cover is not flat. I’m going to try again with the small cover when the new resin arrives. I am experimenting with different brands of resin to obtain the best value/quality ratio. My boss is already planning on how this can be used at the library, which I am all on board with.

I think that is enough for now, sorry I don’t have any WIP photos.

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!

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!

New Year, New Challenges

*This post is not going to be very crafting heavy, though I do have a crafting section, if you are only here for crafting please skip to the line of asterisks.**

2021 is going to be my year! I am looking forward to the new challenges that I will face this year as well as the changes I am choosing to make. Do I think everything is going to be smooth sailing, no of course not, however I am going to control what I can and leave the rest up to fate.

From the late 90s to the early 00s Mom and I collected Beanie Babies. We had a lot of fun and I have some amazing memories of the times we spent looking for certain beanies. The prices of these toys have not help up to the times so I found myself with literally hundreds of beanies sitting in tubs in the back hallway of my childhood home. In theory I could create sets, set up sales on ebay and see what I could get for them. I put up three posts of some beanies that had sold for huge amounts in the week I put the posts up. Two weeks later, I have not received a single offer. Oh well, to the donation box the rest of the beanies are going to go. I kept a few for myself that I have very fond memories of, okay so I kept a small tub for myself (I cleared out three huge tubs so this is still a lot of progress), and sent some to my sister that she would like. I made the conscious decision that I was not going to take these tubs of toys into my new life, and eventually new home. I did ensure that some of my friends and colleagues with children wound up with some, okay a lot, and I feel good about these decisions. I still have four huge tubs I need to put into garbage bags to donate, however I have made significant progress.

Along those lines later today I am going to be clearing out my car of junk so that I can start fresh for my new job. Theoretically I should be vacuuming and getting things detailed, that is not going to happen so I will focus on what I can do. I have also cleaned out my fridge of all of the items I have not eaten the past two years (condiments included) and need to wipe that out later. I know, some people are able to do these tasks on a regular basis and so accomplishing them is no big deal. I am not one of those people, I have been listening to decluttering books, organizing books, and minimalism books in the hopes of gaining control over my ‘stuff’. These changes are not just for today, this week, or this year, these changes are how I am going to be able to maintain these changes long term. They will take time and effort, however I will be rewarded in the end by only being surrounded with a functional, aesthetically pleasing, home that I enjoy being in.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith allowed me to understand what I need to do in order to craft my new home to work with my aesthetic as well as my needs. As much as mom used to make fun of my Grandmother’s bill paying desk, I am going to buy a little desk with cubbies right on top so I can organize and pay my bills in one cleared off space. Right now I am doing that on my computer desk with my supplies in a little metal drawer underneath my computer monitor. I hate having to move my keyboard out of the way, or going to a separate table to write out my Thank You notes as well as greeting cards. I have also made up some pinterest boards that are going to help me with my decorating choices when the time comes.

The Clutter Connection and Real Life Organizing by Cassandra Aarssen have both helped me to understand that I need my items to be visually available. Aarssen also runs an organization that talks about clutterbugs and she frames all of her information in that terminology, this is well worth a look. She also helped me to understand that I am not ‘lazy’, ‘naturally messy’ or any of those other self-defeating terms. I simply organize in a visual way because if I try to do the ‘everything put away’ thing I lose stuff or forget I own it. Since I have started trying this method I can find things when I look for them. This means that in my new home I am going to go for bookcases with baskets for my crafting supplies as well as two glass cabinets. I already have one that I am going to store Mom’s Hummels in, the other is going to be for the beanie babies I choose to keep. That way things are not tucked away but displayed with pride for me to enjoy.

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K White has allowed me to embrace ‘the container concept’. This is simply coming to accept that the size of the container designated for something is the size that it is. That means if something has to be eliminated because it does not fit in the container and is not loved as much as something else then that is it. You cannot keep more than a container holds. This is going to be very helpful to me when it comes to Mom’s collections. One cabinet for her Hummels, one for the Beanies. If there are items that do not fit in the container, then ask “what gets taken out?”

I am cringing even as I write this next part, I am going to apply these concepts to my craft collections. I know, it hurts to think about it. I do plan on setting up book cases for each of my major hobbies, knitting/crochet, weaving, spinning, papercrafts, and dioramas. I also intend to have two bookcases for books, one crafting books and the other fiction/DVDs. This does seem like a lot of bookcases yet for me this is the perfect balance of organized and visual. If the items are in baskets while on bookcases they are contained, organized, and visual enough for me to see.

I realize that for some people these concepts are completely ‘duh’ yet for plenty of other people like me these books will make you sit up and take notice. The best advice I received from these organizing and decluttering books, I am not alone. There are other people quietly suffering with the same problems that I have and grew up with. Mom did not know that she was a non-visual organizer compared to my visual organizer so things were a constant misery of lost items and accusations of slovenly behavior. I cannot tell you the number of times mom ‘knew’ that someone came in and stole something because she could not put her hands on it. Dana had the same story to tell.

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Onto the crafting! Purl Together has come up with a ‘Finish it or Frog It’ challenge that they have started for 2021. The first step is to gather all of your WIPs or Works In Progress and take a photo. Having some people talk about their 15-50 unfinished items makes me feel better about my nine. Six of these were put on hold while I had surgery and recovered from my surgery, and at least two are probably going to be frogged.

Nine unfinished knitting and crochet projects in various stages of completion.

The forest green piece on the bottom right side of the photo is a baby cardigan I waned to have finished by today, as you can see that did not happen. I have finished 2″ out of the 6″ I need on the first sleeve then I need to pick up the second sleeve, seam the sides, hide the ends and sew on buttons. The buttons are supposed to arrive on Monday or Tuesday so if I finish then I will be very happy. The 8×8 cabled cowl on the bottom far left of the photo is something that I am capable of, however the tight, huge, cable makes the width of the cowl much too small for my tastes. Since it is a bulky Knitpicks yarn I can easily find another pattern. I was very happy to find the cardigan that I started with a Jimmy Beans Wool Kit almost half done, I hope to finish that. There are a couple of mindless projects I can take with me, the half-granny triangle shawl out of lace weight yarn will take forever to crochet up, yet I love how it is turning out.

Between the New Job, Organizing, De-Cluttering, and a New House, 2021 is certainly going to be A Little More Abstract.

Learning, Living and Good News

Every day is a new adventure and brings some kind of change. Over the past week I have had a lot of changes brought into my life, the biggest of which has to be my new Full-Time Job. I will be starting January 4th, 2021 as a full-time librarian in a public library. I am really looking forward to the new challenges and adventures this will bring! I have also started Nutrisystem and in 4 weeks I am down about 12 pounds, so I hope these trends continuse.

Okay, back to crafting. I discovered that I really enjoy double sided knitting, the rhythm and challenge is fascinating, I also discovered that the double sided shawl I want to knit involves me casting on about 300 pairs of stitches…that might wait until the new year. I did finish my sheep sampler from the class, and I hope to make a pouch using the double sided techniques in the near future.

I have finished my knitted wrist cuff and added it to the finished object thread for GAL2020. This little lacy cuff turned out very well, I added sheep buttons. I am using it on my left wrist partially because I like to keep the joint warm to increase flexibility, partially because I like to cover up the scar a little bit, and partially because I hope to remember to charge my apple watch so that I can start wearing it on my left wrist again.

Black and grey knitted piece with a scalloped edge.

I did manage to add another cable to my knitted cowl as well as a few more rows onto my skirt. The photos for these projects are below. For my kids knits I have started the mitered square pullover in an infant size, finger’s crossed I can get most of it done this weekend.

Since I do not have any family coming into town, COVID among other reasons, and all of my holiday shopping is done, I am ready to spend the next two weeks finishing up my work and knitting. Hopefully I will get some spinning and weaving done as well. I cannot believe that I am starting a whole new chapter in my life in 2021, wish me luck!

Eliminate those straight lines and Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Really Busy Week

Non-Crafting Content, skip to second set of asterisks to skip this part. **Sorry I have not gotten around to posting anything last week, the world seemed to explode around me. A colleague found out that she needs surgery because her IUD impaled her uterine wall, I had 2 staff meetings, 2 major projects, a transgendered person answered my “What do you want for Christmas?” with “A Vagina” (this is the first time bottom surgery has been brought up as even a consideration in conversation with this individual), and I’m trying to balance paying the guy painting my house with paying my school taxes and other bills. It’s been a bit stressful. Of course, I am still a very lucky individual. I’m going to have a conversation with my transgendered individual this afternoon, my colleague is getting her surgery and the shifts will be covered easily, I have one project complete and a handle on the other, my federal stimulus came through so I have the beginning of October’s Bills covered, I made a deposit payment on the painting, and I can concentrate on saving for the taxes. **

The painting of my house is going amazingly well. Some basic repairs and filling in of cracks, left by prior contractors, had to be done but now the paint is going on smoothly. There had been no prior discussion of painting my railings, which once I saw them against the new paint, had to be accomplished. I looked up painting color schemes and settled on a coral that would look amazing against the new color. I purchased the spray paint and started working on this new aspect to the project.

In addition to my adventures in painting, this makes me want to re-paint my entire interior which is not realistic at this point, I’ve got two bathroom vents that need replaced and my external garage still needs to be turned into a workspace. Ah Well.

I’ve found some time to spin this week, I managed to finish spinning and plying a dark sparkly set of fibers. I cannot believe that after plying I had 500 yards of yarn. I believe after washing I can safely assume that I still have over 400 yards of black sparkly yarn.

I look forward to figuring out what I want to do with this yarn when it is finished drying. This is not the only spin I have been working on, I have also been experimenting with the September Fiber of the Month Club Box/Bag I received from Paradise Fibers and the autumn spin I already had planned. I did a spin with the autumn fibers included and a spin with out the autumn fibers, already I think I am going to add in the autumn fibers. I then started knitting a test swatch for a garter tab cast on triangle shawl.

I love how this spin turned out so much I went stash diving and decided to pull out all of the fiber I can find that will fit into this criteria, I also added in some yellow for a bit of a bright splash. I have not started this spin quite yet however. There is an event called Spin Together 2020 that I have signed up to participate in on Team Paradise Fibers. This event runs from October 3-10, so short lived, and is based on yardage, beautiful skeins, or wild spins. I look forward to participating in this event, I’ll try almost anything once!

Busy Week

Not really crafty until after second *. *This was my first week back to all three jobs, it has actually gone well. I am under some financial strain since the government did not extend the federal unemployment payments and I wanted to continue to work a couple of days a week. The beginning of this month is going to be short and I wound up applying for an Amazon Credit card. I did not really want to, however this will enable me to invest in my skill-set and make myself more marketable.*

I ordered a 3-d printer with heated plate and filament for under $200, on credit through Amazon. I have already created two original drawings in TinkerCad, a free online 3-d creation tool. My sibling recommended the slicer software that they use, and I plan on doing some experimenting once I have my set-up at home. The two drawings I made are below, the first is supposed to be a stone-like set of stairs while the second is supposed to be a dice tower.

I am very excited to begin learning the ins and outs of 3-d printing. I have not had a good technological challenge in a while and I look forward to exercising those muscles again. A colleague and I were asked to put together easy craft ideas so that another colleague can keep them occupied after school.

We were given about two weeks to come up with ideas, samples, and teach the other person. Fortunately we had about two weeks worth of dead simple crafts that I could whip out right away. We are asking the person in the room to have the teens, and now pre-teens, to brainstorm as many ideas as they can come up with, we can figure out a way to have them learn almost anything. I already obtained some feedback from a teen that worked with the children’s department over the summer, and he suggested Clay as a medium he enjoyed. We received the e-mail the same day I was going up to Buffalo for my third cast change (one more to go then the pin comes out in October), so I swung by Michael’s Craft Store to get some supplies and ideas.

From left to right, black clay teardrop pendant, jack-o-lantern made from pony beads, wooden owl face (upside down) colored with brown, white orange, and pink paint pens, leather bracelet half colored with blue leather marker, half colored with green. Tiny star imprinted on leather and colored yellow.

I am also planning on having a demonstration piece of Kumihimo cord, lucet cord, and a knitted fingerless glove. Two of my colleagues have teen/pre-teen children so I hope to ask them if needle felting would be too dangerous.

I find that during zoom meetings that I can take at home is when I get around to spinning on my black skein. If I am home and not on my computer then I tend to mess around with the Kumihimo and Lucet work, though not for very long stretches of time, since they involve pinching the work with my left hand. The pinching problem is also why I do not have the top hem of my skirt finished yet either.

I did finish plying the 716 batt, and I discovered why it is best to make sure you have 4 ties in your skeins of yarn. I tried to get away with just 2, one snapped, which left me with a yarn barf to sort out.

Brightly colored yarn tangled up, whites, blues, pinks, greens, and more. This close you can see where there are thinner spots and puffier spots.

Fortunately there was not a ton of yarn in the skein, though I am still not sure how much, so I was able to wind it into a ball in about an hour or so.

Ball of yarn, pink, green, blue, purple, whites showing through.

I cannot wait to be finished with these sample pieces so that I can work up a couple of test swatches with this yarn.

Until next time, remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!