Always something…

There is always something new going on.  I have been sending out applications to try and get a full-time job, last week I dyed a cotton as well as a bamboo warp and weft with the Enchanted Mountains Weaver’s Guild (which was a ton of fun), and yesterday I had to put down my cat one month shy of 21 years old.

Precious Cat

Despite being a long haired cat my Dad, who was extremely allergic to cats, just adored her.  He would sit on his chair in the living room and tap the arm with her brush, Precious would leap on his lap and start purring like a motorboat.  When he passed she was beside herself, didn’t know what to do.  After a while she realized he wasn’t coming back, but she had mom at home to dote on her all the time.  For the past few years Mom and I suspected that she was going a bit senile, in addition to her progressive kidney failure and the heart problems we found out about spring of 2018.  The vet tech said that if we started giving her medicine for the heart troubles she might live to see 20.  We decided against the medication and Precious lived almost a year past expectations.  I am lucky that I had her when Mom passed in October of 2018, however for the past three months she has been getting progressively worse.  Between missing the litterbox, yowling half the night, and just lately not eating as much as usual, it was time to let her go.  Now I get to spend the weekend trying to clean up all of the stuff she left behind and figuring out if I can salvage the bathroom or if I am going to have to invest in getting it completely retiled in the future.  I’m not mad about any of it, I appreciate the time I had with her and I am sorry that I had to let her go.

I have done some spinning for Tour de Fleece, however not nearly as much as I would have liked.  There have been opportunities for me to work on different crafts, just today I am receiving supplies to see if resin casting is something that I can reasonably do at the public library I work for.  One of the trees, a choke berry tree I believe, had to be cut down outside our library.  The director was very opposed to this action, however we needed a new storage shed.  The maintenance person managed to salvage several of the berries and now I have the opportunity to play with resin as well as creating a keepsake for my Director.  Win-Win!

I have made considerable progress on my Furls Crochet Coffee Cup Sweater, right now I am working on the body and hope to start the sleeves mid august.  The only problem I have with it is, I will need to either wear something underneath or the yarn had best full quite a bit and close up some of the gaps.  I knew that this was a possibility when I saw that I would be using double crochets for part of it.  This might give me opportunity to bust out my t-shirt collection to wear as a layer underneath.  I Have started knitting my third quarter poncho pattern from Jimmy Beans Wool and look forward to seeing the finished product.

I guess I have been busier than I thought.  I will either be starting back up at the University Library I work at or be starting a new job.  If the former I will have more time to blog, if the latter it might be a little while until I get into a rhythm again.  If I obtain a new job I will post notification of a hiatus.

Until next time, remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Tour de Fleece 2019

Before beginning the meat of this post, I want to state: I know that there has been a lot of politics involved in the crafting community in 2019.  I am glad to be able to support diverse pattern makers, yarn suppliers, and more.  I believe that the BIPOC crafting community as well as the LGBTQ+ community should have a voice.  I am not willing to comment further on the political actions that some private websites and communities have taken.  Onto the crafting!

Tour de Fleece 2019 has started!  This is a roundup of my first week, it’s sort of pitiful.

Tour de fleece 2019

Above are the fibers that I am going to spin this year, mostly the Shetland Moorit that I did not get finished with the Hap-Along.  I have been concentrating somewhat on the crocheted sweater that I hope to have completed by September as well as looking for a full-time position.  Due to these distractions I have not accomplished as much spinning as I had hoped, though I have managed to spin 4 of the last 7 days.  I have made significant progress on my sweater, however it does not look like much right now so I did not bother to take a photo.

Hopefully next week I will have more to report, especially since I will have had my Dyeing Day with the Weaver’s Guild.  That reminds me, I’d better wind my cotton warp this week!

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

Easter Crafting

Hello All, I hope that Easter went well for you.

I had a nice and quiet time, you would think that this means I accomplished a lot of crafting however that is not really the case.  I managed to create a sample for a craft I will be teaching in June, and worked toward the craft I will be teaching in July at a library I do not work at.  I also managed to create the two cement samples for the public library I do work at.  My first cement craft was a resounding success and I hope that the second in a couple of weeks will be equally popular.  I found out that while I was turned down for the full-time job the two candidates they wanted to interview further backed out so the job will be posted again.  I have already applied for the second posting, though I have also sent my resume into other opportunities as well.  Enough about work!

The end of May my Sibling and I are taking a trip, yay!  A few days before hand is my sibling’s birthday and I have made them a few shower poufs as well as a surprise!  I’m trying to figure out how to tell my sibling that if they do not like my surprise to just tell me so that it does not get shoved in a closet or something.  Some people claim that it has taken them 4-11 months to knit a similar project up, mine has taken about a week and I hope to block it by Friday or Saturday?  I’m not sure if that says I made it too small, I’m a fast knitter, I used big yarn or what.  However, as long as I have it bagged and ready to go by the trip I’m happy.  No pictures or anything to spoil the surprise in case my sibling actually reads this blog.  So secret knitting, listening to podcasts, trying to get ready for the trip, applying for jobs, and podcasting is my life right now.  I’ll tell more when I can, until then Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Crafting Palooza!

I have about a week and a half off of my most time-consuming job.  It is a contract job, so I will still get paid the same (some of my colleagues took a vacation in January and I filled in so now they are working over this school-break and I get time off).  I will be filling in some of that time picking up extra hours at my public library job, it works out because my supervisor was having trouble with that schedule, but it will still be fewer hours than I normally work.  What will I do with all of that free time?  Clean the house, I don’t think so.  Do some work outside?  Maybe Wednesday when it is supposed to be over 50 and I have the day off.  Will I craft?  YES! All the Crafts!

I have actually taken advantage of the couple of days I had completely off of work to run the dishwasher a couple of times, cook some curry, run a couple of loads of clothes and finish a couple of my projects.  I also asked my sibling (Transgendered, I use neutral terms, I’m not mad at them the way most people think I am when I use the word ‘sibling’) if they would use a crochet shower pouf  if I made a couple out of cotton so that they were washable, the pattern is linked.  I received an enthusiastic yes, they use the plastic kind that you have to throw away right now, and a request for a colorway I do not own.  Their birthday is six weeks away, and I am fairly certain they do not read my blog, and so I let them think that they would be getting a pouf in the color of my choice from what I already own.  I have crocheted two already so that I knew how the pattern worked (plus it is dead simple) and figured out how I would like to construct them.  It turns out I can get two from one ball of Dishy from Knitpicks, and if I fold them over instead of stacking the layers it creates a very puffy pouf, as you can easily see in this photo.  I have also started a third from a new ball, my sibling has housemates and I think if I crochet through my stash I can have poufs for everyone.

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So, what my sibling doesn’t know, is that I also ordered two balls of dishie in the colorway that they requested from Knitpicks.  Of course, they also had some grab bags of sock yarn (two for the price of one) and a couple of sock yarns in Their preferred colorway as well as an offer of a free ball of knitpicks new yarn line Snuggle Puff, which is a cotton nylon blend intended for baby things and other fluffy patterns.  I am trying to not purchase yarn unless I have a pattern already picked out for it, however I have a new sock pattern and if I can manage a pair of socks (or four, if the pattern is as easy as it looks) then I will be quite happy with my Birthday present to my lovely sibling.

I did finish a couple of projects, namely my first Sherlock Square (love it!) and my first quarter Jimmy Beans project, the crochet pillow/floor pouf.  The pouf is a bit lumpy since I closed it off and overstuffed it.  I did have to purchase 4 extra skeins of the Scheepjes yarn, but I have leftovers of that.  I will have to decide if I am going to find a project for them or if I will keep them for possible repairs to the pouf. At present I plan on using the pouf for somewhere that my Cat can sit on while I am working in the detached garage/studio my handyman is working on fixing up.

I had planned on making a flower motif on the top, but quickly changed my mind when I realized that the motif might mean that the cat would not sit on it.  I have also made some progress on the throw together shawl I started using the Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply yarn I purchased.

IMG_2281The photo really doesn’t show things off too well, but since it is lace I don’t think it will look like much until it is blocked.  I finished the first piece of blue and added in 4 rows of black, it is a simple pattern where I knit the three end stitches and do the yarn overs to create the crescent shape then I did a yarn over knit two together all the way across, purled back (in the appropriate increase pattern for the edge).  I did those two rows twice then I started the green yarn and I have completed 4 rows of knit on one side purl on the other.  It is going to take some time since the yarn is so fine, but this will give me time to decide if I want to try some more patterning in the regular sections or just in the black  and brown bands in between.  Which brings up another point.  I do not have nearly enough black for that to be the only transition color between, however I have a ton of brown.  I believe I will us the black at the top of the shawl until it runs out then switch to brown for the rest. I cannot believe I almost forgot a project!

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This is the Morrigan Shawl by Hedgehog Fibers knit in Madelinetosh Prairie in the Aura colorway.  I obtained the yarn at a considerable discount from Jimmy Beans Wool Wool Watchers.  I am not positive I am doing this correctly, however I am enjoying it considerably.  This is simply the ‘set up’ chart, at the writing of this post I have completed row 10 of the repeating chart.  There are 28 rows to that chart and it is to be repeated 4 times before the edging chart is started so I am just starting this pattern but I love it anyway.

So that is all of the projects I am working on right now.  If I get as much as I hope accomplished then there will be a mid-week update, if not then remember to Live a Life a Little More Abstract until next week!

Reading List Scroll

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I Do not own Terry Pratchett, nor am I affiliated with him in any way.  This is just the next series of books I hope to read.

I have taken the books in the Discworld Series list that I obtained from Terry Pratchett’s website and printed them out as a list in order that they are to be read.

From there I created a ‘scroll’ like list with the most recent book on the bottom and the first book to be read on the top.

Then I taped the end of the scroll to a pencil and tightly wound the list around the pencil until just the first book or two are showing.

I then put a small piece of tape on the back to make sure that the list would not go flying off and unroll itself.

Next I taped the top of the list, the 1″ blank header, to another pencil and rolled it so that just the first book is showing.

As I read through the series I will roll them up to see what is next.  I think that this will be a very fun and visual way of tracking my way through the series.

Given enough time and access to a poster printer I could conceive of doing this on a larger scale for a public or academic library.  This would be a very visual way of tracking reading for kids as well.

Happy Reading (and Crafting!)

Happy News!

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This year I will be attending the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!

I am so very excited, things just fell into place, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing falls out of place, lol.  I was originally supposed to be driving down with a friend from the guild, but she has a wedding to attend the next weekend and that would be too much travel for her.  Then my mother, generously, offered to fly me down there.  I accepted her offer, but as a shot in the dark, asked my library director if the library would pay for the tickets as professional development since I spend so much time teaching craft classes.  She agreed, happily, so I will not even have to spend Mom’s money. My sibling is coming up to make sure that mom is okay while I’m down there, she’s on oxygen 24/7 and doesn’t get around too much.  A couple of my Father’s cousins are going to let me stay with them and they will shuttle me around.  This is going to be so much fun.  I really look forward to seeing a part of my family again as well.

I look forward to bringing back all sorts of stories and goodies.  This is going to be such a great time, now I just have to think of the right presents for my family that will be hosting me.  Perhaps a yarn in the tartan of my dad’s cousin-in-law, maybe a jar of painting supplies for the other cousin, well I have over a month to figure things out.

Happy Crafting!

 

Service Announcement About Valuing Time

While I think it is human nature to underestimate one’s contributions during the day I also believe that by discounting these accomplishments we undervalue our own work.  I had a colleague talk to me about how it wasn’t anyone’s business how many hours she put in since she was under a salary and put in however many hours it took to accomplish the work to her professional satisfaction.  What she didn’t see, or refused to see, is that by putting in extra hours but not letting anyone know that you needed that time to get your work done, you are actually undervaluing your time and contributions.  Yes you have to get your work done to your satisfaction, but if no one knows that it takes you 60 hours to do your current workload then they don’t value your work.

I have found myself doing the same thing.  Yes, creating a breed journal is fun, but I wouldn’t be sticking with it if it were not for my students. I hope to provide them with an idea of the rabbit hole they are jumping down, as well as getting them on the path of tracking their spinning early.  The problem with this is that I spend at least 2-3 hours per night working on spinning, documenting, learning to quilt (something else my students requested), and reading a bit.  This is 10-15 hours per week that I am working on crafts that I intend to use to teach.  Yes, I would be doing some spinning anyway.  Yes, I am embarking on something that I lot of spinners dream of doing.  I also did get into this craft for sheer love of spinning and fiber.  What I didn’t realize is that my supervisor didn’t know that it took me that long to work on spinning, learning techniques (buying classes and videos) or the hours it takes me to plan the classes and write up lectures for those that go beyond the basics.

The purpose of this is to remind you, if you are doing your crafting to teach then value your time and what it costs you to learn.  In any profession take the time to realize how much of yourself you put into your job that you are not getting paid for, or credit for.  Find ways to put these accomplishments into conversation.  If someone praises you on something then let them know, “Thank you, I spent time learning how to do … in the evenings/on the bus/during the weekends but it was well worth it in the end.”  Or, “Thank you, I took a class on that a couple of months ago in the evenings/etc.”

Okay, done with the service announcement.