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!

Back to Everything and More

I managed to schedule art journal prompts for the entire month of September onto Facebook with examples for each prompt. I still have a video to shoot for Monday, and I just found out that we are going to be doing crafts for our teens at the public library. I am really excited to be working with a colleague to figure out what we can have them doing with minimal supervision.

This past weekend I had so much fun watching the speakers for FiberWorld 2020 and getting plenty of spinning done. I managed to spin up the Batt that I purchased from the 716 yarn truck:

Multi Colored batt with a card explaining the fibers. There is a ladybug spinning wheel with a 3-d printed bobbin on it behind the batt, and a stool as well as a television behind it.
Photo of the spun singles on a schacht ladybug with a 3-d printed bobbin. Bright pinks, greens, blues, yellows, and bits of white.

I made the mistake of only putting 2 ties into the skein…then one snapped when I was trying to open up the skein…now I’m procrastinating winding that skein into a ball.

For the August Paradise Fibers Fiber of the Month Box we received a selection of a lot of the previous fibers.

Basket containing a lot of different pieces of fiber

I realize I’ve shared this photo before. I managed to get the mini batts spun up and plied. I have a photo of the yarn on the bobbin.

Singles from the fiber pictured above. On a schacht ladybug spinning wheel with a 3-d printed bobbin.

For this skein I put 4 ties into this, the washing went well. I’m drying the skein and will get a photo up soon.

Right now I am going to start spinning up a combination of 3 dark pieces of fiber with sparkles and some other colors bleeding through. I hope that I can keep myself interested throughout this spin.

So, my first full week of work is this week. 46 hours, down from my previous 55 hours. I’m excited to see what this semester brings. Teen crafting, spinning, weaving, new experiences, and fascinating work. What more can I ask for!

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Summer Crafting Coming to a Close

It is hard to believe that the fall semester is starting up in a couple of weeks! At present it looks like I will be working at all three of my jobs starting at the end of this month. This is going to greatly decrease my financial stress, increase my workload, and decrease my crafting time. Since I love to work, this is a positive move overall. However I am planning on taking these next couple of weeks to organize some projects so that they are easy to pick up and put down. The first is my insane idea that I am going to sew myself a very simple pencil skirt. For my first try I have measured the fabric so that there is plenty to go around my waist and that the length is something I can live with. I have then folded over the top to create a channel for a drawstring. I pinned down the edge of the channel so that the raw edge is tucked under and I can try to stitch the folded edge down.

Ecru cotton fabric with a top hem pinned, iron on the upper left hand with foldable scissors on the upper right hand.

By pre-threading my needles and running the thread over beeswax, I am ready to start stitching when I have a couple of minutes. I can only take a couple of stitches at a time before my back starts killing me, so I have to find a way to work on that.

My melt and pour experiment did not work out how I wanted it to. Either I put too much glitter between the layers or there was too much wait time between pours.

soap loaf molds, a bottle of glitter, small chunks of blue soap as well as chunks of pale pink and purple layered soaps.

I have some goats milk melt and pour soap coming in the mail this week so soap will get a take 2 next weekend. Hopefully the next batch is better.

I have also managed to get Lady, my spinning wheel, cleaned up and ready to go. My Firefly electric wheel has been a lifesaver, however I am now able to get back to spinning some with Lady. I managed to finish spinning a small batt of Corriedale, and there was even enough for me to weave a sample on my Ashford Sample It Loom at 5 ends per inch.

Brown wool yarn warped and woven loosely on a rigid heddle loom.

The final project that I have made progress on is my second worsted weight sock. I am ready to turn the heel! These are going to work wonderfully with the new shoes I purchased, in the hopes that they will last more than six months. If they fit, I might just plan on using the yarn I purchased for my Sherlock afghan as socks instead.

Clear ball yarn holder with a ball of white yarn inside, sock cuff on addi flexiflip needles with one poking through the project.

With Lady ready to go, end plenty of fiber to spin, needles threaded and ready to be stitched, as well as socks ready to knit (we aren’t discussing the shawl I’m knitting, it’s a KAL so I am not going to get it done on time), my fall is looking to be full of fun, crafting, and work.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

I’m Back

I am sorry that I have gone over a month without updating this blog.  The time off began with my ligament repair surgery, this surgery was successful however it did take almost a week for me to get back to normal.  Immediately after that my public library began to open back up to the public, changing my work environment radically. I have still been able to post my crafting videos, fortunately I had recorded all of the spinning and plying videos before my surgery. Since the surgery I have gained some more mobility, along with a better understanding of how badly my range of motion had gotten. I am still two weeks away from my first of three cast changes, I will have some questions for the doctor about the sharp pains as well as some of the warmth I feel running up and down my hand and arm at times. This has caused me to slow down my crafting, a row on my sock is a big accomplishment. My amazing sibling helped me by putting together a couple of bookcases so that I could work on my organization.

This image shows a five shelf bookshelf with a rigid heddle loom on the top, a mirrix tapestry loom on the next shelf down with a box containing the tapestry loom supplies. The next shelf down holds spinning supplies, several bobbins are showing. The next shelf down contains two bags of purple spinning fiber, a mini cowl kit, a box containing an afghan kit. The last two shelves contain fabric boxes with fiber and yarn in them. In front of that shelf are weaving tools, heddles, bobbins, shuttles, etc. The three shelf bookcase on the right side of the photo contains two shelves of spinning fiber, with two empty fabric boxes on the bottom shelf. The top shelf contains six plastic boxes with spinning fiber and a magazine holder.

Along with my organization I have been working on discovering something called book nooks. These are amazing mini diorama’s that take up about the space of a hardcover book. This is taking me many places, from looking at painting miniatures, some woodworking, clay work, paper work and so much more. I am also working on learning to paint scenery. This has, of course, led me to a desire for a resin 3d printer (I hope I can save up for that). The 3d printer will be a great addition to my resume and skillset.

Okay, I’m going to keep this post just this short, however I wanted to share photos of a visitor I had while feeling down.

A red or brown fox sitting in a clear patch of grass looking over their right shoulder.

Remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Progress and Change

This has been a really strange week. I have spent most of it thinking that I have not gotten a single thing done.  However, when I looked back  I have made a lot of progress on many different projects.  In the way of domestic chores, I have come to the realization that cooking for myself is just creating more dishes for me to deal with and I am not eating any healthier.  To combat this, I have started opening a can of green beans or carrots, heating them up, and using that as a snack.  I have also purchased some frozen food that I just need to throw in the oven and that will be food for at least a day if not more.  I also purchased salad mix, we will have to see what a difference these steps make in my overall eating/time spent cleaning up.  I managed to get the black plastic on my front bed, I’ve been meaning to do that for three years, but I think I mentioned that in my last post.

I live far enough out that I have a well, the heavy cement well cap is right beside my driveway.  This means that when big trucks come up my driveway, fedex, ups, oil delivery, repair trucks, they tend to run over that cap often knocking it askew.  To combat this I purchased 4 pieces of fencing that arrived a few days ago.  I promptly went out and managed to get them temporarily installed around the well cap.  I will use a rubber mallet to completely install them when it stops snowing.  Since I only needed 2 I will be using the other 2 to create a barrier between my garbage cans and the ditch so I don’t have to retrieve the cans from the ditch on garbage day.

The final home repair I have done is a patch job on a wall in the master bathroom.  Half of a toilet paper roll holder that was installed somehow got ripped out of the wall leaving a hole.  I honestly cannot remember how, it’s been years.  I purchased a repair kit a while back, but like many things, never found the time to fix it.  On to Crafty Stuff!

For my public library job I created a video on how to finger knitting for Monday April 13th.  This past Monday I created a video on how to weave on cardboard looms, the video turned out pretty well however the process was a mess of cable repairmen, upload times, and time restrictions on unverified Youtube accounts…I’m not dwelling on that.  I shot the video on finger knitting, have been requested to create an introduction with my face, and will edit and upload the results on Monday.  Until then, here is some finger knitting:

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This is Madelinetosh Home in Danger Will Robinson colorway.  The bulky yarn shows the stitches pretty well, I used  a worsted during the video this will be my intro piece.

I’m trying to organize my stash, during that process I found a shawl I was working on.   It’s a very simple shawl, however it is knitted with my handspun yarn on very large needles.  I’ve discovered that I can hold these without any real pain, so I am working on that.

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Finally we have my shawl.  As you could see last week, the weave seemed pretty loose.  I spent some time adjusting the yarns so that the structure would be tighter.  The results were interesting, I posted them on Instagram and was advised to felt the piece to keep the structure how it was.  I decided to stabilize the edges and some of the structures by weaving around them, the results are here:

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I am still not certain how well I like it, however I will finish with the edges and give it a wash. I already have two bulky yarns tied together so that I can try another tri-loom shawl once I have the loom cleared.

This is about it for me for the week (not including work stuff, I’m still doing academic library stuff for my other two libraries).  I hope that you live life A Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert please check on your extroverts!

During Downtime

Okay, so everyone that has been here before knows that I work at three very different libraries.  Well all three still have me working, even if it is from home.  So my public library has 13.5 hours, my private university has me working 24 hours, and my community college has me working between 14 and 20 hours a week.  This means that although I am working from home I am still working at least 50 hours a week, I’m probably going to be working more than that as I figure out how to video record me crafting, editing the video, and then closed captioning the video.  It is a fun, exciting prospect.

All of this to say that I am not getting as much crafting done as I thought I would, nor as much cleaning as I thought.  Last night I did manage to get some of my papers burned, though the lid on my new firepit did not contain things quite the way I thought they would, I have no idea why I thought it would contain the flames.  This was a good reminder that things need to be piled in a way other than flat on top of each other, just piling things in meant that I had to do a lot of poking and prodding.

I did get my rear-end moving today and I wound up getting the black cloth down on the raised bed in my front yard.  This project only took me…three years…to get done.  Unfortunately for my gardening career I came in, sat down to check my e-mail, had a bit of an itch and found some kind of bug on me.  I’m not sure if it was a tick or a mite, either way I’m not going to be spending a lot of time in the garden, although I do plan on creating a potted garden on top of the tarp.

Here is the fun stuff, I have been working on warping my rug loom, I have a couple clips of video that I hope to seam together to create a bit of tutorial on creating a rug loom.  I am going to be doing a couple of cardboard crafts, as well as some crewel embroidery videos.  I think that some finger knitting, finger crochet, and weaving on a cardboard loom to make a pouch or mug rug.

I have learned that while I am watching for chats/e-mails as well as watching professional development videos I can create bookmarks on my Blue Butterfly Pin Loom!  IMG_3428

Yes, I’m also drinking a ton of Diet Mountain Dew, it’s my drink of choice.  I have made about 4 of these little bookmarks, now all I need to do is wash them to set or bloom the weave and then trim the hidden tails.  Since I can use about a yard of 2 ply yarn to create crewel embroidery I am seriously thinking about taking some of my handspun singles to create embroidery thread.

The final project that I am working on is my 7 foot tri-loom.  I have created some continuous thread weavings in the past, presently I learned how to create a fringed shawl with single pieces of yarn.  I am going to create a fringed scrap shawl, most of my colors should go with a nice garden motif.

Until next time, remember to check on your extroverts!  Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Introverts, Check on Your Extroverts

March 2020 Ramen Pandemic

This is packaged ramen with 1/2 can each green beans and carrots and the meat from 2 drumsticks.  If I would have felt fancy I might have added spices (pepper, curry, etc.).

I meant to get this post up earlier, however my workplaces (I’m a librarian) went insane.  My community college went completely online early this week (late last week), and the library has been figuring out how to support the students.  My private University still has some students on campus, if it is not too safe for them to go home & international students, as of the writing of this e-mail so the library has been figuring out how to support them.  My public library has been having limited staff on site and is currently working on online programs we can do to support our patrons.  It looks like I might be doing online video classes, however I am not going to think about that until Monday.

Only time is going to tell if we are over-reacting, under-reacting, or taking the right steps.  We can ‘fight government oppression’ once we know that we are safe again.  While we are in the middle of this, remember if you are an introvert the Extroverts in your life are not doing well with this situation.  They need you to reach out, video chat, text, and get reminders that you love them.  I’m already texting with a couple and I have a video chat planned with another sometime this weekend.

For now, I’m going to take the rest of today to curl up and sleep (it’s been a busy week and my stomach is making me pay for it).  Later I hope to get some home-stuff done, but if I do not I still have most of tomorrow.  I’m supposed to be working at the Private University tomorrow from 12-5, which gives me plenty of time to do things between now and then.  I did finish my crewel embroidery piece, and due to free shipping I ordered some more linen and crewel embroidery thread to experiment with for an in-person project at the public library when we get back.

I’m going to plan several posts in the near future, probably a bit more frequently than my usual 1/week.  Until then, Keep Safe & Healthy, Check on Your Extroverts, Live Life a Little More Abstract!

 

Dyeing to be Crafting Again

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Not even torn ligaments are going to keep me from my crafting.  To be honest, I’ve had fun exploring the different crafts that I can accomplish with just one hand.  Another fun discovery is that I can still dye up some tapestry wool I purchased from Purl Soho last year.  I had pre-mordanted the fiber using alum and let it thoroughly dry.  To reactive the mordant I wet the fiber, and added a touch of vinegar for good luck.  The fibers pictured above are dyed with some food coloring, 30 seconds in the microwave to set.  I’m planning on having some fun simmering fibers on the stove over the next week.  Hopefully I will have results to post next weekend.

I have also discovered that I can do some little bits of weaving on my Mirrix with just one hand, I’m using a paperclip as a shuttle since I want to use several small colors at a time.  I really would like to get a few tapestry bobbins, however they are about $20 for 3.  I’m still trying to keep within my budget, so it is going to depend on my next couple of pay periods.  (I had to buy a new pair of shoes, my last ones were good for about 9 months, so if I can get that out of these I will be pleased).

In my week, I have a lead on a potential full-time job relatively locally.  I hope to hear back from them this week for an interview.  Should this job pan out I will be able to make a big difference in a nearby community, live in Pennsylvania (be closer to my sibling), and purchase a house to set up just the way I want it to be.  I am very excited for this opportunity to make a fresh start and concentrate my attention on the intricacies of a single job rather than juggling three.

Have a great week and Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Planning for Spring

The beginning of this year has afforded me a lot of opportunity to think about my future, both immediate and long term.  What I want out of my life immediately, in the near future, and in the distant future.  There are some things that are abstract, and others that are concrete.  I am not going to detail these things here, however one aspect is organization.  Right now I am working on sorting and organizing all of my craft supplies.  The current job, since yarn, periodicals/patterns, and fiber are finished, is my weaving supplies.  I have a great rolling laundry basket I had purchased last year, and it occurred to me that the 8/2 cotton I have for weaving towels would do great in cloth boxes in the bottom of the laundry hamper, then if I put another cloth box on top I can put reeds, shuttles, etc, in that box.  I believe some of my supplies like the sticks to hold crosses and rag shuttles are going to have to be stored upright beside or behind the boxes.  I will get photographs to show you how well this does/does not work out. I have a plastic box I am using for bobbins, spare parts, oils, etc. for my Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel.  I am not sure if I want to find something different or not.  My Spinolution Firefly is a little more difficult to store as I have two flyer heads for it (one quite large).  I had hoped to be able to at least continue my gigantic plying project, however upon further reflection there is no need to risk further damage to my wrist.

In the midst of all of this organizing I was thinking about my home.  When I get a full-time job I fully intend to move to where I will be working and purchase a house.  If it is possible for me to commute for a few years that would be ideal, I can save up to put a good down-payment on a house, find the precise property I want, and organize everything for moving.  It has also become apparent that the large pieces of furniture in my home might become refreshed with a simple change in color scheme.  Right now everything is either stark white or very dark.  I am planning on getting some paint chips to change this.

This week, in addition to my usual workload, I intend to corral my weaving supplies as well as my spinning supplies.   My final crafty home related task is to pick up some paint chips to tape to my furniture.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!