Posted in creativity boost, fiber arts, new projects, weaving

So I’m doing this thing…..

I have a mighty need to make larger objects than my Whoopsitsaloom allows.   For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, this is my Whoopsitsaloom:

It’s a 16×20″ poster frame.  I got rid of the “glass” front ages ago and lost the side pieces that hold stuff in.  Instead of trashing it, I thought I’d do an experiment and whoops – ’twas a loom!  As you can see from the photo on the right, I carved little grooves into the top and bottom to warp on, about a half inch apart.  This does limit my warping possibilities, but this is an experiment.  I have it warped with one continuous piece of yarn.  From here on out, I will probably not be using yarn, or at least one of my budget ones.  The fluff really comes up when you’re manipulating this stuff.

 

I started with a flat metal ruler as both beater and shedder, but soon found it unnecessary.  Since I’m only doing a plain tabby weave (over/under, alternating), my fingers are enough.  On the left you can see Excalibur the Shuttle.  This was sold as a naalbinding needle, and I didn’t realize at the time how small those should be.  But I figured it had to be useful and it soon became a wonderful shuttle.  The needle shape allows me to scoot it through the warps easily, unlike the rough “paint-stirrer” that came with my first toy loom.

This has been a learning experience!  As you can see I need to work on my tension.  That has improved somewhat, but the warping is really smooshy so the more I manipulate it, the harder it is to keep in shape.  I have experimented with other threads on my 5 buck chuck toy loom and it’s far easier to warp with strong string.  Who knew 😛

But, as much as I’m enjoying my Whoopsitsaloom, I need to expand.  I’ve been reading up on weaving and loom construction and I’m eager to try something larger.  The Whoopsitsaloom can only make something about 15×19″ or smaller.  This is a good size for experiments and small objects like bookmarks, pouches, placemats.  But I want to do scarves, table runners, etc.  We need a bigger rectangle!  (Because I’m in no position monetarily or skill-wise to get a loom-loom)

I had an idea to build a simple frame loom to expand my horizons.  The loom has to be cheap, easy to set up, and easy to travel with.  I want to be able to produce a length of textile that is roughly the same dimensions as my beloved “pashmina” scarves  They average at about 2 yards long and about 2 feet wide.   I’m expanding on the Whoopsitsaloom and just making a giant frame loom.  Here’s my plan:

 

Went and bought 6 yard-length dowels, a couple packs of neodymium magnets, and some Liquid Nails.  And a lot of little brad nails so I can have multiple levels to warp on.  But first, the frame: I glued the magnets to the joins of the side pieces last night and let the Liquid Nails set up.  I thought I aligned both of the magnet pairs correctly, but whoops!  One side is done though:

Can’t really tell in the photo, but that’s 2 yard-length dowels end to end, so 6 feet of pine.  At least I think it’s pine.  The other side will follow suit when the glue sets.  They are easy to pull apart, almost a little too easy, so I’ll be wrapping the joints with leather strips to reinforce them.

While I did plan on mags at all corners, I may have to get some manner of bracket for the top and bottom, rendering my frame into two “U” shapes joined by the maggies in the middle.  I’m not planning on beating this up, but I *am* a klutz.  I’d like to be able to take this outside with some iced tea in good weather and lean it up against the wall to work.  Stability is key.

In the meantime, I’ll be pounding in the brad nails today.  I’ve marked the top bar (and will soon mark the bottom) at the inch, half-inch, and quarter-inch.  Like I said, I want options.  This is 5 nails per inch…36 inches a bar…2 bars….360 little brad nails to warp with.  Pray for me!

Excalibur will probably remain my shuttle of choice here, and I have my old yardstick for shedder purposes.  A cheap comb will be a good beater, which I probably have hanging around somewhere.

At the end of it, I will name her Athena Bríd!  I suppose the little looms can be Bubo 1 and Bubo 2.

Posted in crochet, dyeing, fiber arts, knitting, spinning, Uncategorized, weaving, wool, yarn

Adventures in Yarn!

We have been quite fibery lately!  Below is a photo of some “magpie yarn”, knotted together bits and scraps.  Right now it’s on the needles to make a bookmark for lil ol’ me:

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Other than knitting, there has been weaving. I used the back of my Whoopsitsaloom to make a tabby-weave bookmark with stormy grey/blue yarn.  This was a 30 minute weave, the warp was 6 (I think) strands of slate blue acrylic and the weft was god-only-knows shiny slate blue from Michaels’ clearance.  The tail was also a clearance find.  The label on the skein was so battered I have no idea what the color is, or the brand.  But I’ll find it!

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Finally, there has been spinning and dyeing!  I am a super-super new spindle spinner, so my product is not exactly presentable yet, but I’m learning as I go along.  I was listening to a recent episode of The Woven Road and I became curious about dyeing.  I happened to be spinning and sipping some cheap red when I got curious….

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I interrupted The Woven Road to google it up and I found ChemKnits, so I watched Rebecca’s experiment with wine.  I was feeling a bit lazy so I didn’t feel like boiling and simmering.  The following happened:

Nuked it for 2 minutes on a friend’s reminder.  Left it overnight and voila, a stain!

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The stuff on the spindle is some of the original fiber.  The bit on the left is 12~ hours in the wine, washed, and rinsed.  I found out that at this rate it really is more of a stain than a dye, but it’s a pretty soft tint I rather like.  Still, in the interest of science I left it in for another night and was left with pretty much the same result.

Then I started to wonder about tea….

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This is a length that sat in a covered pot with 10 store brand black tea bags.  Bought the lot to a boil, then simmered for an hour.  This is when it was fresh from its first soap and rinse.  The color faded after drying, but it’s still a nice mustard shade.

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One of the teabags leaked so I do have some leaves in there.  Most came out in the wash.  I’m going to use these for weaving, ultimately.  Just want to make sure they’re clean and dry so things don’t get moldy.

So whew!  Busy bee!  Before I go, Come say hi on Ravelry – I’m Lazdamnit

Posted in Uncategorized

Creativity and Chemistry

2016 was a hell of a year all around.  I don’t think I vended once (if I did, it was really only once).  Every corner of my life was in upheaval, and in my friends’ lives too!  Thankfully, things were still enjoyable overall, and we’re approaching regularity again.  But for the last month, month-and-a-half, I’ve been hibernating.  I’ve been so fatigued, so tired.  It’s like I can’t get enough sleep.  I have no health problems that should cause this, so I’m just going to assume it’s brain chemistry and the time of year.  I like winters, but sometimes they can be hard.

I’ve been forcing myself to be creative.  This is why I took up fibers, so I could have a more portable outlet when I just didn’t feel like beading.  I’m still not as busy as I’ve used to be and that makes me feel bad.  Even though my “not busy” is what my husband says is normal people’s busy.  I’m using my time in different ways now to accommodate the lack of energy.

I have a fiber-based project for the living room, one for the kitchen, MOOCs on history and books to work on…I have access to a college library again (YYYYYES!). I’m reading more in very small doses.  I have a little lap harp to play with (Lil’ Radu).  I have my witchery, which I’m still learning.  I have at least some house plants left after the winter and the Great Plant Food Mishap of 2016.  There are still days I can’t get the wherewithal to do any of this, though, and I hate that.

Vending is out of the question for the time being – I know I don’t have it in me to do all that.  Stock making, marketing, hurry up and waiting….nah.  Though I will say that it’s nice to make for the sake of making.  

Ah, who knows….I’m muddling through and I hope you are all too 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

Wip Dishrag

Lilly Sugar and Cream cotton yarn (ahhhh, my fave!) in I think lilac.  No pattern, as per usual.  I chained 5, joined the ends, skipped a few stitches here and there for “holes”.  It’s a bit lumpy, nut this is a quick do.  And it will be for washing dishes, so yes, lumps are ok.

Posted in Uncategorized

WHAAAT I’m still alive.

Now that I’m using Ravelry more, I should blog some stuff, shouldn’t I?  

In 2016 there was more work than crafting, so there wasn’t much at all to blog about.  I didn’t vend, and I was too busy to make much jewelry.  Took up fibers for some decompression and oh shit now that’s a thing I do.  But not much was produced.  Silly work, getting in the way of crafting.  But here is 2017.  

This must be updated later w/ photos, but I’m in a place w/ spotty wifi right now so yes, we’ll have to wait.  There is the instagram widget on the side tho, should you want a visual aid.

So if you’re now, this is what happens in my world.  Complete novice at all things, except possibly the jewelry.

  • Jewelry:  Upcycling, recycling, bicycling – I tear apart old things and make new pretties.  Use a lot of natural things like bones and shells as well.
  • Knitting: We have conquered the rectangle -going from small scarves to a cowl, in progress now.
  • Crochet-eh: Not my favorite, but am getting better at it.  Doing swell w/ open work for some odd reason.
  • Spindle spinning: Super new at this – Have spun some gifted merino blend into what is more or less yarn.  Working with a larger spindle now w/ cotton roving and having an easier time.  Will require far more practice to get thinner/softer yarns.  Have managed to spin cat fur for a friend tho.
  • Whoopsitsalooming: Well shit, I guess I weave now too.  Think of this as “yarn punk” more than textbook weaving.  I have a tiny toy loom and my whoopsitsaloom made out of a poster frame.  Learning as I go along, what I can do, what I can weave on, etc.  No finished projects yet, but progress has been put on Instagram.

There we have it!  There is also occasional writing, tweeting, etc. etc.  Bye for now!

Posted in Uncategorized

Oh, dear….

I bought supplies.  But also, beads.  Normally, I don’t bother buying beads – I have quite a stash, and I will trade/destash with friends.  BUT!  LOOK! AT! THESE!  Might have been a mistake to enter the bead aisle after catching up on Steven Universe.

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In other news, crafting continues apace.  From cross stitch: IMG_00016To knitting:

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Watch this green one’s progress here on Ravelry!

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To decorated knitting needles:

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It’s all systems go!  Just really…really…slowly…

Posted in Uncategorized

So anyone who tuned into last night’s stream (click here for part 1) saw me making a beaded chain for a pendant.  This is something I do quite often, as I think all parts of the necklace should have handmade attention.  I chose some champagne colored glass beads, and rose/black iridescent seed beads and made link after tiny link for about 2 hours.  Here’s the results!

 

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This still needs its clasp, but it’s about 18 inches, a lovely length for any type of wear.

 

 

 

 

 

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And here she is on my tablecloth.  Quite a pretty set.  Not sure if I’m ok with the little dangle on the pendant.  I might yet change that out for something more similar to the rest of the necklace.  Depends what I find trawling through my stash.  That trawling is a little difficult on cam 😉

 

 

 

 

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This lets you see the contents of the little vial, which are quite pretty!  These things are very popular.  I think it’s because they look old-fashioned, which people always love.  Also, I like to put in certain intentions when I fill a vial…dried roses, dried spring flowers, pink and champagne colored beads…clearly this is for romance!  That extra thought counts.

 

 

 

 

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And the earrings, awaiting their hooks!

Posted in gardening, new projects

Cabbages and friends: Indoor #gardening adventures

Ok, so remember those seedlings I just posted about?  Yeah…they’ve continued their verdant madness.

Look at 'em go!
Look at ’em go!

I’ve taken the lid off so they won’t get damaged, and moved them to the aerogarden.   I’m out of nutrient for the tank, so I’m just using the aero for its lights.  And wow.

My cabbage seed babies are starting to drift upright (I want them to have good posture) and my nasturtiums are taking off like a shot.

 

 

5" of nasturtium sprout. I hope they survive to make it outside in May.
5″ of nasturtium sprout. I hope they survive to make it outside in May.

This is the first time I’ve planted these guys, and I hope I have the conditions to let them flourish.  Cabbage, chard, and nasturtiums are new to my garden.  I’m angling for beginner’s luck here.  The marigolds I’ve been doing since I was a kiddo, so I’m not to worried.  But I always get a little nervous when things first start to sprout, especially when the weather is all over the map like it is in March.  Next year, I should probably wait till April.

 

 

 

 

Happy the Garden Gnome watches over all.
Happy the Garden Gnome watches over all.

So here we are, letting the seeds take their course.   Happy is our gnome here.  He was my grandmother’s garden gnome back in the day, but he has since retired to the indoor life, taking care of our kitchens.  I like to keep him near plants, though.  It’s his…field…after all.

I’ll show myself out.

Also on the garden docket are potatoes and dandelions.  The last one was a whim – gathered a head that had gone to seed and figured this should be a piece of cake.  Watch those things kick my butt 😛   The spuds are drying out, ready to get in some dirt.  I’m waiting for payday to get a nice bucket and more soil for them, then they’re ready to go in.  Those I’m excited to try…if I can supply our own potatoes, this will cut down on buying the big Costco bag that we can never quite get through.

Wish me luck!

Posted in crochet, tools, yarn

#Crochet tool: Random Stripe Generator

I have just found this awesome tool by Caitlin of Biscuitsandjam.com.  She wrote a random stripe generator that will do exactly what it says.  You select the colors you want to work with, and the widths of the stripes, and it spits out a pattern.  Well, technically, a set of random stripes, but it’s a pattern for you to follow 🙂  This has tons of applications, but I like it for blanket purposes.  I first saw this by reading about Kristine In Between’s 18,000 stitch afghan.  She used this generator to make her pattern and ended up with a beautiful throw!

stripes1This is very simple, though it presumes an unlimited supply of yarn in the colors you want.  So if you have a lot of leftovers or are in the mood to splurge on yarn, go for the random!   If your supplies of certain colors are limited, try the weighted one instead.

Just to play with it, I picked some really loud colors and random stripe widths.

 

stripes2And here’s the resulting Easter Egg pattern!  I had to change the row amount to 150, as just plain 50 left me with a teeny tiny pattern that didn’t really use all the colors I selected.  So this pattern is larger than the screenshot above.

 

 

 

 

stripes 3If you don’t like the first one, just hit refresh until something catches your eye!  I won’t be using this one as it’s just far too loud for me.  But if anyone likes it, have at – I left the text patterns in there for ya!

 

 

 

When I finish my current yarn project, I’m going to go back to this and lay the groundwork for a blanket for me and husband.  We need something lighter for the warm months.  Crochet with a thinner yarn may be just the right balance of comforting blanket-weight and openness.

I’ll keep ya posted!