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A Little More Abstract

Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

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Weaving

Crafting Articles

I’ve been neglecting this blog a little bit.  While I’m working on different crafts and working on..well work, I don’t have as much time to blog as I would like.  Fortunately for me much of my work involves my passions so I’m able to read a wide variety of articles, technology, crafts, library science, speech therapies, makerspaces, etc. while I am at work because my work involves everything under the sun.  Very rarely does something that I read not come up in a work situation later, it is a ton of fun and never boring.  Enough about work though, I wanted to let you know I’m going to be posting a series of articles about crafting topics I’ve read recently.  There will be links to the articles as well as a brief synopsis and any comments I care to make.

The first few will be about weaving, and we will see where these lead me from there!

To catch you up on my crafting, I’ve been slightly obsessed with making Hexipuffs.  To the extent that I have deluded myself into thinking that I can make socks.  Cross your fingers and hope for the best…it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Happy Crafting!

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The Great Clean and Drag

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Some of you might remember my Loom from last year.  If you don’t, a gracious lady donated this heavy, metal, therapy loom to me.  At the time she thought that she would be moving to Maine, that fell through but she will be spending the Fall in Spain and walking El Camino, and so she was worried about transporting this monstrosity.  Her kind offer was met by great gratitude on my part.  I then set about trying to make sure that it would be in the best working order I could manage.  I spent the entire month of July 2016 scraping off old paint, trying different methods of rust removal, adding new paint, buying a new stainless steel reed, getting the heddles in order, and so much more.  Along the way I learned everything I could about the loom, along with NEVER SCRAPE OFF OLD PAINT, JUST PAINT OVER IT.  (lead content concerns, no point in courting cancer)

I left the loom to the mercies of my detached garage, the door doesn’t seal quite right and it is right up against the woods so, like all of the garages in the region, it tends to get mice.  At the end of 2016 I still could not get each of my treadles to move independently.  I utilized every trick I knew of and a few I begged off of guild members and still could not get the last two to move separately from each other.  I spent the winter brooding over it, and for most of the summer did not get around to doing anything with my loom.

Then early in September, my last weekend before the colleges I work for started up again, I dragged my big loom into the sunlight.  Now over a year later I looked at her again.  I need to touch up the paint, see if I can get some of the rust off of some of the springs, and warp her up to make some rugs eventually.  What I did accomplish was  enough for me, for now.

I wiped her down with Clorox wipes, making sure to pay attention to anything that looked like it might be detritus, and let her dry while I tried to get the painters tape off of the treadles (don’t let that sit on wood for a year, just not a good idea).  Then I took a cheap little hacksaw to the part of the treadles that looked like they were sticking.  My beautiful yellow loom snapped that hacksaw like it was plastic, luckily it snapped in the wood and didn’t cause me any injury.  Okay, so that isn’t going to work, oh well it was only a couple of bucks.

Next I went to the files I had purchased.  They are supposed to go into an electric drill, but, my cordless drill is not very robust and I cannot figure out how to change bits in my father’s old drill.  However, by hand I managed to hack and saw through some of the wood and loosen up the treadles, bit by bit.  After a half an hour or so of going over the top, up through the bottom of either side of both of the sticky treadles I began to move them at cross purposes, one up one down, several times very quickly.  They loosened up enough that I was able to get them each moving very freely.  I cannot say for sure if it was the naval jelly last year, the hacking, or just the sheer fact of trying to move them independently, but I am very happy to say that my treadles now work on my loom.  At least they did a couple of weeks ago.

Once I had her treadles moving as they ought I turned my attention back to tying up her harnesses to the appropriate treadles.   I had some Texsolv cord from last year that was anchored to each harness and then tied to the treadle, but not properly since they did not have freedom of motion at the time.  This was an awkward motion since I had to reach quite far back with my foot in an attempt to reach the point where I could push at the Texsolv to move a heddle or two.  Now I attempted to tie up my heddles to the treadles the way they were meant to be.  Okay, so my loom was on it’s side and when I turned it back over my treadles are almost flush to the floor and not really able to open a shed.  Oh well, at least they are threaded through the treadles and it is just a matter of taking up the slack so that they treadles are appropriately in the air and able to jack up the shafts.

By this point I am certain that you are wondering why I am going to all of this trouble right at the end of the season.  After all she is just going to go back into the external garage again, right?  Nope!  I managed to clear out a lot of my college stuff, it’s only been 10 years, from the garage under the house.  Now my beautiful yellow loom is living in my attached garage, yay!  There isn’t really a lot of room to warp her up so I do not know if I will have time to get her set up for Rugs before I have to start putting the car in the garage, but at least now she won’t have to worry about mice.

Hopefully next year I will be able to get the external garage cleared out and sealed up appropriately.  Until that time, I will get to look at my loom and hope that I get a chance to make up some rugs this winter.

Happy Crafting!

Fall Crafting Samples

I cannot believe that two of the only crafts I did not make samples of are my first two fall classes.  Admittedly, I know how to do both crafts therefore I am not that worried about them, but still it seems a little silly.  For my first two Fall classes we are going to be making Plastic Canvas Coasters then Counted Cross Stitch.  I plan on using the same pattern for each of them, showing how with a simple graph you can use whatever medium you are most comfortable with, within reason.

The last week of every month is going to be designated as a ‘catch up’ day.  That way if someone missed a class or is struggling with something we can get them caught up to speed or teach them the class they missed, in brief at least.

After September, things start to get a little more complicated.  Starting with a celebration of National Spinning and Weaving Week from there we move onto the other crafts, from needle tatting, no sew pumpkins and weaving on a hula hoop (or pool noodle), and so much more.  I have managed to get a few samples out there, and once I have ordered and received some of the other kits we will see how far the crafting train can go!

To clarify, those are four photos of the same pumpkin, he just looks different from different angles.  The little colorful thing is a Needle Tatted Flower, and that is not a demented birds nest but a Hula Hoop Woven Basket.  It turns out if you pull the weft in too tight your rug does not lay straight.  It also turns out that it takes a ton of fabric scraps to make a rug with a hula hoop, live and learn.

I absolutely cannot wait until fall crafting.  This isn’t even getting into the kits I am going to order for November and December.  Spring should be a blast too, as long as interest lasts…which I think it should.

Happy Crafting!

My Crafting Summer

This summer was a ton of fun, I really enjoy reflecting on it.  The classes I taught caused the months to fly by, I cannot believe it is over.  I did manage to get a bit of my own crafting done, though not that much really.

I managed to weave my first two towels, and hem them.  They turned out a bit smaller than I had hoped, but I have learned a lot for the next set I weave.  I wove my first basket in over a decade, when I was working at my first public library they offered a basket weaving class and I became addicted.  They are so much fun and the structures are amazing.

The Buffalo Weavers Guild sold off a few of their items, I managed to score a triangle loom and a 4 shaft table loom for well less than the triangle loom would have cost normally.  I don’t have the table loom pictured, but it really is neat.  I picked up a stainless steel reed for it and cannot wait to try it out.  You can see my first project up on the triangle loom, it turned out really ‘sleezy’ the yarn was too thin for the distance between the nails.  I know better for my next try.

Last, but not least, are a pair of Dodec Wheels I purchased from their creator online.  They are an adorable pair of wheels that I am trying to not despise with every fiber of my being.  I do realize that I just need to take my time, get to know them, and I will probably come to love them too.  It is just so hard when I have Lady, my Schacht Ladybug, sitting there waiting for me to spin beautiful yarn in any thickness I want so very quickly.  Patience is a virtue that I need to learn when it comes to my crafting.

Speaking of which, I loved my WooleeWinder at first, then things started going ‘rattle, clank, clack’ and now I’m about ready to tear my hair out.  Instead of this I am going to send it back to the manufacturer and see if he can fix it up.  ‘Fingers Crossed’.

That is my summer in a nutshell.  Fall Crafting, Here I Come!

Happy Crafting!

Summer is Ending

I cannot, for the life of me, believe that summer is OVER!  It seems like summer just began and here I am looking at my last Wooly Wednesday Class Tomorrow!  We are starting up “Fall Crafting” next Monday during the afternoon but this still seems like the end of an era.

Wooly Wednesday’s could not have gone better if I had tried.  I do have some plans for how to modify these classes for the spring and summer in 2018 so that they are more comprehensive, don’t rush my students as much, and cover more students and class time for the same amount of supplies (my boss will like that one).

LOOK AT ALL OF THE COOL STUFF MY LADIES CREATED THIS SUMMER!!!!!

 

 

 

This summer of Crafting ROCKED, so did my Wooly Wednesday Ladies. I hope to see you this fall, I miss you already!

Happy Crafting

July Crafting

Okay, so I didn’t do a lot with Tour De Fleece.  Certainly not as much as I had hoped.  On the other end of the spectrum my crafting classes are going very well.  I have a lovely core group of ladies that are really enjoying the crafts I am introducing them to.  Wet felting was a sloppy bit of fun, needle felting went off like a rocket (if you call it stabbing something a few hundred times it generates a lot of interest), and these past two weeks my ladies have taken to spinning like they were born for it.

During my Guild Meeting I managed to weave most of a towel, I have since finished that towel, woven another and a couple of coasters since I didn’t have enough warp for a third towel.  I have also spun about half of my June Fiber box from Paradise Fibers.  Okay, so I know most people are through their July Boxes but I don’t have that kind of crafting time.

Tour De Fleece Days 7-12

I swear this is progress!  I am still working on spinning up my 4oz of fiber straight from the roving in an attempt to create a unique piece from my June Box.  While it does not look like I have made much progress, I swear it is there.  I Can see my piece of fiber getting smaller and my bobbin filling up bit by bit.  I do have to confess, I love my Woolee Winder.  I cannot even begin to imagine trying to get even spinning while changing hooks constantly.  I do realize that many people do not have any trouble changing hooks, spinning fine and doing a great job at both.  I am still very excited to see this piece done so that I can work on the next.  In between this piece and starting the next I will be teaching a spinning class at my public library, very exciting!

Last week I also attended the Southern Tier Fiber Arts Guild Meeting in Wellsville, NY.  The ladies were all lovely and I look forward to attending again next month!  This Friday I will be weaving a towel in Bradford, PA.  What fun!

Happy Crafting!

Keeping the Spin Going

I have not been slacking off!  Ever since my guild meeting I feel like I have been slacking off, sure I’ve been working on weaving an eyeglass case, starting my tapestry, spinning at least 15 minutes a day, prepping for a crochet class and figuring out how I’m going to afford a weaving loom of my own, other than the one in the garage. but I still feel like I’ve been slacking.  Right up until I think about what I have been doing these past 22 days, I’ve done a lot.  I love English Leischester Longwool locks, they are such a dream to spin!  I’ve got three bobbins of ‘Art Yarn’ singles waiting to be plied with some acrylic I’ve got lying around.  I managed to ply the yarn for an experiment I will detail in a later post, I just have to knit it up and figure out the results.  I have the yarns caked, the patterns printed, and the hooks bought for the crochet class I’m teaching (fingerless gloves).

Remember to take the time and reflect on your achievements before pushing to achieve more.  It is wonderful to look toward the next project, but not when you forget to enjoy what you are doing right now.  Craft on, but don’t forget to look back and enjoy what you have created.

Still Practicing

I purchased some Fluorescent fiber from Blue Barn Fiber and spun it up.  I then plied the resulting yarn with a Black Bamboo that I loved spinning.  This created a beautiful yarn that fluoresces under black light, I had to buy a little black light to prove this but it really is amazing.  Well, I loved the yarn but didn’t know what i was going to do with it.  Since I am practicing with my weaving I thought it would be the perfect fiber to practice weaving with.  I love how well, and proudly, my yarn stands out from the warp and the simple pattern is just beautiful.

I am really pleased with how this has turned out, and I will probably purchase more of the fluorescent fiber in the future.  I am very pleased with how my weaving and spinning are going.  I know that I am no where near expert in either craft but I am enjoying myself and learning all the time.

Happy Crafting!

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