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A Little More Abstract

Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

Started in September

The first of my Fall Crafting Classes is complete.  I cannot believe that the summer is gone and fall is beginning, c’est la vie.

A couple of my students finished their tapestries form the end of the Wooly Wednesdays, and several students made considerable progress working on their plastic canvas patterns.  I am so excited to see how far my patrons get next week, we are supposed to start on the counted cross stitch then, it will be fascinating to see their progress.

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!

Dodec Wheel!

I received my set of Dodec Wheels from Porter Threads today.  I purchased these spindle wheels for my Wooly Wednesday Workshop Series at the Public Library I work at.  These are a very inexpensive version of a spinning wheel since they lack the bobbin and flyer component.  There are also free plans for building your own wheel, which I lack the carpentry skills to create.  I was able to buy two wheels, with four spindles and assorted parts, for less than $200.  They arrived in two separate boxes taped together.  Each box contained the wheel, two spindles, two drive bands, two pieces of paraffin, two crescent wrenches, and the wooden components that are easily assembled.

Since it is raining today waxing or otherwise staining these wheels will have to wait.  Assembling the wheels is as easy as taking the part with the pedal putting it on the ground, take the part with the wheel and slide it into the appropriate slot in the base.

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Each wheel also came with 2 spindles and two drive bands.  Installing the spindles is a matter of unscrewing the rectangle of wood sticking out of the front, I am going to call it the front maiden, and installing the spindle.  Finally screwing the front maiden back on.

Then before you know it, you have the spindle installed and since the bulky portion acts as your flyer to turn the spindle you have that installed as well!

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Once you have the drive band stretched over the flyer piece and the wheel, hook the treadle to the drive wheel and you are ready to go.

All of this took about fifteen minutes!  I cannot wait to get started spinning on the spindle wheel to see how different it is from my Ladybug!

I look forward to reporting how simple this is for my beginning students to learn this after their drop spindles.

Happy Crafting!

Days 5&6 of Tour De Fleece

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I have made some progress on my major spin for Tour De Fleece.  More importantly from my perspective, I have decided to take my time and enjoy the step I am working on.  My personality is such that I am usually looking toward the next thing.  The next project, the next skill, the next thing to learn, etc.  This means that I do not really spend much time, if any, enjoying the step that I am on.  Recently I have been reading where several spinners talk about the hours of enjoyment they have gotten from a piece of fleece/fiber.  I have, for me, a large project that I am spinning toward.

Paradise Fibers sent me 8 oz of their Merino Blend in Bloom.  I split that in half to perform a Monet Spin, if you’ve been following me you know this already.  At present I am spinning about 4oz of the top in a straight short forward worsted spin on my ladybug.  This is resulting in the finest and most consistent spin I have ever accomplished.  However, instead of relaxing and enjoying this spin I am eager to get to the next step, spinning up the carded fibers.  I am also eager to see what the final plied yarn will look like, I have done two ply back samples and I believe I will have either a lace weight 2 ply or a DK weight 4 ply.  (it’s pretty fine)

Right now, I have spend almost three hours spinning up this first part of my fiber.  I am only capable of spinning about an hour or so at a time, the fineness of this spin means that should my concentration waver too much I will lose my consistency.  In those three hours, I have barely made a dent in my top.  This being said,  I have made a conscious decision to do my best to enjoy this time creating this yarn.  Haste makes waste is very apt in this case.  I am spinning a fine consistent yarn, taking my time, concentrating on how I am spinning and the results that I am obtaining will be key to enjoying this spin.  At my current rate of spinning I should get another 21 hours of enjoyment from this fiber.  Let’s see how it goes!

Happy Crafting!

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