Friday, November 17, 2017

Bits and Pieces

Blergh.  I think I'm coming down with a cold.  Actually, I hoped to be well in its grips by now so that I would already be on the upswing early next week.  Now I'm hoping that it's not going to be much of anything and that by Monday this will not even be a memory because I'll be so busy.  

I have been doing a bit here and there.  I've finished spinning what I would guess (ripped it in half and then that half in half, but no weighing, so, whatever) is about one-quarter of the fiber I started yesterday.  I think I might even have some nice yarn when I'm done, but there's still a long way to go.  My knitting isn't much to show.  When I'm not working on the Featherweight Wrap to knit, I'm off in Mochimochiland, and as it is there unwritten, "Some assembly required."  Oh, yeah, I need to find the rest of the pieces before I can begin assembly.  Ahem.  But maybe some medication is in order first.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Right Round

Yeah, I'm spinning.  I needed to give the fixes on the EEW5 a go, and there's no other way to really do that than to spin.  I'm trying to follow through on what I learned in my Stupendous Singles class, so it's all kinds of new around here.  Maybe mixing together so many new elements isn't a good idea, but there you go.  It's not going super-great thus far, but I'm just going to keep going and hope for the best.  I really like this special fiber, and I want to make some nice yarn.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Twill Be Done Done

Ta-to-the-dah!  I finished the Twill Be Done weave-along.  I tried something new and learned a lot.  If you're on the fence about joining in on one of Liz Gipson's weave-alongs over on her Yarnworker site, I would encourage you to give it a go.  I like the answer she gave about the schedule.  Basically, she said that some people weave ahead, some follow the schedule to the letter, and some weave in their heads.  For me, weaving the pattern helped me to learn even more, but I think I could have learned quite a bit weaving in my head.     

The pattern is for a table runner, but instead, I used my warp to weave two placemats because I think that it will get more use that way.  I certainly see the errors and where I need to improve.  I might want to try using a temple to help me with draw-in, or maybe more experience will be enough.  The changes that happen throughout the process from having the woven piece under tension on the loom, to off the loom, and all the way through washing and drying cannot be underestimated.  I like these pretty well.  Now I just need to make the move from looking at them to using them.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I'll Totally Finish This By Month's End, Right?

I finally cast on for my NaKniSweMo Featherweight Wrap to Knit.  It really was deciding the color that was holding me up on this.  Making decisions like that has been an issue for me lately, but I went ahead and picked one so I could move forward with this.  Then there was a brief interchangeable search.  I did manage to round up several wayward interchangeable components and (somewhat) returned them to their proper home.  Thinking back, I don't remember where the cable I was seeking had been hibernating, but I did find it.  I could have begun the sweater without finding it, but eventually, it would be a problem to work the sweater on the short cable length I had used to knit the sleeves on the previous sweater.  
Anyway, I'm (barely) on my way.  Impressive, no?  I hope to curl up on the couch with the project and catch up on some shows, but this is a time of many interruptions around here.  If I make a bit more progress, it could be a good companion to other goings on, but for now, it's fits and starts.  One day, I will have a new black cardigan.  I feel rather doubtful that I will finish this month, but soon I think I might have opportunities for some good knitting time, so there is still hope.        

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Waiting is Over

I loved my first Electric Eel Wheel, (the fourth version) and I love my EEW5 even more.  However, hiccups happened, but most were resolved quickly.  One issue I faced along with other spinners, was that of wearing.  Those spinning thinner yarn at a higher speed seemed to come across this issue more frequently.  I noticed that it was happening on mine, but kept going, because I knew it would be fine for a while, and I wanted to keep spinning.  Replacing hooks could be a bit of a patch, but not a good longterm fix, and that wasn't the only part with the wearing.  The Ravelry group is great, and following the example of others, I used wire to wrap the hooks and other parts, and that helped, but again, it was a patch.  It didn't stop me from spinning, and I have already spun wonderful yarn on my EEW5.  I kept peeking in on the EEW group on Ravelry from time to time and knew they had been working on a solution.  Maurice spent a lot of time problem-solving, and I received an email the other day to let me know that the replacement parts were ready.  Now it is time to apply the fix.  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

UM...Nothing to See Here

It's been a long time since I've played along with Unconscious Mutterings, but when it popped into my inbox, the time seemed right.  Besides, nothing I'm working on is in a photographic state right now, so instead, you get to look into my endlessly fascinating mind.  
  1. Prayer :: Wing
  2. Rerun :: Daily
  3. Blue :: Monday
  4. Chat :: Bot
  5. Boycott :: Everything
  6. Design :: Feature
  7. Paste :: Copy
  8. Backspace :: Delete
  9. Connections :: Webs
  10. Reality :: Bites

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Not Great, But Maybe Not As Horrible As I Think It Is

It's not looking great for the home team on the Twill Be Done piece, but I reserve judgment for now.  I've made it through the twill-y bits and clove-hitch knots at the beginning and am now chugging along on the plain weave center portion.  So far, I see a few problems, but some may be less problematic after finishing.  Possible problem one is that I think my beating in the twill-y bits is not wonderful.  I'm a little less concerned about that as things look different under tension.  Also, I am learning something new, and that is likely to show.  Another problem is that my twill-y bits didn't seem to show up very well so far.  The color mix might not work well.  I don't find it to be ugly, but rather unfortunate to go through the effort only to not be able to see it well.  It actually looks better in this progress picture, I think, so maybe it's not so bad.  However, looking at the picture, I'm pretty sure I also have some outright mistakes in my pick-up, but I'm moving on and just trying to get something done.
Besides, that, it is going well, I think.  I had a nice rhythm going working the clove-hitch knots, and am glad to have learned another edge treatment.  I might make placemats or towels instead of the runner.  I guess I'd better check the warp length and make some decisions.  After all that, the plain weave seems a bit boring now, and I'm ready to get back to the pick-up sections and see if I'm improving.    

Friday, November 10, 2017

What to Do When There's Nothing You Can Do

Late Monday night the phone rang with news of a relative far away hospitalized in ill health.  She's too far away to visit, so what to do?  Well, I do the crafty stuff, so I guess I make.  The problem is, I don't know just what to make.  Maybe some little bitty things from Mochimochiland, like the Thanksgiving turkey and pie, or would something woven be better?  What do you think--weird little stuff or something useful/practical?  She definitely needs a new embroidered handkerchief or two.  I'll finish adding the bamboo to the one with the panda.  I'd like to get something to her soon, so I'd better hurry.  I guess getting my NaKniSweMo on the needles will have to wait.  Then again, if I cast on, I'll have it cast on, right?  Guess I better decide on the color, eh?  Which do you think I should choose?  What?  I'm not avoiding things.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

It Might Help if I Could Stay Awake...

...but catching up on sleep probably needs to happen first.  Life has been very busy lately.  If I cannot figure out a better way to take care of some of the new stuff on the list, I'm going to have to find a new way to do everything else.  Until then, the "everything else" is suffering a bit.  Today was a bit of a breather, and that was nice.  I managed to tackle some things around the house, weave a little, and play with markers and pens a bit, too.
Something else I thought would be good for today was watching weaving DVDs.  My collection grew by two during birthday season, but I haven't had the chance to watch them.  The problem is that when I sit down to watch most anything, my eyelids get very heavy.  Since I'm trying to get my sleep schedule back on track, I am avoiding naps for now.  That means I need to set these aside for now.  I'll get to them eventually, and then I will be an expert, for sure, eh?  

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Warped and Waiting on a Wednesday

Perhaps you noticed my stalling on the start of my Twill Be Done.  You would be forgiven for thinking it was just a poor attempt at trying to stretch a small amount of content into several blog posts. Sure, that's certainly a plus, (ok, not the poor part, but that's kind of how it goes around here) but it's not what was happening.  I was just trying to finish the last project and life was not cooperating, but I finally made it happen.  I now have a new cloth for the coffee table, and I think I like it.  It was also nice that I finally got around to using the 15 dpi reed, and although I do need to try out some different, smooth yarns with it, that will have to be later.   
Anyway, I finally have the warp on the loom.  After the last project, setting this up with the 7.5 dpi reed seemed super-quick.  I hope to get weaving on it soon, but for now, it must wait and wonder whether the colors will work.  I really don't know if they will, but I've made it this far, and I'm going for it.  The blue will be the main weft and the yellow will be the twill-y bits and clove-hitch knots (yes, more new stuff!).  My picture is still a bit off on the color, but not by tons.  Really, it's the variegated warp that has me wondering, but worse case scenario, I only learn new things and have ugly cloth.  Stacked up against everything else in life, how is that even a concern, eh? 

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

If Squish Thinks I Can...

That's right, I'm sleep-deprived and suggestible, so I'm NaKniSweMo-ing it, and so is Stacey!  I'm making another Featherweight Wrap to Knit.

Now I just need to decide the color and get knitting.  Should it be black, beige, or purple?  Of course, I need some sleep first, or counting all those stitches to cast on just isn't going to work out well.  Night-night, all.  If you have time, please put my yarn, pattern, needles, and stitch markers in a project bag and set it next to my purse.  Tomorrow starts early and will be long.  

Monday, November 06, 2017

Almost Makes Me Want to NaKniSweMo

I finished a sweater last month.  Yes, I finished it last month, but I started it way back when--January 25, 2015, to be precise.  After I picked it up to work on it, I was pleased to discover that I could figure out where I was in the pattern and just how close I was to finishing.  I was most of the way done with one sleeve, and then all that would be left was the second sleeve.  Upon binding off that first sleeve, I was free to try on the cardigan without the entanglement of needles or trailing a ball of yarn, and I felt good about it.  It really was inspiring.  Then we had some cooler weather, and I wanted to finish it so I could wear it.  The closer I got to completion, the more I thought about knitting this pattern again in this same yarn in other colors.  I considered small modifications.  I even thought about NaKniSweMo-ing it.  That thought didn't last long, though, but I do have a new sweater.   

Of course, now that it's done, we have a warm-up and increased humidity, but that happens.  I'll have plenty of opportunities to wear this sweater in comfort, but I didn't wait for that to attempt a photo shoot for it.  I just kept setting the timer on the camera and posed over and over and hoped that something would turn out alright.  By the time I came in, I had taken 336 photos, and I didn't like any of them.  However, the Google Photos Assistant created an animation from some of the photos, so that's what you get. 

Pattern--Featherweight Wrap to Knit
Mods:  M1R/M1L instead of YO increases
Yarn--(sit down--it's scandalous) Woolike (85% acrylic 15% nylon--told you it was scandalous)
Verdict--Would knit again (or not, I don't knit many sweaters)

I think this cardigan will work well for me.  I like the way it fits through my armpits.  I'm weird that way.  I may not really be describing it right, but I just do not like clothing stuck up in my armpits.  There is a similar (both in name and appearance) cardigan pattern that was popular a few years back, and I really wanted to knit it, but it seemed like it would do that, and I don't think my body shape/size was a good fit for it either.  Anyway, I was glad to find this pattern, because I would like a few cardigans in the wardrobe.  This is a nice, basic pattern, and I can think of some simple modifications I might make if I were to knit it again, such as changing the length and perhaps decreasing a bit more on the sleeves.  If I feel really adventurous, maybe one day I'll spin to knit one. 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Happy Birthday, Eva!

When the birthday girl is this sweet, going to a birthday party at the infamous children's party place doesn't bother me a bit.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Ah-ha! (I hope)

As I mentioned previously, I'm participating in a weave-along over on Liz Gipson's site, Yarnworker. We are weaving Twill Be Done from Handwoven Home.  Some of the terminology and skills were intimidating to me when I read the description, but the opportunity to learn grabbed me.  The first bits were simple--things I already knew.  Then I began to feel rather stupid.  It was time to learn to read a draft for a floor loom and create a drawdown chart.  I knew what the first thing was, in that I had not really understood how to do it and only felt more confused each time I tried.  The second thing could have been anything, but I hoped to learn.  When it came to reading the drafts, it all seemed counterintuitive, upside down, and backwards.  Now might be the time to confess my rather poor sense of direction.  I think there is a connection.   

Finally, after several viewings of the video lessons and reading of the passages, I think I had a breakthrough.  Once I understood that the drawdown is like a charted representation of what the weaving pattern will look like--kind of like a colorwork chart, I was on my way.  Then I had to get out of my head and try to just follow along step-by-step without understanding what I was doing.  About halfway through the first twill pattern, I could follow what I was to do, and then coloring in the next was a breeze.  
I like the relaxed format of this weave-along and feel like I can keep up with each week without too much pressure.  We'll see what happens--next week looks to be a doozy.  

Friday, November 03, 2017

Not Ready for November

Here we are, the new month is already rockin' along, and I haven't set my goals just yet.  I guess I'm still recovering from October.  To help me through the transition, I'm trying to relax a little bit more, and that means getting my mind to move in a different direction.  Anyway, one night I followed a link (somewhere on twitter, I think) over to Amazon, and clicked around there for a while, and next thing you know I had added a book to my wishlist.  I've found doodling to be helpful sometimes when I am trying to calm, focus, or re-direct my brain a bit.  I have some nifty pens and pencils, and even some Zendoodling books, too.  Now, thanks to my brother, I have this new book.  
So, sometimes at night before bedtime, I flip through the book and try drawing some things, and occasionally I even color them.  I'm not likely to become super-skilled, and while, in a dreamy, fantasy way I would like to be, that isn't the point.  In fact, it likely has no other point than just doodling.  I'm not creating anything for any particular purpose--just something I'm doing sometimes.  It's a nice way to relax, get ready to sleep, or just play.    

Thursday, November 02, 2017

To Bamboo, or Not To Bamboo--Is That Really a Question?

Well, I've finished a sweater, don't feel like picking up Bridgewater, and the weather has turned a bit bleh, so knitting just isn't really doing it for me.  My inspiration is running a little low.  That can have many causes, but I think a need to straighten and organize is tops on the list this time.  So, I've been doing a bit of that.  Sometimes I get a bit messy when I'm in the midst of things, and that's why I have the same cycle of tidying/creating/messiness repeating.  It's not ideal, but I do find ways to make it work better for me.  When I'm feeling a bit meh about creating, I can clean without taking time away from some project I'd rather be doing.  It also prepares my space for when I am ready to go again and helps me find things.  The other helpful part is rediscovering things I haven't thought about in a while.  It's kind of like the magic of shopping in your own stash.  

In between organizational sessions, I'm weaving.  Once I did the hem-stitching at the beginning of this piece, I was able to get rolling with the weaving, and I think I'm probably somewhere around the halfway point, so that's good.  I think I've decided on the yarn for the Twill Be Done Weave-Along.  I'm having a little trouble focusing on the new-to-me terms associated with this, but I'll get there.  

All of that is well and good, but it doesn't help me with the need to have something to do while I'm sitting on the couch watching television.  So, embroidery, yeah?  That's what I'm thinking.  I stitched a panda on a handkerchief, and I could start a new handkerchief, but I'm thinking of some bamboo on the opposite corner.  What do you think?

Wednesday, November 01, 2017


Yes, October is over, and what a month it was.  We had computer troubles, and now we have a new computer.  We will probably attempt to repair the old one, but even if we have success with that, it is probably good that we bought a replacement, as the old computer seems as though it really doesn't intend to be a computer full-time for years on end.  We'll go ahead and totally blame my lack of blogging on the computer woes, but we both know that really is not the truth.

We had medical adventures, oh, so many planned and unplanned medical adventures.  Bruce has been doing OT for a sad rotator cuff and PT for sad hips.  He got a painful injection in his hand to help a trigger finger.  All that and a few regular appointments were all planned.  Then the unplanned kicked in for real.  Bruce had a new experience--sleep paralysis.  That was brought on by chest pain during r.e.m. sleep, and that took us to the hospital, which brought us a couple of medication changes, future testing, and doctor appointments.  After all of these years with the heart trouble, it's kind of funny how so many of these visits go.  The doctors' assessments seem to often line up with something along the line of, yes, this was something to do with your heart, but you're in no more danger than usual with it and there is not anything we need to do, you may or may not have needed hospital monitoring in this instance, but you need to come in each time this happens because it could just as easily have been a deadly thing.  This is the second such hospitalization this year, and even the docs can't really agree on anything other than the usual lifestyle advice.  You know how it goes; follow the diet recommendations, take your meds, be active but not too much, and follow up as needed.  Lather, rinse, repeat--it's not just a hair care regimen.  

I've also embroidered, woven, sewn, and knit.  I either finished a handkerchief or just need to add a little something in the other corner.   The weaving was not to completion, and I need to get to it because I need that loom free.  The sewing was little baby doll dresses that went to my niece, but I never got pictures.  As for knitting, I finished a sweater (just need pictures) and made good progress on the Bridgewater.

Does my writing seem more experienced, mature, and nuanced?  No?  So you're saying I just look older, right?  I guess since my birthday is over, I can't expect everyone to be nice all the time, eh?  Yes, I had a birthday last month.  Many thanks to the many people who remembered and helped me celebrate.  I really had some awesome birthday-ness.  I will be playing with my new toys for a long time.  Looks like I'll be starting with the weaving, as I have a weave-a-long over on the Yarnworker site, and I'm already behind.  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Riddle Me This

How is it that the days are getting shorter and longer at the same time?  The tedious, boring, draining drama of everyday life that is common to most people is running full force around here.  I'll spare you the details, but I just needed that bit of venting so that I could better move on to other things.  

Anyway, I've been working on this month's goals.  My first completion was watching my Spinning Stupendous Singles class.  Now I just need to make myself put it into practice.  You know how it is when you worry about wasting precious materials on learning something new.  Anyway, I think I will start by seeing if I have any more small bumps of fiber to start.  Then I should find something so wonderful that I won't want to stop spinning, right?  Eh, I'm just tossing around ideas.  

I completed the horseshoe lace chart of Bridgewater, so that's another one completed on the goal list.  It's time to work the edging setup round, adjusting the beginning of the round and adding a few more stitch markers to mark the corners.  After that comes a provisional cast on and then eleventy-gazillion repeats of the edging chart.  For now, the big, brown blob sits and waits.  Since I am having some computer problems but still want to include a picture in this post, you get to see an old picture of it.  Truly, it does not look terribly different.  Just imagine that the blob of garter stitch also has bunched up, unblocked lace worked around it.
I've been working on embroidering a handkerchief.  This is my first time using q-snaps instead of a hoop.  It's too soon to judge, so I just keep stitching.  I already have an idea for the next handkerchief, but I need to finish this one first.  I also want to try embroidering on kitchen towels, pillowcases, and maybe an apron or two.  

That's all the progress I have to report so far, but hey, I still have about half the month left, so there you go.       

Monday, October 02, 2017

Goal-y Moley

It is a new month, so it's time for new goals.  Last month I probably scored somewhere around 70% completion--not great, but not terrible.  Let's see how I do with this month's list. 
  • Watch my Craftsy Spinning Stupendous Singles Class (Dear Craftsy, Please restore the ability to cast (Chromecast, y'know?) app content to my tv and develop a Roku channel.  My back, neck, shoulders, etc will thank you.  Also, I stopped buying classes when you did your unfortunate redesign of the app that took away the ability to cast.) 
  • Get the 15 dpi idea on the Ashford (if it works, that's great, but if not, then I know and will have learned something)
  • Weave towels on the Cricket (we need some new hand towels in the bathrooms)
  • Stitch/embroider a thing (should have enough thread, eh?)
  • Go to the gym at least four times by myself (this might be my biggest challenge)
  • Finish the Horseshoe Lace chart on the Bridgewater Shawl (only about eight more rounds to go on this chart, but those rounds are long)
That seems like a pretty good list--challenging without being overly ambitious, but I think for me it is doable.        

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Annual Occurrences are Annual

Yes, once again, it's National Spinning and Weaving Week.  That seems like as good a time as any to make a plan, but first I'll show a bit of my spinning and weaving from this year.  I played with cotton for a bit.  I had an idea and read in my books to try making it happen.  Then I sampled.  What?  Yeah, it was the right thing to do, and I'm glad I did it.  I'm not too disappointed with the results and feel that I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do differently.  Then I returned to spinning the cotton singles.  It is not my favorite to spin, though I do feel a sense of accomplishment when I do spin cotton.  Anyway, the plan is to spin more of the textured cotton yarn and weave with it.  

Then, I got into the silk hankies and spun some more.  I had plans for weaving with them, but I don't think what I have right now will work.  I have other hankies that I might be able to add to this pile and then maybe I can.  

The other spinning was a getting-to-know-you spin for my Electric Eel Wheel 5.  I do love that little machine.  Anyway, I grabbed eight ounces of wool and spun for ages.  The plying was a breeze.  Plying on an e-wheel is wonderful.  Winding off the skein nearly did me in, but I made it, and it seems like I made some decent yarn.  I was proud that I only had a small amount of singles leftover on one bobbin to ply back on itself, so maybe I am improving.

As for weaving, I got out the inkle loom and tablet weaving cards and book and played a bit.  It was about time, as I bought the cards and book a few years ago, and they mostly just sat all that time.  Anyway, I now have some new lanyards and a bit of experience with tablet weaving.  

The other weaving was a birthday gift for my niece.  She loves little blankets for covering dolls, stuffed animals, and pets.  So I made a long, random, textured warp on the Ashford and wove the blankies for her.  I'm pleased to learn that she has been using them, so I consider it a success.   

Now for the plan--I want to try out my new 15 d.p.i. reed for my Ashford rigid heddle loom.  I have an idea but do not know if it will work, but I am ready to try.  My other plan is to weave some towels on the Cricket because I need more.  As for the spinning, I don't have a real plan, other than to spin some.  I could return to the cotton, or maybe try something new.  Who knows?  So, what's your plan for the week?

Monday, September 25, 2017

But It's Such a Good Deal

So, this year I've been playing a bit with embroidery.  I don't have much to show for my efforts, but it's something to do.  So far it's just some handkerchiefs, but I have plans for other things.

Now would probably be a good time to make the move from planning to doing.  You see, I had an encounter with the clearance bin, and now I have an excess of embroidery floss.  It was so inexpensive that I kept picking up more, but I left piles and piles for other bargain seeking stitchers.  Maybe I will become the embroidery floss fairy and just start giving away the extra.  Do you need any?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Found it in the Couch Cushions

I love Anna Hrachovec's patterns and books.  I have knit so many of her tiny creations.  They are some of my favorite things to knit for so many reasons.  They are cute, relatively quick, and more than once, knitting them has been therapeutic.  I have knit some of her medium size patterns like Zaru and Boo, but mostly I come back to the tiny patterns.  When I finally got around to buying Knitting Mochimochi, I thought the first thing I would knit would be Pigs With Wigs.  I even bought a bunch of pink yarn.  Then I didn't knit any pigs, started knitting a Grouchy Couch, set it aside, turned all of the pink yarn into Pussy Hats, bits of life sprinkled throughout, and then my knitting mojo wandered off for a bit.  Sometimes when my knitting mojo disappears and I cannot find it, I pick up an abandoned project and try to finish it.  That's what I did this time.  I picked up the Grouchy Couch and worked on it.  Perhaps the fact that I omitted the colorwork contributed to the fact that for me, the pieces were not particularly exciting to knit, but whatever the reason, it did not matter that as returned to knitting I wasn't really feeling it.  I just kept chugging along, and soon I had a bunch of pieces to stuff and seam.  Then I grabbed the Love Monster that Cookie made for me and placed it on the couch, snuggling it under an old swatch that became its blanket.  Then I knit a Baby Gator, some donuts, cheeseburgers, and gnomes, and more.  Throughout it all, life kept on doing its thing, and knitting found its way into it, becoming a part of it again for me.