Snake skin

This weekend, I dug up a loom I had found a few years ago in a garage sale for $2.  I had been meaning to try weaving for some time.  The trouble is, I can never get past the idea of what I’d actually make.  I’d weave a chunk of fabric and then what?  What would I use that chunk of fabric for.  And since I couldn’t come up with a plan, the loom sat.

I decided, the first thing is just going to be a sample.  What ever came off that loom would be a hot mess as any textile skill involves mastering technique and tension before you make anything worth while.  I told myself, use crap scraps of wool and just work on skills.

Setting the loom up was a challenge.  I ended up cutting everything off once because I had made a big mistake in the wrapping of the warp threads.  I had to restring the heddles (the strings that raise and lower the warp strings so that the weft threads can slide in between).  After I was all set up, I had a piece of the loom left over that I didn’t immediately know what it was for.  But as I started weaving, the answer came to me.  I had set up the warp strings incorrectly. If I had done it correctly, I would have used the extra peice and I would be able to make the finished product longer. But the goal was not a longer piece and since I was still able to weave I carried on.  Next time I will know better.

As you can see, tension is definitely a problem but it is recognizable as a chunk of fabric.

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It kind of makes me think of snake skin! Anyway, it will likely not get any longer.  I think it will get cut off the loom and my next attempt will be wider and longer.  I’ll make more of an attempt to even out that tension!

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Nalbinding…nope

I tried my hand a nalbinding, the viking form of “knitting”.  My first attempt was a fail.  The wool was too fine for my skill level and it was too “holey”.  My second attempt was better in terms of the holes but the technique uses several shorter lengths of wool that you attach as you run short.  The knots were too bulky for my tastes.

I’ll use it as a bag to hold my hair ribbons but other than that, I am not thrilled.

If ever I get the desire to try it again, I will use the same thickness of wool but I won’t use a cotton again.  It isn’t fuzzy enough for the technique of rubbing the two ends together to form a joint solid enough to hold two lengths together.  I ended up having to tie the ends and that is not the correct method in nalbinding and it made it far to lumpy.

 

Me Made Purse

Money is a bit tight…well not really.  I’m just a bit cheap.  I have been using a purse for the last little while that is falling apart.  At first I didn’t care but it got to the point that I was embarrassed by it.IMG_20180903_154546691

So I decided I needed a new one but I didn’t want to spend the money on it.  I thought I’d do a bit of stash busting and selected some fabric left over from a mantle I made.

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I didn’t use or make a pattern.  I just winged it as I went along.

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I put two huge pockets on the front and back (all girls love a pocket!)

And I cut the rings and clips off of the old purse.

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I’m not loving how it hangs…I made it too wide.  Apparently you can have too much space in a purse.  IMG_20180903_160359812

For now it will do until I can find a purse I am willing to cough up real money for.  Then it will serve as a carry all.

The Olive dress has a hat

It has been awhile since I produced anything historical but today is the day!  And it has been a project that I amassed materials for a year and a half ago! ‘Bout time!

Yeah, I know.  The hat is made before the dress….sigh.

This is the inspiration:1909-dress-va-d

And this is my version:

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I was hoping for more of a sloping hill look.  And I thought I made it ridiculously huge but apparently not enough.

Some more smaller flowers may help…

The base isn’t quite right either.  This is what it looked like without flowers.

Completed project and how to knit stuff people want

My son asked me to make him a neck warmer for Christmas. He wanted black or grey. This makes me think of the time a couple of months ago, when I despaired that no one wanted my knitting (nothing sold at a craft sale table I shared with a friend). I went to my computer and typed in the google line “No one wants my knitting.” It lead me to a blog which had some advice, which I will pass on to you*.

First: knitters like wild colors because they are fun to work with (guilty), but in reality, no one wants these items. They are, at best, outside peoples comfort zone for actual use and at worse, just plain tacky. And when I look at my décor in my house there are lots of neutrals with tiny splashes of color.  In my wardrobe, I have color because I like it, but they are either solids or subtle patterns.  No wild stripes or blotches of rainbow colors.

So back to the neck warmer: boring black or grey it is.

I bought real wool, because we all know real wool is warmer (and more expensive) than the synthetic stuff.  Which leads to more advice from the blog I read: buy the expensive stuff  because the cheap stuff looks cheap and no one really wants that. People may or may not factor the amount of work you put into the item.  If they don’t factor in the work, they just see cheap wool that looks and feels like crap.  If they do, they feel guilty because they are not going to use all your hard work-because it looks and feels like crap.

Okay-neck warmer: I used circular knitting needles and “guesstimated” the number of stitches needed.  I used my own massive melon for fitting so the thing ended up way too big for the boy.  We tried shrinking it and that helped, but it also made it too short.  So back to the drawing board.  I knit another, much smaller one.  img_20170108_102333797.jpg

The top one is the first one I made.  My boy will use that one on super cold days when he needs his face covered as well, but the second one will be the one he wears most of the time.  I made it in two layers (extra warm) and I made it reversible so he can have it be black or grey.

The boy actually does use these things.  And this leads to the third piece of advice from the blog: if the receiver of the gift has a say in what they want they are more likely to use and value the item.  My boy said “I want a black or grey neck warmer”.  I gave him a black or grey neck warmer and he likes it.  For bigger ticket items like a blanket or sweater or for more finicky people, it is better to take the person shopping for wool so they can see the colors and feel the wool.

So what is a knitter to do with this advice when she knows her wool stash is full of wild colors and cheaper value wool?  When I think of my stash, I could despair.  I could just give the balls away to a thrift store…something I may actually do to some of it. But now I am thinking, there are some things I would use that are wilder.  I don’t care what my housecoats and slippers look like.  I could make all kinds of housecoats and slippers in all kinds of wild crazy colors and patterns and I will love them.  There is no law that says I only need two or three of these things.  I bought the wool, I will do the work, I will want and appreciate what I made.

I could make project bags for all of my UFO’s and I could line them with left over fabric (kill two stashes with one stone.) I could make small items to give to others that they might use no matter what it is made of (coin purses or pouches to use in purses).  Kids toys can be wild.  I don’t have any kids to give them too (yet) but that is an option.

Finally, a commenter on that blog I read said she knits all kinds of things and puts them in a bag, then at family gatherings she opens the bag up and allows people to pick something out of the bag that they want.  Sure, people may pick SOMETHING to avoid offending her but at least there is a chance they will pick something they might actually use.  I could do that with the more subtle colors and nicer feeling wools I have in my stash.

So new year with new goals for my knitting.

*Sorry, I did not save the link to the blog I am referencing.  If I find it again, I will rectify that faux pas.

Side projects=dreams

I need side projects because I have so much time and I brilliantly sail through major projects with no issues and my mood is always set on “high productivity”.  Yeah, right.  If I really believed that, this past weekend would have destroyed my illusions.

I have a new job so I have no vacation time.  This means the past couple of weeks of long weekends is the closest I have come to having time off since August.  So oodles of time is not something I have.

I tried, yesterday, to finish my leather gloves for the final challenge in HSF 2016 but it resisted all efforts to progress. In fact, I may have buggered it up enough that it may have to be wadded up and tossed.  Definitely hitting the UFO pile and for the first time since I started HSF, I will not have an entry into the challenges.  Lets scratch brilliantly sails through major projects with no issues.

This goes back to what I said in my last post about not touching a project when the mood is off.  I’m having some car drama…long story.  Which means I’m swinging between fury and depression with 30 second bursts of optimism.  It was that 30 seconds that urged me to face the gloves and attempt to finish them.  MISTAKE!giphy

So someone tell me why I started a Pintrest board for housewife/sewing kits with dreams to make “historical” ones as an accessory and modern ones for my knitting needles, crochet hooks and all the junk I store next to my “spot” on the living room couch?  My only theory is: when the creative juju evades you, you can at least, dream and what is Pintrest but a record of peoples dreams.

Big success, little success.

I attempted the leg lamp cookies.  They were a little success.  They tasted fine and my “older guests” recognized the reference but I’m not totally happy with them.  Problem one, I couldn’t find black pre made icing nor black food coloring so that I could make my own icing so I settled for blue.  Meh.  And when I iced the fish net stockings, I forgot the garter.  So here is my “nailed it” photo…what it should have looked like and what it actually did look like.

I also made Grinch Popcorn.

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It turned out PERFECT!  I even found the EXACT Grinch doll to display it with.  And I was sure I took a photograph of it but it seems I didn’t.  Drat.  You are going to have to believe me when I say it was PERFECT!