May 31, 2010

Oven dyeing wool and a peek at June's Phat Fiber goodness

I finally got off my butt and dyed some more fiber, this time in the oven — one of my favorite methods of dyeing so far because it feels like it takes less watching than kettle-dyeing, even if not being able to see and poke at the fiber is a little weird. Not being able to see or poke at it also means that dyeing each batch is also a little like giving myself a surprise gift, since I don't know precisely what the fiber will look like until I open up the foil wrapper on the outside of my little baking pans.

Oven dyed wool (Puck colors)
Wool fiber after it came out of the oven.

Oven dyed wool (Puck colors)
Yet more post-oven wool.

My motivation to finally get out the dyes again was the need to make another contribution to the Phat Fiber Sampler Box. June's theme is "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and this is how my Puck-inspired fiber came out:

Oven dyed wool (Puck colors)

Oven dyed wool (Puck colors)

It's still waiting to get carded with the sparkly fibers I just received from Blue Mountain Handcrafts, for a more properly fairy-ish feel. ;) What happens after that is actually a bit of a mystery even to me right now; it's going to depend on how many batts I end up with in the end, probably. I'm pretty sure I'm spinning some of it, but I might actually put some in the shop in fiber form ... which would be the first time I've ever put batts in the shop — actually, it'd be the first time I've ever put any form of spinning fiber in the shop. Weird, huh? But I could just end up spinning all of it and putting it in the shop in yarn form. We'll see.

In case you want to know about my dyeing method, I present...

The Quicksilver Crafter Oven-Dyeing Method of May 2010. ;)

This is just how I did it this time — you can obviously make your own tweaks based on what you have handy or your own preferences. And, of course, the general conensus among dyers is to not re-use dyeing supplies with food. I just went and bought some cheap stuff to use only for dyeing.

Materials needed:
  • wash tub(s) (or you can use baking pans) — to pre-soak fiber before dyeing AND to rinse fiber after dyeing
  • aluminum baking pan(s) — to dye the fiber in
  • acid dyes (I used Jacquard)
  • white vinegar — acid for the acid dyes
  • aluminum foil — to cover the baking pans while they bake
  • plastic cups — to mix dyes in
  • face mask — to prevent accidental inhalation of dye powder
  • ...and of course you need fiber or yarn to dye, and an oven ;)
Steps I followed:
  1. Soak fiber/yarn in tubs of water with a little vinegar for 1/2 hr to 1 hr.
  2. Put on mask. Mix dyes in cups to desired colors, following directions on the type of dye you're using. I put a splash of vinegar into each cup because I didn't put any new water into the baking pans with the fiber and didn't know how much vinegar was still in the fiber. (I was pretty lazy and mixed my dyes right before I poured them onto the fiber, and reused the same two cups to do it. You can also pre-mix each color in a different cup or glass jar or what have you.) You can take the mask off after you're done mixing.
  3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  4. Gently squeeze most of the water out of the fiber and place fiber into baking pans, trying to keep it in a single layer. There will be some water in the baking pans. This is good.
  5. Pour dye on the fiber in the baking pans. You can do it in a pattern or randomly; I was pretty random, and just tried to make large sections of color rather than small splotches, since I knew I was going to card the fiber afterward and wanted some fairly solid areas of color.
  6. Put aluminum foil over top of baking pans. Press foil in place to seal around the edges, which will prevent steam from escaping. This keeps the heat sealed into the pans, where it can set the dye, and also prevents the water from evaporating and leaving you with dry fiber. It's probably nice to keep the dye steam inside the pans rather than floating around the oven, too, at a guess. ;)
  7. Put baking pans carefully into oven. Bake for 1 hr.
  8. Let pans cool until they're comfortable to touch before lifting foil or removing fiber from pans.
  9. Fill tubs with cool water (or water the temperature of your fiber, if you're impatient and didn't wait for the fiber to cool completely) and gently place fiber into tubs to soak for 15 minutes or so. (This is indeed the "rinse" stage even though it feels a little passive for that particular verb. ;)) Lift fiber out of tub and gently squeeze the water out of it. Dump rinse water and repeat rinse step until used rinse water is clear.
  10. Let fiber dry. Pet. Admire. Use fiber. Be happy. :D
Woo! If you try it, feel free to let me know and post links to your results here! I'm always interested in seeing you guys' crafty doings. :D

May 30, 2010

Craft or Bust Week 21 Check-In and Roundup (May 23-29)

Nice to see some of you back this week! We're getting close to the end of the quarter again, so don't forget to add your projects to the Flickr pool so they're eligible for Project of the Quarter. Onward...

Roundup of Week 20: What We Crafted From May 16-22
Check-in for Week 21: What Have You Done Lately? (May 23-29)

What I did this week:

Aside from continuing to write every single day...

Merino rovingSunday, I made a washable fabric storage box for the Great Craft Room Rescue project (and eventually I'll post the directions). Monday, I rearranged some of the craft room, unraveled a sweater for the yarn, finished a draft of a new fingerless gloves pattern (which will probably be free :D), and knitted again on the TwitKAL shawl to keep it from settling into complete abandon. Tuesday, I plied the last of the most recent yarn spun from a Spazzy batt, plotted my June Phat Fiber contribution, dyed some Merino/Tussah roving, and wound center-pull balls out of the recently recycled yarn. Wednesday, I frogged part of a long-sleeping shawl project for the red yarn, started spinning some Merino roving that I'm calling Sapphire and Rubies, dyed more Merino/Tussah, and wove a triloom triangle from the red frogged yarn. Thursday, I wove yet another triloom triangle. Friday, I knitted on some custom fingerless gloves and won a photo print for my craft room from Darrah Parker Photography. Saturday was my off day — and HMPH on that, since I almost managed to craft every single day of the week. Alas! Maybe next week.


What did you craft this week?

Don't forget to use the standard check-in format on the rules page!

And if you're new to Craft or Bust, check out the CoB rules page and sign up — it's easy!

May 29, 2010

New art for the craft room, a tiny craft mess reveal, and more triloomy goodness

It's been mildly busy for the past couple of days, in a sort of ramp-up-ish way — like if I keep going, I might build up enough momentum to re-earn the name of the blog.

Pretty stuff first, so my ugly pictures don't scare anyone off. A while ago, I started knitting a "Tinker shawl" for someone's Wheel of Time costume. That didn't end up panning out, but I wanted to finish it anyway, in hopes that maybe someone else would want a really loud bright blue, red, and green shawl. Hey, weirder things have happened. ;)

Tinker shawl

But I needed red cotton yarn for this week's themed project(s) — I haven't mentioned it yet, but I'm doing a themed collaboration with Megan of Late Night Design. This week's theme is "pirates." So I ripped out the red part of the shawl in the above photo, and with the aid of my trusty new triloom, I whipped out another triloomed triangle and crocheted an edging on. Voila! A piratey new head scarf for the Etsy shop! I don't have good photos of it yet, so it's not up yet — it's hard to photograph your own head. ;)

More trilooming
New piratey cotton head scarf on the triloom.

Head shot
I warned you that it's hard to photograph one's own head. Please kindly ignore the open medicine cabinet. ;)

Then I dashed off another quick cotton triangle in variegated ocean colors, just to see what it would look like.

Handwoven triangle pieces
Piratey head scarf + ocean-colored triangle, yet without purpose. Maybe it'll be a head scarf for me.

Then today I popped onto Twitter and got a hint from Darrah of Darrah Parker Photography that Something Special was up with her blog post today — her first vlog, by the way! I went on over and saw that today she did the drawing for her birthday/blogiversary giveaway. There was a drumroll from the invisible man as she picked a number out of a hipster hat. Ta-da!

Commenter #15 is the one!

And guess what? I won! Look, here she is, announcing me as the winner — see my blog address down there at the bottom?

What you can't see, because this is a still shot, is that she's doing a cute little eyebrow-quirk with her former-actress self. You should go watch the vlog so you can see it in all its glory, and hear her talk about the crafty business owner's journey, too.

So now I get to pick a photo print from her Etsy shop, to go up with the other bits of art that will decorate the craft room, helping to inspire my creativity and remind me to keep dreaming and all that. Of course, first, I need to get off my butt and clean the craft room so there's a nice place to put up said art.

And finally, because some people have been threatening to clean their rooms before I can see their crafty mess to compare it to mine (I'm talking to you, Jackie!), I'm posting a very sneaky peek at part of my craft room mess here. Yes, I suffer from crafty mess syndrome (something I'll probably go into more in a future post), but I've recently embarked on a compassionate decluttering journey to recreate my craft room in the image of — er, the image of Creativity Embodied, I guess. ;) So this is a "before" shot — I'm being brave by posting this, so be nice to me, if you can bring yourself to!

The first shelf to conquer
The first shelf I'm tackling in the craft room! The mission: to replace the plastic bags and cardboard boxes so that my yarn and projects reside in hand-sewn washable fabric storage boxes. This will also help reduce my obscene fabric stash.

And that's all for now, folks. More soon in the crafty adventures of the Quicksilver Crafter. I'll let you know which of Darrah's lovely photos I pick to adorn my up-and-coming crafty studio space!

May 26, 2010

Former sweater seeks new structure (non-knitting okay)

This week's magical transformation: I took a sweater(ish thing) and made it into two skeins of yarn. A little backwards from the norm around here, but the yarn is going straight back into another project, that is, the hairpin lace shawl that we're doing for the Ravelry hairpin-lace-along.

There are, oh, two big plastic storage boxes' worth of thrift store sweaters waiting in the craft room to be given new life, and — miracle of miracles — I actually remembered to dip into them when I was searching for shawl yarn. Therefore this:

Sweater to be recycled

Sweater to be recycled

...turned into this:

Sweater, recycled
No longer a sweater.

Which is about 716 yards of some kind of synthetic-fiber ribbon yarn. Unfortunately, the content tag was cut out of the original sweater (although the sewn-in ends of it were still there for me to rip out before I could reclaim the yarn ... grumble grumble), so I can't be sure what synthetic fiber it is without doing other tests, which I probably won't bother with. ;)

As I've never hairpin-crocheted with synthetic-fiber ribbon yarn, I have no clue what the end product will look like. It could turn out monstrously icky. I'll find out in the coming days, it seems...

May 25, 2010

Better creativity through adventurous living

Madeira Beach Jan 21 2010
Weigh anchor and let's go!

You may remember that my creative goal for this quarter was to deepen my sense of my own crafty identity, specifically by designing and executing a creative project that shows off my personal creative style, regardless of whether anyone else gets it. You may also have noticed that I haven't done that yet. ;)

Why: I'm having a bit of a creative identity crisis, which I guess has been in the making since at least the beginning of the quarter, since I set goals related to it. I haven't forgotten my goals, but the more I think about Who I Am creatively, the more I remember that I love super-detailed, quirkily gigantic projects that demand a long-term commitment. That's who I am creatively: someone who likes to sink into the details and get lost in something epic, emerging on the other side of the project with a deep sense of satisfaction and a gigantic Thing to show off.

Thus, I keep trying to think of things that are big, quirky, crazy. I come up with things like the Master Knitter certification; a new costume for Dragon*Con; a big handwoven wall hanging. But nothing catches my attention and holds it. It's not that these things sound bad, or boring, or not hard enough. They just aren't engaging my creatively insane brain. I suspect I'm suffering from needing to live more to be more inspired.

I wish I could find the blog post I read a few weeks (months?) ago, on how writers need to be more than writers. To be a good writer, one must also live, experience, love, hate, succeed, fail, dream, feel. It isn't just writers who need to do this, in my opinion; it's all creative people. We all need to draw deeply and constantly on our humanity and our passions in order to express them in our creative work.

My inspiration, once upon a time, came from multiple sources: from a voracious, omnivorous consumption of science, art, film, speculative fiction, newspaper and magazine articles, history recent and ancient, classic literature, modern amateur poetry, people-watching at theme parks and malls and schools ... Once, my experiential intake was reasonably large, so I had a lot to draw from, and a lot to spit back out with my fingerprints on it. I'm no world traveler (though I've been to Indonesia twice, and that's about the extent of it), but I had enough material to work with that it worked. Once upon a time.

Other things have gotten in the way, and I haven't been doing much of any of that recently. And I'm starting to think I have a lot of research to do on the things that make me me before I can find a creative project that embodies my me-ness.

So it seems like the real challenge for me this quarter is only indirectly crafty. I need to get out the novels, the DVDs, the theme park maps, the beachy sunglasses, the sketchbooks and notebooks and books about funny headlines, the passport. I need to go and be an adventurer first, to kick-start the mental transmutation of adventures into creativity.

What adventures are you having, or have you had, that feed your creative brain? Even if you don't craft, you've done something that inspired you to tell a story or take a picture or buy a souvenir. I want to hear about the adventures you've had that help build you as a passionate person. Give me a jump-start! ;)

May 24, 2010

The Great Craft Room Rescue begins (and a Love That Room review)

It's nice how clean can be contagious.

For just over a week, the first mate and I have been making a conscious effort to clean every single day. We started with the kitchen, since it's the room that gets used most actively — we move things in there literally every day, it gets dirtied every single day, its pile of clutter evolves every day. The whiteboard that hangs where we can see it all the time has a count: "Days the kitchen is clean." That doesn't mean the kitchen has to be in a constant state of near-perfection; it means that we — mostly he, since he's taken responsibility for that area ;) — made the effort to clean the counters, put away dishes, put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, etc., that morning, so that the kitchen feels usable, even livable, for most of the day.

This was the kitchen's "cute spot" a couple of days into the effort:

A little busy
The sunflower came from our local organic CSA and is not a regular denizen of the kitchen. ;)

Aside from the niceness of having clean space, a bonus to making incremental but definite cleaning progress is that I want to clean even more. I really like clean space. Seeing it makes me want to make more of it, and keep what I have. So for the past few days, thanks to the cleaning virus, I've been picking at the several-years' accumulated mess that is the craft room.

In today's craft-room-archaeology project, I excavated a storage stool that was hiding beneath an inherited, old-school electric Singer sewing machine/table, and I cleaned off the top of a box of thrift-store sweaters destined to be recycled into yarn for new yarny projects. Then I went to check my inbox, and found that the Love That Room e-book is finally out. Yay! And hurray for synchronicity!

FYI, Love That Room is an e-book based on an online course created by Lisa Baldwin of Zen at Play. The goal: to help you de-clutter physical spaces that are holding you back from enjoying them, in a way that respects what you aren't ready to let go of yet and helps you uncover things you love that are buried in the mess. I've been waiting a couple of weeks for the e-book to be ready, and now I have it in my greedy little hands. ;D

Those are affiliate links (at least, they should be — I have no idea if they work yet...), but I promise my discovering it today of all days really was synchronicity — I didn't write this blog post just to show off the e-book. ;) I'm actually pretty leery of giving my money to people I've never met who promise to help me do something I haven't been able to do myself, all with the magical power of their PDF e-book or online course or what have you.

But! I also freely admit I almost signed up for the Love That Room course last time it happened. I'm really drawn to its compassionate, intelligent, self-respecting aspects, and I do have a tiny little clutter problem in a few areas. ;) I'm also really big on dealing with non-ideal situations holistically and logically — if there's a clutter problem, that's partly an indicator of mental and emotional conditions. We're not random, unemotional beings; we do things for reasons, even when we don't see them, understand them, or like them. And Lisa seems like a smart, understanding person who gets that concept. I like hearing ideas from smart, understanding people; I haven't thought every thought there is, after all. There are also people who swear by her course ... but I couldn't quite convince myself to sign up.

Then she released the Love That Room e-book. Which, if I remember correctly, is less expensive than the course — at least, the advance copy is (and that's what's still on sale right now). I'm also big on guarantees, which Love That Room comes with: I can have my money back if I don't find the e-book worth it.

So there it was. Leery I may be, but when a product looks good, when I can have my money back if it turns out not to be, and when I know I'm honest and demanding enough to ask for it back if that happens, that's the magical convergence. Yes. I bought the e-book.

It sounds cheesy, but five pages in, I'm already glad I did. I'm still withholding judgement on whether it was worth the money, because although it looks pretty promising, I'm ultimately going to judge it by whether it helps me make real progress, not by how warm and fuzzy it makes me feel. I'm still, as always, skeptical: about whether I'll ever get my craft room into a place where I love it, and about whether this e-book can really help me do it. But I live and die by the facts, and here's an interesting one:

When I started writing this post, I was absolutely not going to post photos of the current state of the craft room. I have photos, but they were taken for posterity — specifically not for public display, except after I finally have the room cleaned up, so you can all ooh and ahh over how amazing the transformation is. ;)

The longer I sit here and type, though, the more I think, Eh, maybe I will just post the photos.

Oh, I'm not going to. Not yet. ;) Caution is one of my numerous (and sometimes contradictory-seeming) middle names. But if I'm considering posting the photos, it's because I'm more confident I'll succeed at making the craft room super-cool. Since that's not a usual side effect of blogging itself, at least for me, it's possible that the e-book is actually having a positive effect on my attitude. And I'm a skeptic, not an optimist. Facts carry far more weight in my mind than random positivity. So if I feel more confident, there must be some new idea in my mind that's convincing enough to seem factual.

Will the attitude shift last? We'll see. Tune in next time for the continuing saga of the Great Craft Room Rescue. And in the meantime, feel free to check out Love That Room. You can always get your money back if it doesn't work. ;)

May 23, 2010

Craft or Bust Week 20 Check-In and Roundup (May 16-22)

Just chugging along, crafting every week ... How's everyone else doing? I have a grand total of one check-in (hi, Jessica ;D) from last week, which is funny, since I did say I'd do this by myself if I had to, and maybe I will have to ... ;)

Roundup of Week 19: What We Crafted From May 9-15

  • Jessica finished her lace socks! Hurray! She also knit more on her vampire socks (see her sock-knitting awesomeness at her blog), started knitting a Citron (mmm ... Citron — someday I'll make one, too...), baked brownies, updated her resume, and applied for a job that will commemorate her return to the "real world." Gasp. ;) (Good luck! Hope it's an unsucky job! ;))

Check-in for Week 20: What Have You Done Lately? (May 16-22)

What I did this week:

I'm still writing one page every day, which is pretty awesome. It's making me start to suspect I might be able to craft every single day, although trying this has failed in the past...

Weaving in the endsSunday, I tweaked my new blog banner and background behind the scenes, and went to see mermaids at Weeki Wachee (not crafting in itself, but mermaids doing routines in a spring is pretty creative ;)). Monday, I finished weaving my first triloom square. Tuesday, I Navajo-plied the rainbow probably-Merino singles, finally finished weaving in the warp ends on my long-abandoned one-stripe bag weaving project, made a copper shawl pin, and swatched for a custom order. Wednesday, I washed fabric to make storage boxes with, washed some handspun yarn, spun the last of a batt from Spazzy Handspun Yarn, made another shawl pin, and FINALLY changed the blog template and layout! Thursday, I took some photos at Wall Springs Park and listed the shawl pins in the Star & Crossbones Etsy shop. Friday, I photographed the one presentable spot in my kitchen ;) and kicked off the hairpin-lace-along on Ravelry. Saturday, I picked out a thrift-store sweater to recycle for the HPL-along and started writing a basic fingerless gloves pattern.

What did you craft this week?

Don't forget to use the standard check-in format on the rules page! And if you're new to Craft or Bust, check out the CoB rules page and sign up — it's easy!

May 22, 2010

Hairpin lace, anyone?

Today's the first day of the very first hairpin-lace-along over at the Hairpin Crochet Ravelry group, in honor of which, I post here a photo of one of my very first pieces of hairpin lace. Yes, it's very red.

Triple Threat pattern.jpg
Hairpin lace in worsted-weight cotton. Hurray.

For the first HPL-along, we're doing the woman's hairpin lace shawl pattern from Coats & Clark.

Feel free to come on over and join us if you want to try your hand at hairpin lace (or maybe you're a seasoned hairpinner already!). The HPL-along basic info thread is here. All you need is yarn (768 yards or less, according to the pattern), a crochet hook, and a hairpin lace loom. You can even make your own hairpin lace loom; there are some ideas on the Ravelry HPL group's resources page.

I think I'm going to end up using a really light yarn and wearing my "shawl" as a head scarf or a belt. I seriously do not need to add another item to the already-overflowing scarf and shawl drawer, especially since, you know. I live in Florida, where there's not a lot of call for scarves and shawls, even lacy ones. If this project works out and doesn't frustrate the crap out of me, I'll probably make an HPL sarong — which I will use. I hope. ;)

Ahh, practicing the yarn arts in a humid, hot climate...

May 21, 2010

Blast from the past: my first finished (knitted) object

My first knit (maybe)

There it is. Possibly the very first finished object I ever knit, enshrined in all its old-school, film-camera, scanned-into-the-computer-at-a-low-resolution-that-seemed-reasonable-at-the-time glory.

I was going through old photos on the computer today and found this one in my 2002 scrapbook folder, and I can't remember ever seeing it before. I'm pretty sure I gave the bag away to someone — was it one of my sister's friends? It was squeaky acrylic yarn that might have come from some kind of "learn to knit" kit, and I know I'd started knitting some beginner project with it as soon as I got the yarn years before ... but the experience was so unsatisfying, so outright frustrating, that I mistaked the crappy yarn and crappy plastic needles for my own inability to knit, and put the project down.

Years later, I found it and decided I would finish a project, dammit, and nothing would stop me — so I ripped out the old project (which was probably a scarf anyway, and who needs an acrylic scarf in Florida?) in my very first official project frogging, and reknit it in a new pattern, horrible squeaky yarn and all. And maybe it's the fact that it's completely blurry, but looking at it now, I actually think I like the thing. Sure, it didn't match anything I owned or would ever wear, but I like the colors. I like the tassel-y ties. I like the shape of the little pouch. I have no clue what pattern I used so if I want a new one I'll have to go pattern-hunting or invent my own.

The weirdest thing about this is that if my file hierarchy is correct — which it probably is; I hadn't lost my mind and my organization skills yet in 2002 ;) — I knit this way earlier than I can remember knowing how to knit. I think I didn't knit a lot after that project, as the next time I picked up the yarn arts, it was with crochet first ... but now that this photo has been excavated from the depths of the hard drive, I feel pretty comfortable pushing back the date from which I can count myelf an official knitter. Come on — I made a pretty little pouch that someone else liked so much I gave it to her! That means I was a real knitter, right? Even if I forgot for a couple more years before rediscovering it?

Maybe every day isn't a new discovery, but every couple of years is. ;) And this is why I don't like to get rid of stuff, even old blurry photos of things I think are horrible and ugly at the time. ;D There's always a chance I'll find something old and ugly and see it in a completely new perspective, or be able to use it to relearn something about myself that I'd forgotten.

May 19, 2010

The blog gets a makeover

Notice anything different? Of course you do, assuming you've been here before. ;) Yep — the blog finally has a custom background and banner, in a nice new template. I'm a month late for my blogiversary, but that's not so bad, for me.

Miss the old blog? Aww. Well, here's a little screenshot — a very little screenshot, because I forgot to take one before I changed the blog, and I had to go to my Ravelry profile and get the thumbnail image there. ;)

Old version of the craftblog

AND I have shiny new Disqus comments, so that we can all reply to each other and have nice little conversations, if we like. No more half-baked Blogger comments. Why don't you leave a fresh comment about what you like about the new layout, and what you don't like so much, and try out the snazzy new system? ;D

May 18, 2010

The loom invasion continues: inkle arrival and first piece off the triloom

It took me three tries, but I finally got the hang of weaving on the new triangle loom. Here's a photo of Triloom Weaving Take Two in progress. If you look closely, you can see that I failed to alternate over-under, over-under in some of the vertically-oriented lines:

First triloom weaving
Since I'm doing the continuous weave method, is the screwed up bit warp or weft? Neither? Both? I'll go with weft, since the vertical yarn weaves around the existing horizontal yarn...

Even three sets of written directions couldn't quite make it clear to me what I should be doing — some directions told me that I needed to alternate this or that, or that the yarn needed to wrap around this but not the other ... It was a little like reading sewing pattern directions, but without diagrams to study.

Then I remembered YouTube. And voila! A triangle-weaving video from Hazel of Hazel Rose Looms saved the day.

More of the first triloom piece
Third time's the charm! Finally finished a whole triangle without ripping it out.

And here's the finished triangle off the loom:

First triloom piece, off loom

I did the crochet-chain finish across the top (of which you can see a tiny bit in this photo), and left the short sides unfinished. The finished fabric has lovely drape, doesn't it? Cheers for recycled linen yarn and an open weave. On the other hand, it came out a little small — 28" across the top and 26" on the sides — possibly from a combination of the open weave, the fabric's bias shrinkage off the loom, and the tightness of the weaving. (I tried not too weave it too tightly, but maybe I did, anyway.)

But it was just big enough to wear as a head scarf.

Me with triloom square as head scarf
I'm not entirely sure I like how head scarves look on me. My round half-Asian face plus round forehead is not particularly flattered by this look, I think.

Now I'm not sure whether to make another piece or few and attach them to make this into a larger item, or just keep it as a head scarf that will probably sit in the head scarf basket with all my other abandoned head scarves. Thoughts?

Oh, and I almost forgot! Photos of the newest loomy arrival, my inkle loom:

New inkle loom

New inkle loom
Lynne, the previous owner, kindly did some example warps on the loom for me.

It was the previous owner's first inkle loom, and now it's my first. Welcome, new inkle thing. I'll tackle you next.

May 16, 2010

Craft or Bust Week 19 Check-In and Roundup (May 9-15)

Notes & Announcements

I FINALLY found a badge-maker that will make something pretty out of the most recent CoB Flickr uploads! Hurrah! I can't limit it by date, so it changes when people upload new things, but here it is:

Craft or Bust - View this group's photos on Flickriver

In other news, you guys have been quiet lately and I think I need to do the rounds of everyone's blogs and make sure some and you haven't vanished. ;)

Roundup of Week 18: What We Crafted From May 2-8

  • Jessica turned the heels on her lace socks, finished the gussets, created another cookie recipe (you can see the recipe on her blog, and wrote a "mostly fictional" autobiography, also on her blog.
  • Meredith M finished Abrazo "again" — see her blog for the story. She also gardened and knitted on her Que Sera.

Check-in for Week 19: What Have You Done Lately? (May 9-15)

What I did this week:

First triloom weavingFor one, I did my daily writing every day of the week. :D Hurray! I didn't do much aside from that on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Monday, I moved some fleeces from trash bags into king-sized pillow cases (not crafting, but craft cleanup ;)) and spun some more of the multi-colored probably-Merino yarn. Wednesday, I finished the probably-Merino singles and Navajo-plied the cottony Merino I spun the week before. Friday, I played with my freshly-built triangle loom :D, sketched a design and wrote some directions for making washable fabric boxes, and started going through a pile of fabric for sewing said boxes. Saturday, my new inkle loom got here (eep! loom attack!) and I watched some inkley videos, though I didn't do any actual crafting.

What did you craft this week?

(Don't forget to use the standard check-in format on the rules page! And if you're new to Craft or Bust, check out the CoB rules page and sign up — it's easy!)

May 14, 2010

New crafty denizen: the 30" triloom!

I present to you (drumroll!) my newest loomy acquirement, the 30" fine-sett triloom! (Possible duh: That's short for "triangle loom.")

New 30" triloom

(And here's a less angle-y photo. ;))

New 30" triloom

You may be aware that First Mate Brian attempted to make a triloom for me a while back, but neglected to commit to all the finicky details like doing math and counting nail marks ;), and consequently abandoned the project, convinced that he was incapable. The wonked-up product of said attempt is still hanging neglected in the laundry room, but I'll save the poor mutant triloom embarrassment by not showing photos of it until I've rescued it (and I WILL, oh, I will...).

Anyway, some time ago I discovered the TriLoom list on Yahoogroups — which led to Brian building me a square loom (and here it is with yarn on it) from frame parts we picked up at Jo-Ann. The dear TriLoomers have been feeding my triangle loom craving ever since. (And also my craving for a rectangle loom like the one in this Youtube video. The loom stash is taking over ... but I'll never have more looms than pairs of shoes.) And finally, FINALLY, I have a working triloom, care of Hideaway Homestead, which has nice, inexpensive plywood triloom kits. I wanted the 3-foot loom, and this one is 30", but oh, well. I'll just have to get another one! ;D

Now the question is, what the heck do I make with it? Last night as I was lying in bed, I remembered the equation for finding the hypotenuse of a triangle ... but I failed to remember how to solve it. Sigh. Once I give in and look it up (I feel like a loser, not being able to remember something I could do in five seconds ten years ago ;)) I'll know whether two triloom triangles will cover one side of the big square pillow forms that currently sit naked on the futon. But I'm thinking a triangle with a 30" hypotenuse should do fine for making myself a head scarf. That means I'll have to start wearing them again this summer, but I can manage that, right?

Off to explore, anyway. Wish me luck with the new loom — and wish my new inkle loom a swift and safe passage as it makes its way to my front porch. :D The loom invasion continues...

May 12, 2010

Photo Post: Maybe Merino, Rainbow-Flavored

For your visual enjoyment, the yarn I've been spinning lately:

Multicolored possibly-Merino

The fiber is from a grab bag that I won at the Florida Fiber-In's auction last year, so I'm not completely sure of the fiber content, but I'm reasonably sure this is all Merino. I'm planning on Navajo plying it to preserve the color sequence, and then ... I don't know. A hat? A skinny scarf? A mismatched pair of wristwarmers? What do you think?

May 4, 2010

We were interviewed by the Florida Etsy Street Team!

Just a quick heads up — our (well, really "my") interview with the Florida Etsy Street Team is up on the team blog now ... Go and check out my ubergeekery and my overuse of the winking emoticon!

And hey, if you've ever wanted to know why my crafty business is called Star and Crossbones, you can find that out in the interview. :D

May 2, 2010

Craft or Bust Week 17 Check-In and Roundup (April 25-May 1)

Notes & Announcements

Sorry for the lateness of this post, again ... This past week was mostly taken up by prepping for upcoming events. Maybe I'll do better next week. ;) (At least my arms won't be all stiff from beating the crap out of a drum while sitting in the front of a dragon boat, so it'll be easier to type...)

Roundup of Week 16: What We Crafted From April 18-24

  • Velma went yarnbombing in Eureka, started a lace shawl, knit most of a hat, worked on a formerly-abandoned crochetex hat, and started another spindle of handspun laceweight. Read about it on her blog.
  • Luna did a multi-week check-in: She knitted a starfish hat, worked on a freeform crochet project with handspun, a crocheted bag with bulky lock yarn + needle-felted locks, made some spinning batts from dyed locks, worked on her blog, and — BIG CHEERS! — opened her own yarn and spinning wool shop in Elizabethtown! No wonder she's been too busy to check in. ;)
  • Jessica ran lights for a performance of John Cariani's "Almost, Maine," finished the gussets on her vampire socks, and knit about 3 inches of the legs of her lace socks.
  • Halloweentango (Michelle) summarized her week with "Uhhh, wellllll……." Read why on her blog.
  • Elabeth did a multi-week check-in: She worked on getting the Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza Web site set up, worked on vendor apps, and worked om the vendor room layout. She also knitted a ladder shawl store sample
    I also worked on some knitting projects, finished a ladder shawl store sample, made a bracelet with diamond glaze and magazine pictures for her friend Nic's birthday, and did pre-yarn-room-moving cleaning.
  • Meredith M didn't have a to of time to craft, but she worked on Que Sera and Abrazo and had her husband take photos of finished objects. And while she hasn't been writing in her blog, she has stuck with trying to for a full quarter — why don't you go over and visit her blog and maybe follow her there and leave some comments to encourage her? :D

Check-in for Week 17: What Have You Done Lately? (April 25-May 1)

What I did this week:

Sunday, I made a strawberry cheesecake pudding pie — I've never made a pudding pie before, so I think next time I'll go heavier on strawberries ... Monday, I did a lot of boring admin stuff like registering for sites and alerts that have to do with my crafty business, and organizing my bookmarks. Tuesday, I did some more organizing, wrote a blog post, and brainstormed new blog post ideas. Wednesday, I posted a blog post and spun some more of the cottony Merino yarn. Thursday, I fixed the semi-broken contact forms on my crafty Web site (erk). Friday, I finished weaving washcloths on my Cricket loom and tried hand-sewing the edges and washing the washcloths in the washing machine ... which worked! Hurray! Saturday was eaten by the dragon boat races and a fashion show ... but at least I got some ideas from watching the people at the show!

What did you craft this week?

(Don't forget to use the standard check-in format on the rules page!)
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