Monday, September 30, 2013

Nerd Wars Planning

The next round of Nerd Wars starts tomorrow. I have a mind full of ideas of what I would like to accomplish. Too many of my ideas are rather grand so I predict failure or over-worked frustration. Yay?

1. Dissertation: Last round's spinning dissertation was freaking awesome (I totally ought to write it about in fact). I don't think I can top it this round. But I do have far too much fiber that is piling up in the craft room. One of the things I really want to do is to turn one of the fleeces purchased at th MD Sheep and Wool Fest into a sweaters worth of yarn. I'm leaning in that direction. This however being me things aren't quite that easy.

2. While in Peru I purchased 3 skeins of this incredibly soft amazing baby alpaca. Shortly thereafter I found that I could have purchased the same thing back at home and actually the price is fairly similar. But it was from a particular shop that happens to be doing good so I'm still ok with it. Plus the yarn is still awesome and wants to become something awesome. Particularly it wants to be a Marin. Except my yardage is more or less right on the edge of what I need. I'm still going to try it. My neck needs this softness ASAP!

3.  I have had a beautiful skein of reddish/orangeish yarn for around a year now having recieved it in a swap. I always thought it would be perfect for something beautiful for fall. Well it's fall now and I may have impulse skeined it up. I'm thinking Brandywine but know that with my other plans it is totally impractical.

4. Created by Carlin is still happening. Trying to be at least somewhat smarter this year I've been attempting to stockpile things to sell all year. But even with that intent I never get through as much as planned so now that we're getting down to the wire more things must happen! This year I want to mostly just sell what I've already created. Then possibly I'll also offer a higher (significantly?) price for things made-to-order.

5. My "shop" actually already has 2 (well 1 for certain, the other possible) orders currently in the queue. The first I need to finish right away so it may or may not wait for NW to begin. It depends upon how speedy I am. But the second, provided it still is on the table (I'm guessing yes), is perfect challenge fodder.

6. Christmas gifts need to be thought about and planned. In fact as holiday gifting goes if I still have any intent of making gifts I am way far behind. Best get in gear with this.

7. UFO's (un-finished objects): I've made good progress but the pink-coopworth spinning project has been typing up some of my trindles for approximately 2 years now (some skeins have already been finished and come off the spindles, but ineveitably new ones replace them). Perhaps I should finish that someday. Also I started another felted alpaca before the last round of NW with the intent being that I could finish it in the Flexi-challenge. This never happened. This needs to happen.

Well that's epic...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I'm back (for now)

Well hello there blog-land. Long time no type.

Since last we met I feel like I have done approximately a million and a half things but when I try to put things down here only a few are coming to mind.

  • Work was freaking insane. Many additional hours where spent both in office and at home. Including at least one night of staying up working until at least 2 am. New things did not work property. Tears shed and I slowly started cursing in public more and more. It really wasn't so great.
  • But then I got a new job! It was a bit crazy. I prepared my materials, talked to people, interviewed. They liked me. They wanted to hire me but couldn't now but maybe later. Then things changed. (All while the biggest teary-est part of the old job was happening of course.) I asked for more money. I got more money. I've officially worked 2 weeks. Win.
  • I went with my parents to Peru. While i freely confess that there where moments when I was ready to come home before the trip was over, it was totally freaking awesome and I would do it again in a heart beat.

New goal: short sweet posts about whatever happens to be up at the moment. I can totally do this!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Something new (ish)

My spinning is all self taught largely using a combination of You Tube and just doing whatever works. Every so often I might try something slightly new or different or think about getting creative but most all of the time I go back to my standard short draw worsted spinning. Hey if it ain't broke....right?

But recently I decided to be daring and try something different and try my hand at spinning woolen.

In my stash I found a bag of fiber from Zeke the alpaca that had been washed (although while spinning I was getting dirt/dust so it wasn't washed that well I guess) and looked even to have the locks flicked open. I used my old beat up purchased on ebay hand carders to work the fiber into rollags. And then I spun it up.

Random interesting observation: The rollags, logically but still amusingly, take up so much more volume than the raw or the spun fiber. In this picture the pile of fiber on the top left represents about half of the total the rollags on the carders is a quarter and on the bobbin is a quarter.

Spinning woolen/from the rollag was rather different, but enjoyable. It always fascinates me to see just how the fiber really does stick to itself and enable me to pull out foot long strands without breaking the yarn. As I was trying to do this however I did find myself often lacking in consistency. I'm not sure if this is because it is a new technique and I'm not yet skilled enough with it or if its the nature of the long draw back or whatever exactly my hands where doing.

Once spun up the singles did indeed seem to be rather fuzzier although not so much fluffier. Although its worth noting that my regularly spun worsted alpaca yarn also often seems rather fuzzy. While plying the single definately struck me as been more fluffy. It was exciting.

And I was in a bit of a rush so I've not compared it side by side to anything yet but I'd say the final skein now washed and dried does indeed appear to be different than my normal. I'll definitely need to try this again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dream Big

Of the things I care about in life fashion/style is pretty far down on the list. My strategy is mostly just to not look too horrible ever. And unless somewhat necessary comfort tends to trump all. However I've been starting to call my jeans and old sweatshirt strategy into question as Bran is stepping up his game and making me look comparatively like quite the slob.

Now I don't want to do anything too crazy and I am still cheap so there's no way I'll be spending much $$ to improve my casual wardrobe. So the logical thing to do I decided was to make myself some comfy sweaters.

Thanks to the magic of Ravelry I fond two super awesome patterns:

Ease by Alicia Plummer

Sweatshirt Sweater by Purl Soho
This sweater used to have 2 arms.

Next up was the yarn. Owing to the aforementioned fact that I am cheap I didn't want to buy yarn for this project. When one is talking sweater quantities and especially if you want good yarn it ain't cheap. So it was off to check the thrift stores for sweaters that I could unravel. Trying to do this in the spring when things are finally starting to warm up and sweaters are not so popular was likely a poor decision. But I did find one sweater deemed appropriate.

Now I was doing all of this shopping just before the next round of Nerd Wars was about to start. Now I am getting to be a rather productive crafter (largely thanks to NW) but a sweater in a month is still pretty crazy. Especially when you consider that this round/month I was already planning to finish another lace weight sweater that has been on the needles plus do a bunch of spinning from raw fiber and at least one other NW project. Oh and finish making a whole blanket for my NW Dissertation.

But I decided to be crazy and go for it anyways (I opted for the Purl Soho pattern, it was free and requires less yarn):

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A perfect moment.

Every so often there are moments when it seems the planets have aligned such that everything just feels wonderful and I am content with my place on this earth. It doesn’t happen all that often but always seems magical when it does.

I had one of those moments a few weeks ago back in February...

It was fairly late at night and I was watching a documentary from netflix about Bella Fleck. Fleck is probably the worlds foremost living Banjo player. I first experienced his brand of awesomeness when a DVD of a Bella Fleck and the Flecktones concert was one of my HS band teacher's go to time fillers. His music is incredibly virtuosic entirely eclectic and very weird, I also refer to it as being awesome. The documentary is about a trip he took to Africa to record music with traditional folk musicians. I also happen to love folk music (its actually a bit difficult to find music I don't like). If you have a netflix subscription and don't mind thinking outside of the musical box I would highly recommend it (linkage).

While watching I was doing some spinning. The fiber I was working with had been carefully prepared by myself over the few weeks prior. It was from the batch of alpaca I received a few years ago from a friend who has pet alpacas. She gave me five bags full and have been slowly working through it all since. The alpaca whose fiber I was working with that day is Lance. His fleece is a beautiful and varied fawn color made extra special since Lance has since passed away. I had lined up and washed the batch of locks, then flicked each of them open and hackled them into a wonderful ball of fluffy soft roving. It practically spun itself down into a single small enough to become a 2-ply fingering weight yarn.

Being February it was quite cold but I had the awesome space heater that Bran got me and a blanket. And the cherry on top is my crazy cat who takes no mind to my peddling and is perfectly happy to sleep draped across my legs.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Animals for your head

It all started when I was thinking about things that I could make to sell, give as gifts, and/or donate. I wanted fun and cute and good looking without being too time intensive.

Meeting all of these criteria I found anthropomorphic crochet hats with ear flaps. I'm kinda loving them right now. I've been working almost but not really off of patterns as I take the inspiration but then just crochet away (this is the awesome part of crochet, for some reason I'm not comfortable doing this with knitting).

It all started with this Birdy hat that was donated and destined to be for a kid with cancer:

Naturally it only seemed appropriate to move on to a Penguinal hat:

Emboldened by my success I upped the anti with the more involved Sock Monkey Hat. The project was completely addicting and largely completed in one day:

The next weekend I churned out another hat, this time a puppy in just 2 days. Although the speed on that occasion was more because I was with Bran and he mocks the fact that I never seem to complete anything as I am constantly switching between projects (truth, but also largely because I tend to only work on simpler things when I'm with him so more juggling and less FO [finished object(s)] makes sense):

Up next I am totally making an Owl hat, which is actually the idea/pattern that started it all before I wandered off in my own directions. I am rather lacking the the crafting time/focus lately however so progress is slow (and sad). The new goal is to knock it out this weekend.

Also coming Etsy shop! I decided to branch out this year and along with having stuff at the gift shop have an actual shop online. The challenge is going to be what/how much to keep to ship if needed and what should stay with me to ship if needed.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nerd Wars Tournament 5

What have I been up to? Well, lots of things. One of those rather time consuming and just as awesome things is Nerd Wars.

The basic premise of Nerd Wars is that you are on a team that centers around some kind of specific Nerdy-subject (sci-fi, science, books, all kinds of things). And over a period of 3 months you craft things to meet challenges which earn your team points.

I joined up with Club 33 which is the Disney team because Disney is awesome, it worked perfectly to build excitement for my trip, and it has so many great ways to connect projects back to the team (bonus points).

Here's what I made:

And one scarf particularly awesome lace scarf that I can't show here because its a gift for someone who may read this.

Today the next tournament started!