Monday, September 7, 2015

Summer Roundup (pt.1)

It blooms!
Moon cactus flowering!
I feel as though I haven't really posted much at all over the summer - I haven't posted any in-progress updates of my WIPs (of which there seems to be a never-ending perpetuity), for one - so I decided to round up a couple of those things that had gone on thus far without making it onto the blog. To be honest, though, I haven't done much this summer. Certainly nowhere near as much as I had originally planned on accomplishing. Not that I felt I would, from the beginning, to be fair: I burned out last September-December (most likely from being a little too ambitious in all my printmaking adventures) and have basically been trying to recover motivation for doing anything since. I think I'm ready for the new semester now. (Well it's going to start either way, so thank goodness for that.)

One of our two moon cacti flowered this summer, which was a pleasant surprise. I didn't even know they flowered! They also don't seem to perish even if you don't water them for half a year, so they're pretty low maintenance. (Nobody really knew who was watering them when, so nobody watered them for that time for fear they would drown, thinking someone else was taking care of them, until Mom finally took them under her wing - they blossomed soon after.) That being said, one of them hasn't moved or otherwise changed in appearance even after the watering resumed, so perhaps they do. Or maybe this one just doesn't flower? I really don't know.

Once in a while, Value Village has some gems.
Treasure hunting at the thrift store
In textile-related (not-so-new) news, I found a wooden umbrella swift at the thrift store for 7.99! Apart from the missing bottom peg, it was in perfectly serviceable condition, so I got it, went to Home Depot to get a nut and bolt to replace the peg, and now it sits merrily atop surfaces while I wind in my room. The verdict? I actually like winding from my knees over using the swift! I could totally understand using it for slippery yarn - silk, maybe? - but for regular ol' wool, knees are the bees' knees, so to speak.

On the subject of yarn, I tried out dyeing over the summer months, very enthusiastically at the beginning (although I have no photo evidence of all the little mini skeins I've dyed with food colouring), and producing some success, even going as far as to purchase Greener Shades dyes from Knit Picks when it went on sale a couple months ago because I realized that food colouring was incredibly inexact and presented numerous difficulties when trying to reproduce the same colour in the mini skein in a full skein, but I have nothing to show for it at this moment, still. I used the Greener Shades dyes to dye up 3 mini skeins a beautiful deep red-purple colour at 5% dos, but I have yet to take the plunge and dye up a full skein of anything. As dyed fibre is one of my proposed goals for the fall/winter semester, that will have to change. Sooner rather than later.

I haven't a clue, but I'll continue weaving them!
Pile of woven pieces, waiting to be cut & sewn.
There's a pile of woven fabric that's starting to look as though it has the potential to loom over me in the future unless I actually go about using it up or otherwise getting it out of the house (takers, anyone? I would gladly sell the red-and-white one! It's a lovely check pattern, but I haven't a clue what to make with it.). The mouse and champagne were supposed to become a simple a-line dress, but now that mouse has been finished and washed, I'm just not feeling it. Maybe a top? I'm thinking maybe striping them together or something to make it a bit more interesting. The red-and-white check? I can't imagine it as anything other than a flat piece of fabric! Besides, how many patterns do I wear on the regular? I can count them with one hand. Two fingers, really.

The black one I have no excuse. The pattern has been drafted (although it needs to be pieced together) and I know how to lay them out on the fabric to use the most fabric possible and finish the least possible seams. I wove it specifically for this purpose, and it has been languishing beneath those other pieces. In other words: I've just been procrastinating.

In other weaving news though:

un coccodrillo vero
New project on the Nilec - sampling.
I'm using my Nilec as a sampling loom! Just like I said it was perfect for! And guess what yarn I'm using for it? It's some undyed BFL I purchased for the dyeing venture! Just knowing my dyeing experiment fizzled out (died, perhaps?) over the summer despite all my forced enthusiasm gets to me. After some reflection, I've realized more or less that I actually really like the look of undyed yarn. I also like the dye jobs other people do. Apart from wanting to have tried it out, I don't see much reason to continue doing it. Maybe that will change when I have more solid plans in terms of dyeing.

Despite everything though, like I said, I'll have to produce some sort of dyed yarn to use in my weaving this coming semester. Perhaps this more directed approach will be more enjoyable? I was rather aimless in my attempt to dye, my goal simply being to learn how to dye yarn and fibre.

Go get yourself a 0.25mm pen!
New notebooks, and my favourite pen.
Ending on a completely unrelated note: I got two new notebooks! My brother gave me a moleskine for my birthday last year, and much to my own surprise, I've already filled up half of it or so! So I figured maybe I would benefit from having some thinner notebooks to do more focused studies or notes and scribbles of things. Instead of doodling possible knitting designs and ideas, loom building plans, thoughts, school stuff, etc. all in one notebook, in other words, I would separate those all out to make some more sense of everything. This works in theory. Well, there might also have been a back-to-school sale at Aboveground, and you can never have enough notebooks, right? These Fabriano Ecoqua notebooks have blank pages (yay!) that are slightly thicker than those in the moleskine, and have a bit more tooth to them as well (boo!). They feel pretty nice though, so I'll probably get used to them.

Part 2 will be a roundup of my knitting. There's the Orne Cardigan and two linen cardigans that have somehow not been finished over the summer, and the pair of finished linen stitch/linen weave blankets, which have been finished for a while but have remained unblocked for no good reason really, as well as possibly additions to my stash that have happened? (I know, I know.) Also, I've been doing a lot of reading, to get me back to actually doing. It worked, I think. So, note to self: even if you can't get yourself to do anything else, read. A list might be forthcoming.

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