Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting organized in 2013

Silk and merino hat resting in clean crystal bowl

Between being sick and concentrating on my weaving, I let clutter and dust run amock in my house, so I spent the past week putting in a couple of hours a day on some neglected chores.  The place looks pretty good despite the freshly laid muddy paw prints from a dog too enthusiastic about the January thaw.  Tonight was knit night, so an erratic trail of paw shaped dirt runs through my kitchen. 

Posed in the shiny crystal bowl for fun is the silk and merino hat I started at knit night. I have great confidence this hat will work out and I won't be frogging it.  This is the second attempt with this particular yarn and is one of 13 projects in 2013 challenge I joined.  A hat seems like a simple small project for most people but I'm picky.  I just hope round two works out for me.

Corriedale Mohair blend

I'm not sure I'm happy with how this Corriedale Mohair blend is spinning up--the fiber supply isn't what I like, kind of tough an noily and  it is showing up in an uneven singles. Plying should help.  I have fifteen ounces of it which I'm determined to get spun up despite its annoying tendencies.

Still threading the loom!
And I'm still at work threading Hermione with these towels.  I discovered another threading mistake so I am redoing a section yet again!  I hope I don't have to find out if the third time is a charm.

My other organizing extravaganza for 2013 involves getting a scanner.  I'd like to digitize some old photos, plus get some paper work sorted.  I did research and have decided on one of the Canon's shown in this little picture. Yes, we have an old 3 in 1 printer, but the scanning function doesn't work very well. After reading some reviews, I think I know why but I'm not enough of a techie to explain it.  I just want something small that will work.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fighting fat while warping a loom

Hermione has a sectional warp beam.
Musing while warping usually gets me in trouble.  I ended out misthreading the pattern for towels while thinking about how salty foods lead to overeating.  I caught it when I found two extra pattern threads at the end of the last repeat.  Going back over my work, I discovered at least two instances of brain-cramp so I decided to redo the whole pattern from the beginning.  Hermione, is my new-to-me loom a 27" Fanny counterbalance loom that fits nicely into my workshop space.  As readers know, I sold a larger Fanny sometime back and regretted it.

All the black had been threaded until I caught the error.
The sectional warp beam is a nice feature of this loom.  Unfortunately, I don't have all the equipment to do a sectional warp, so I improvised by creating 20 one-inch twelve yard warps on my warping board and winding them on separately using a tension device I bought cheap on e-bay.  This technique is still experimental, and I'll show it to everyone if it actually works to create a good tension on my loom.  One thing for certain, once I figured out how to wind the inch wide bits on correctly, the warp has given me none of the usual grief.  So far so good.  I'm interested in seeing how it weaves.

Now for the weight loss part.

I've had a few ups and downs in this department, including some stress that led me to eat some not-too-good-for-me things.  For one, we ordered take out pizza.  Talk about salt.  It was like eating salt on wet bread.  I use some salt in the pizza's I make myself, but never quite like this.  Worse, the salty pizza made me crave more salty pizza and within 45 minutes of being done I was craving refined sugar to get the greasy-salt flavor out of my mouth.  No wonder I'm fat.  I'd eaten that pizza prior to my lifestyle change and never noticed it was so salty!  I thought it was a bit salty, but it didn't taste like salty wet bread. Really, I should have thrown it out, but ate it anyway, such is the power of salt.

I'm spinning lots of this home carded merino/alpaca blend.

The craving for sugar didn't leave me all the way, and a couple of days later I was seized by the idea to stop into a local chain drugstore for a big bag of chocolate peanut candies to nosh on.  When I got to the register, I discovered the price was nearly twice what was displayed without the coupon, card etc--an annoying issue with this chain.  I couldn't stomach paying $6.89 for something that would push me closer to the grave. (Oddly, I was willing to pay $3.99). So I told the check-out guy, nicely and in a manner that made him laugh, that I would skip it.  And for this discrepancy in price I am ever thankful, because it did snap me to my senses.  Yes, there is something oddly insensible about that sugar craving when it hits.

In the meantime, I was able to get a big bag of naval oranges for much less than the candy would have cost, and I am back on the healthy eating bandwagon after that pizza hiatus.  I will report on my weight loss next week since my official weigh-in day is tomorrow! (I didn't dare weight myself after the salty pizza last weekend! Diet tip #893: Don't weight yourself after eating salty wet bread err-um pizza!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The joy of weaving and healthy eating

Delicious sights of healthy eating.
I never knew fruit tasted so good, until I realized I'd better start eating two or three a day if I want to stay healthy.  The tiny stroke I had about a month ago has put a new perspective on a lot of eating habits and goals.  Oh, I know this watermelon isn't very local of me. But I live in the Chicago area and most of what grows within 200 miles of me is corn and soybeans and now the fields are empty. If lived in California, this would be a nice local treat in the heart of January.  So really, eating local is a matter of location. As it is, I froze a lot of Michigan berries and other delicious summer treats, but not enough to meet nutritional goals.

Two mugs like this came from my homesteading SIL.
Herbal tea has become a mainstay to keep off the winter chill.  The hospital wouldn't give me caffeine, so when they let me out, I decided to just stay away.  I love all the tasty flavors herbal tea comes in.  I stocked up on the Celestial Seasonings holiday blends which let me have the taste of gingerbread and sugar cookies without all the sugar and saturated fats.  I've discovered quite a few teas I absolutely love and I'm sitting here sipping one right now.
Weaving is well underway on the studio curtains.
This week, I've been doing a lot of weaving.  I have several feet of curtain woven--the yellow is pure cotton, but the pink is cotton and rayon.  I'm finding it a little delicate under the strain of the loom--mostly around the edges, but otherwise it is weaving beautifully.  The rayon gives that pink depth and a nice bit of sheen.  They should really brighten up the room at night.
Nine inches worth of warp is on my new-to-me-loom.

Challenging me has been figuring out a way to sectional warp without all the needed equipment.  I am measuring out 12 yards of warp on my warping board and then winding it onto the sectional warp beam of my new-to-me loom.  This is the loom I sort-of found under the tree (see last week's blog) and I really love it.  I'll show you more pictures when she's warped, but Hermione is a 27" counter balance loom, a LeClerc Fanny.  This size is perfect for my workshops where she sits waiting for me to complete the warping process.  I am looking forward to weaving on her. In the meantime, I've been working out the kinks in this hybrid-warping methods, and have already wasted some yarn after making some serious mistakes.  But, in the end it should be worth it.  This long warp should allow me to make a dozen dish towels!

So that is all the news from the Craftstead.  Thanks for stopping by!