Tag Archives: weaving

Bad blogger. No cookie.

I keep swearing I’ll do a better job of updating, but I never do…  Mostly I’m keeping a private journal these days, but some people actually read this blog, so here’s an update.

I’m still with my sweetheart, the woman I mentioned in this post.  It’s been 2.5 months now.  I’m in love with her, and have been for a while.  Weird, huh?  Here I was planning to never get involved with anyone for the rest of my life, and suddenly — love.  She makes me very happy.  I’m lucky she cares for me as much as I do her.

I still haven’t had the money to go back to school, so I’ve enrolled in a couple of Coursera classes.  Python Fundamentals (or something like that) and Mathematical Thinking.  I’m really just auditing the classes, because that’s free, but I’m committing to myself to do the work.  I’ve also started using online language software through the public library to work on my Spanish. My love is taking Spanish II this fall, but needs to brush up on Spanish I first.  So we’re doing it together.  Which is really nice.  She and I do all sorts of fun things together — art, hiking, traveling — and I’m excited to add “learning” to that list.

I’ve been iffy on my volunteer work lately.  I love it, and I want to be there every single week.  But.  I’ve been dealing with medication changes, and those never bode well for my mental stability.

It started with my Geodon addiction.  It’s not supposed to be addictive, but I was taking it three times a day and getting withdrawal symptoms from hell if I was even an hour late.  So I told my doctor I wanted off it.  I went into her office one day while in withdrawal.  It was unplanned, but she was horrified to see me like that and agreed to help me get off it.  So we started Abilify.  I’m going up on it every two weeks until I’m off the Geodon and am stable.  It’s… not easy.  Currently I’m at 5mg of Abilify in the mornings, and no longer take a morning Geodon.  Thursday we’ll go up a little more on Abilify and lose the second Geodon dose.  Which will make me weird for a couple of days.  It’s not an easy transition.  I’ve had stray hallucinations (minor ones, thankfully) and other little symptoms here and there.

And I quit smoking yesterday, so my poor brain is confused about that too.  Smoking is helpful for the schizophrenic brain, although it can cause the same lung damage as it would on a neurotypical.  The current theory is that it helps regulate dopamine in such a way as to help with focus.  Almost all schizophrenics smoke, for that reason.  (Although most people don’t know why it helps them feel better.  They just know it works.)  I wouldn’t quit, except I can’t afford to spend a couple hundred dollars a month on cigarettes…

I haven’t been exercising.  Or playing my cello.  Or drawing.  There’s only so many things I can do at once!  I am, however, knitting a lot.  I made my love a short-sleeved summer sweater, which she likes enough that she wore it to work the other day.  That made me feel really good, that I made something that wasn’t embarrassing to wear.  I mean, yes, I know I’m a good knitter, but it’s rare I make sweaters and it’s nice that they turn out that well.

I’ve also been weaving a lot.  I learned to do overshot on on my rigid heddle and started making weird wall hangings — overshot mixed with rows of leno lace, brooks bouquets, random designs… A friend has actually commissioned me to do one.  I started on it yesterday.  I should be finished within a couple of days.  Later today I need to go buy a few more dowels.  I’m painting them and using them to weigh down the hangings, because they’re made of fingering weight wool.  I’m thinking that for future ones I’m going to move up to DK weight.  10dpi instead of the 12 I’m doing now.  Then I can use my handspun, which is almost all sport/DK.  I have some cool ideas for future hangings.  They’re faster than tapestry, and I can grid out the overshot designs instead of having to freehand tapestry cartoons.  I’d like to sell some more.

I can’t believe I’m getting paid for my art.  And the hangings are art — I’m designing images for them.  It’s not like spinning that’s all about hand movements.  Yes, I’m a good fiber artist, but the textile art I’m doing feels like legit art.  It’s very satisfying.  I do want to get back to tapestry some, too.  I have one in progress that I haven’t touched in like a month.  I’m going to pick it back up when I get my commission done, while I wait until I can buy the DK warp yarns I need.

Speaking of money — I wish I could work.  Or magically win $3,000.  I need it.  Medical bills, mostly.  Still paying off my fucking root canals.  I hate being broke and not really being able to do anything about it…

Mid-month update

I seem to be stuck updating biweekly…

Therapy: not as intense as last time, but stressful nonetheless.  Talked about how I dissociate so much, both deliberately and involuntarily.  How it makes me feel safer.  How when I cried happy tears the other day, I had no idea why my eyes were watery and it confused me, and how once I realized I was happy-crying I was even more confused because how could I not know that’s what I was doing?  I have serious mind/body disconnect issues, and I want to fix it.

Reading: Saturday I started reading a book that wasn’t fanfic.  Since then I’ve read four more books and am almost done with a fifth.  The last one I finished was a novel, which delighted me.  I want to read more fiction.  I hope this lasts for a while.  Oh, yeah, and three were paper books.  Maybe I need to switch back to physical books.  Yay for good libraries!

Biking: still at it.  I’m having to take shorter rides now, though, because long ones hurt my bad knee.  I have dual rear baskets now so I can run more nearby errands on my bike.  In a little bit I’ll be riding to my sister’s to babysit…

Crafting: My ex-MIL loved the washcloths I made for her birthday.  I finished the pillow for my nephew, only for him to tell me one of the colors was wrong.  (Never mind that he had picked it out.)  So I’m waiting on new yarn to come in.  I warped for my tunic but haven’t started weaving yet.  I haven’t finished the dishcloth I started a few days ago, because I’ve been reading so much.  I got the yarn for Mom’s birthday present (washcloths that match her bathroom decor) but haven’t started those.  (Gotta finish the dishcloth first, as it uses the same needles I need for the washcloths.)  Oh, and Friday I cut out all the pieces for the change purses I’m making.  Now I just need to figure out how to sew on the zippers.  Haven’t done any spinning in a couple of months.

Mental stuff: much less depressed.  Not napping often.  Not eating junk food.  Still dissociating but not as much.  So, better overall.  I’ve been having more good days than bad.  Never did hear back from Hillary’s campaign.  I should call again.

Also… this is going to sound weird and sad.  For the last couple of years I’ve only had a libido when really depressed.  Like, I only get myself off when I’m miserable, because when I feel better I’m not interested.  What does it say about me, that arousal is a sign of depression for me?  I get anhedonic except for lust, and even then I frequently feel desire without being able to do anything about it.  But today I got turned on while in a good mood.  It felt weird, but I’m happy about it.

Also, watching cisgender porn as a trans person is hard.  Because my private fantasies are always with me in a male body, and so sometimes gay porn is awesome, but then like today I wanted to see my own physiology reflected so I was watching straight porn.  Neither feels quite right, but there’s a lack of good trans BDSM porn featuring submissives whom I can identify with even a little.  Stupid transgender problem #873987984789375…

Upcoming plans: Thursday I finally see the dentist.  (My appointment was rescheduled because of the last hurricane.)  Pride festival is Saturday, and I’m going to go for at least a little while.  Next weekend I’m going to a craft fair with Mom and ex-MIL.  In November there will be hiking in Georgia.  And cello lessons!  I resume those on Nov. 3rd.

Cycling, therapy, cello, etc.

Cello: I have cancelled my lessons for the month of October.  I need to go to the dentist instead.  Joy.

Therapy: Today’s lesson dealt with some unpleasant shit from when I was a teenager.  It was kind of awful.  Afterwards I went to the Harn Museum of Art to make myself feel better.  Except, parking was $4 and I had no cash.  Sigh.

Depression: The Sunday before last I decided to try to get a part-time job, just stocking shelves at the grocery or something.  The stress of putting together my resume made me suicidally depressed for the next three days.  So that’s not really an option.  I’m trying to volunteer for Hillary’s campaign, but haven’t gotten a call back yet about when to come in.

Crafting: I’m knitting a pillow for my youngest nephew, and knitting three washcloths for my ex-MIL as a birthday gift.  Both projects are by request.  Today I set up a spreadsheet for planning weaving projects, and I really need to warp for my black and green tunic.  And do some sewing.  Can’t focus on anything that requires brain cells at the moment.

Reading: I’ve been so scattered I haven’t been able to read anything, even slash.  Annoying.

Cycling: padded bike underwear are awesome.  They feel like wearing a overnight-strength maxi pad, but because of them I’ve been able to ride two days in a row.  Nine miles yesterday, at the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail, and seven miles today, around my part of town.  It helps that it’s been in the low 70s in the mornings!  More about biking under the cut.

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I’m not dead, I promise!

But I am just coming out of an extended, serious depression.  It started in April.  I didn’t get online for three months except to read fanfic.  (BBC Sherlock is my imaginary boyfriend.)  Hell, I didn’t even talk to my mother for two months, and she’s one of my two favorite people in the whole world (the other being the Valkyrie).  I was a wreck.  I started feeling a bit better a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday my doctor had me add Ritalin to my daily medication cocktail and I’ve actually gotten out of bed.  Better living through modern medicine!

So this post is going to be a rather long life update…

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Feeling crafty

A couple of days ago I finished some trans pride flag-colored yarn:

Trans Pride handspun v2

And then tonight I finished three projects!

First was some handspun, from Finn wool dyed by a friend.

"Makeup Counter" Finn wool handspun

Then I did the last few picks of the Log Cabin pattern scarf I started weaving in October.  It was meant as a gift, but I put so much work into it that I’m keeping it for myself.  Yes, I live in Florida and don’t need scarves.  It’s going up on the wall.

Log Cabin handwoven scarf

I finished the last few rows of my second Hitchhiker scarf, which is going to Awesome Niece.

Pansy Hitchhiker from handspun, finished

After that I started some more handspun, in some beautiful Polwarth I received in the mail as a trade for some other yarn I’d made..

Woolgatherings Green/Purple Polwarth, ply 1 in progress

And I cast on another One-Row scarf (from the Yarn Harlot’s pattern).  This scarf may be the softest, squishiest thing I have ever made.  I loves it.

Squishy One-Row Handspun Scarf, beginning

So I have been very crafty this evening.  It looks like a lot, but the three finished projects were already very close to being done.  Everything turned out great, though, and I like the way the new projects are proceeding.

Tomorrow or the day after I’m going to warp my loom for a scarf from handspun.  The Log Cabin scarf required color changes every row.  So the handspun one won’t have any color changes except for the ones dyed and spun into the yarn.  I need an easy weaving project after that last one.  As I said, it was going to be a gift, but I think I’ll make something a bit simpler instead.  I will never says never, but I don’t want to do a log cabin pattern again for a very long time.

Saturday’s fiber arts tally

~ 900 yards plied handspun
~ 200 yards singles spun
4.5 feet of scarf woven
1 knitted scarf finished
1 pin loom square made
3 pin loom borders crocheted

Soundtrack/background media:
Dragon Age: Inquisition (played by the Valkyrie)
The Adventure Zone podcast
SF Debris television reviews

Holy hell did I craft my ass off.  Tomorrow I want to finish that scarf and start one with my handspun. And, if my mojo is still going, I want to sew that damn woven blanket together!

Fiber arts update

I have decided to shut down my handspun “business.”  I just wasn’t making any money, and it seems silly to keep paying for a business license when I only made like three sales.  In future I’ll just “sell” it to friends for materials cost and call it done.  I’m going to grad school in the fall, and the idea of trying to run a small business while doing that gives me a headache.  So yeah, if you’re a friend and you’re willing to recoup my cost, let me know.  It’s usually about $15-20 for a skein’s worth, depending on where I got the wool. Usually indie dyers off Etsy.  Shit’s expensive, but sooooo soft and lovely.

Current spinning: Five of my seven bobbins are full, which means I have to stop until tomorrow.  Four of those bobbins are the same batch of fiber and will be plied together.  I’ll be able to ply a couple of them tomorrow because they’ll have rested long enough.  I could spin part of another bobbin (with the same wool that’s on the fifth bobbin) before bed tonight, but then I’d have to stop midway through tomorrow’s plying session to wind off the plied bobbin before I could start a second bobbin’s worth.  (Does that make sense?  I rewrote it like four times and I’m still not sure I explained it right.)  So I’m going to get back to knitting on my Hitchhiker.  It’s a scarf/shawlette pattern.  So far it looks like this:

Handspun Hitchhiker beginning

The yarn is some of my handspun.  I’m not thrilled with the way the colors are coming out, but the yarn itself is very soft and I like it.  this pattern is cool because it looks like it has teeth.  I want to make one with some striping yarn next.

A friend is buying me some wool, because I’ve giving her some of my handspun.  I am pleased with this trade.  I’m getting some purple and green Polwarth out of the deal.  Yummy.

I haven’t mentioned weaving in a while.  I haven’t been doing any.  I did this scarf back in October:

Houndstooth SPG scarf, off the loom

and then started this scarf:

Log Cabin scarf: tonight's progress

and petered out.  One, I hate weaving log cabin.  I didn’t know this until about 8″ into the scarf.  Hate it.  Two, my cats fucking love my loom.  I have to keep a towel over it so they don’t play with the yarn, so I wind up with this:

Babby love. If only their favorite snuggle spot wasn't my weaving loom...

Totes adorbs, but it makes my loom useless a lot.  I am hoping to solve this by getting a loom stand for my birthday next month.  The way the stand works, I could tilt it so the loom is nearly vertical when I’m not using it, and therefore would not be a good cat bed.  (I will be putting a nice cardboard box where my loom currently sits, on my desk.  Yes, I won’t be able to use that part of my desk, but kittens!!!)  Also, if I’ve got my measurements right, I could weave while sitting in my favorite spot on the couch.  (It’s also where I do all my spinning.  Does it count as being a couch potato if I’m making things while I sit?)  Even if I can’t weave on the couch, at least I could weave somewhere, unlike now.

Some of you may remember the black and silver blanket I was working on.  It is completely woven, but I have not sewn the four panels together because I fucking hate sewing.  Note to self: don’t make multi-part weaving.  It will never be assembled.  I’m going to let my MIL put it together with her sewing machine.  She asked, and I’m never going to do it myself, so she can have fun with it.

I think that’s everything I’m currently doing.  To close out, here’s some of my recent handspun yarn, because I haven’t shown it off in a while.

Sodalite Merino

Island Nights BFL, v3

Frutos del Bosque merino

Not too bad, yeah?

How I’m doing

I haven’t been blogging much, because things have been fairly calm lately.  I’ve been in pretty good shape, mentally.  Occasional blips of weird feelings and minor hallucinations, but for the most part I’ve been happy and productive and enjoying myself.  I’m working on getting stuff straightened out to resume my education when the new semester starts in two weeks, too.

Crafting stuff:

— I finished the houndstooth scarf I was making.  Just needs the fringe tied and a wet-finishing.  I’m hoping to mail it to Sam Luke (Hatchworth in Steam-Powered Giraffe) on Friday.  It was somewhat difficult to make.  The houndstooth pattern itself isn’t hard, but beating each pick evenly so all the checks are the same size is difficult.  I had to reweave some sections because of that.  But it turned out great.  Hope Sam likes it.  I realized as I was on the last pick of the scarf that oh yeah, it’s wool and he’s vegan, but I asked him about it on Twitter and he said it’s fine.  Awesome.

— Made slippers for myself.  They were too small, so I gave them to BFF and knit myself a larger pair.

— I finished Awesome Niece’s pride shawl.  she adored it.

— Knit a cowl and two scarves from handspun.  They’re quite nice.  I’m doing another scarf from handspun right now.

I haven’t been spinning, because the babbies (who are doing wonderfully, even though I was mean and had them neutered last week) knocked over my wheel a couple of weeks ago and it bent my Woolee Winder shaft.  I didn’t have the money to send it off for repairs until last week, so all my spinning has been on spindles.  I’m enjoying it, but I miss my wheel.


— I’m reading Alden Amos’ Big Book of Handspinning.  It’s a very dense, technical book about the entire spinning process, but the author has a wonderful sense of humor.  He wore these great, hilarious footnotes, and sometimes makes snarky comments in the text itself.  It makes the book that much better.

— Speaking of hilarious, Cory O’Brien’s Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes is the best retelling of myths that I’ve ever seen.  I’ve been crying with laughter at several points in the book, and I only just finished chapter two.  O’Brien is the genius behind Myths Retold, and…  Seriously.  Go look.  Right now.

— I’ve finished book three of Charles Stross’ Laundry Files series.  Great fun.

I think that’s everything for now.  I’ll try to post more often…

Itsy bitsy pin loom

I got a 2″ pin loom, because small squares will look awesome on the edge of the shawl I’m doing.  (I decided to add to the shawlette a little to make it full-sized, because it’s pretty.)

2" pin loom and finished square. Penny for scale.

I bought it from an Etsy seller, bigfam15, and it arrived today.  I’m very, very impressed with the quality so far, and his prices are extremely reasonable.  He makes two styles of looms, each in different sizes and shapes.  The “traditional” ones are set up like the vintage Weave-It looms and the modern Schacht Zoom Loom (which is what I have for a 4″ loom).  These looms all have the same three-pin grouping and are warped the same way.  I haven’t tried one of his “mini looms” yet, which have uniform spacing of pins.  I’ve never used that style.  I may try it someday, with one of his small ones.  They’re inexpensive.  The one I bought is made from reclaimed bamboo flooring.  It’s sturdy, light, and seems well-made.  I’ll definitely be buying a 6″ square traditional sometime soon.  I’d like to try making an afghan or a baby blanket…

Weaving with cats

I warped my RH loom this afternoon while hanging out with my bestie.  228 warp ends for Awesome Niece’s shawl!  I did it in three batches of 60 and one with 48, because having a lot of ends in one single batch means they’re more likely to tangle as I wind them on.  Bestie and her niece had come over to help make soup.  (It was lentil with tomatoes and fresh spinach.  Delicious.)  They stayed for dinner and “butterbeer” floats (IBC cream soda and butterscotch schnapps over vanilla ice cream.  SO GOOD.  Niece didn’t get the schnapps, of course.  She’s only 14.)  My float was small: a little less than half a cup of ice cream, half a bottle of soda, and about a shot of schnapps.  Caloric, but not too bad.  I still didn’t eat more than my calorie limit for the day.

Tonight I went to start weaving, and the babbies were very unhappy.  The loom is their napping place in the evenings, and they wouldn’t stay off it while I was trying to use it.  So I gave up, put the blanket on it, and they curled up to sleep.  Adorable, but I wanna be weaving!  Awesome Niece’s birthday is in a week.  I need to make her shawl by then.

So I picked up my bag of these pin loom squares…

Square with single crochet border.

… and got back to putting on the black crocheted borders.  I was in the middle of my fourteenth square (total, not just tonight’s batch) when I realized the square’s yarn is superwash and the black isn’t.  So I don’t know what’s going to happen when I wash it.  Crap.  I’ll take a couple of the spare squares and finish them in different ways — one wet-finished, the other steam pressed.  I’ll see what happens to each.  If they both suck, I’ll pull out the black and replace it with superwash.  I actually think I may have some of the same brand of yarn in black.  Why didn’t I think of that in the first place?  Silly Alex…

Oh, back to the babbies for a sec: they’ve been coming downstairs a lot, but not for long unless I’m there too.  Eris has overcome her fear and come down, but only when I’m nearby.  Loki sat in the bay window in the kitchen and watched the backyard while I warped the loom.  Then he bolted when the food processor started up.  Babbies do not like loud noises!