Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tutorial and...update?

Seriously, I swear. I just haven't had much desire to do a whole lot of blogging lately, to be honest with you lovely people. And honestly, not a whole lot has gone on around here that would require a update.

I've mostly been concentrating on school work these past couple of months (read, I've been thinking about concentrating on school work but instead sit on you tube for hours before realizing I have something due in three hours and work like a maniac to finish it) And spinning has taken a huge back seat lately. Buggy has even been in the closet for the last few months, just sitting there with some pretty roving on the bobbins.

Although I did learn how to make wine bottle lamp shades, so that's pretty awesome. Since I have nothing else to talk about today, I suppose I'll give you all a quick tutorial on how to make one yourself. Maybe that will be a thing for me...a monthly tutorial....ooohhh, there's a thought. Anywho.

To start you'll need the following items:
- An empty bottle (I used beer as a tester 'cause it was easier to screw up)
- A glass cutter + cutting oil (find them on the internet, the cheapest shouldn't cost you more then $10)
- Gas
- String
- A lighter (one of those long ones...seriously)
- A bucket full of water (You'll thank me later)
- Safety glasses ('cause you know, when setting things on fire, safety is our number one priority)
- Marker
- Measuring Tape

That's right, I said gas. You can find the same tutorial using nail polish remover, which I tried, and it didn't work. Maybe it was the type of remover I was using, But I found that the remover mostly bunt too quickly and not hot enough. So that sucked. Feel free to try the nail polish remover and if it doesn't work for you upgrade to gas.

Step 1: Tie the string snuggly around the bottom of the bottle you're going to cut. You want the string on the bottle tightly, but not so tight that you can't slide it off again. Cut the string and slide it off  the bottle.

Step 2: Using a marker and the measuring tape, mark a line around the bottle from the bottom up. This way you'll know exactly where to put the string again before you set it on fire.

Step 3: Soak the string in some gas or nail polish remover. I recommend using gloves when your doing this. Mostly so your fingers don't smell like gas. On seconds though, you might want to wear gloves the whole time you're doing this. Just so, you know, you don't hurt yourself. Then slide the string back onto the bottle over the marker line you created in Step 2.

Step 4
Step 3 alternative: Alternatively, and this is what I ended up doing, slide the string back onto the bottle over the marker line you created in step 2. Take a spray bottle filled with Gas (like the one I used) and lightly spray the string. Once it's saturated, wipe up any gas that is on the bottle with a throw away rag.

Step 4: Put your safety glasses on. Grab the bottle by the neck and hold it over the prefilled water bucket. Taking your lighter (the long one) and set the string on fire.

Step 5: While your bottle is on fire (okay, that sounds really bad) rotate the bottle slowly. You basically what the fire to go around the string. Rotate the bottle until the fire goes out by itself.

Step 7
Step 6: Place the bottom of the bottle into the bucket of water. You'll probably hear crackling as the glass splits. That's fine. Lightly tap the bottom of the bottle, and it should pop right off.

Step 7: Clean the bottle, and use a file to smooth away any sharp edges that you may have. Because I have a glass grinder at home, I just used that to smooth out the edges, so I can't really recommend a good inexpensive alternative.

Step 8: Now the fun and not so dangerous part begins. once you have the bottom taken off your bottle you can use glass paints to decorate your bottle any way you want. I used Gallery Glass paints to draw on mine. They come in little 2oz bottles and can be bought at any Michaels craft store. The best part about these paints is that you can make little window clings with them and add decorations to just about flat surface.

Mind you, after making the lamp and decorating it, I don't know how to turn it into an actual lamp.
Finished Bottle Lamp
I'm assuming you can purchase the set up for the light bulbs at any home depot, or Lowes but I haven't gotten that far yet. So, ya know, you're on your own with that last part.

So I know it says up in that title that there will be an update, but seriously I can't think of anything. I've been on a couple of tiny trips, but other then school work and regular work, I haven't done anything else. \

Hopefully you guys will get a more exiting update eventually. Maybe.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Finally cott-on

Alright, so as plays-on-words go, this one might not be the best. But I tried, okay?

It's time for the Tour de Fleece again, and this time I'm sorta participating. In a nutshell, the Tour de Fleece is a challenge given to spinners all over the place to spin some yarn every day that the Tour de France happens. They spin bicycle wheels, we spin spinning wheels.
You can join a "team" or start your own with friends. In the "teams" you can chat with others people and show off your progress photos. And of course get motivated to actually spin the whole month that the Tour de France goes on.

I'm part of the Rookie team, not that I've talked much to people or even posted a single picture, and a Ravelry friend of mine started an impromptu Slacker team that I've joined with her. So far I'm less of a Slacker then I thought I would be. I spun  a whole 10 minutes on the 29th (the start of the Tour) a whole 10 minutes on the 30th, and a whopping 30 minutes on the 1st. I.Was.On.FIRE! After that my spinning was interrupted by camping vacations, by school obligations, and by general laziness.

The personal challenges I set for myself were 1) spin cotton, 2) try core-spinning. I started working on the cotton first and after failing miserably at my wheel, I tried it on one of the spindles (after running to the Slacker group and asking for advice and getting a link to some instructions of course). And I'm happy to say that it actually works. 

I also spun up two core-spun yarns, and they turned out pretty nicely. One of my Ravelry friends was amazing enough to send me some over-twisted core yarn and a small batt to play with. I loved the colors of the bat and was kind of disappointed when the core-spun yarn didn't turn out quite that pretty. But after I realized that I could pull the batt apart into two color sections I liked the colors quite a bit more.

The second core-spun yarn is the Norwegian wool that Mom dyed for me, flecked with some blue felting wool. They are little packets of wool that Michaels sells for felting projects, but they worked great as accept colors. I even threw some beads onto the core thread and incorporated them into the yarn.

I even finished a spinning WIP and am plying it right now. I'd like to think that I was rather productive during this tour. I've learned some new techniques, I've seen some amazing yarns, and I've met some new friends. And hopefully next year's Tour will be just as productive for me.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What the Early Learning Center has taught me...

During spring quarter I'm working at the Early Learning Center on the TCC campus as part of work study. It's basically a day care center while parents go to classes. Here is what I've learned so far:

1) Children apparently run on ranch dressing.
2) 2-3 year old's have an amazing imagination
3) 2-3 year old's suck at following directions when there is more then one child within a one mile radius
4) Ranch is a bitch to get off plates
5) Children can put away more cheese then a dairy can make.
6) My hair is free-game for "beauty" treatments.
7) Anything solid can be used as a brush...anything. (can you say blue crayon scalp?)

 I work in the toddler room, which is usually my favorite age group. At 2, kids are imaginative enough that they can entertain themselves, smart enough to understand when you tell them something, but still small enough to need cuddles and stories.
But they're such a handful at times - like when they get that crazy hair up their arse - that it makes me question if I ever want to have to deal with that for the rest of my life. Yeah, I know they won't be 2 for the rest of eternity, but the older they get the more obnoxious children get. I mean dear god...some of the kids at the ELC..dudes...why? Makes me want to smack the parents to be honest.

On a non-childcare related note, I've also learned that:

1) Having a minimum of 2 hours of kill between school and work let's me get homework done.
2) I should always bring a novel to read.
3) My paralegal teacher is ridiculous
4) There is no point running for the bus...I won't make it.
5) Wearing comfortable shoes is important
6) Don't eat lunch
7) There are always leftovers in the kitchen
8) My paralegal teacher is ridiculous

Oh, and I haven't gotten a lick of spinning in since the quarter started. Fuuuuuuu----

Monday, March 4, 2013

And now I'm sore

View of the mountain
from the car
I went hiking with a friend this past Sunday. He's always wanted to go, I had nothing else planned, so we packed some snacks, drove to the location and then hiked 1.9 miles to the top of this mountain. It was amazing.

The trail we were on is well known and there were a ton of people going up the mountain as well as coming down from it. The trail goes back and forth so there are some steep points, and some that are nicely leveled. Throw some large rocks in and you have a trail that will give you a workout without killing you.
The ledge we
stood on

Naturally my sneakers were not equipped to handle the snow and slush that was on the trail, and I think I may have stepped in a puddle at least once...maybe. My toes became ice cubes after a while so I'm not sure. But it was so worth the view from the top of that ledge. So.Worth.It.

It's made me appreciate Washington even more. I've always known it was pretty, but I've never had the chance to see just how pretty it can be.

Now both of us are sore. But again, it's so totally worth having seeing that view for myself. And I'd totally do it again in a heartbeat. We've made tentative plans to go again, but thanks to Washington weather, a lot of it depends on whether it will be raining on the weekend or not.Time to invest in some good hiking boots me thinks. =)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Madrona! (and blog pimping)

Madrona comes once every year to the Tacoma area, and Mom and I have made a point to go every year. It's only 20 minutes away via bus, so now that we know about it, it would be ridiculous not to go.

We usually just go for the market place, where all kinds of venders offer their yarns and rovings. I love it because most of the time there will be one or two people that own the animals so not only is the fiber less expensive, but you get to talk to interesting people. And if you ever have a question, vendors are always more then happy to chatter your ear off with the answer. We get passionate about our work. =)

My "haul" from this year is in the corner over there. It's not much (surprisingly) but it's all fibers I haven't worked with before. The Romney is one lovely pound of raw fleece, so I'll get to experience the joy of washing it myself. Mostly to get some of the dirt out, and the lanolin. That should be fun.

The other three are 4 oz each. I've never worked with either cotton, Jacob, or Finnish wool. So that will be awesome. With all these new fibers that I'm trying out, I'm thinking that maybe I should start keeping a journal of some sort. Just so I can keep a small sample on hand to remind me of what the fibers felt like; and why I love/hate it.

On different news, the construction directions for my flip-top mittens were used by a very lovely designer in her own mittens. They are Dr. Who inspired Tardis mittens and are just too cute. I'm really tempted to make myself a pair...even though I don't wear mittens. So, you guys should check her out.

Now I think I'm going to go and finish the first sleeve of this darn baby sweater. It's part 2 of the beginning sweater class tomorrow (I'm teaching) so I might want o have something presentable before class begins. Ugh..baby sweaters.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dyeing to spin

Nuked Masham
Nuked Merino
I decided to dye some roving today. So as soon as I got home I pulled my stash bin out from the closet and pulled my Masham and Merino wools out.

Fear of ruined counter tops or floor had banished me to the car port during the summer, but with family members still asleep I crafted myself a little  work station in the laundry room. I put my jersey-rug down on the floor first, followed by a large double layered piece of cardboard, and then the cling-wrap...which clung to itself marvelously.

I let the masham wool soak in a bath of vinegar and water first. The roving had been tied off every few inches because I was hoping it would give it a tiny bit of a tie-dye look. I'm sure I've failed miserably with that. Oh well. I turned the single string of merino roving into a braid and while I dyed the masham I let the merino soak.

Colored Masham
For the masham I dabbed the wine color on with a sponge brush. At first I thought about putting it down in particular spots, but then just dabbed quick lines down the roving. If the color went away I bunked the bush back into the cup, and then continued down the line. Mom still had some purple in the little squeeze bottle she had provided, so I simply added more. The purple I gently sprinkled all over the roving, not caring where it landed.

Double-sided Merino
While the masham was being nuked in the microwave (pot? cooking? PAH!) I worked on the merino. This time I started with purple, and liberally squeezed it all over the braid. The color didn't bleed through to the other side though. So with purple all gone (what was in the bottle at least) I changed to the wine color. I added it into the bottle, turned the half dyed braid over, and squeezed the red onto the still white side. So now there is a purple side of roving, and a red  (well pink is more accurate really) side of roving. I have no idea what the inside of the braid looks like though...

Both rovings are drying right now. And I can't wait to spin them up. I've never used masham wool before, so it should be interesting. And of course, I'm very excited to see what the colors will look.
Merino unraveled

There is still a 4 oz braid of merino sitting in my stash bin. I wonder what wonderful colors it will adopt.

Edit: I unwound the merino braid earlier this morning (02/06/2013) to let the roving dry faster. And I just had to share with you all how amazing the merino turned out; in my opinion at least.The purple and pink are made wonderful little speckles all over the white roving. I can't wait to spin this up and see what happens with it. The Masham is quite lovely too.

Masham and Merino drying

Back to Basics

Drop spindle, white Corriedale
Sometimes, it's nice to get back to the basics.
Even though Buggy has a lovely chocolate brown Corriedale on its bobbin, I decided to work on a drop spindle project for a little bit.

I started this for the Ravelenic Games back in July, thinking I might actually finish it within those 2 weeks...on top of the 5 knitting projects I had picked out. Hahahaha, yeah right.

So it's been sitting in my basked, waiting for me to pick it back up, to finish the second half of the roving, and ply it together with its sister.

There is something even more relaxing and satisfying about spinning on a spindle, I think. Everything is done by hand; supplying the spin, adding the twist, handling the fibers, coaxing the roving into the perfect thickness. Of course you still do the same thing with a wheel. You still have to hold the roving, you still have to draft it out and make sure you're getting the right thickness. But I feel like a spindle is more of an accomplishment. Kind of like hand sewing versus sewing on a machine. You still need to know what you're doing, but the machine makes it easier. For me, a spinning wheel makes spinning easier.

It also gives me a new appreciation of the way things used to be done. Before spinning wheels were invented, and before spinning machines came to be, this is how people made yarn and fabric. Until the mid-1700's rural households still helped make a majority of the textiles. Merchants would give them the raw materials, the families would spin and weave them for a little bit of money, and the merchants would get back usable fabric. All done by hand. How crazy is that? It wasn't uncommon for women to take a spindle with them when they had to trek anywhere so they could work on the go. It makes me feel connected somehow.

While Buggy will probably always be my go-to piece of equipment if I want to make yarn, I'll still use my spindles for sometimes projects. For when I want to get really into my spinning, when I want to handle the fibers as much as possible, or when I want to make something incredibly fine. Floss anyone?

Friday, February 1, 2013


My BIL purchased a game on the xBox 360 called Minecraft. It came out first for the computer, and I watched a few videos about it online. It looked incredibly boring. Your character pops into a world with nothing on him, and you have no tutorial that tells you what to do (a bit like a metaphor for life I suppose).

DH convinced me to play it with him, and after my initial "this is stupid" reaction,  I played by myself. And oh my goodness is it addicting!

I spent the first ten minutes hacking away at dirt and trees, shoving into my (I'm assuming) pants pocket on the way. Then I accidentally pulled open the "crafting" menus and found out that I could turn my blocks of wood into planks, which could become a crafting table. Since I had nothing else planned with the wood, aside from maybe stacking it attractively in a corner,  I figured I might as well.

With a crafting table placed in the middle of the woods, I walked around to explore. I came across a bunch of cows, pigs, and sheep, and hacked away at them with a block of dirt until they died. Hey, I needed to eat! Then it became dark and I came across a funny looking green creature. I thought that maybe it was a strange mythical animal, and approached to whack it with my dirt....and was promptly blown up...and lost all my dirt and wood. =.=

So I started again. And was killed by a zombie.
So I started again. And was killed by a spider.
So I started again. And this time I dug myself a little hole in the ground and sat there as soon as the sun went down. I was not going to die again!

All this happened a week ago.
Since then I have made myself weapons and armor, I have figured out how to mine for iron and diamonds. I have even made myself a cozy little house with a basement right next to my old hidey hole. Which was blown up because I forgot to close the door and a darn green thing followed me down. >.>

Minecraft, I have learned is a lot like Legos. Only it's on the xBox. You're given a world of materials that you can shape into anything you want! But in order to really enjoy the game you need a project. You need to want to make something otherwise you'll get bored after a while. The only thing holding you back is your own imagination....or exploding green things...and zombie...and spiders.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to playing. I left cow in charge of the house, and I'm sure that he and sheep are going to tear the place apart...and that desert to the left really needs a gigantic obsidian castle in the middle.

Oh come on!

While I sat in the school library today, arguing with a school laptop, I glanced up and saw a girl sitting across the way, moving her hands in a very familiar rhythm. Even though her backpack was in the way (out of which hung a bright pink strand of yarn), and she was sitting at an angle to me, it was easy to see that she was making a hooking motion with her right hand. In her lap was a mass of pink and I got so excited to see someone else doing something crafty in public that I almost got up to talk to her.

And then she lifted up her left hand, presumably to untangle herself from the pink. And in her left hand she held a loom....


Suffice it to say I hunkered down even more on the couch and didn't move. Instead I argued with the dumb laptop a little more and studiously ignored the loom of lies. By now, you lot probably know my thoughts on looms and the lies it produces. If you don't know, go read this entry. I've ranted about looms before.

*grumbles* Looms....knitting....pah!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thoughts of a designer

The ground was covered in frost, crunching softly underfoot. Frozen puddles blended in with the walkways, making them hard to see and dangerous. The morning air bit at fingers and noses; breath came out in puffs. The coffee in my cup had been brewed a while ago. The splash of half and half the barista had added wasn't enough to mask the bitter taste of coffee left standing too long. But at eight in the morning it was the best I could do on campus grounds.
Swirls of steam curled out of the cup as I carefully popped off the top. And then, I saw it...

GLOVES! Oh my god I need to make some gloves with swirled designs all over it. Like steam rising off the cuff or something. And then I plopped the top back on and pranced off to class.

And that is pretty much how my brain works most of the time. Especially when I think about designing something new, or when I decide I want to try a pretty new pattern. My mind is kind of all over the place like that.
In other news I'll hopefully publish a new pattern in the next couple of days or so. My testers are taking entirely too long in my opinion, so I might just publish it without waiting for the last three people to finally get it together. I suppose I shouldn't be too miffed since they are doing this for free, but for goodness sake, even with Holidays it should not take someone over a month to knit a pair of mittens or fingerless mitts. Ridiculous...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Imma be a teacher!

I went on a mini job hunt the other day, stopping by all the local businesses I frequent to see if they were needing any help. So far nothing. Then again I shouldn't have expected any different since the holidays just wrapped up, so a lot of places are letting their seasonal employees go. But when I stopped by my LYS (local yarn shop) I was told that she does need some instructors. So after a lot of thought I decided to give it a go; if it doesn't work out I can always just tell the owner that I'm not cut out for instructing people.

I'm getting stuff together to teach a color work class, and I'm getting excited and nervous all at the same time. There is no date set yet, and I pretty much get to decide what day anyways, since the owner told me to get back to her with what time would work best for me. But while I'm browsing through patterns I can't help but wonder what people would want to practice with. My first color work project was a pair of Totoro mitten for my little sister. Mittens...so I'm not exactly the best person to come to when it comes to simple projects. But I'll figure it out and hopefully come up with something interesting. I can always practice on my sister-in-law I'm sure...she knows the basics, how hard can it be to teach her how to knit with two color at the same time?

Friday, January 4, 2013

No-Years Resolutions

Every first of the year I make resolutions; work out more, eat healthier, drink less, make more friends (I hate people so that usually doesn't pan out), be an overall better person.
This year I didn't. I did not make a single resolution. I never keep them anyways, so why the hell bother? And so far, I'm doing better at my no-years resolutions then I do any other year.

For example, today was the third day that I struck up conversations with total strangers. Now if you know me, you'd know that I hate talking to strangers. Maybe it's a combination of being told "don't talk to stranger" when I was little, and classmates teasing me for my accent when I first came to America (children can be incredibly cruel) that has deterred me from taking to people. But so far, I have struck up conversations on three separate occasions, with three separate people. Mom even asked "what's wrong with you?" today when I proudly announced I talked with someone for nearly 10 minutes in line. Lines are amazing places to talk to people.

School is going...well? I feel like I haven't learned anything yet,. Then again it's only been three days. I should probably give it a little more time, huh? OH! I did learn something actually; I now (sorta) know what all the stuff in a legal citation means. Like when they have the case name and then a bunch of numbers and abbreviations. Yay for learning. =3

Bug has been getting hardly any use out of her. I spun up some very pretty roving that BIL got me for Christmas (well, I picked it and ordered it, he paid for it) but had to stop because I only have 1 bobbin left and I need it to ply together some Targhee I'm working on. That should be my hint to buy more bobbins I s'pose.