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Woven Brown Panguipulli Scarf

Woven Rigid Heddle Scarf

 

I have finished a new scarf just as the polar freeze sets in. It is made from a wonderful brown yarn by Araucania called Panguipulli color 9. You can check out my ravelry project page for details on the weaving math. This went super fast, all done in one day. I love my rigid heddle loom, though I still want santa to bring me a Schacht Mighty Wolf ( or a Baby Wolf, I can never choose).

The business is doing well and we have just launched our own website shop at CJohannesenStudio.com; we are keeping our Etsy shop open but want to pursue opportunities that require an independant website. And all the computer work is mine so I have spent the last two weeks in front of the computer like 40 hours a week. But we are now live and I can breathe a bit. So the scarf was my way of relaxing.

 

Christmas is coming and I can feel the stress of it already. I wish I could tell you my season was filled with super fun christmasy activities, tinsel, cookies and hot cocoa. But really as a self employed artist my Christmas season is filled with long workweeks, take out dinner and trying to remember what free time felt like. This is a great problem to have, an exhausting one, but a great one.

To gear up I am prepping for Thanksgiving. I try to make turkey day a big thing because of my daughter. I try to balance out the free time I don’t have in December.  This year we will be putting up the tree and decorating the house (inside only), then we will be decorating some gingerbread houses followed by a ridiculous dinner. Just the three of us. A small holiday this year as I’ve had some family move away.

I’ve got some creative things floating around in my head right now. Some designs for knit toys and possibly a hat. Also, the desire to take my watercolors out and do a bit of doodling. Maybe I’ll have some time this week to get started on a new project.

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Spinning Yarn- SpinCity UK Paintbox color way

Hand spun yarn

 

Life has been a bit busy lately and I’m a bit behind updating you on what I’ve been making. Last month I took a break from knitting to give my hands, and my tennis elbow, a rest. So instead of knitting I spent time spinning up some fluff that my daughter bought me for Christmas last year.

The fluff is made by SpinCityUK on etsy and the color way is called Paintbox – 3.5 oz of merino, baby alpaca, British Shetland and BFL makes it is a super soft yarn.  Unspun I loved the colors but I think it needs a more experienced spinner than I to bring out its full beauty. Then roving was made of a tan / cream base with lots of orange, blue, and yellow which combined to make a duller muddier color yarn than I had originally envisioned.

I think some of that fault might be in my head because when I showed it to the ladies at the yarn shop they loved it.  I showed my husband too, but he was less than super excited because he doesn’t love yarn the way I do.

Unsound roving

I’m quite proud of a few things with this skein though.

1. I got through it quit quickly, from fluff to finished it took only about three weeks; evenings only spinning while watching tv.

2. I remembered to take plying samples while making the singles.

3. I actually used the plying samples when plying the yarn which resulted in a balanced yarn that hangs without twisting. I have never done this before. I’m always over or under twisted.

4. It is fairly even. I’m going to call it a mostly dk weight yarn, though I didn’t remember to count it before coming off the niddy noddy. So I’m not quite sure how much yardage is here.

From here on out I’m going to have to look at roving and bats and try to see the yarn they will become instead of their beauty in their unspun state.  If I had thought of how to handle the opposite colors of orange and blue before I started I might have been able to avoid some of the color dulling that happens when you mix color opposites together.

All and all I am super proud of it … However this skein will not be knitted up by me. I’m in a swap on ravelry and my swap partner loves to knit toys so I think I will send this skein to live with her because I think it would make a glorious toy, maybe a cute little teddy bear.

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Weaving with Knit Picks Palette Yarn

Weaving a Rainbow Palette Yarn Gamp Inspired Scarf

I have been gifted a small stash of Knit Picks Palette Yarn. I was initially not excited by this because I am not a fan of Knit Picks’ Wool of the Andes line – I find it a bit scratchy. But the palette yarn doesn’t seem to have the same scratchy properties the worsted WotA line has.

Honestly, I have been holding on to this yarn for a month or two while I figure out what to do with it. It was initially purchased to use for stripey socks, but at 100% wool, I don’t think socks is the best use for it. I thinks sock yarn holds up so much better when there is a little nylon in the blend. And I don’t want to do a huge fingering weight knit project.

Then I stumbled across this project by Yarnvista:

rainbow 002

And I am in love. Her project is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t have quite enough colors to run the whole spectrum but I can make a pretty little rainbow weaving.  She went on to weave a whole queen size throw blanket, which I love but am not ready to take on a project that big yet. What I love even more is that Yarn Vista made her project on a rigid heddle loom, so I am not trying to recreate a complicated 4 shaft project with a rigid heddle loom. We are using the same tools.

So for now, 6 colors: Lingonberry Heather (red), Masala (orange), Turmeric (yellow), Verdant Heather (green), Marine Heather (blue), Indigo Heather (purple). The actual yarns are a bit more autumnal and jewel toned than the pictures show.

Knit Picks Palette Yarn for Weaving

Weaving Math

The palette yarn is 24 wraps per inch. A balanced weave would put us at a 12 ends per inch and a 12 dent heddle.

I want a wide scarf where the squares really stand out and using 6 colors 3″ stripes would make this an 18″ wide scarf, which is way to wide. However 2″ wide stripes gives me a much more manageable 12″ wide scarf.

12″ wide x 12 = 144 ends = 24 ends per color

I’m not quite sure how long I’d like it to be. Currently I’m thinking  70″ long before fringe.

70+12 (loom waste) = 82″ warp.

82 x 24=1,968 inches = 55 yards – So warping each color will take about 55 yards, leaving me with 176 yards per skein to do the weft with.

176 x 6 = 1056 yds. This seems like enough.

12″ x 24 = 288= 8 yards. Assuming each weft stripe takes about 24 rows to equal 2″, then each weft stripe will take about 8 yards. (this could be faulty. it could take 48 picks to get to 2 inches, so this would be doubled to 16 yards. I shouldn’t do weaving math before coffee).

176/8=22 – each skein with 176 yards remaining on it after warping has 22 8-yard sections; Even if my math is off, I can repeat the rainbow 11 times before I run out of yarn.

70/2=35 – a 70″ scarf has 35 2″-sections. 35/6=5.8 so I will repeat the rainbow almost 6 times before I run out of warp.

Ok. Now, after having done the math I am more inspired to do this project than I was when I started this post.

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Courage and Creativity

yoga

In yoga today the teacher told us to let go.

“Just choose to let go of something you are holding on to and don’t need.” I need this kind of reminder, as I often get a tight grip on everything in my life. I even bent my metal knitting needles from holding them with a white knuckle death grip. No joke.

So with my head at my knees, dripping sweat and mentally begging for the next pose I ran through the list of things i should let go of. It was quite a list, and I finally settled on expectations.

I want to let go of my expectations for myself. Be ok with just being me instead of being upset I’m not a better me.

A few poses later with my ass high in the air while in downward dog, she asked us to invite something in.

I am trying to come out of a creative rut. So after passing on asking for peacefulness, playfulness and a few other generic things I struck gold with creativity and courage.

After class, after savasana, and finally eating breakfast my mind returned to creativity and courage.

I am a creative person. But I don’t show off, or sell most of the things that I make.Today I am seeing the wall in front of me. I have to be bold and have courage to break through the rut I’ve been in.

For me, without courage there will be no satisfying creativity.

I’ve focused on fiber art for the last few years. And maybe now I’m done with that. I can’t find the tiniest spark of interest in anything I’ve done int he past. And have NO desire to do production work of any kind. Making the same toy, scarf, pillow, whatever over and over and over again is the antithesis of creativity, for me at least.

There is good news though, I am starting to see a spark of interest in painting. I’ve never done oil painting before and now I’m captivated by it. I’m currently learning about the materials, and when my dick blick order arrives I will be embarking on a painting adventure.

 

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Weaving Guacamole Dish Cloths

warping board photo-2

 

I am trying to push the grey away by starting a new project. This is the warp for some new dishcloths. I’m going for a workhorse product so I’m using Lily Sugar’n Cream cotton yarn in the color guacamole.

Weaving Math

The plan: weave 4 dishcloths  that are about 15″ x 25″. I have an Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom – 20″ wide so they will be woven length wise. Allowing for 1 between  towels, and shrinkage and loom waste I will need a warp that is 151″ long. 566 yards needed for the warp.

To account for draw in and shrinkage across the weft of the towel I am threading the loom at 18″ wide. Using the calculator at Haley Studio I am guesstimating that I’ll need about 390 yards for the weft. I’ve bought more to make sure I don’t come up short.

The lily yarn has a wpi of 8; i’m rounding down to 7.5 because that is the reed I have.

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A Carrot Survives the Winter

carrotMarch is a month of in-betweens.

Neither spring, nor winter. Warm and cold. Gorgeous and dreary, all occurring with in the same day.

I am ready for the constant and reliable heat of summer. But it seems that limbo is the theme of my life right now, there are choices to be made and nothing I can do to force them to change faster. I am in between.

Yesterday it was 69 and sunny. Desperately seeking some vitamin D and manual labor,  I took advantage of the warm weather, donned a short sleeve shirt and worked in the garden. I spent the day on my knees, removing dead and damaged plants that didn’t survive this harsh winter, and pulling the weeds that did.

In one of my raised beds I found a treasure, barely hanging on to life.

A carrot.

I planted carrot seeds last summer and despite my hopes nothing grew. Having long given up on it’s orangey goodness i pulled the clump of green up from the ground and was surprised to find this tiny stunted barely orange carrot.

Honestly? It was a very metaphorical moment. Clearing away the dead plants and finding a small gem hidden in the muck, a seed planted long ago left and forgotten only to be found anew, and surviving the harshest winter my area has seen in the 15 years I’ve lived here.

This is my life now. I am a forgotten carrot.

I am off my antidepressants, and  finally feeling awake, and emotionally even. Yet I am also stalled. I am lacking drive and passion. I want to work, and while I am working on the studio with Chris I am desperately seeking my own creative identity,  but I have no passion for any of my own projects. The true sign of my aloofness is the fact that I find myself choosing cleaning over creating.

I am trying to see this limbo not as punishment, but as a time of change- as a transition. But with no true passion fueling my actions I am left to wonder what to pursue. How do I fill this need for my own creative identity when I don’t want to do anything. This isn’t depression, it’s lack of inspiration.

Do I go back to school? Do I change paths and move away from art? Do I try a new medium?

Compounding my career limbo is a wonderful case of location limbo. I live in York, PA and desperately want to leave. I want to relocate to Colorado near Chris’s family. But that means  a lot of disruption in my daughters life and leaving my mother and best friend behind. And I don’t know if I can put my daughter through that.

 

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DIY Sleep Mask

eyemask-pink eyemask-green

I am a chronic insomniac.

Sometimes I get a solid restful nights sleep, but usually I am a super light sleeper. The small clink of my husband’s belt when he changes into his pj’s wakes me up.

More than sound the thing that bothers me is light.

The alarm clock set to dim feels light like a spotlight burning through my eyelids. I have black out curtains in my room to keep out street lights and the headlights of passing cars. But Chris comes to bed several hours after I do and then he lays in bed and reads. Ugh…

I’m a book lover, and never want to stop anyone from reading before bed but lord help me the 5 watt bulb on the nightstand  felt like sleeping on the surface of the sun. We have since moved onto a Kindle Paperwhite, but even that on it’s dimmest setting bothers me.

So I use a sleep mask. I feel a bit like a weenie about it. It is kind of like sleeping in a cave – with black out curtains and a sleep mask – but it prevents me from being a total bear in the morning.

Download the Pattern

I found this pattern online, in the Craftster Forums (here is a link to the original post). To make things easier on you I’ve listed the PDF file with the pattern below for download

The only changes I made were to use 16 inches of elastic instead of 14 because I have a really big head and 14 was way  tight on me.

Download the Sleep Mask PDF

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A New Beginning. v3.2

dots

Beginnings are just about the hardest thing ever.

I have started a blog about a dozen times. I have written smart posts,  inspiring posts and posts that are mostly pictures.

It is hard to come up with another new  beginning  blog post where the only readers will be my family – if I even tell them I’ve started a new blog.

Again.

That leaves me wondering how this time will be different than any of the other blogs I’ve started. The truth? Me. Every other time I had delusions of grandeur, a set of goals so big I couldn’t keep pace with my own expectations. Leaving the blogs empty, dying the 21st century death of empty blogs filled with apology posts.

I’m turning 32 in a few months (May 3 for anyone who wants to send gifts) and I am done with trying to be the version of me I think people want to see.

I am just me.

I am not perfect, and I can’t choose just one art to love. I can’t stop eating chocolate (though I have recently gone off my anti depressants Go ME!). So this blog is about all of my art. Like it or don’t. This one is for me.

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Smile & Be Happy.