First of all, I would like to apologize for my very long absence from my blog, and thank those who may still be sticking around for when I come back. Thank you, so much, for following me. I started this blog without any expectation of having more than a few followers. And while my followers are few in comparison to some blogs, you are more than I expected to have, so thank you.

There has been so much upheaval, in the world as well as my life, for the last few years, and all of it overwhelming. Some of you may remember a few years back, when I posted a letter to WWE wrestler Roman Reigns, where I spoke about how much his motto, aka the title of this post, was helping me through a rough patch in my life.

By no means was he the first time I’d heard that phrase, but it was the first time I’d ever heard such belief and passion behind it. It wasn’t just a line for the show, it was something he fully, confidently believed in reality. He left WWE for several months, because leukemia that he’d had at 22 had made a return, and he had to go back for treatment. From the first time I had heard him say it, with so much conviction, it became my motto, too. Every time I fell down, I would mutter this to myself, and get back up. If he could fight leukemia, well, my problems weren’t that bad.

But getting up has gotten harder to do, let me tell you. Not only am I older, but Covid changed the landscape of the world I knew. While I’ve been fortunate enough not to have caught it, nor has my family, the effects of pandemic conditions nonetheless struck us. Not only did we know people who suffered through it, and people who died from it,  the quarantine situation exacerbated the mental health issues that Bryony had started to manifest. Hubby describes it as a warm front coming from me, a cold front from him, and the two collided in her, creating a tornado. Add in puberty, and what you’ve got on your hands is a disaster spiraling out of control. In November of 2020, we embarked on a new journey, that of parents of a mentally ill child. Constant trips to inpatient care became the norm. Things she did had a devastating effect on our family, and the nearly 20 year relationship between me and their father did not survive it.

In all fairness, it probably would have happened anyway.

So the last year has seen us struggling to get Bryony the treatment she needs, watching the deterioration of the relationship between her and Aneira, dealing with parents who now live in separate homes, fighting legal issues, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum.

It has been a year of extremes. Not everything that happened was bad. In fact, some of it was very, very good, but no less overwhelming: I’m an adoptee who has been found, and welcomed, by her entire biological family, both maternal and paternal. I’ve discovered that I have siblings. Two on the maternal side, and on the paternal, at last count there were eight of us (although we won’t be surprised if more show up). I have younger sisters; you have no idea how weird that is to write, never mind say! I have sisters, and they want to pursue a relationship with me. That falls into the category of gifts unlooked for. I always wanted a big family, and now I have one. Learning my parentage has been nothing short of amazing, and my family-starved youngest is reveling in the fact that she now has aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as a maternal grandmother she is dying to meet. So not all bad, but equally overwhelming.

Roman kicked leukemia’s ass right back into remission within a few months. In the face of that kind of determination and success, what else can I do but keep getting up, keep promising myself that I can and will survive this.

All this to say, I don’t know when I’ll be back here. I have been posting on Instagram, so if you want to follow me there, I’m @sibelabmom over there. I’m neither closing, nor taking down this blog. At some point, I plan to be back here!


I know it’s been months. And things have not improved since my last post. My marriage is seriously on the rocks now, the entire family is in therapy, and I have no idea where things will go from here. I do know that at some point, I’ll be back to this blog to continue it. I don’t intend to shut it down, but until everything else is dealt with, as much as I would like to be blogging, the fact is that my head is messed up with all that is going on in my life currently, and no one wants to read a consistently negative blog, which is what my headspace is right now.

So I sincerely apologize to everyone, particularly those who have loyally followed me since the beginning. And please don’t give up on me. I do intend to come back, I just don’t know when.

Many, many thanks,


Hi, folks. It’s been a few months since I’ve gotten in here, and I’m sorry. Crazy abounds around here, particularly lately, and it makes keeping up the way I’d like difficult.

We’ve been very lucky (knock on wood) to have avoided contracting the virus, which is all to the good, but quarantine is definitely taking a toll. Because of underlying health conditions, even though restrictions have been lifted somewhat, we haven’t been taking advantage of that fact. The kids are still streaming their classes, despite school having reopened part time, and they probably won’t be going back this year at all. The lack of social contact seems to be very much affecting Bryony, and last month we had to admit her to inpatient care at the hospital. My ten year old child had several plans in her mind for committing suicide, and had been cutting herself as a coping mechanism.

Ten years old.

My heart broke. There is no other phrase for it.

As a family, we sat down and discussed it with her. We told her that the fact that she had made actual plans meant that we were officially over our heads. We could no longer deal with things on our own, and she would have to go to the hospital. She agreed; she wanted to go. She wanted to get well. And her mama just fell apart at that point.

Bryony told me to think of it as a really long sleepover at a friend’s house. And she told me that no matter how close or how far she was from me, she would always be with me. My youngest child, my baby, so brave. I was a wreck.

And so, I drove her to the emergency room, where she was admitted, and we were told that she would be there until such time as a facility opened up that could take her. Until then, they acted as a holding facility, keeping her physically safe, but not doing any actual treatment. I would be the only point of contact because of Covid rules.

There has been a distinct division in the family lately. On top of everything else, Aneira had come out as trans, feeling more comfortable identifying as male and pansexual, something that I am struggling to reconcile within myself. Understand: I love my children. There is nothing they could do to change that. And I am not phobic in regard to the LGBTQ community. I want to be supportive of my child, but where he says he has been thinking about this for years, this is an entirely new concept for the woman who gave birth to two daughters, and now has a son and a daughter. Loving him and supporting him does not mean that I don’t mourn the daughter I no longer have, and I hope that makes more sense to someone than it currently does to me. I have a son who is a stranger to me in many ways, who has the face and form of the daughter I bore, and it’s very hard for me to wrap my head around. And because she is now he, I am no longer the go-to parent. He and the hubby have become very close, where he and I have lost that closeness. He feels more in common with my husband, particularly in light of my husband’s own preferences. So there is a division right down the midline of the family, with Bryony and I on one side, and Aneira and the hubby on the other.

With Bryony in the hospital, and the buddy-buddy closeness of the other two, I felt very alone, and I pulled back. I spent all of my time either in the studio or the bedroom catching up on tv shows I hadn’t watched in awhile. And though both of them professed to be missing Bryony as well, I couldn’t feel that they did. They had each other, while the child that remained close to me wasn’t there. I was depressed and scared and sad, and it didn’t feel as though anyone else was, so I withdrew more and more.

Bryony stayed at the hospital for two long weeks, with me visiting as often as I could. She wasn’t the only child there, and in fact the doctor said that they are seeing a spike in the number of children in the pediatric behavioral health ward, believing that parents are seeing more behavior issues because of the quarantine. Because of that spike, beds were in short supply at treatment facilities, and Bryony was released to outpatient care after two weeks because a facility never opened up for her, and it was decided that it would be worse to continue her exposure to those who had worse mental health issues than she did, so home she came. In addition to ADHD/ODD, she has been diagnosed as borderline bipolar, something we feared happening because we had our own issues.

But the familial division has made itself felt. I haven’t quite come back all the way from my own withdrawal, and I still feel very much in the middle. Bryony is still acting out, though a bit less than before, and her brother and father have very little patience with her, so I am acting as a buffer between one child and the rest of the household, while struggling to maintain my own equilibrium and failing. It doesn’t help that I can see both sides of the problem, because I can’t seem to find a way to fix the problem.

I’ve continued working on different projects in weaving and crocheting, and even cooking, and I’ve posted on Instagram (@sibelabmom, if anyone is interested in following me there), and I’ve begun therapy myself, but this is the first time I’ve felt settled enough to blog in awhile. So, sorry for the long ramble!!


Things are rough. My BPD is starting on a downward spiral like I haven’t seen in awhile, I think because so much is going on, and I don’t really have access to my normal space that keeps me sane.

More and more, what we are seeing is that our children are having mental health issues, and we had hoped that it wouldn’t happen, but this world we’re living in…I don’t really know how anyone manages to stay sane.

Bryony is ADHD and ODD. ADHD is a common acronym nowadays, but I’d never heard of ODD before. Oppositional Defiance Disorder. The title pretty much describes it to a “T”. She argues with every word out of everyone’s mouth. It doesn’t matter if she’s right or wrong, and you can prove it. She can’t help but fight you on it.

I’ve always said that with her argumentative nature, she should go to law school, but as the years have passed, the arguments are less cute and less amusing and more frequent. It’s a near constant situation now. I don’t know if it’s the months of quarantine or a natural progression, but everything is a battle now.

Because she has to be supervised nearly constantly, her own room is not an option for virtual school. Because of an open concept main floor and four loud, rambunctious dogs, the dining room table wasn’t an option either. The only room left was my studio. And really, if my choices are risking my kid’s life by putting her back into a brick-and-mortar school or protecting her by giving up my studio for the majority of each day, well, the choice is pretty obvious to me: she gets the studio.

Of course, the situation is less than ideal. The studio is my area, my retreat, and I don’t have access at need. And I’ve been needing it.

Tempers are fraying all over the place in the house. The kids both being home day in and day out means that there is a lot more fighting and no breaks from it. Hubby not being home so much of the time means that everything is shouldered by me, which in turn means that I spend an inordinate amount of time arguing compliance issues with a ten year old for whom argument is a lifeblood. By the time hubby gets home, I’m so worn down I dump the whole mess on him, which means that he ends up yelling at her almost as soon as he walks through the door. Resentments are simmering across the board, with no outlets anywhere in sight. We haven’t made a lot of friends since moving here, which contributes to how much we miss Colorado and the community of framily we had built there, and missing those things adds to the general downward spiral we’re on.

And I joined a group for parents of ADHD children, and I’ve got to be honest here: I’m not sure it helps.  On one hand, reading so many stories that sound like your own situation makes you feel less alone. On the other, it makes you wonder about the light at the end of the tunnel. Is that sunlight streaming in from the end? Or are we simply approaching a light bulb and returning to more dark tunnel once we pass it?

My own negative mindset makes me think the latter. Negativity breeds more negativity, so I’m trying very hard to avoid it, but I’m struggling. Part of the recent addiction to the more portable fiber arts is because my studio access is so limited. I thought that still being able to engage would help — and it does, to an extent — but I guess environment has something to do with it too.

Completed fingerweaving project

When it comes to yarn, as I’ve said many times, I’ve fallen so far down the rabbit hole that there’s no coming back, even if I wanted to! I’m always discovering new-to-me crafts, and while not all of them have stuck, most of them have, and I take a lot of pleasure in learning about the less well known fiber arts.

When I say “less well known”, what I really mean to say, I guess, is that they are niche arts. When you walk up to people and say “weaving”, they instantly have a picture in their heads that, while maybe not completely accurate, indicates a general knowledge of the term. Same for knitting, crochet, etcetera. Even if they don’t take part in the craft themselves, they at least know enough to recognize what you mean. But if you walk up to John Q. Public and say “naalbinding”, or “fingerweaving” or “taaniko”, most likely you’re going to get a blank stare. If you follow it up with “fiber arts” and you’re talking to people like me, they’ll be compelled to go look it up. If they’re really like me, they’ll also be compelled to at least try it.

Thus my repeated attempts at fingerweaving, which finally paid off and were successful: I got through an entire band, with pretty decent selvedges, and I’m pretty proud of it. Will I continue with it? Most likely. It has the feel of one of those things that stick for me.

Practicing taaniko

Another thing that has that feel is taaniko. In my last post, I mentioned seeing a Maori artist who had posted a demonstration video of taaniko, or taniko, which is Maori weaving, and also resembles, as I discovered, the Chilkat weaving of the PNW nations.

I was so enthralled with this video–and the fact that no loom is actually necessary–that I hunted down a book on taaniko weaving to give it a shot and see if I liked it.

The book arrived a few days ago, and I finally got to it to make an attempt. The book was written in the 70s, and, for me, didn’t give me quite enough information. It went over setting up the warp, and the first two rows of actual weaving, then mentioned something about starting row five differently, then I turned the page, and the author was talking about finishing the piece.

Whoa, hold on!!!! There’s a whole heap of things that take place between row two and finishing! Where is all that information? What happened to rows three and four? Do I just repeat the same thing I did for rows one and two? Why is row five begun differently? And why are we talking about finishing the piece ten seconds after beginning it?

I tried, I truly did. I made two attempts in mercerized cotton that were absolutely disastrous. Then i decided to try what I should probably have tried in the first place: I hit my tutorial go-to website: YouTube. Some things just never click for me without a video.

I found a bunch of tutorials on taaniko, more than I honestly had expected. And the ones I chose to watch not only demystified the art, but also de-complicated the book. What I saw in the videos was far simpler than the book had been. Then I made an attempt in acrylic that went a little bit better. Then a fourth one in acrylic that went even better, and I began a fifth in unmercerized cotton that is only slightly better than the fourth, but the key is that I improved each time, and I’m proud of that.

The funny thing is that, watching the videos, it looks simple and easy, and in a way, it is. At its most basic, you’re twining two different colored wefts around your warp threads. That’s it. If you want color A to be visible, put color A overtop of your warp. If you want color B to be visible, twist the weft until B is on top.

It sounds simple. It looks simple.

It’s not simple at all, and yet it is.

I’m still working on my fourth and fifth attempts, and I’m just beginning to maybe-perhaps-possibly figure out how it works. I’ve given up on trying to follow even the easiest pattern yet, and just get the hang of getting the twining itself right, and the color changes. When you look at my photos, you can see there are mistakes…lots of mistakes. And I kept going because right now, it’s not about getting it perfect. It’s about figuring it out. Getting it right comes a little bit later.

It’s been a bit less frustrating than fingerweaving was. That, pardon my language, royally pissed. Me. Off. For years. I could not get it right. I couldn’t even get it going. I can now, but it has taken me nearly ten years to get to this point. Taaniko, thankfully, clicked a bit better! And yes, I do intend to continue with it, because it’s fun for me.

Monk’s belt patterns

I also tried out monk’s belt patterns on my new Windhaven Ukulele. And, by the way, I couldn’t be happier with both of the Windhaven looms, and I plan on getting at least one more, if not two.

But anyway: monk’s belt. It was a different kind of bandweaving for me. Dressing the loom was different than I’ve ever done before, and bandweaving has always been warp-faced before, but monk’s belt is weft-faced, which made it weird for me. With a monk’s belt chart, the only threads you actually manipulate are the pattern threads. The other threads just change sheds back and forth and don’t get manipulated at all, really. They’re really just there to help anchor your weft down; that’s the only way I can think to explain it. Weird, but pretty. Naturally, I’d had to try it because, new loom, and Celtic knotwork! Once I’d seen that, there was no way I wasn’t trying it!

Well, I think I’ve babbled enough on this post. I’d better get to bed!!!!

The results of the micro macrame sampler

As I patiently wait for my Windhaven Ukulele, and not so patiently wait for the European rigid heddles, I’ve been playing with different things, as I’ve been posting (Windhaven has been great about updating folks. The European company seems to be unconcerned about the lateness of its order.). Ply-split braiding continues to go well, but I’ve also been playing with micro macrame and fingerweaving.

I’m not particularly good at either one, although I’d like to say I’m getting better at both. I don’t know if that’s strictly true, but it’s what I’d like to say!

With micro macrame, it’s not tying the knots that causes difficulty, it’s getting them to line up properly and actually look good. I keep redoing the one tutorial DVD that I have, because it covers all of the basic knots. It’s definitely going to take more practice!

Fingerweaving is something I’ve tried several times over the years, and always failed at. Of all the different types of weaving, this and tabletweaving are the ones that give me the most trouble. Years have passed, and that still holds true. I haven’t completely given up on either one, though. And this is the furthest I’ve ever gotten with fingerweaving!

The third fingerweaving attempt.

The first two pieces, I anchored the weaving to a clipboard, which doesn’t work as well as I had hoped it would. It does fine for the first few rows, but as the piece gets longer, well, there’s no take-up rod to enable you to keep your hands in a good position to keep weaving. I tried a couple of things that didn’t work, so those two pieces are necessarily short.

Finally, I decided to pull out my 10″ Schacht Cricket, and anchoring to that has worked out a little bit better. My selvedges still need work…a lot of work…but the weaving itself is getting somewhat easier.

Ideally, with fingerweaving, you’re supposed to anchor to the back of a chair, a nail on the wall, something like that, but the Cricket seems better to me. I like having a take-up rod.

It’s a little strange, not having the weaving anchored at both ends, as that’s what I’m used to, but I can see the appeal of fingerweaving.

Speaking of fingerweaving, there’s a Maori woman who has posted in a couple of the Facebook weaving groups, and she does traditional Maori work called taaniko that looks a lot like fingerweaving, and they’re not small pieces!!!!! It’s interesting to watch her videos. They’re not teaching videos, they’re demonstrations, and her fingers just fly. It’s something I’d love to learn. Yeah, I know, another fiber hobby. As if I need more. But in my defense, I think every type of weaving has something to teach that helps with other types.

Great defense, right? It’s even true!

I learned something else, too. I was watching a Taprootvideo class by Carol James on fingerweaving, and she has a different way of changing sheds on her weaving. So, naturally, I tried to do it her way…and screwed everything up. Moral of that story: if you have your own way of doing things, and it works, don’t change it to someone else’s way just because!!!

More Tour

Still fighting with the Spindle from Hell.

I’ve been trying to challenge myself in spinning during this Tour de Fleece, and to that end, I’m trying harder to learn more about using my more difficult spindles, get better at consistent yarn thicknesses on the wheel and the spindles, and trying out fiber I’ve never used before. I even gave my blending board a shot.

These self-challenges have brought me back to the Spindle of the Damned, the spindle from hell: the Scottish dealgan.

I cannot emphasize enough how difficult this thing is to use. I am wearing out my cuss word stockpile. It’s supposed to be a drop spindle, and the operative word, here, is “drop”, something that it does constantly. I have resorted to park-and-draft spinning to build up a cop on it. Apparently spinning on it improves once you have a buildup of yarn. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Normally, spinning is a very calming activity for me, on the wheel and every spindle I own…except this one. I refuse to be beaten by it, but it’s very difficult not to throw it across the room.

I’ve had much better luck from the Mayan spindle. I now have two of them. While scrolling through a weaving hashtag on Instagram, I came across a weaver with an absolutely stunning shuttle, so I asked her where she got it, and she directed me to the woodcarver’s profile (I haven’t decided whether her help falls under networking or enabling. I think it depends on which side of the transaction you’re on. If you’re the carver, it’s networking. If you’re the weaver, it’s enabling. Makes sense to me.).

My new sugar glider Mayan spindle, and the tiny bit of yarn I spun on it so far, wound onto a nostepinne.

This gentleman does beautiful carving, and he doesn’t use power tools at all. He does it all the old-fashioned way: with a pocketknife. Knowing that makes looking at his work all the more impressive. No laser, no lathe, no chainsaw, just a simple pocketknife. He has a waiting list, and no wonder! I made sure to get myself on it, and told him I wanted a Mayan spindle, a shuttle, and what he calls a tall whorl spindle, which means the whorl is several inches tall.

I mentioned my likes–sugar gliders, Arctic dogs, etc.–and left it up to him to decide what image went on the Mayan spindle. I am now the proud owner of a sugar glider Mayan spindle. He’d never heard of them before I brought them up, but he did justice to the tiny terrorists, and the spindle arrived yesterday.

That meant it had to be tried out immediately, of course, and since my gliders are special to me, to honor them, the fiber had to be special too. I have a tote dedicated to spinning fiber, so I dug in, and came out with a package of a yak-silk blend that I’d forgotten I even had. Beautiful, soft stuff! And onto the spindle it went. I was not disappointed by the yarn or the spindle. Both are beautiful.

The blending board experiment was much less successful. The less said about that, the better. Lol. Granted, it was only my first time using it, but it was still pretty bad, even based upon lack of experience. I’ll try again, but I won’t show what happened this time!

Since I’m just about out of the muga silk on Anansi, I think I’m going to go fight with the dealgan some more, and see if I can’t narrow the gap between its score and mine. Wish me luck!


Ply-split braid

Tour de Fleece is a yarn-spinning event, created about fifteen years ago to run concurrently with Tour de France. You know, because we’re all using spinning wheels, although in different ways. They’re riding bikes, we’re making yarn.

Basically, it’s kind of a challenge, to yourself. You set a goal to reach by the end of the tour, whether it’s to spin a certain amount of yardage, a certain type of yarn, whatever you want your goal to be. And initially, it was an online thing. Now, in some places, such as Colorado, it’s an annual guild event.

I never participated before; there was always something else I had to do during such things. And technically speaking, I guess I’m not really even participating now. I’m not on a team (yes, that’s a thing), nor have I joined an online TDF group. I am spinning at home, with no particular goal in mind, just a plan to spin until the tour is over and see what I’ve got. So I’ve buckled down to the gold muga silk that I had started a little bit back, and am now close to the end of my supply, with a nearly full bobbin. I’m not sure the little I have left to spin is going to actually finish filling the bobbin, but that’s okay.

I’ve been spinning all day, for the most part, but now I’m taking a break because my hand is tired of drafting out the silk. It’s hard to make myself stop spinning, because, like everything else, you get into a rhythm. Sometimes I even zone out completely; it’s that peaceful. But as I said, my hand was beginning to raise objections, and so I stopped for the evening. That, of course, does not mean that I didn’t pick something else up. Yes, it was the ply-split braiding.

I actually am improving. I don’t know if you can see it in the photo, but there’s a safety pin on one of the edges. You start the band in the center and work outwards, first on one half, then the other. The safety pin marks the starting point, and I can see the difference between the first half and the second half that isn’t done yet. The first half starts out not pulled in tightly enough; my edges are inconsistent. In some places the band is wider, but as you get to the end of that side, it starts to draw in more. The band becomes narrower, the edges are smoother, with fewer bumps. The second half has started out much better, already narrowed down, the cords pulled in tightly, no bumps along the edges. So I can definitely see improvement. Once I’m sure I’m being consistent most of the time, I’ll try a different pattern.

The funny thing is, there seem to be a finite number of patterns available on the net, and even in the books I have. Different authors show the same patterns, as do Pinterest and Instagram, and I find myself wondering why that is, if it’s something about this style of braid that is self-limiting. When I do a search on Google or Pinterest or Instagram, I see the same patterns over and over again, in different colors, and there truly aren’t that many patterns. It appears that there is more flexibility if you use ply-split braiding for making baskets. Something to research, I suppose.

Incorrect braid, but still pretty

I bought a ply-split project from Etsy a few days ago, a pdf pattern, and I’ve been dying to try it out, which is why I spent the better part of the day a couple of days ago making cord. The piece calls for 24 cords, in five different colors. Eight of one, and four each for the rest.

I used Scheepjes Catona for the cord. Since trying it out, it has rapidly become my go-to yarn. The colors are gorgeous, and the yarn is soft and strong. Love, love, love this yarn, and I wish it was more easily accessible here in the States. Shopping online is great, but nothing replaces viewing an item with your own eyes.

I didn’t realize how time-consuming the cordmaking would be. The battery-powered cordmaker can only do so much so quickly, unlike the drill-driven cordmaker I’ve seen in videos. But though my setup isn’t the best, the job got done.

What I’ve learned, though, is that I didn’t pay quite enough attention to detail as I thought with the cordmaking. Yup. I posted a pic in the Facebook group and asked if I’d done everything correctly, and it seems that though my cords are made with 4 strands, they are still 2-ply cords. Why? Because the four strands were to be twisted separately, then be twisted together. What yours truly did was twist two strands together, then twist all four.


It would be the one time I post a video that I did it wrong, wouldn’t it?!

New cords, this time made properly!

I’m going to finish the pattern anyway, then try to make my cords correctly and do the pattern again. The piece I currently have is still pretty, if incorrect, and I figure since I can’t use those cords for anything else, I might as well finish what I started. It is giving me a feel for how to place the gripfid, which is a good thing. And I have gone back and made more cords, properly. I definitely need a better setup for cordmaking, and that means getting into the garage to find the other cordmaker. I’ll get there…eventually.

As much as I’m finding that I’m enjoying ply-split braiding, it also leaves me in a bit of a quandary, because Scheepjes Catona doesn’t come in huge skeins. So far, when I make cords, I use two four-yard lengths of yarn for one cord. If I need four cords of one color, that’s already sixteen yards used…that’s a significant amount of the skein. It means that if another project comes up, I will have to buy more yarn. Not that that is a hardship, mind, and a skein isn’t expensive at $3.85, but there are 109 colors in the Catona colorway. I’m trying to have at least one full skein of each color on hand, because I use Catona in weaving, crochet, and now ply-split braiding. Having multiple skeins of each color is going to get pricey quick, and having multiples would be the ideal situation. My wallet, however, is screaming at even the idea. Can you hear it? I think there might be tears…

Maybe what I should do is a destash trade kind of thing. I’ve been trying to get away from acrylic yarn, of which I have plenty. Maybe someone would trade away their Catona. Hmmm…

On the left, the new braid, with different colors, and proper cords

So that’s the quandary: I need a large amount of the Catona if I’m going to use it in those three crafts. Something I’ll have to work on.

Today, I started the same pattern over again, with different colors, proper cords, and there is a noticeable difference. I haven’t quite finished the first, incorrect one, but I really wanted to try doing it right. One mistake I made, right off the bat, is using black as the dominant color. I wanted to make the colors pop, and they do, but I didn’t stop to think about the fact that seeing the plies is really, really difficult. As in, I can’t work on this one in the living room. I need to be in the studio at my desk, with the magnifying light on. 

Once I got it going, I didn’t need the magnifier so much anymore, and I think I can thank the time I’ve spent on the other braid for that, getting a feel for where the fid needs to go. I’m beginning to be able to see it in this braid as well, and starting to go a little faster. It’s fun, and the pattern really isn’t hard. Once you’ve done a couple of repeats, you can look at it and know where you are and what you need to do next.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with these two braids, but I’m sure my children will have ideas of their own, and will claim them if I don’t have an instant answer to that question!

Ply-split keychain-become-choker

I haven’t felt like doing much weaving the past two days. Sciatica has been flaring up across my whole lower back, and the only way I’m actually comfortable is standing up or lying down. But I still needed to do something that involved yarn. Because, of course, right? Well, ply-split braiding is another one of those things that hit my radar when I learned to weave, and I really had an interest, but buying pre-made cord for it can get really expensive, really fast. So I watched videos on how to make my own cord, and years ago, I bought a battery-powered cord maker to attempt it, but the stupid thing and I could not get along, much like the previously mentioned dealgan. The cord I made was far too loose to work with, and I couldn’t figure out why. I blamed the cord maker, as everything I read and watched said it wasn’t an ideal way to make cord. I put it back in its box and put it away, and looked for the item that research had told me was the best way to go about making my own cords. It’s a cordmaker that attaches to a drill, and is also very pricey. As in close to $300. It took a few years before I finally bought one, only to realize I didn’t have the best setup to use it. Into my desk it went, until the day I had a better setup, and I bought a few hanks of pre-made cord. As I expected, it’s not really cost effective to buy it that way. For a tiny project, you can get away with it, especially if you’re only doing one project, but if you’re going to spend any significant amount of time doing this, you honestly need to make your own cord.

I still had some pre-made left, so yesterday I began to play with it. I started out to make a keychain, and it quickly decided to become a choker. A choker, I might add, that Aneira wasted no time in claiming. I let her have it. It looked better on her anyway.

I should explain what ply-split braiding actually is.

Made-by-me cords for ply-split braiding

The easiest explanation I can give you, seeing that I’m an utter novice, is you start with a number of four-ply cords, however many your project calls for, and a little item called a gripfid. From what I’ve seen, those are usually made from hollow metal knitting needles. The metal is removed from an area near the tip, exposing the hollow space. What you’re going to do is insert the gripfid, tip first, between the plies (plys?), so you will have two plies on top of the fid, and two beneath. You do this through all of your cords except the last one. That one, the end with the aglet is inserted into the hollow space of the fid, so it’s inside of it. Then you draw the fid back out the way it came, pulling that last cord through the others. Pretty cool. That last cord becomes your first now, and on your next pass, it’s the first one you split with the fid. That’s the simplest way I can explain it. I hope it makes sense.

Having the choker turn out so well led me to wanting to try another project, but I didn’t have enough cord, and I went looking for my expensive, never-been-used cordmaker, and discovered it’s not in the studio, which means it’s in the garage, somewhere amongst the boxes that we have yet to unpack. The cheaper, not-ideal cordmaker, however, was right in plain sight. So I shrugged my shoulders, and decided to give it the old college try again.

Would you believe that this time I finally figured it out and managed to make some decent cord?! I’m in shock. No, the battery-powered cordmaker isn’t ideal, but I’ve gotten it to work. Twelve more cords to go, and I’ll have enough for the next project.

I even did a video of making the cord, this time. I’ve never posted a video before, so we’ll see how this plays out. If it works, I would suggest playing it without the sound. I have no idea how to edit out the loud, annoying motor sound!

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