Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

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!



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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.

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Today I managed three posts!!! Yes!!

Well, I can’t lie…the other two were done and sitting in my drafts, waiting…they weren’t all written today! But this one is. I’m still happily inkling along, but I wanted to show you some things that were new and interesting to me, and had to be tried. I came across one, I don’t remember where, and in looking for it, ran across the other.

As you can see in the picture, there are a slew of new spindles here. The purple one is a Peruvian chac-chac from Straddle Creek Spins. That one has a captured ring that is supposed to rattle as you spin…I have yet to manage to make it do so. The five to the right are from Mirkwood Arts. I am a proud fantasy geek, so just the shop name alone was enough to make me look. But all the spindles are aptly named as well (not by me, this time!!!). And naturally, there was a spindle club that I had to join, because what kind of geek would I be if I didn’t?! The first one to the right of the chac-chac is Fili, the next is Idril Celebrindal, then Legolas, then Bettina’s Rainbow (the only non-Tolkienesque spindle), and finally Haldir. They’re not pictured in order of receipt. They’re gorgeous supported spindles, and spin quite well!

The last two, to the left, are the ones I wanted to show you. The one with the fiber is called a txoatile, from the Basque area of Spain. It intrigued me because I’d never seen a spindle like it before, although it resembles a Turkish spindle, a bit. I’m still getting the hang of spinning with it; it doesn’t spin as easily as a drop spindle.

The one between it and the chac-chac is a Scottish dealgan, another one I hadn’t seen before, and therefore had to have (do you see a pattern forming here?). “Dealgan” is actually pronounced “Jelligan”. This is where you learn that all of the Irish and Scottish names we hear in the US are, for the most part, mispronounced. “Caitlin” is not pronounced “Kate Lynn”. It is pronounced “Kathleen”. “Aislynn” is not “Aze Lynn”, as I had thought, but “Ashlynn”. Pretty cool, right? So many names like that. Duncan? “Dhonncaidh”. If I’d had a son, that might have been his name, spelled exactly like that. Like I said, geek. So: jelligan, which I would never have tumbled to.

The dealgan and I are still having words with each other. There are videos about spinning each on YouTube, and I bought both from Muddy Duck Workshop. I’ll get the hang of them soon; they only arrived yesterday!

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Enjoying the Mayan spinner!

Not much weaving got done today. Okay, no weaving got done today. Now that I’ve finally figured out the Mayan spinner, I’ve been having fun playing with it. Currently, I’m spinning some more of the sea-green merino that I posted previously. I want to see how much yarn the spinner can carry before moving it to the plying tool. And it’s just fun to spin. I’ve never done park-and-draft spinning before. All of my spindles, whether supported or drop spindles, and my wheel, operate on drafting while spinning. It’s not that they can’t be used for park-and-draft, but you don’t have to spin that way. With the Mayan spinner, it’s a requirement. You spin it for a few rounds, park it between your knees to hold it steady, and you draft your fiber out, then repeat. It’s a slow way to spin, but it has its good points. For one thing, for me, at least, it’s easier to maintain a consistent thickness in the yarn. Not that there haven’t been mistakes in that department, because there have, but fewer than I’ve made before on the wheel or a drop spindle.

I tried a different fiber on it earlier…well, yesterday, now. I have a huge ball of pink sari silk roving that I’d never used before, so I gave it a shot. It didn’t work well. It may be my fault, it may be the silk, but the staple is so short, which I’ve never seen in silk before, and it’s so clumpy, that I couldn’t do anything with it on the Mayan spinner. I’m honestly not sure I can do anything with it at all, but I’ll try it on the wheel and see how that goes.

Short staple of sari silk. Keyboard for scale.

Merino is much easier than the sari silk on this spinner. Can one call it a spindle? Well, whatever term you use, it’s fun. Bryony has already asked for a new spinning lesson, using the Mayan spinner. We’re going to try it. If she manages to get through one lesson without quitting, which is her normal modus operandi, then I’ll consider buying her a spinner of her own, to be kept in the studio. I have to admit that it would be nice to have one child who enjoys fiber-y stuff as much as I do. Of course, I’m pretty sure my own mother said the same thing as she watched me turn my nose up at knitting.

It’s time to give the spinner a break for awhile. I want to do some more weaving!

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Andean plyer (L), Mayan spinner (R)

Two posts in one day!!!

I’ve had this Mayan spinner and Andean plyer for years, and for years, I couldn’t figure out how to use either one, no matter how many videos I watched. So they sat in the drawer, unused, other than to be admired.

Until this morning, when I finally saw a YouTube video that clicked, and I made a bit of yarn using the spinner. It took a few tries, but finally, success! I’m actually quite proud of it! Plying was a different issue: my understanding of the word “plyer” was that it did the actual plying of the yarn, and it most emphatically does not. What it does do is bring the two ends of your spun yarn together so that you can ply it on your chosen spinner, whether it’s your wheel, your spindle, or, in this case, your Mayan spinner, and it does it in such a way that it doesn’t tangle. So I spun the yarn, wrapped it onto the plyer, then plied it on the spinner by spinning it in the opposite direction than I did while spinning the yarn in the first place. Woohoo! Success. I don’t see myself making an entire skein this way — I do have a wheel, after all — but I may try a bit more yarn than I made today!

Two-ply yarn, plied on the Mayan spinner

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Several rows of Apache Trail of Tears in Scheepjes Catona.

The governor of North Carolina has issued a statewide “shelter in place” order, effective this coming Monday. Not that we weren’t pretty much doing that anyway, but now it’s official, and it’s a class 2 misdemeanor if you don’t follow it. Not a problem; I have every intention of following it. But sanity, what little of that I can claim, is now seriously lacking, what with the girls home until at least May 15th, and having to homeschool Bryony.

I have learned that I am not cut out to be a teacher. I’ve always respected them, but my respect has increased since dealing with Bryony’s schoolwork. She knows exactly what buttons to push to piss me off, and does so every chance she gets. I know she doesn’t behave like this at school, at least not with adults, but at home, when it comes to schoolwork, it is the stuff of nightmares. Teachers have twenty or more children to deal with per class. I can barely tolerate my one. If I had to go into a classroom to teach, I’d be out of work in less than a week. I don’t know how they do it. My hat is off to them!

As you can see, retaining my temper and staying out of prison is key at this point. To that end, I’ve got a number of works in progress going. As mentioned previously, there’s the attempt at soutache, a weaving project, and a spinning project. I’ve added another one, as if I didn’t give myself enough already. But there’s a blanket pattern I really, really love, and I’ve wanted to try it for a couple of years. And it so happens that I also have this box of Scheepjes Catona cotton. There are 109 little skeins of yarn, the entire colorway, and they’re perfect for this blanket, which has what I consider an odd name: Apache Trail of Tears. It’s odd, because historically speaking, the Cherokee move west to Oklahoma is called the Trail of Tears. I’ve never heard anything Apache referred to by that name, except for this blanket pattern.

Educational note for those interested: Cherokee and Apache are the European names for the nations. They don’t call themselves by those names. The Cherokee call themselves Tsalagi. The Apache call themselves Inde.

Anyway, I’ve started the blanket after watching several tutorials on it. I had to do that, because for some reason, anything that involves front post crochet is difficult for me, which means waffle stitch and this blanket, among others. I don’t exactly hate front post crochet, but it’s not my favorite thing to do either, simply because it never seems to look right when I do it. I’ve seen other crocheters do it, and it looks perfect. The front post stitches are absolutely ramrod straight, where mine are invariably curved or diagonal or some other nonsense. And I have a lot of trouble keeping track of which stitches to skip because I’ve crocheted around a post. The good thing about this particular pattern is that once you’ve got the first row of “tears” (ie front post crochet) done, every row thereafter, the post goes next to the one from the previous row, so I don’t need the stitch markers, or to keep track of too much. The repeat is an odd number of stitches, as in odds/evens, not strangeness. I chose to do mine as a repeat of 7, so it’s six single crochet, then a triple crochet tear, and it continues that way across the row. Since I know where the next tear is going to be, I count backward six stitches from that point to my most recent tear, instead of moving it aside to see what stitch to skip. It seems to work better for me that way.

I’m truly loving the Scheepjes Catona. I really wish the larger skeins were available locally! The skeins in the Color Pack boxes are tiny, 10 grams each, which works out to 25 meters of yarn per skein. I’m horrible with math, so I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that is in our American math system, and I’m not even going to try. Suffice it to say, it’s not as though you can use a single skein to make something like a scarf. My blanket is 322 stitches across, so I’m doing one row in each color. I do still have yarn left in the skein at the end of the row, but I don’t know that there’s enough to make it across a second row. I guess I’ll find out after I’ve done 109 rows, then I’ll pick up some of the leftover yarn and try to get across a second row!

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Silk roving hanging off Anansi.

I did get that warp on the loom, finally, and made five placemats with it. They aren’t as perfect as I’d like, particularly as I forgot to count the picks, so was going by measuring only, but they’re not horrible. I also didn’t leave enough room between mats, which is another thing I’ll remember to do next time I have a large warp. So, I’m not going to put the photos up.

I’m now giving thought to what I want to do next. I want to get two warps going, one on my Flip, and one on the Mighty Wolf, and I also want to try out overshot weaving. So I’m doing some thinking about it. I’ve gotten the warp onto the Flip, but haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with the Mighty Wolf. In the meantime, I dragged out my book on crocheting socks. I’d wanted to try that out for a long time, so I decided to do it while in between weaving projects. I made two pairs, and was actually very happy with both of them. The second pair was yoga socks, so they have neither heel nor toe, and that actually made them a bit difficult to crochet, because one side of the heel begins with a long chain, and getting the chain to be loose enough is the problem. Mine are both a bit tight, though the second one is looser than the first. If I opt to make them again, I’ll need to make them looser still. But they were fun to make.

First pair of crocheted socks

I have silk spinning on Anansi. That’s what I’m doing as I try to figure out what to weave next. When I started this entry, coronavirus was not quite as prevalent as it is right now. Or maybe I should say, it wasn’t known in the US to be the threat we now know it to be. Now, all of the schools in North Carolina are closed for the next two weeks, and the children will be home, which means finding something to do is now a necessity!!!

I guess it’s a good thing I have so much yarn…I have a feeling I’m going to be using quite a bit of it!

Crocheted yoga socks

While the children are thrilled to be out of school, they’re also bored being confined to the house. Hubby has to work, which isn’t making things any easier. Because of my medical history, I’m immunocompromised, so I’m extremely reluctant to have company or be company nowadays. Social distancing is the new watchword. So Facebook sees a lot of me when I feel the need to be social now!

Besides spinning, I’ve been entertaining the kids by making slime, and of course there are the normal chores that need to be done every day. I was surprised at how much fun I had making slime. I’d never done it before, and the word “slime” does not exactly imply fun to me, but it was. We actually made two batches of normal slime, and one of fluffy. Two batches, we used a few drops of essential oils to scent them. My fluffy slime smells like cloves, which has good memories for me, but the kids don’t like the scent. C’est la vie!

When I began this post, I hadn’t finished spinning the silk, but it is now done and skeined. It isn’t my best effort, although, for not having used my wheel in three years, I think it’s pretty good. But the consistency is, in reality, pretty bad. In some places, it’s the thickness I wanted, but in most others it’s either too thick, or too thin, and when plying it, it broke a couple of times. All in all, while it could be worse, it could also be much better. In hindsight, I really shouldn’t have started with silk, although it’s one of my favorite fibers to spin. I have a tote absolutely full of different types of silk waiting to be spun. I also have a lot of much less expensive merino that I probably should have spun first. From a financial standpoint, it’s much more forgiving!

Spun, plied, and skeined silk

After skeining the silk on my niddy-noddy this evening, I went on a hunt through my totes to see what I could use for practice, and came across a bag that I’d forgotten about: a bunch of roving purchased from a well-known, foreign, online website. This bag was purchased roughly three years ago, and is full of tiny bags of roving. It is also the crappiest roving I’ve ever had the dubious pleasure of touching. Aneira is not a spinner, but she touched this stuff and one of the merino rovings I purchased from an LYS here, and she could feel the difference in quality. This stuff feels horrible in the hand. As in, you wouldn’t want anything you made from it close to your skin. But it is good for one thing: practice!!!

Sif investigating the really cheap roving!

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While still unpacking, I’m also getting back to work here, and setting up the new studio, while it hasn’t been a breeze, well, it’s getting done. Sometimes it seems as though the majority of the boxes belonged to the studio! And though it’s roomier than the last, it is quickly reaching the cluttered stage.

There are new things in here that I can’t wait to use! The takadai/ayatakedai I ordered a year or so ago arrived, and I’m dying to try it. Along with that, there is a core stand for doing kumihimo braids that have, well…a core. Plus, I finally sold the Leclerc Nilus loom, and bought my dream loom, the Schacht Mighty Wolf. That was a “squeeeeeee” moment for me: 50th anniversary loom in cherry wood. Setting it up was…interesting. It’s heavy, and getting the Wolf stroller onto the legs was not fun. But she’s all set up, though still unnamed, and ready to go. And I bought her a gift of her own: a warping mill, which can carry a much bigger warp than the board can. So all four of those items have definitely contributed to the “bursting at the seams” scenario I’ve got going on here.

I’ve gotten back to chain maille as well, and I’m building up my ring stash. I’m also trying out metals and sizes that I’ve never used before, and learning new weaves. I’ve also covered the studio in dragons lol. I love them, so there are figurines and ornaments quite literally everywhere in here. Maybe they’ll bring good luck!

All of this is moving toward really getting the Etsy store underway. The girls wanted to sell their Rainbow Loom bracelets in order to earn their own money, so they’re already listed in my store. Now I’m working on building up my own inventory. I want to make this store productive, and I’d like to start hitting craft shows and such too.

I’ve had my first official customer, too!! She wanted a sterling silver bracelet in Byzantine weave, and that went out in the mail last week. When I spoke to her after she got it, she was very happy, which makes me happy. We’ve been friends since we were both little, so it was really important to me that I get the bracelet right for her, and the fact that I did, so my work is appreciated, well, wow…that feeling is awesome! Not many win-win situations nowadays, but this was one of them!!!

Space in here is entirely at a premium at the moment. The three new pieces of equipment are large, so that accounts for a lot of the space. My spinning wheel is still in its travel bag up in the bedroom, and there are a myriad of things still in boxes in the garage that need space in here too, but I’m not sure what box contains which items, and the movers just kind of piled everything in there in such a way that we can’t get to everything, so we have to empty out boxes in the order that we can reach them, which brings the entire house into play. Remember, this house is half the size of the last one, so space comes into play for everything, and we’ve had to get creative, particularly in the kitchen, which is much smaller than the last one!

I don’t have an actual pantry anymore…this house predates pantries becoming a common thing…so everything must go into cabinets. I honestly don’t know how I thought it would work, except to say that the kitchen looked a little bit bigger when there was nothing in it. I knew the countertops were going to be an issue right off the bat: the upper cabinets come down so low that you can’t store things like blenders or mixers on the counter. So first, we bought a metal wire shelving unit for the one bare area of the room, and that rapidly filled up with large items like the Instant Pot, the crockpot, the breadmaker, etcetera. And we were still opening kitchen boxes! So we went online to Mayfair and ordered a mobile island. Now, you have to understand the size of the kitchen, which also doubles as the laundry room (it has one of those folding door closets to contain your machines): to go across the room from the dishwasher to the fridge, you can take two normal steps for an adult, or one large one. Between the two appliances, I could lie on the floor and be touching both of them. There is not much room! But I brought in a small island anyway. I needed the storage and the extra counter space. It works…barely. It’ll work better when I can manage to get everyone to stop using it as a catch-all for stuff they put down and never pick up again, and when there are no laundry baskets in there. Sadly, I think that means it will never work better, because no one ever moves the hampers, either!

Unpacking a house kinda falls into the “Circle of Life” category. Really, don’t laugh!!! Every room is connected in some way during that time. You can’t unpack every box in the living room, because you haven’t found places to put the kitchen stuff you just unloaded onto the sofa. And you haven’t found those places because you’re waiting for the storage pieces you ordered. You can’t put the boxes of pet supplies in the glider room yet, because you haven’t quite got that room under control, because there’s a living room box in there (how did that wind up here???), because there was no more room in the living room, because there are kitchen boxes in there, because you have to actually use the kitchen so you didn’t load it with boxes. And there are bedroom boxes in the living room, studio boxes in the bedroom, clothing boxes in the garage, and so on.

I make moving sound like fun, don’t I?

It’s not. Anyone that has ever moved at least once already knows that, and those that haven’t yet experienced a move, well, you’re lucky and avoid it as long as you can!!! LOL.

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Saturday was Distaff Day, a day when a whole bunch of spinners get together somewhere and spin all day, and vendors have tables displaying their various fiber goodies. And I went, but without my beautiful Anansi, my Kromski Sonata. I haven’t maintenanced him in months. Between being in storage, the move, the unpacking, and the children, I haven’t had time. So I attended my first Distaff Day wheelless.

On the other hand, I scored a bunch of silk fiber, targhee, and yarn. I can’t complain. Then, while waiting for my lunch to be ready at a downtown restaurant, I found several tatting shuttles that weren’t in my collection, some tatting thread, and a book on knitting cables.

I needed the break that day. Bryony has been home sick since last Friday, and the PIP has it now as well. I absolutely needed to be away from the house and family for awhile.

So. Many. Wheels. Quite a few spinners turned out with their wheels, and it made me really wish I’d done the maintenance on mine sooner. There were wheels that I had looked at in the past, before Anansi joined the family, that I had not bought primarily because they were expensive. No, allow me to rephrase: Anansi was expensive. The wheels I had looked at and not bought were way outside my wheel budget. As in over $1000. As in ouch.

I’m realizing, though, that I may actually need a second wheel. Anansi always has Siberian Husky fur loaded up, being my primary (read, only) wheel. I have a ton of other fiber I’d like to spin up (case in point, the quiviut sitting in my fiber box right now). A second wheel would come in handy. I would love to have the Golding Celtic Queen wheel, but the price tag on that one starts at $11,500. They carry floor looms too, and those start at nearly the same. I can look, and I can daydream, but reality dictates that I can’t buy. And I’m pretty sure that even used, they would still be prohibitively expensive. Le sigh.

But I am on the lookout for a reasonably priced secondhand wheel. Good thing I’m not in a hurry.

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When you sit down and really think about the things you do and learn, sometimes it truly hits home that once upon a time, the things you consider fun were once essential life skills that made a difference in how people survived and at what level they did so.

I love the fiber arts–we know this. My blog is centered around my crafting fun and my family, so this statement comes as no surprise to anyone who actually reads my posts. And I also love to cook and find new recipes to try. Again, no surprise to anyone. But none of these things are considered essential skills anymore, unless you’re trying to get a job with companies that specialize in them. There are many, many people who don’t weave, spin, knit, crochet, cook…never mind have any proficiency in all of them at once, even if it’s only the basics. And lacking those abilities doesn’t make any difference to their lives because there’s no need to make one’s own clothes, blankets, curtains…there’s no need to cook one’s own food. Everything can be bought. You can walk into a Walmart and buy pre-cooked meals, clothing in various sizes without having to have them tailored to you…any and everything is available to you according to how much is in your bank account. How cool is that?

But what if it wasn’t? What would you do then? At that point, suddenly you realize that this talent you’ve developed because you wanted to is now in demand. The apocalypse has come, Walmart and Kmart are gone, and people have returned to the stone age. No longer can they just walk into a store and pick out whatever they want, hand over some money and walk out. Now they’ve gotta find a new old way of doing things, and there you are. You know how to make your own yarn. Your family has clothing to keep them warm during the day, and blankets to keep them cozy warm at night, because you’ve made them. And here’s an entire population of people who now need your skills, and you can basically write your own ticket. How cool is that???

But, in the absence of the zombie apocalypse, right now it’s just fun for me. There are things I simply don’t buy anymore, because now I can make them myself. In addition to the almond paste I mentioned in a previous post, I also make my own pancake syrup now–no more Log Cabin or Mrs. Butterworth’s! Throw blankets and scarves, those kind of go without saying, right? Bookmarks…well, bookmarks weren’t something I ever really spent money on anyway. I was always good with just grabbing a piece of scrap paper to mark a page. But I like to make pretty bookmarks too.

I have yet to really try my hand at making clothes, but that may be next, as I’m also trying my hand at hairpin lace, and I just don’t see any use for it in my house except as clothing! My dining room table doesn’t really lend itself to table runners or table cloths. Maybe my coffee table…

Something else I’d like to try is crotatting, or Japanese hook tatting, but I’m having a hard time finding a decent YouTube tutorial on either of those keywords, so if anyone knows of any good links, I can’t tell you how appreciative I’d be if you’d post them in the comments!!!

In family news, Bryony graduated from kindergarten, and though it was way over the top (they did the full cap and gown ceremony), my little girl did look adorable, although she thought she looked hideous. Yes, those were her exact words. I assure you, she was anything but hideous. Her hair was neat, her dimples were on full display, cuteness full blown…okay, stopping now. You get the picture.

My own graduation is looming as well. My externship is just about over, and in a week or two is my actual graduation ceremony. I cannot wait to finally be done with school. What was originally supposed to be two years has turned into four, and I’m ready to be done!

The PIP and I have settled into a routine. There is no more fighting, although there are disagreements on occasion. I can’t speak for him, but for myself, I think I’ve come to a place where my anger is gone. He is who he is, and he can’t help that. Yes, things could have been handled a lot better, but that, too, is water under the proverbial bridge. The important thing now is that no matter what, we are tied together for the rest of our lives by these two beautiful children we created together, and we owe it to them to find a happy medium. By no means have we found a perfect solution, but there is peace in the house, and the parents have returned to a united front with the kids, which means we have made progress!

We’ll never be what we were…I think we’ve both made strides in coming to terms with that fact. Too many key things have changed, the largest and most obvious being how the PIP defines his sexuality, but that is far from the only thing that has changed, although I guess you could say it was the catalyst for everything that has changed. We’re different people now. In some ways, we’ve grown farther apart, while in others we’ve grown closer. It’s hard to explain.

We still plan on sticking it out together, at least for now. There’s no way to know what the future holds in store for us. Everything is an unknown variable now. Maybe he’ll meet someone. Maybe I will. Of course, both of those scenarios are unlikely if we don’t start socializing outside of the house, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon!

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