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Archive for the ‘wire crochet’ Category

Tablet weaving loom

The last two days have been spent looking for information on 6-hole, hexagonal tablet weaving cards. I bought a set from Ampstrike about six years ago that I never used. The most common tablets are the 4-hole, square cards, and I’ve got those too. The square tablets, if labeled, generally are done ABCD clockwise around the tablet, so those were easy to do on the wooden cards. But every image I had found of the hexagonal tablets didn’t show any labels, and I wasn’t sure if they were done clockwise or not, so I couldn’t label mine until I knew, and I’d really like to use them to warp the beautiful tablet weaving loom I bought from chuckjones over the summer, which had gone directly into storage until we moved. Now it’s out, and I’ve found it, and I want to use it, of course!

It’s a good thing I waited to find out, because I’ve discovered that the 6-hole tablets are usually labeled counterclockwise ABCDEF. And I’ve been on the very-dangerous Pinterest looking for patterns to try. There are quite a few, every one in Spanish. Unfortunately, my Spanish has suffered over the years since leaving New York. The dialect I speak is Puerto Rican Spanish, but I spent sixteen years living in Arizona, where the dialect spoken is Mexican Spanish, which is very mixed with Aztec, depending on how far south in Mexico the person you’re talking to came from. After my arrival in Arizona, I learned very quickly not to admit that I spoke Spanish, because the dialects are so different from each other that I couldn’t understand it. So now, although I can still speak it (ish), and read it, unless you speak to me very slowly, I don’t understand much anymore. And there are words that I never did know. I never came across them before, because they’re related to weaving, which I wasn’t doing until six years ago, long after my language skills went to hell in a handbasket. The good thing is, because the patterns are written out and diagrammed, I can probably muddle through.

Probably.

So the tablets are all ready to go. In hunting for the labeling, though, I came across some laser-cut, wooden tablets at Wulfenbahr Arts that are fabulous. Pricy, but fabulous. They have both the 4-hole square and the 6-hole hexagonal. They’re gorgeous, and I may have to get some of each just because. You know, wooden tool fanatic that I am.

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Freshly labeled tablets

And, of course, I also need to start another wire crochet choker for Aneira. This time I’ll let her choose the color, although since she thinks she’s goth or emo or whatever the word is today, she’ll probably want it in black, which isn’t currently in my inventory. And I still need to move the floor loom into my area so we can see how well it fits…or not. It isn’t a Leclerc Artisat, like I thought. It’s a Leclerc Nilus. The only difference is that the Artisat folds, where the Nilus does not. Other than that one thing, it’s the exact same loom. I’d love to trade it for a Mighty Wolf, but until I find someone who wants to trade, I’ve got to put it somewhere. Currently, it’s sitting in front of the entertainment center, partially blocking the television.

Well, it’s 5:30 here, so I’d better get off the computer and get to cooking dinner before my family expires of starvation. Have a good night!

 

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Leg of lamb steak, with a side of basil pesto pasta. Yummy!

As you can see, I’m trying to come up with more interesting post titles, while also making sure I’m not using titles I’ve used before. It’s harder than you might expect. The blog is over a year old now, and the more posts you have on similar subjects, the more likely it becomes that you may post something with a title you’ve used before, which wouldn’t be good. I imagine the site would tell me if this is the case; at least, I hope it would!

Obviously, I’m not actually cooking with wire. But I was cooking tonight. My palate-challenged family had leftovers from a recent trip to Rasta Pasta, so I could make whatever I wanted for myself. Until I’d remembered the leftovers, I had been wracking my brain for what to cook. Not only is my family incredibly picky about food, the PIP is allergic to fish and shellfish, as in anaphylactic shock if he eats it. Canned tuna apparently is fine, because it’s so processed. Fresh fish, though…

Our doctor has told him that he has very likely outgrown the allergy by now, but I think the only way I’m going to get him to try any fish other than tuna would be to park at the emergency room and have him eat it there! That way, if the doc is wrong, and he still has the allergy, at least we’d be where he could get help.

The girls and I are huge seafood fans, so we’re really grateful that they didn’t inherit his allergy. They love shrimp and crab legs.

But all of them are extremely close-minded about anything they perceive as new or odd. The kids won’t touch curried goat or lamb in any shape or form, and neither will he. He’s also squeamish about anything with bones in it, so when I roast a chicken, I have to carve all the meat off the bones and get rid of the carcass before he lays eyes on it. He’s also not a huge fan of either chicken, pork, or steak, though he’ll eat them. His favorite meat is ground hamburger. Well, once you’ve done spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, chili, and burgers, you’ve pretty much exhausted what you can do with it. There are about a billion variations of those recipes, where you add or take away ingredients, but you’re still talking about meatloaf, etc. I’ve been hunting for new things to do with it that everyone will actually eat without complaint.

Tonight, though, I was cooking for me, which gave me a lot more choices, and I didn’t know what I wanted, so I was flipping through recipe books.

Let me tell you something: Costco has a different set of recipe books for sale every time I walk into the store, and I always make the mistake of stopping to look at them because I’m aware of that fact. And every time, I find one (or more) that interests me. Usually at least two. And I’ve been building up my cookbook collection thanks to Costco. So I hit these books tonight, looking for inspiration. In the end, I decided to make a leg of lamb steak with pesto pasta. I have a very deep love affair with pesto. In Arizona, there’s a sandwich shop called Baggins, and when I first arrived in Tucson, they carried pesto pasta salad that was absolutely delicious. I’ve been trying to recreate it since they discontinued it a year later. I haven’t gotten it yet. I’ve gotten close, but not quite there. One day I’ll attempt to make pesto from scratch. I’ve been using store bought pesto, adding pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and diced bell pepper. It’s been good, but it falls short of Baggins’ version. One day, though, I will get it right.

Practice piece of Yoola Infinity Necklace.

I finished up the practice infinity necklace. It was going to go to Aneira, but then I realized that it was really more of a practice piece. There are so many mistakes in it, loops of different sizes and such. Toward the end, I think I finally got a grasp on it. The loops became a lot more uniform, but that only happened within the last fifty rounds. I also accidentally cut some of the purple wires in the process of cutting off the hot pink base, which meant I lost the tail that was supposed to be used to lash the two sides of the end together, so I had to unravel about four rows back to get the right length tail for the purpose.

Now that I think I have a grasp on what I’m doing, I’m going to start a new one. I have some 28 gauge, dead soft sterling silver wire that I think would look fantastic with that design, but I think I may try it again with craft wire first. Craft wire is a bit less expensive if I screw up, and like I said, I think I have a grasp on what I’m doing! Until I can say I’m absolutely certain I know what I’m doing, I should probably save the good stuff!

 

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Longer than the last time I posted my progress!

This title refers to both the wire crochet and my little craft studio. Both are making small steps forward. The wire crochet tube is quite a bit longer than it was when I posted a picture of it previously, although it still has a way to go. And I’m debating over whether or not I want to follow the artist’s design or not. I have some mighty fine draw plates; maybe just pull it through and turn it into a chain.

Draw plates are fun. I discovered that a few years ago. It’s usually a piece of wood, with a number of small holes drilled through it, stepping up in size. You pull your work through the one closest to its size, then through the next one down, which stretches the work and narrows the tube. You take it down as far as you like or can, and the chain becomes narrower and longer as you go. I have several plates here, but have never had a reason to use them since my jewelry class in college, and even then, the one I used at school wasn’t one of mine. None of mine have ever been used, and two of them I’ve had for at least six years!

The studio is now empty of boxes, although it doesn’t follow that there are no more boxes full of fiber arts stuff. There is no doubt in my mind that there are at least two more boxes floating around here somewhere. And though the boxes themselves are gone, I still haven’t found places for every little thing. When you have a collection of like items, like cone or skein yarn, it’s easy to put them away as a group. It’s all those tiny, miscellaneous things that don’t fit in this category or that one that cause all the clutter, and those are piled on the floor next to, under, and on top of my desk. But enough of the area is cleared out that if I just shift some things from one side of the room to the other, I’ll be able to move the loom back here soon. And I really want to get back to spinning. I’ve got a lot of fiber waiting to be spun, and there’s a box full of silk roving that I’m dying to get my hands on. I’m having wheel withdrawal lol!

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“Fabric” is the key word here. I’m finding that wire crochet is fully as immersive for me as any other type of fabric creation. I’ve been at it since about 9 pm, and it’s almost midnight now. I’ve been having trouble putting it down. The only reason I did is because the wire is a bit hard on the thumb, as you’re using it to push back the top of the stitch your hook is pulling the wire through. After awhile, it’s like pressing guitar strings against the frets, until you develop calluses on your fingers. Someone suggested using a thimble in their blog, and I did attempt that, but with a thimble on my thumb, I lost grip on the work. I adapted to life without a thimble: I started using my thumbnail to push the stitch back. My nail feels nothing.

Aneira discovered tonight that it’s a choker I’m working on, and immediately asked who it was for. She pretty much danced a jig when I said “Who else would it be for?” I probably should have said it was for me, just on principle, but I didn’t.

I added about two inches worth of work to the choker tonight, maybe more, while sitting at the desk listening to my Celtic station on Pandora. And I learned that I can work the stitches without the magnifying lens, just as long as I use the LED lamp, which I’m totally okay with. Anyone sane, good vision or no, is going to say yes to good light, so I feel better about it!

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The start of Aneira’s choker. The pink wire is the base, not part of the necklace.

Well, the hooks are, anyway. I’m pretty sure craft wire is copper. But yeah, still with the wire crochet, and kicking myself for choosing what I think is the most ambitious of Yoola‘s beginner designs. It’s not that it’s difficult–once you learn how to do the stitches, it’s actually fairly easy, so long as you can see what you’re doing (yes, I’m still using the magnifier, and yes, I’m still grumbling about it). It’s a beginner design, so it’s only going to be so hard. No, the ambitious part lies in the amount of time it’s going to take to finish it. I probably should have started with a smaller project, but I know how much Aneira likes choker necklaces, soooooo…

My girls are growing up. Too fast for me, as it happens. Bryony turned eight right after Christmas. Aneira will officially be a teenager in a few months. She is only an inch or two shorter than I am (and I’m 5’10”), and regularly steals my shoes. Not that they’re fashionable, because they are far from it. I live my life in sneakers, because they are comfortable. Aneira is very much like me in that regard. Jeans, sneakers, and tee shirts are the order of every day. Neither of us is fond of dresses, but we’ll wear them if we have to. She’s no fashionista, but she is starting to enjoy jewelry and–may all benevolent gods help me–boys. She considers herself “emo”, whatever that means, and dresses in black whenever she can get away with it. And she has this love of chokers. The design is deceptively simple, and I know how much she would love it, so thus occurred my choice of project. I was not, however, entirely stupid. I know, from past experience, how hard she is on jewelry, and how quickly she loses it, so I am not using the sterling silver wire for her choker. I’m using craft wire. We’ll see how long she manages to keep this one before I consider using more expensive wire on her.

Meanwhile, the craft area is coming along. Tonight, for the first time since we moved in, I have unearthed the surface of my desk. Yay, me! I was beginning to despair of ever seeing it again. I invested in a ton of Command strips and hung all of my knitting looms on the columns of the loft. Yarn went into a bookcase that matches my desk, in an orderly fashion, while cone yarn is on the top of the bookcase, and nine other totes hold yet more yarn. I’ve still got a little ways to go, though, in finding places for all the small things still scattered on the floor.

Having my area in the loft is both a curse and a blessing. It’s a curse in that I lack two walls and a lockable door to keep kids and pets from messing around in my stuff, but it’s a blessing in that the location allows me to be a part of things and to keep an eye on the girls at the same time. Everything is a trade off, yeah?

And slowly, all of my WIPs are resurfacing as we empty boxes and bags. So far there are a couple of amigurumi, several blankets, and a few bags, all in various stages of not-finished. I guess I won’t lack for things to do throughout the winter!

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