Sunday, January 27, 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day

I read about this man many years ago, and was touched by his dedication and courage in such a terrible time.  He did what he believed to be right despite the consequences (he lost his job and live in 'disgrace' for his disobedience for much of the rest of his life), and saved thousands of people from death.

The image of Mr Sugihara leaning out of the window of the train on the way out of Lithuania, as he threw blank pieces of paper with the seal of the Japanese Consulate and his signature, because he simply could not physically write any more exit visas, has stuck with me for its beauty and heroism.

A photographic portrait of Chiune Sugihara.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Whatcha Doin'?

In spite of the crappy cellphone picture, I am quite proud of this:

From a Michaels pattern book, done in Bernat Softee Baby, and I finished it the very day the baby was born!  :D

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Roving Pr0n

OK, purple is my favorite color, so how could I resist this?

I mean, LOOK AT IT.  :D

Fiber Artemis' Etsy shop is just chock full of beautiful, muted colors: silk hankies, Polwarth, merino, Corriedale, mulberry silk, roving with all sorts of different blends...ZOMGS!  There's even some of her own handspun, if you're not a spinner, and extra bits and pieces for your own yarn if you're one of those lucky souls with a drum carder.

Oh man...I just saw that she's got a Batt Club too...It might be time to put
 my credit card in the freezer in case I completely lose control...  ;)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My New Boyfriend

I'd been lusting after The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning for a long, looooong time, and finally decided to treat myself for Giftmas...I wish I'd done it sooner, because this book is AWESOME.

Now, I am only about a quarter of the way through this large volume right now, but I can safely say I have already learnt a bunch of stuff I never knew even existed regarding spinning...One of my handspun entries in a fiber fair competition last summer was critiqued in relation to 'grist', which just made me think 'Huh?'  But good ol' Alden explains these things so clearly and concisely.

Some sections get a little too mathematical/scientific, which just makes my eyes glaze over, but having this on hand as a reference will be invaluable...There are lots of diagrams and illustrations to clarify various techniques, easy-to-understand explanations, and it all makes me think that maybe I really COULD buy a raw fleece and do my own little sheep-to-shawl all by myself!  (Please, somebody talk me out of this before the fiber festivals start this spring!!)  :D

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lipstick Chemistry

Many, many moons ago I worked as a cosmetician, but since then I have definitely fallen into a makeup rut. I like what I like, I do minimal makeup on a daily basis, and my Fancy Party Makeup has been the same for years.  But that doesn't stop me from BUYING ALL THE THINGS, because you know the advertising that tells me I will be rich, beautiful and admired if I wear Such And Such brand is all trufax.

This leads me to my makeup collection, which contains maybe 30+ lipsticks, at least half of which I bought, tried once, and realized the color was terrible or not what it appeared to be in the tube.  And throwing them all out just seemed like a giant waste of money.  Then I realized lipstick melts in your car on a hot day, so could I recycle all those icky lippies and make a color I would actually like?

I grabbed up all those old, weird colored lipsticks, as well as a couple that had been favorites and were now all used up except for bits down in the bottom of the tube.

I actually used an old dental pick I had lying around to pry the product from the tube, but something like a tiny spatula would have been much better for scraping out the very bottom of the lipstick case.  Some of the info I found online mentioned using a double boiler, but I am an impatient person, so after emptying all the lipstick out into a small jar...

I melted it in the microwave.

You don't want to boil it, or get it so hot that it burns or separates, so I just did short 15 second bursts, three times, and stirred it between each go-round.

It is really important (and I can't stress this enough) that once it is melted, put it into the container immediately.  And when I say 'immediately' I mean ZOMFGS HURRY HURRY HURRY!  The first one I did is still useable, but it is super-messy and lumpy.  Your new lipstick will pour right out of the jar easily, provided it is still very hot.

I ended up with this:

From a bunch of unwearable orangey-reds, a pink that looked like cotton candy (ugh), and some tans...AWESOME!  :D

I didn't do any real measurements, but here's the list of colors I used:

L'Oreal Timeless Tawny
Cover Girl Toasted Almond
Revlon Natural Cocoaberry
Revlon Blackberry
Revlon Smoky Violet
Revlon Mulled Wine
Clinique (unknown pink)

Google tells me you can also add a stick of lip balm to make a sheer color, or throw in one of those lipsticks with sparkle to jazz things up a bit...You could even go raid the bargain lipsticks at the drugstore and make your own custom colors!

Imma need more containers...  ;)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rav Patterns I Love

I am totally in love with this pattern from Knit Cat's Blog...


I have been keeping my eyes peeled for quick, simple patterns to use up some of the handspun I've got just lying around the house, and this is perfect!  I think I might do it flat and seam it, simply because I don't have the circs, and money's a little tight this semester, but it should work out fine.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Distaff Day

It seems that today is traditionally the first day back to work after the Christmas season, and women would begin to prepare fiber for the daily grind of spinning, while the men played pranks, and would apparently try to set the flax on fire?!?!  Whut.

Robert Herrick, “St. Distaff’s Day; or, the Morrow After Twelfth Day” (17th Century):

Partly worke and partly play
Ye must on St. Distaffs Day:
From the Plough soon free your team;
Then come home and fother them:
If the Maides a-spinning goe,
Burne the flax, and fire the tow:
Scorch their plackets, but beware
That ye singe no maidenhair.
Bring in pailes of water then,
Let the Maides bewash the men.
Give St. Distaffe all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good-night,
And next morrow every one
To his own vocation.

All I know, dude shows up with a lighter and goes for my stash, I'm breaking some heads with my good old distaff.  ;)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Experiments in Spinning: Wensleydale

So I decided a while back that I would try and expand my spinning repertoire, since I can't just sit around and spin BFL all the time.  I do not plan on discussing the debacle that ensued with the 2 oz. of camel I bought and promptly mangled into oblivion.  ;)

I got this Louet Wensleydale several months ago from Nomad Yarns, since it has a long staple, and I usually prefer that to a shorter length...I was a little surprised at the amount of VM in the roving, since it seemed to be generally well-processed.  There wasn't a LOT, but what was present were GIANT chunks.  There were also quite a number of big black guardhairs, which seemed rather odd.

The singles were a bit overtwisted (entirely my fault):

But I figured it would be fine during plying, and any additional twist issues would come out during washing and setting the twist.

The roving itself was really fuzzy...I like to predraft quite a bit, and split my roving up in preparation for spinning, but it got messy...Very messy.

Note To Self: Don't spin new roving while wearing a black shirt.  ;)

Plying ended up being a total PITA--the singles were way more overtwisted than I thought, and what I fondly believed would become a worsted-weight yarn is definitely chunky-to-bulky weight:

I'd like to try Wensleydale again, I think, with a non-overtwisted singles this time, or maybe something with a Wensleydale blend.  But not for a while...  :/

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Here We Go...

Since it's the New Year, and I've been playing with the idea of a new yarny-crafty blog for a while, I figure it's about time I did something about it, so here we are!

I am currently a university student in the Middle Bit of the United States, having escaped life in a corporate cube farm, and hoping to start grad school in the fall...A lot of this blog will be focusing on spinning (my true love), though I am also a crocheter, dyer, and the World's Worst Knitter (TM)...I do dabble in some other Crafty Chick hobbies, like cross stitch, painting, jewelry-making, and vague attempts at DIY, so these may appear from time to time...

While this is a crafty blog, it is MY little crafty blog, and a place for me to art out, blather, show off my work, post others' cool projects, etc.  As such, this is a benevolent dictatorship: comments will be moderated, opinions will be stated strongly, cusswords will be used, and anyone who gets their panties in a bunch will be mocked mercilessly.  :)

This is just a place for me to get my art on, I hope you will enjoy this crazy little corner of the Internet!