A Tale of Two Muslins

A long long time ago I warped up one of the floor looms and wove off a bunch of tweed. I didn’t really pay attention to length or width. I wasn’t sure what I wanted otu of it so any size fabric would work, right? The fabric was exactly what I hoped for but it didn’t fit any conventional pattern for a jacket that I had. I have no problem making my own patterns on the fly but still, I procrastinated. Now, I want it bad enough that I’m willing to do what it takes to make a pattern.
I took a piece of muslin and cut it to the exact dimension of the piece of fabric I had. I had an idea but I needed to cut up some fabric I didn’t care about first and see how it works. Last night this is one of the things I needed to play with. It worked out so I took out some of the seams and cut into the woven tweed.
It’s all cut now waiting to be put together…. I’m hoping this jacket will pass as my “Rhinebeck Sweater” in a couple of weeks.

Hot on the heels of Beth and her skirt, I needed to finish this one that I recently pulled off the Rigid Heddle. It was finished during my Weave-kend. This one I had measured and warped accurately for what I wanted. I was using my standard A line skirt as a pattern. I wanted it to be fully lined so I made a little muslin just to be sure that it all worked out as I thought.
Look at how that fabric goes with it.
And it’s a good thing that I made this muslin because I changed my mind and I’m making a modified pencil skirt instead of A line….More on this to come.

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I teach.

I remember being in Kindergarten doing those crazy little pages that they have kids do; “Draw what you want to be when you grow up”. I always drew a teacher. Though, at that time, I was planning on becoming an elementary school teacher. I kept this theme running right through college when my major was “Art education”. Sometime in highschool I had fallen for the arts hard and I knew that I needed to teach a specialty. Little did I know how specialized that would become.

Fast forward to today when I’m a teacher of the fiber arts. I’ve taught knitting and crochet but really I specialize in Spinning and Weaving. This was the wonderful class I taught over the weekend in Rhode Island.
If you live in the Rhode Island area and don’t already belong to this guild, why? They’re an amazing group of people and you need to really think about joining.

I came back from that class and along with regular work waiting for me is my next teaching assignment. Rhinebeck. I’m teaching 6 classes there over 4 days. Seems like a hectic schedule but I think I’m up for the task. Right now I’m working on polishing up outlines, my handouts, and making new samples. I don’t know why this is a habit of mine but I’m always making new samples when I have a class.

Somewhere along the way I figure out a better display or come up with a better way to describe and show off a particular technique. I don’t show it here but for the Gotta Have Shades Class, I decided I wanted larger samples and I ditched the notebook they were in. So all of these samples are being moved and transferred into a new home.

Or maybe I’ve just decided to ball up a sample and use it.
Then there is all the prep. Like the Get Fleeced class needs to have new fleece prepped and chose. Which one do I chose?
Maybe I’ll pick up new ones in Fryeburg in a couple of weeks… All the classes have some amount of prep. Soon, my whop will be filled with bags like these:
All kinds of goodies. Bags and bags and bags of fibers will be put together. Actually, I should be hitting the dye pots. Some of these classes use a ridiculous amount of fibers. If you’re in my classes, I hope you’re ready to make yarns. If you’re not in a class, why not? I don’t teach a lot of these classes outside of a workshop so this is one of the last few chances for this year to get some of these classes.

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The production sew

Most of my crafting is about process. Sometimes I’ll start a knitting project and not ever finish it. That’s perfectly fine by me. All the process and never a product. It works for me with the knitting and sometimes the weaving. Not that I don’t love it when I have a new sweater but I’m good with ripping an unfinished project if that’s the way it goes.

Sewing is usually not like that for me. I sew to have a garment and I have a production style way of doing it. My time is always limited so the way I do it is about getting the most bang for my buck. I often only have 30-60 minutes to work on things so I separate things out into processes. It may take a little time before I have anything finished but when I finish, I’ll end up with a whole bunch of items at once.

Part of my production process has to do with the places I like to do things. I like to do all my cutting at the shop where there is a big table in the back where my Mom does her ceramics. First, I lay out all the cloth I want to work with. We won’t even talk about the size of my cloth stash right now.

I pair them up with all the patterns I want to make. You can see some don’t have a paper pattern on it, sometimes I use a piece of ready made clothing (often one I’ve made) as a pattern. Those that don’t have a pattern on top of them, that’s what will happen to them.

That process usually takes up my 30 minutes. The next time I’ll cut everything out. I’ll keep the patterns with the cut out item and sometimes there are more than one which actually makes seaming up easier.

The next time I have time, I will seam like a madwoman. I have a serger and part of my madness of seaming but not finishing is that I would have to move my chair from one machine to the other. But also ironing in-between sometimes. I know what that sounds like but it’s true. So I’ll do all the edges that need to be serged and I’ll do all the seaming that needs to be done on the serger. This is an invaluable thing for knits. Then I’ll iron all the hems and plackets and edges and whatnot that needs to be done. This is my little stack of ironed items. 1 Washi Dress, 2 No2 Dresses, and one A-line skirt.
The other night when I was seaming I had a few other items that were knits and a couple of items that I needed to think about before ironing. The next time I get a chance, I’ll do all the hems, edges, make buttonholes, add buttons, and put in zippers. Then I’ll have a few new items to add to my wardrobe.

That’s not to say that I’ve forgotten about weaving for cloth….
I have these 2 pieces, a couple more pieces on looms, and another one that is getting a custom pattern that I’ve started a muslin for. Maybe I’ll talk about all of those soon. Weaving cloth is still pretty much my obsession at the moment.

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This weekend is going to be a weave-kend. All weave all weekend. I’ve been fairly obsessed with weaving at the moment (in comes in waves) so I’ve decided that I need a whole weekend to work on these things. I warped all the looms.

Well. I had every loom warped. Last night I finished up the project on the Cricket 15 inch (you can see the cloth there in the front). I might just stick with the 5 looms that are warped and see what I manage to complete over the weekend.

L to R:
1.Ashford Knitter’s Loom 12 inch – Panda Sock in Desert Rose – destined to be yardage for a shrug top
2.Schacht 20 inch Flip – Alpaca Tweed – this has been on the loom forever but not a single pic woven. What doesn’t get finished by the end of the weave-kend is just getting cut off and tossed.
3.Schacht 15 inch Flip – Ivory Cotton and tan linen for some wash cloths
4.Schacht Cricket 10 inch – Targhee Classic in Little Black Dress – pairing it up with some Noro Kureyon for a scarf.
5.Ashford Rigid Heddle 16 inch – Summer yarn in Little Gecko – destined to be yardage for a top.

Right now, I’m going to take this 3.5 yards of cloth out for a heavy wash/full. Some day it’s going to grow up into a skirt.

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Bizness – Lists.

This post here is going to serve as the second post in 2 series. I had a feeling the Business posting would continue regardless of comments (because I have things to say sometimes) and the Bullet Journal or journalling in general is an ongoing process for me. Back at the beginning of 2014 when I made my First post about the Bullet Journal I wasn’t sure where that would lead. The bullet journal was a revolution for me. I talked about all of that already in my posts about the journals recently. You can read about all of that in these posts of mine:
Bullet Journal
Bullet Journal 2.0
State of the Journal

Today, I want to talk about how lists (and journals/planners) impact business. They can be really important to running a business smoothly. You have things to do. Right? Sometimes tiny things, sometimes HUGE things. When the tiny things are todos, they can be easy to do on the spot or push aside. If you push them aside, maybe they get forgotten until they become a more immediate thing to do. Some people manage well without lists but many people don’t. I’m one of those people that needs lists in order to function well. Without lists I only see the big items that need to get done, I get stressed out, and I need to see that I’m accomplishing things. Lists are the things that save my bacon.

There are many ways in which to make lists and there are many postings online about other people’s lists. I’m going to show you one of the ways that I make lists and if this just doesn’t suit you, look around. There are many online tutorials and ideas. Or start with one way and then change it to work for you.

First: When I have little things to do I jot them down.
Take vitamins.
Drink more water.
Do a dye batch first thing
Run to the grain store.
All of those things I can likely remember but having a few things on a daily list that are easy to cross off can be the icing on your day. LOOK AT HOW MUCH I GOT DONE!. No, don’t read the items, just see that I filled in all those little boxes (see bullet journal to know what I mean). Plus it helps me not forget. Because if I had to push one of the little items to the next day, I’m less likely to forget it tomorrow if it’s listed.

HUGE list items. Let’s say my HUGE item is that I’m prepping for a fiber show. That could be a list item but seeing that can be overwhelming. It’s easier for me to break it down in chunks. I also assign it deadlines because that’s what I need. Solid deadlines.
Here’s an idea about how to get ready for vending at a fiber show:
And then I break it down into dated chunks:
I can then put those individual bullet items into the planner part of my journal. That particular page can get labeled and indexed like you would in a bullet journal and referred back to. Every time you do a show, you can see if these times work for you or if you need to tweak them one way or the other. If you have this listed like this, then put out in your planner, you have the list here to refer to in the future and in your planner, it helps in the immediate.

Let’s say that I had a Teaching gig – Just writing that in my planner is not going to help me. Those things can sneak up on you if you’re not expecting it.
samples, fiber for students, project sheet for them, outline for me, pack fiber and project sheets
I might even break some of that down further into which colorways the fibers are dyed in and when I’m dyeing them. If I need to order stuff like threads or something for a corespinning class, I need to have that all ordered in enough time to get it shipped in if I can’t just go pick that up somewhere. That seems like a simplistic list. I can break things out into smaller and smaller chunks and assign them deadlines so that I can get this all done in time. So when the day comes to teach, I can pack up my bags, load the truck and head out.

All of this sounds terribly organized doesn’t it? Maybe I’ll show you a picture of my desk or my closet sometime so you can see where my organizational skills fall down. Your lists can be on paper or digital. I tried digital and it just doesn’t work for me. I need the paper. I need the tactile feel. Also something about physically writing something out makes it more of a concrete thing in my mind and I remember it easier. If writing doesn’t work for you – use digital. But make your lists so you can be more effective.

Find what works for you. Like I said previously, if what you’re doing isn’t broke then there is no reason to fix it. If something could work better, change your methods.

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I still spin…

I haven’t talked much about spinning lately. I’ve been updating my teaching samples and just working on super secret stuff so I haven’t been able to talk about a lot of spinning. I did play in the MegaSAL that featured stuff from the Discworld books and 6 different dye artists. I managed to finish a skein from each of the dyers. I figured I’d take you for a walk through what I did for that.

Spunky Eclectic
Wensleydale – Octarine plied with Ginkgo

BFL – Rincewind with a wrap of mylar thread

Fat Cat Knits
SW-Merino with sparkle – Noble Dragon – 2 ply

Hello Yarn
BFL Silk – You Can’t Grow a Good Witch on Chalk plied with SE tarnished (because I wanted to make it stretch for a whole sweater’s worth) I only have 8 ounces done so far (4 oz of Chalk, 4 oz of Tarnished). I really should finish this. I want this sweater now.

Into the Whirled
Merino Silk – Quoth – 2 ply. It’s already becoming a shawl albeit very slowly.

Falkland – Magrat – Novelty singles with crazy lumps of natural spun as I was doing the singles. No plying here.

Southern Cross Fibre
Finn – Nobby – 2 ply. These will be great socks.

I have other spins going on but maybe I’ll keep those for another time as this turned out to be pretty picture heavy. I hope you’re spinning too. There is all kinds of sanity in the spin.

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State of the journal.

Hot on the heels of my last Bullet Journal post, I feel like I need to mention where I am now with this whole journalling and keeping lists thing that I do. Mainly because I’m slightly obsessed at the moment. At the end of the last post I showed a picture of a cute little case that is Field Note size. It was one that my friend Adrian made for me. I’ve been carrying that around with my A5 Rhodia for a while. I take notes, little things I want to remember and I wanted to keep separate. Yet, it hadn’t dawned on me that that size journal could be my one and only.

In walked Beth and all her pins for the Midori journal. The Midori comes in 2 sizes and Beth is all about the regular larger size which she just wrote about HERE. I had this little green leather cover and lots of Field Notes sized things already so I decided to go with the “Passport” size. I didn’t want to have to really buy much. Ok, honesty check in; I wanted to buy a ton of paper things but my budget said I wasn’t allowed to do that. I decided not to have a complete drag out fight with the budget.
Top L to R: Word Notebooks, Moleskine Volant XS, Midori Blank. Bottom L to R: Yellow Paper House, and Field Notes.

I did end up getting a new simple basic cover from ChicSparrow. The little green one just wasn’t big enough (don’t worry, I’m still using it, my farm journal is now in it and it rests at my desk). If you’re curious about exactly what I got, its the Classic Maverick in Brown. It’s just about the most perfect cover. I love it and I’ll go back there if I need another cover.
It’s perfect and as you can see, I loaded it up. However, because of it’s “Passport” size it’s still really manageable. It’s fat and happy but still really easy to hold in my hand.

Do you want to take a tour to see what’s in it? Sure you do.

First and foremost is my planner. I didn’t like the one that I purchased for this task so I printed out some pages, cut up a watercolor I had started and stapled them together into one book. I like how this works (at least for today). The 2nd half of the week – the days of the week are lost in the spine, I will need to put this over to the right in the next printing. I’ll also add a square or circle as a spot to put the date. If these turn out good, I’ll eventually share them.

Then I have my Field Notes books. One has just general notes, typical journal kind of stuff, things I want to remember. The other one has biznessy stuff. This is the one that will take the things (once full) that I will keep at my desk until I have exhausted it. Design ideas, article notes, book stuff… those kinds of things that are important to me to be at hand easily. The biggest reason I’ve felt I needed to change my journal.

The next 2 books are kind of combined on one string. I wanted to use a Moleskine Volant for a daily exercise that I do. I have used Volants for this for quite some time and it’s always been a separate book that I’ve had to carry around. What a revelation if I could have it all in one. If you’re familiar with the Volant books you would know that it’s bound different than all the other books I’m using for this. The Midori system is based on everything being held by the spine elastics. If you don’t know what I mean, there are links below on how the Midori system works. I had to come up with a way to make this work if I wanted to use it. Paper clips are the key here. Or at least it was for me.
I bent the clip up into a large eye hook with about 1.5 inches straight going into the spine of the book. I did 2 clips, one for each end of the book and inserted them.
Then I untied the elastic string that would hold it all together, fed them through the hooks and retied it.
This method and the size of the Volant allows me to still have use of that string with a smaller sized book like the Midori passport. That’s exactly what I did. I inserted a Midori sketch (blank) book in this spot.

The final inserts are my folders.
The clear plastic one is a purchased Midori folder that has a ziploc type bag on one side and a space for business cards on the other. The blue folder is a file folder that I made into a 6 pocket folder using a tutorial to make my own 6 pocket folder. I happen to have a minor love of washi tape. This is why you can see the edges on mine and the one in the video doesn’t show. The video is for the regular size Midori but obviously, I made it work with the smaller size. I just had to cut off a bit more of the folder to make it work.

We’re almost at the end here….I have a binder clip at final edge of the journal cover.
Turns out the ChicSparrow journal is the right size for a regular sheet of paper to be fed through and under the bands at the back spine. This binder clip is also great to clip my pen too. You can see in the closed journal pictures that the outer band also helps hold the pen. The pen itself is not a fountain pen because I don’t have one that fits with the journal as I would like it to. This pen is a refillable one, though. It’s a J. Herbin ball point. It’s less wet than a fountain pen too, which is great if you have cheaper paper that might bleed through. I still often carry a Lamy Safari with me so don’t worry, I’m not without a fountain pen most of the time.

Finally, the last touch I’ve added are the book marks. Some cover systems come with a book mark, this did not. I had some 4 ply silk that I spun so I cut a double long length, attached it to the the bands at the spine, added a few beads and voila, book marks.
I’m not sure how well the silk will wear and I feel its a little thinner than I really wanted. Also, because of that, I didn’t do a great job with the beads. If the silk holds out, I’ll spin some thicker stuff or cable ply 2 of these together. If it doesn’t I’ll spin some linen to go in there. Either way, the book marks will be getting an upgrade.

I’ve been dabbling with this system for a couple of weeks but only serious about it in the past week and I’ve finally set aside my A5 and started to only carry this. Of course, time will tell if this is the system for me. Right now, I’m loving it. I love how it fits in my hand, my bag, and I can still clip it open on my desk so the planner part is visible. It’s all New Relationship infatuation at the moment. I’ll be sure to check back in when the honeymoon is over to let you know what I really think. I’m also pretty sure the books will change so we’ll see how all that goes.

I want to give out one word of caution to anyone getting into the Midori’s and especially this size. Research the books you are using and the size. Not all “Passport” sized books are the same size. The Midori passport is smaller than the field notes, Volant XS, Word Notebooks, etc. If you buy the Midori cover, these things will stick out some, even if you put in only 1 book. Watch the Ink Nouveau video that I’ve linked below so you will have an idea of how that works out. ChicSparrow covers, as you can see above, fit all these sizes perfectly. I know there are others that are making good covers that fit and they aren’t all leather. I’ve not linked to them because I’m not using them personally. I have some in my Pinterest though, and you can find others that talk about other covers. Just be mindful of the size or you might be surprised.

Midori at Jetpens
Midori at Goulet
My Pinterest on Journals
Ink Nouveau’s video on the Midori journal system
Video that convinced me the Passport size would work for me
There’s also a ton of links up there in the writing.

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