Embroidery, knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving…

July 17, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Cardmaking: Prismacolor Premier – 150 Color Pencil Set

I really enjoy sending personalized letters. I enjoy receiving them also. To be honest, I send out much more than I receive, and I’m fine with that. I’m particularly fond of handcrafted cards. I create my own also, but (admittedly) my handcrafted cards are severely depleted. I haven’t made any in several months and since I had been sending out cards and not making any, my card stash was depleted. I might have had five cards ready to send. A few weekends ago, I started making more cards. I didn’t have a lot of time and so I might have completed two cards?

A few handcrafted cards

Fast forward to the present and I now have created around 16 handcrafted cards and envelopes! A few of those cards are for Christmas. My daughter and I do enjoy that time of year and while we don’t get caught up in the commercial aspect of the holiday, we enjoy the extra time that we do have to spend together. Since she’s now being homeschooled, I imagine this year will be a bit different since the majority of her schooling will be done at home. She is taking a few homeschool co-op classes.

Prismacolor Premier – 150 Color Pencil Set

But back to my handcrafted cards. Since some of these cards (ok most of them) take a lot of time to make, I don’t send these cards to everyone. I only distribute them to people that I know will appreciate them. Cardmaking is the one craft where I don’t think of myself as being proficient and so I do watch a lot of videos and ask my artistic daughter for feedback.

At the beginning of July, I purchased a set of Prismacolor soft core pencils.  Since I had chosen ‘same day’ delivery, they arrived a little after 5:00 p.m.! That’s an awesome feature of Amazon Prime! This is a want that I’d been sitting on for a few years and since they had an amazing deal on their 150 color pencils, I made the purchase. I had a set of Prismacolors before, but it was a much smaller set and I’d given those away to a friend but held on to my Faber-Castell Polychrosmos (oil based) set. Prismacolor’s are wax based pencils and I do enjoy using them, but my preference is still my Faber-Castel Polychrosmos.

July 11 was Amazon Prime Day and it is also the first time I actually purchased something. I only bought two products and the total was $26.34. The items that I purchased were already budgeted and so I wasn’t spending unnecessary money. Since I knew date for PrimeDay, I just held off purchasing the items until then.

One purchase (item needed for car maintenance) wasn’t on sale.

But, the sketch pencils that I also purchased for my daughter, were! Initially, I wasn’t going to tell her about the pencils and just let it be a surprise; however, since I wanted to make sure that I bought the correct drawing tools, I showed her the items and it met her approval. I didn’t want her using the items, if they weren’t what she liked, to be polite. Both items should be here tomorrow. We’re both excited. With my Toyota Prius, I do the basic car maintenance myself. Taking car of the basics saves me from a few dollars to several hundred dollars.

June 23, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Knitting: How to knit the easiest socks in the world

Several month ago, I stumbled upon this video about sock knitting. They’re using DPNs and knitting one sock at a time. It’s their preference. My preference is knitting four at a time. Two pairs of socks are completed. Which means my daughter receives a pair and so do I. I imagine when I reach a certain number of handknit socks for both of us, I MIGHT go back to knitting two socks at a time. Then again… maybe not. We’ll see!

May 10, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Knitting: Hand knit socks completed

Finished! A few days ago, I finally got around to completing these hand knit socks.

Handknit socks are the only type of socks that I wear. My daughter enjoys them too and has a nice selection. I find that hand knit socks are extremely comfortable. They feel like a soft hug for your feet and last a long time. I normally knit socks with size 0 Hiya Hiya circular needles. Sometimes, I’ll go up to a size 2, but that’s rare.

These socks were knit toe-up, two at a time. They were knit using size 000 and size 0 Hiya Hiya circular knitting (sock) needles. I used lace weight yarn to create these socks.

I must say these socks took a long time to knit (perhaps two months) simply because I didn’t have too much time to knit.

I normally can complete a pair of socks in a week. However, I managed to squeeze a few moments whenever I had the chance. There were some days when I was only able to knit for perhaps three minutes.

How do I spend my free time? The majority of my free time is spent with my daughter and working on crafts. Now and again you will find me online and on the rare occasion watching something on TV, but those activities are way down the list since I much prefer entertaining myself with a craft such as knitting, spinning, weaving or soapmaking and of course top on that list is spending time with my daughter.

In the above picture, you’ll see socks that I had started. I will be frogging (ripping out the stitches) those socks and and recreating new socks for my daughter. Why? She loves the color.

May 1, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Fun in Colonial Williamsburg

This past Saturday, I connected with another fiber lover today and I owe the shop finding to one of the lovely girls on the trip named Raechel. Last Thursday, I went as a parent volunteer to Williamsburg, VA. It was the eighth graders class trip. We were there from Thursday – Saturday. On our last day, we had one more tour and at the end we had 1.5 hours of free time. The day before, I’d heard about a Weaving shop and it was my intent to go there on my own, but I honestly did not think I would have the time to do that. Well, since we did have free time, I thought thewe could pop by there and check it out. I’m so glad we went. We also stopped by the local silversmith shop, and a herbal shop that sold plants and a jack of all trades shop that seemed to sell a bit of everything. The business owners were in period clothing which made it even more fascination.
Say hello to Karen, she’s a Master Weaver and a Spinner at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. We walked in as she was giving an demonstration. Of course, I started asking questions. It appeared she was using a walking wheel to spin cotton and so I asked if that’s what it was. She told me it was and also gave other names it’s known by. Seeing colored homespun yarn on the wall, I asked if they were naturally dyed and then started talking about spinning. Well, that’s all that was needed to really start talking about spinning and our love of fiber. If we weren’t’ so short on time, I definitely would have stayed longer. She was a wealth of knowledge and since she’s a master weaver, I would have loved to stay and ask questions about that, however I do have her business card so I will stay in touch. This lovely lady gifted me with a few ounces of cotton and wool from a Leicester Sheep. They have long fiber.

Cotton and Long wool Leicester.4.29.17

My daughter and I separated the cotton on the bus so what you see in this picture is cotton fiber that has had the seeds removed. The only thing left to do is to card and spin the fiber into cotton yarn. It’s too late to plant the seeds this year, but we’ll do that next year.
Of course I’m thrilled! Leicester has been on my must spin list for some time. I have not made a move to purchase any yet, because I still have plenty of fiber to process. But now, I have received a few ounces of it to try for free. I’m hoping I have a chance to spin sometime this week. Upon leaving, my daughter said, “Mommy, who knows this might be the beginning of a new fiber friendship.” I must say I was touched by Karen’s generosity. I do enjoy giving and often it is to strangers. So her random act of kindness is even more meaningful since I was the one receiving. That doesn’t happen to often and that’s fine. Thanks again, Karen! 🙂

April 1, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

More hand-knit socks and snacks

A few weeks ago, I finally finished the navy blue school socks that I made for my daughter. It’s the only color she can wear at her Lutheran School. They were made from 70% merino and 30% silk. I’ll have to post a picture. She’s received compliments on them. She says they are her favorite socks. Merino can be incredibly soft, the merino in those socks fall in that category. If I were to guess, I’d say their micron count is 15. (The lower the micron count, the softer the fiber will be.) The silk adds durability. Those socks should last a long time.

The socks featured here are being knit for myself. I’m using my Hiya Hiya interchangeable sock needles. The yarn is 90% merino and 10% nylon (for durability). The majority of my socks are made from all natural fiber. I’m knitting these socks two at a time, toe-up. I’m using a simple ribbed stitch (k2, p2), rinse and repeat for all rows. I most likely will use the ‘fleegle heel’ when I need to create the heel. With my socks, I only do the ribbed stitch on the top of the foot. The sole is simple stockinette stitch. After the heel is completed I do k2, p2 (front and back) until I reach the desired length up the cuff/leg.

A few weeks ago, I finished rereading the Bible and I’m reading through it again. I’m still in Genesis, but tonight I skipped ahead, I’ll go back and reread, but I do read additional scripture besides my daily rereading of the Bible. I moved on to read in Exodus. It’s the part where God gives detailed instructions on building the temple, Exodus 26-28. He didn’t leave out anything, from the curtain construction, to the actual temple and how it was to be decorated and also the garments of the priests. Have you read the account? If you haven’t I encourage you to read those chapters. As a handcrafter, I can appreciate the details. It’s also a wonderful reminder, for Christians, that God thinks of everything. So, why at times, do we doubt him? I’m quoting from memory the following verse…
“Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart and lean not to YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING. In ALL YOUR WAYS acknowledge him and HE shall DIRECT your path.”

This evening, my daughter had this snack

while we watched, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga Official Trailer. It was amazing and kept my attention the entire time. I could easily see myself living this way. Simple and self sufficient. I love that. My daughter, she wouldn’t mind visiting, but she would not like to do this permanently.