Archive for the ‘geekery’ Category

Postcard Catch-up

My mom kept bothering me to write an update here, and I wasn’t too worried cause I thought I was only one postcard exchange behind, but now I discover I’m two behind and never posted anything about the Taos Wool festival! So I’m starting with the last two months of postcard exchanges.

Because of school I got a bit behind and didn’t have a postcard finished for November, but I did get one finished for January. The theme for this one was Big Town on the Prairie aka Fargo. One of my favorite things about living in such a flat part of the prairie (sounds redundant doesn’t it? But the Red River Valley is even flatter than the rest of the prairie) is the fact that you can basically see forever. Theoretically on a clear day the only limit to how far you can see is the limit of your eyes ability to perceive or the curve of the earth. Pretty cool, huh? Several people had already done the skyline of Fargo as seen from the distance, so I decided to go a different direction and do the skyline at night. Because the area is so flat you can see the lights of any town, but especially one as big as Fargo, for 50 or more miles in any direction.

Debbie, the woman the postcard was for, really liked the ATCs I made with the lightning, but didn’t get one in the exchange. I had told her that I would make one for her, but I never got to it :-(, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to improve on the promise. So I made a pretty plain looking postcard, which lights up when you press down in the right spot! The skyline in the front is more opaque than the background, so it gets backlit while the background gets washed out, just like with city skylines at night.

Thankfully she loved it! The lights are three LEDs connected to a watch battery, similar to the construction of the lightning ATCs. Unfortunately I couldn’t get them situated right so that it is really easy to press down and get all three to light up, you tend to get just two of them, but Debbie doesn’t mind and was actually quite happy to be able to turn just one on at a time if she wants, so that turned out well!

Now, the other postcards! There are a lot here because it’s two months worth of exchanges, but there are still at least three cards missing. My mom is still short one, as am I, and I still have one that I need to finish. But I should be done soon! (Hopefully :-/)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My mom says that Mary Ann and I are each others fan clubs, which I have no problem with at all. Everybody needs a fan club. I just love her sense of humor, it works for me, and she’s so good at the deadpan joke delivery that it’s even better! šŸ˜€

Next up: the Taos Wool Festival

Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta

Well it’s taken me a bit longer than I intended to get things in order and start telling you about the Fiber Arts Fiesta, but I have an excuse! Not only did I have to get back into the swing of normal life, work has just been crazy all week. Apparently everyone decided over Memorial Weekend that they need to go to the library more, so we have been making new library cards for people constantly and barely keeping up with the shelving. But enough of my excuses, and on to the part you really want to read.

The Albuquerque Fiber Arts FiestaĀ is a fiber festival that happens every other year in, where else, Albuquerque (that is ridiculously hard to type!), New Mexico. My mom went a few years ago and really liked it so this year she took me with her and went back. And it was so much fun! It’s in a great big building on the fair grounds which is chock-full of fiber stuff, including exhibits of all kinds of techniques (I’ll be posting about each exhibit in it’s own separate post cause there was so much in each), a great education area, and, of course, vendors of all kinds. Since there’s so much to cover I’m going to split it across several posts and I think I’ll start myself off slowly by telling you about the education section and the vendors.

The education section was just wonderful. It was as big as some of the exhibits and had lots of good examples of techniques with signs about the techniques. I only saw one place you could try a technique, which was weaving, but that would be the only thing I think they were missing. There was a great little table with all kinds of tools, including a group of “watchamacallits” which just amused me, and a wonderful set of boards about fiber and fiber arts in general. I found out that the boards actually travel to schools around the state to introduce kids to Fiber Arts, which I think is just a great idea. The whole education area really inspired me to try and improve the general educational stuff we have at the Fiber Arts Festival here, and gave me some great ideas of how to do just that. The pictures are in a slideshow format, unusual for me, so be sure you flip through and see all of them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*Public Service Announcement* The next chunk is all about the vendors at the Fiesta and I have included links to any that I have web pages, or Etsy pages, for. I have not been compensated for the advertisements, nor was I asked by any to do this, I just like to promote small businesses and like to share good crafting resources I find with people who might be interested. Please feel no obligation to look at the web pages, unless you think they would be interesting, in which case you should look, because you know you want to ;-). *End Announcement*

The vendors were also quite good (please bear with me if I am saying everything is wonderful or awesome, I’ve been known to do that), and there was a nice variety; it wasn’t “all wool and yarn” as my mother often complains about. There were, of course, several good yarn vendors and a few wool and roving vendors, although I didn’t spend as much time there as I had expected. I did get some beautiful roving at a place called Chamomile Connection, and one new kind of yarn, but that was it. The yarn is actually another self-ruffling yarn that I haven’t seen before, which I got at a lovely local yarn store called Village Wools. It’s basically a strip of fabric with evenly spaced holes across the top (pictures in a moment), and the label is totally in Spanish! Luckily the directions inside the label also have pictures, cause I don’t know any Spanish. The other vendor I noticed who had exclusively roving was this interestingĀ non-profit fiber mill. I had never heard of a non-profit fiber mill before, but they explained that their mission is to train and employ impoverished locals, which I thought was pretty cool. I didn’t get any roving from them, cause they mostly had natural colored wools and I just don’t work with that much, but I found the idea incredibly interesting, and they had great prices.

Beyond the yarn and roving vendors, there were several vendors selling various antique and Eastern fabrics and textiles, including one selling kimono fabric (my mom loved that booth and even got a kimono-style jacket). There were a few button and bead places, including a woman making some very interesting button and vaguely steam-punk jewelry (I almost bought a watch from her made of tiny Mahjong tiles, and I may still buy it from her Etsy shop) and a woman who makes raku and metal beads (that’s raku beads and metal beads, not the two combined into one bead. That could be cool though). And then there was this really cool booth that was selling fabric and doll patterns, and had all kinds of dolls all over the booth. I just loved that one because of all the great, bright colors and shiny things and most of the dolls were actually really neat, rather than creepy like most dolls seem to be. Sadly, they didn’t allow pictures of their booth, but it’s their work and their booth, so that’s how it goes. I did get a couple patterns and a bit of fabric from them though, so I have pictures of those! And there was one booth that had all kinds of braiding stuff, but mostly Kumihimo (a Japanese braiding technique), where I got a kit to try a flat kumihimo braid, which I haven’t done before.

There were a couple little booths where I spent a lot more time chatting with the vendors than looking at their stuff, and discovered both of them were originally from up here! One was from Wisconsin and the other was from Devil’s Lake, ND, what a coincidence. The woman from Devil’s Lake was selling this really neat wire jewelry. Now, I know that making wire jewelry is quite popular lately and doesn’t seem like anything special, but what was special was the techniques she was using. She had a few pieces she had crocheted but most of the jewelry was made using Kumihimo, and she had a few pieces made using a technique called netting, and some made on a floor loom! That was the first time I had seen any of those techniques done in wire and boy did they look cool. The woman from Wisconsin had lampwork beads, and I may have convinced her to try making penguin shaped lampwork beads, but mostly we talked about needle felting and spinning because she has done a little of both and wants to do more. Sadly, neither of them has a website because I would love to be able to promote their stuff, oh well.

So, that was the educational and shopping portion of my time at the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta, and boy was it fun! It also resulted in a much longer post than I expected, but that’s okay. Now I have to decide which exhibit I will post about first, maybe the knitting one, although the rug-hooking was quite neat, and there were some amazing quilts. Such difficult decisions!

KaCBW Day 7: Looking Forward

Today’s post for the 4th annual Ā Knit and Crochet Blog Week is about the future, and sadly is the last in the week for this year. The question in the prompt is:Ā where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

This one is hard for me, I’m not really a planner in my crafting. I definitely hope to have finished the cardigan from Day 2. Although really, I have been known to have projects on the needles for several years before finishing them (I started a Dr. Who scarf for my brother more than 6 years ago, when I was still in highschool, which isn’t even close to finished) so that could be a bit of a challenge. I also want to work a lot more on my Fiber Catan board, which I’m pretty sure will involve lots of new needle felting challenges. But no matter what I plan now and whether I actually achieve these goals or not, I’m sure I’ll be doing lots of new fiber things and will definitely share them with you along the way.

KaCBW Day 6: A Tool to Covet

Continue reading

KaCBW Day 3: Infographic

 

 

Today’s challenge is to create and post an infographic. Man did I have a hard time coming up with something for this one. I went with just a graph rather than a big fancy infographic, like some awesome ones I’ve already seen for today’s post, because I just can’t think of anything to make a full infographic about. Also I seem to have no drawing programs on my computer other than paint, I need to find a free one to download somewhere. Below is my graph/infographic, you can pretty much ignore the numbers, the program I was using to make the graph had to have them and I couldn’t make it not label the y-axis. The important part is the proportions of the bars to each other.
graph

 

As you can see, I’m a bit yarn obsessed, but slow to knit. Needle felting however, I’m very quick at and do a lot more of. But the yarn is just so pretty, and cuddly, and pet-able…shut up, I don’t have a problem. Okay, maybe I do, but I control my yarn buying, it doesn’t control me. I really mean that, I’m not just trying to justify, until I bought the yarn specifically for the sweater in my post yesterday, which I bought partially with a gift certificate remember, I hadn’t bought myself any new yarn in years. Although I may have occasionally weaseled one of my parents into buying a pretty yarn for me… šŸ˜€

Anyway, there’s my infographic. I don’t think I’ll be using infographics a lot on here, but it was interesting to play with.

KaCBW Day 2: Mascot Project

Today I am supposed to find a project that represents the House of the Monkey, either the animal itself or the characteristics. I considered finding a monkey project, I have always enjoyed sock monkeys, but decided that was too obvious and just not a challenging enough task for this monkey! We don’t have to actually make the pattern but really, it’s pretty easy to find a pattern online for a monkey or sock monkey, there’s just no challenge. So instead I am going to tell you about a pattern I do plan to make which is a challenge for me.

So I have the yarn for this pattern, but haven’t started it yet. I’m making a cardigan/sweater from the book Knit Kimono Too, which happens to be filled with lots of amazing looking patterns that I would love to make. I am specifically making the one called Tokai Tomoshibi, and even the name of the pattern is a challenge for me! Here’s the picture from the book.

It looks pretty simple from a distance but it has a fancy fan stitch that you can see better in the close-ups. The yarn I got for it is beautiful, pictures will be coming when I start swatching, and of course is hand-painted and ridiculously expensive. Luckily I had a gift card…which covered about a third of the cost :-/. Anyway, this will be the first project of this size I have ever made. Yes, you read that right, I have never made a sweater before. In fact the largest project I’ve ever made was a simple stockinette stitch afghan that ended up being about half the size originally planned and it useful for pretty much the top half of your legs. I’m just not good at sticking with a big project once it’s not challenging anymore. But I’m hoping the stitch pattern in this one will keep me interested enough to finish the piece, cause it’s a more complicated pattern than I’ve done before and should present a bit of a challenge.

This pattern is also interesting because it’s done completely in rectangles. All the patterns in the book are built that way, which just fascinates me. One reason I’ve been hesitant to try making a sweater is because they tend to be done at least partially in the round and with lots of increases and decreases, which won’t work if not done just right. And I’m just not precise enough in my knitting to trust that I would get the increases and decreases in just the right place, and I really hate pulling my work out, especially when I only want to pull it part way back. I just have so much trouble finding the right row to pull back to and then I tend to be lost in the pattern, and it’s all a mess. But rectangles I can do. Nice, simple back and forth, so the stitch pattern can be the tricky part, andĀ Ā I can be reasonably sure my finished piece will look right. So now I just need to start the gauge swatch so I can get the right needle size.

This post was supposed to also be about my process of choosing a project, and I think this was a pretty good example. Generally it’s pretty much random, I look at patterns online or in books and make the ones that jump out and grab me. Other times I see things in life, animals, space ships, chocolate, etc, and it just hits me that IĀ haveĀ to make that in fiber. Then I figure out which fiber technique it would work best with, although usually that ends up being needle felting because it’s what I’m most comfortable improvising in, and start finding every picture Ā of the object from every angle that I can. And then I just get working! Cause planning doesn’t really work for me when it comes to art stuff; once I have it planned it feels close enough to finished that I lose motivation.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

I discovered on one of the blogs I follow that it is Knitting and Crochet Blog week, where there is a theme/prompt for a post for each day this week, and I’ve decided to participate. You can find the details over at Eskemimi Makes, if you’re interested, or just read my posts this week and enjoy!

 

Today I am supposed to choose a house for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and explain my crafting style/outlook and why I chose that house. The choices are:

The House of Bee:Ā Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

The House of Manatee:Ā Manatees are gentle, calm and cuddly. Relaxed and unflashy they represent the comfort and soft side of knitting and crochet.

The House of Monkey:Ā Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

The House of Peacock:Ā Peacocks take something good and make it brilliant. Buttons, embellishments and a bit of sparkle prove that perfection lies in the details ā€“ like a Peacock’s Tail.

I had a hard time choosing between the House of the Bee, because I do tend to jump around between projects, and the house of the Monkey, because I love a challenge. But I decided on the House of the Monkey.

I went with the House of the Monkey because my favorite part of all the crafting I do is trying new things and giving myself challenges. I figure that’s actually why I jump between projects so much, one challenge gets boring, or easy because I’ve gotten good, and I move on to the next. I think that’s why I tend to do so many different crafting techniques as well; I get intrigued by the challenge and the newness and get excited to try it. But of course I refuse to admit that the only reason I’m trying something is because it’s new so I purposely get deep into it and stick with it, and inevitably discover more challenges in it. Of course sometimes I want easy and familiar so I start a simple project, but those are the projects that rarely get finished, or that take me years to finish.

Stick around all week for some fun, silly, and informative posts.

So how about you? What’s your crafting style?

Two Busy Brunettes

two brunette sisters busy with crafting, cooking, teaching, reading and living

Glitchy Artist

Screenshots of the Universe

depression comix

a comic struggling to understand mental illness

The Geeky Hooker

Not THAT kind of hooker. The kind armed with a crochet hook.

carriescarr.com

technology explorer

MindMedicine Blog

Professional Golfer & Mind Coach in Life & Professional Sport...

Buzy Day

The adventure of NikkiM

allmostrelevant

Want to see what an Instagram with no pictures looks like? @allmostrelevant

Kitchen Overlord

Your home for geeky recipes, edible art, and nerdy kitchen gadget reviews.

All Night Knits

Sleep All Day. Knit All Night.

The Blog of Knitted Fog

art, life and stuff

knitnrun4sanity

Running, knitting, crocheting and blogging along.

Keep Me In Stitchez: The Blog

Following my passion, one stitch at a time

Knitting, reading, photography, and maybe more

Explorations, procrastinations, imaginations...

WOMBAT QUILTS

An Aussie's adventures in quilting