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I could have completed the “messy” challenge in any room of my house today. I decided to show you my footstool where I keep my knitting projects. I am knitting from a huge skein of yarn, and it is really a mess.

 

I have lots of glasses. I've been wearing them since Second Grade.

 

 

From my Bible journal. It might seem silly, copying things directly from the Bible into my journal, but writing things down helps me memorize them, and it is also extremely calming for me.

Maybe should have gone for a tad more depth of field so that the entire milking stool was in focus?

Snapshots

 

About a month ago, I started thinking about getting a DSLR. I wanted to improve my photography for my patterns, but I also just enjoy taking pictures. I emailed my brother, Rocky, asking him what I absolutely needed, because I was thinking about just buying a used camera. I didn't eed anything super fancy, and figured something a few years older would suit me just fine. Imagine how floored I was when he sent me his old camera, a Rebel xTi! I am still just so humbled by how kind and sweet that was, and truly a blessing for me!

 

So I have been taking pictures constantly! It's been a real learning curve even from the superzoom I used to use. I always seemed to be taking pictures of the same things; goats, Reagan, and knitting. Then I remembered something I had seen on one of my favorite blogs (got sucked in by the knitting, stayed for the hilarious American Idol reviews!) about a photo challenge.

So,I am starting the photo a day challenge, from the blog Fat Mum Slim. I thought I would post my pictures here in addition to posting them on twitter. Is that overkill? Anyway, everyday has a different theme, and you take a picture of that theme, and then share it with the world. Here are my first three photos for this month.

 

Aug 1: Outside.Still a goat picture, but who can resist that face! This is two of the three baby girls JarJar gave me this year. After the disaster of no baby at all the year before, I'd say she more than redeemed herself. I am keeping these two, Shorty, looking at the camera, and Rosie, focused on food! The third is Sweetie, and she is going to live at Heaven Sent Food and Fiber Farms.

 

Aug 2: One. This was a hard challenge. There isn't a lot that I have only one of. Does that mean I am having hoarder tendencies? Probably. Finally I settled on my favorite out of all the colors of KnitPicks Palette. I love this deep dark shade that is kind of a turquoise, but not really.

 

Aug 3: Coin. Again, one coin was hard. We have these coins that my FIL brought back from China, and while I don't think they are old, they are beautiful.

 

So that is the first three days! Looking forward to the rest of August!

 

Preperation

I thought I would write a short post about the way I am using old t-shirts in my weaving.  With five people in this family, we have a fair amount of t- shirts. We usually have quite a few that are getting to the point that they can no longer be worn out of the house, but are still too good to be called rags. I like the t-shirts I am using for weaving to not have too many holes or bleach spots on them, but a few holes or bleach spots do not show up in the finished rug, and I use those.

 First, I fold the t-shirt in half and cut off the hem. I don’t use the hem, because it is thicker than the rest of the t-shirt material, and makes a bulkier “stripe” if used with the other strips of material. In previous rugs, I have cut the material into 1.2 to 2 inch strips. Now, though, I am using strips about 3/4 of an inch wide.

 The smaller stripes are just more appealing to me. I just cut clear across the bottom of the t-shirt, which gives me a loop, or circle, of material. I do this with all the t-shirts I plan to use for a rug. I cut strips like this all the way up to the arm pits,.Then I remove the hems from the sleeves, or start at the elbows on long sleeve t-shirts, and cut smaller loops. Once I get to the arm pits again, I stop. I don’t want to have to sew material together, so that is all of the shirt that I use at this point. It seems wasteful, but this is the most time efficient way for me to get the most done, for right now anyway. 

 After I have all my t-shirts done, I throw all the loops in a basket, and toss them together like a big salad. If you wanted a specific pattern, you could leave all the colors in individual piles and just pick them up in order of your pattern, but I like the mish-mashed look I get when I just pick up pieces at random. I pick up the first two, and loop them together like this:

 I keep that up, picking up the pieces at random, until the ball of “Tarn” as t-shirt yarn is called, is about the size of a softball. I make balls of the strips until they are all gone. My only rule is that if I pick up a loop that is the same color as the one I just used, I have to pick another one. I don’t want two of the same color next to each other. This isn’t an original idea, lots of places sale sock loopers, which are material from the sock manufacturing process, for rugs.  I’d rather not have to buy material though, and I like having control over how thick my loopers, and therefore, my rugs, are. 

I’ve found that having a good mix of darks and lights, as well as having some black in the mix, makes for an attractive rag rug.  It kind of reminds me of those scrappy quilts that I love so much.  Lots of different colors, and not too planned out.  Not to mention, inexpensive!  The best thing, though in my opinion , is that once I have woven a holey t-shirt into a rug, it’s fairly certain said t- shirt won’t accidentally by pass my inspection process and end up out in public where it will make people question my parenting choices!!

 

Life goes on

Everything continues here as usual.  We are back in our homeschooling schedule after the Christmas holiday, and I am knitting and weaving.  We are also waiting for baby goats to be born.  Looks like JarJar is the only one pregnant. We know how that went last year, though, so I am definitely keeping my expectations low.  She is being a bit of a bully to Sally, but I guess that is how pregnant goats act.  I really hope if she is pregnant she has a girl, I just don’t have room to keep a boy.

 

The weaving is going well.  I am getting the hang of keeping my edges straight.  After considering many options for cutting fabric into strips, I bought a rotary cutter, a mat and a ruler.  The mat and ruler are small, but I didn’t want to make a huge investment if I didn’t know for sure that it was going to work.  It does make a huge difference after using scissors for so long.   Simplicity makes a little machine that cuts strips, and I seriously considered asking for that for my birthday, but the reviews seemed to be 9 to 1 in the negative, so I just couldn’t risk the money. There is a little rotary cutter with the brand name of Gemsy that I am considering for about the same money, but it is a serious tool, and I wanted to try the rotary cutter first.  I’ve only used it for a day or two, but it does seem to make things a lot neater and straighter.  Also faster if I am cutting regular fabric and not these old dishcloths.

 

I do have pictures of the finished baby sweater to show.  I actually knit two sweaters for Caleb and Heather’s baby, who will be named Adelyn.  But the other one didn’t turn out beautiful, and I needed to make them a beautfiul sweater.

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And here is the back of the yoke:

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And the detail on the hem:

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All these pictures were taken on a rug I wove for Jody for our birthday.  I sure hope she likes it! I sent her Christmas present too, so she has a big box of things to open. It sure tickles me to be able to send her something, for once, cause she sure is good to me! God couldn’t have given me a better twin sister.

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