Wednesday, February 28, 2024


The weather today had a big storm, then followed by a 40+ degree plummet in temperature.  Hopefully, we will get warmer now and have 'Spring'.  Went to get feeds and a new chicken feed pan today - since the rain had stopped, and I've done a bit more languages than I have in months - Catalan, Czech, Russian to add to the French and occasional Spanish.  I really wanted to see what it tested me into on the Czech since I hadn't practiced that in months.  Not bad - jumped ahead halfway through the first section while remembering more words than I thought I did.  I was quite amazed when I tested the phone into Spanish 3rd 'Traveler', that was quite a bit better than I thought it would do.

Progress : (on the main account, not counting the phone as anything more than 'practice)

French : Lvl 25+,  xp 46,249

Spanish : Lvl 23,  xp 24,416

Welsh : Lvl 24,     xp 28,155

Catalan from Spanish : Lvl 12    xp 3,908

Spanish from French : Lvl 11  xp 3,025

none of the other languages have changed level


Did a long route yesterday, after having a full weekend and a Monday out getting groceries and the like.  Worked a little bit on the orange weaving, only a little more on the scarf.  There is someone who wants me to do a sewing machine project for them but I can't get myself into it yet.  I did laundry, and some food prep and the feed store today and that was well enough for me today (with the languages, but that wasn't anything physical).  Headed off for bed.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

fluffy angora scarf and bits


I haven't had much time to think or do much the past week - lots of work.  Changed up my game on the angora scarf as I thought I had much more of the cream but it is actually grey - and that is all of the green.  They are all the same kind of yarn, but it is quite old - 10 years or more, so it is time to try to use it up together.

The orange weaving is a bit further along than this, but the chair is currently occupied by cat, sweet cat, but still, occupied.

Reading 'Hotel Magnifique' by Emily Taylor, it has a lot of French words in it.

Today's tasks are laundry, dishes, maybe some baking and little things like sweeping, shaking out rugs and blankets etc.. There are two daffodils in the yard that could be moved - but it is also going to rain today.  I don't think that one bed of greens took with the frosts, so I need to study this weather moving in this week and see what is a good time to replant.

The school bus has started arriving a full twenty minutes earlier than usual - so I've brought the book a few times to read, as I drive up to the schoolbus stop, and after it comes - I drive straight to work, arriving too early to clockin, but at least I'm there.  The next working weekend will be here before I know it.  There is someone who still wants me to do a sewing project for them but last time I tried it was too difficult to turn under the needle the item was so small -- and then I gave up for a while and haven't turned the machine on since.


languages: French to Spanish, and French higher level grammar 

bits : I found another skein of the cream 'biscuit' color - it's Andes Alpaca from Yarn Bee brand.  I kept feeling there should be one more - but it was stored in an entirely different drawer than all the rest had been.


Friday, February 16, 2024

Mini Pouch for eyeglasses or other small things

Mini Pouch

sewn from woven fabric about 6x9 inches



I had hoped it would be large enough to fit a pair of eyeglasses, and it just about does perfectly - maybe a bit too snug.  I'm going to put two more screw pegs on the little loom I had finished making yesterday - and that will give it enough width to make an eyeglass case each time.  


I had been experimenting with using only some of the width of the big frame - which produces about 15 x 18 inch cloth if I go all the way to the very top with a needle for the last few rows.  To make the handbag I warped it only halfway across and also stopped a few inches from the top, making 10 x 15 fabric.  But then I wanted the smaller frame as well to reduce the time to make something smaller, and to not have to support the entire weight of the bigger frame on something every time I wanted to work.

So now I have three sizes I can make something out of 

15 x 18, table mat, pillow, larger bags

10 x 15, small handbag, small pillow

6 x 9, eyeglass case or small pouch, pockets for inside of other bags

If I really wanted to get fancy I could make four panels of the largest and sew them together and make a pillowcase or a rug - but after doing that much work on something I doubt I'd *really* want to use it as a rug - but it might be a nice thing to lay across the top edge or bottom edge of a bed over the top cover sort of thing (is there a name for that?  Coverlet? I guess just a throw? I use some of my thrifted afghans like that, because I find it pretty, and it gives a 'landing zone' for the cat as well, and keeps the dog off my pillows (sometimes) or at least gives me an idea she jumped up there and I can stare at her disapprovingly as she asks 'but how do you KNOW Mom?' //Charlotte) 

for the record : My standard pillowcase sham looks like it is 30 inches by about 20,22 inches.   A coverlet, a throw?  For that use it would have to be 60 (give or take) by 42-48 inches.

 If I somehow managed to put all the screws into my larger frame that I already have marked out (it's a lot of work, just ten into the little loom yesterday hurt my arm - Mark says I should use the drill press) that would make an area about 22 by 16 inches.  And if I put screws on the cross-wise of that frame, it would make an area 16-18 inches by 40 inches.  That's a lot of screws. And that frame needs a stand really to make anything larger on it - it is heavy and hard to make sit still when you're working on anything.  I was using it mainly for making really long thin straps warped continuously around the whole thing - the way I used to use doorframes when I was a teen and in college to make belts - and had worked up only a 2 inch by 22 inch set of pegs on it to make one strap a while back, but hated the way that yarn combined with the warp so I took it off after only about 8 inches and stuck it in a drawer *sigh*.


 the small frame, warped for a second piece, complete with electrical tape repair when I busted a little part of it


The Bits:

I did too much weaving that yesterday - but I am sending it off as a birthday present.  I have five days on starting tomorrow at the post office, so I need to resist starting another project and make soup, do laundry et al.  I have a book to read I've started but then haven't been stagnant enough to grab back up.  I'm continuing to learn Spanish through the French interface at DuoLingo, and I feel that it is helping to sort out some of the grammar things that seem much more natural for French but when I try to translate them to Spanish I make mistakes by adding too many articles etc.  

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Finished woven handbag purse in blues and greens

  This was woven on a picture frame set with evenly spaced screws and it took about two weeks or a little less to weave it up, since I had to take a lot of breaks with my shoulder joint. (not to mention I had the flu for a week in there, and it was tough, no thank you I don't want that again anytime soon).   It is a random pattern of a couple of colors of acrylic yarn, made on a navy acrylic warp.  I know a lot of people prefer to use cotton warp - but I like the way the same yarn weaves up evenly, and the fact that when I wash it (which I've done with a few others) it comes up soft and even then, as well.  

I left the 'self edge' from the bottom of the weaving on the side I wanted to put the buttons on - it looks a little decorative and yet it is rough and shows how handmade the item is.  I knitted the strap in a simple alternating stitch (not quite idiot cord) that stretches out nicely and is strong (on two double-pointed needles cast on 3 - knit, purl, knit - turn over, repeat - until length is proper)  I fussed up a way to put the buttons loops on because well, if they come loose, it's no big deal I just put them back on.  The buttons are a nice find out of my vintage sewing box I scrabbled around the bottom of it until I found something I liked.


The resulting purse holds my regular wallet, my phone case and a few other little things, which is just big enough.  Any smaller, (the finished cloth was 15 by 10) it would have been too small


It took several hours to get all the edge tails woven in and then I did a sort of complicated edge treatment on the dark blue edge there that I got better at the further I went - and will have to try to remember how to do it better next time.  I started out too much fuss, and it got easier and neater as I progressed to the left. 

Then it was just a matter of turning it inside-out and whipstitching evenly up the sides so that I got it looking finished on the outside, attaching the knitted handle and putting on the buttons.


I was telling myself that every single time - every time! - I start to make a piece of fabric like this I ask myself 'But, what will I actually do with it when it's made?'  I know there are a lot of things to do with it - but every piece takes so much work I start out from the point of futility sometimes, that if I wanted something, I could probably find it so easily - what do I want - do I want anything - why I am taking up this 'endeavour'?  Do I really need another bag?  I use the ones I have.  I use my socks, shawls, rugs, blankets, hats, gloves, net bags and woven ones, baskets, hampers, pillows, dishrags and potholders all over the house almost every single day.  So, why am I still so 'stingy' with myself thinking of what I must accomplish with the time spent?  The only thing I can figure out, perhaps, is that it is an attachment sort of thing - I am making certain that I am going to proceed, and use the item even before it is made, by investing such thoughts into it, defending it, and continuing to work to the finished item.  And then, when I use it, I reinforce that 'I wondered if I'd ever use this when I started it..' with 'see, here it is, and it is useful'.  I'm an odd duck... but I know I have my ways.

The Bits :

Oh one other little thing - I won a 'spinning tools - learn to spin' basket from a fiber site I started following.  I don't know when or totally what I am getting in the mail but we'll see!  I do know there is a drop spindle in there, and some fiber.  It has been 20 years since I had a real spindle, and I wasn't very good back then.  I did make one out of K'nex and work up some Jacob sheep yarn with Esme during the homeschool years - I might still have that package somewhere around here as well.  

One of my tasks today that I don't know if I'll get to it - is to find a box of screws I've hidden away on myself and put a few more posts into my small picture frame loom I did not finish making.  I scrounged around last night for it but did not find the screws - only the small frame and the screwdriver I had been using.  I'm sure I've hidden it away on myself 'in a safe place'...  I hung up my little painting in the writing nook, as I had taken it down from one place and then put something else up there.  Not much else to do - still getting over the last tiny bit of the cough from that flu, because it got into my sinuses.. and the weather is improving but still not good enough to be outside. Later we have to get some groceries, but I have to wait for the bank to deposit things.


my Painting on wall : Johanna's Woods, in acrylic

We lost one chicken yesterday, Esme was sad.  I told her it's Nature sometimes that we don't know what gets them - she was a big fat fairly happy chicken with a little bit of a limp that started three months ago and had not gotten any worse or any better even through that terrible cold snap and freeze she was out with everybody else eating and hopping a little but not singled out and definitely not wanting us to separate her (I thought one day I might try to see what her foot issue was and she had NONE of it).  She was just sitting in a corner, on an egg, and gone - perhaps one of our eldest group which is about seven years old now, but we weren't entirely certain (half of our flock is that same breed, and they are hard to tell apart otherwise)

Friday, February 02, 2024



Esme has had strep throat, we're trying to power through it with antibiotics and food and rest - but she has had to go to school because of changes in attendance policy.  They gave her one day off to start antibiotics - then she had to go back even though she feels awful.  I don't get modern education on this one - only a hard number of days to be absent, for their bottom line etc.  I hate having to send her in sick but they've already sent me a letter this year saying she is at warning level *angry face* from being sick in December with a sinus infection.


I will have to work the weekend - I'm trying not to be sick myself, and that winter Ice storm did a doozy on our budget for this month, so I've tried to pull my head out of that.



strung up a new frame to try again to make the bag I was going to make out of the neon colored one.  The neon one is a big favorite now of our cat, Lyffan - so I've decided to let her have it.  It went through the washing machine once already and was really soft and nice after that, especially.  This blue one is already a third of the way woven, but I gave it up for a bit because it gets that hitch between my shoulder blades hurting when I do it for so long.  I hyperbole'd that it would 'take me a month' but on average, yes.. I put it up for several days because of the pain in my shoulder and then work and life happens and that adds more days to a week -- and then I pick it back up again and continue.

I feel like I've 'been away again' in a couple of dreams that had lasted for more days and weeks -- it's just a feeling though, but confusing at times.  Started watching Farscape again yesterday, partially because that feeling that I've been transported elsewhere, to another time, another place, among different people and tried to figure out what to do about it, and all I could do was go through and finally wake back up at the end of the dream.  Quite a bit like that weaving experience - the real world just 'picks back up' and I know the difference but when I'm inside the dream I know the difference too, I just can't pinch myself and wake up and have to keep trying to make it work even though the logic of dream worlds is slightly off - languages and maps and books... apparently my brain just has to have a field day, especially when I'm probably also fighting a cold or bug the same as Esme has.

I started making this little brown bag after seeing the pattern of Aeryn Sun's shirt.  I think it's supposed to be 'chainmail' and it is from season 1 episode .  It came up remarkably fast because it's all mesh (seen below tv picture I screenshotted because there was nothing online that showed it)

I think I'll just make another square and make it into another type of market bag with a strap on top.  I also had to sew back on another button this morning and got to that.


The other book bag pattern from the round basket style - finished this one that had been on my basket for a long time - it had only been lacking the handle.

nap zone cats

another language progression chart - I've been doing French mostly the past two months, did a lot of Japanese study last year.  This morning, I broke back into Catalan a little (because of those dreams, some were 'French but not French' and Catalan is between Spanish and French) and was expecting it to break my brain like Spanish did last week (I loaded up Spanish and said 'no thank you' after a few minutes last week).  The Catalan wasn't bad at all, I remembered so much, just a few spelling errors.  

Numerical from the chart:

Language :  May 2023 vs.---Feb 2024 : DuoLingo Level

French : 35118, -----45427, 25+

Welsh : 26131, -------27991, 24

Spanish : 20573----- 24416, 23

Japanese : 6294------14292, 19

Czech :     12274----12579, 18

Romanian : 9508----10270, 16

Portuguese : 9318---9632, 16

Italian :        6867---7544, 15

Greek :       6502----6810, 14

Catalan :   xxnodata---3474, 11

(plus about 10 other languages, but still)

German : 5837, 13

Finnish 5515, 13

Swedish 3679, 11 (did some work on this in late 2023)

Norwegian 3082, 11

Hungarian 2438, 10

Ukrainian 2228, 9

Russian 610, 6

Irish 2174, 9

Turkish 2020, 9

Polish 1793, 9

Chinese 1282, 8

and Latvian - but on another site that doesn't have levels