Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve!

Been a few months since I posted.  Seems I lost that creative steam that had been driving me.  Spending way too much time playing video games, too.  That's what I do when my muse goes on vacation.  But I feel it coming back, little by little.

Over this past year I've learned some new skills, like weaving and have attempted to revitalize others.  I'm trying to spin again, though I felt like throwing my Kromski Minstrel out the window, but I am not giving up.  Thankfully, a friend of mine is going to help me relearn to spin.  I just never got good at it and since I haven't done it in a few years what little I did learn, is gone. 

I see more painting, spinning and knitting in the coming year.  Hah, much of that is because after trying to fit in holiday gift shopping with my wonky schedule I decided that enough was enough.  I'm going to start knitting gifts EARLY and I'm not going to buy a single darned thing.  I'm done, kaput! I'm still working on CPH, but I am making it a goal to finish before the end of Jan. 2012.  Then I will start making holiday gifts for friends and family.  I've never knitted for anyone other than myself or my husband, I think it will be great fun and a new learning experience.  :-)

Also, this past year I have learned to be more tolerant and I have a new found passion for my chosen profession.  Thank goodness.  I was getting really scared that I was in the wrong profession and it wasn't making sense to me since it's all I had dreamed about since I was a wee child.  Here I am.  Working a really shitty shift, but loving my job again. 

I hope this year has been kind to everyone.  Those that it's been rough or run amok, I hope that the new year is 10x kinder than 2011 and you find that inner peace that helps you hang on to your sanity.  ;-)  Peace to all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 days of bliss

I'm on the last day and then it's back to the regular schedule of working 4 10 hour overnight shifts a week.  But I've made some important discoveries over these last few days.

1.  I need to spend time creating.  Whether it's painting, drawing, knitting, spinning or weaving.  I need to do it.  I feel so centered and complete when I do so.

2.  My job is just a job.  I love my career, it's what pays the bills and gives me the money to buy the materials I need to be creative.

3.  I need to be less tense and less stressed.  I'm working on that one. 


Started another painting a few days ago.  I'm quite happy with it so far.  This is the only time I wish I painted with acrylics instead of oils, waiting for things to dry enough to be able to work on it some more.

Worked on some ideas for my steampunk costume and a mask.  Found out that Jo-Ann fabrics probably has the best selection of blank masks.  The Halloween stores we have around here don't have hardy enough materials for what I'm going to be doing. 

Worked on my central park hoodie while catching up on tv shows.  I'm a little more than half way done with the first sleeve.  I think I may be able to finish it before the end of the year.  Not bad for my first huge project. 

I'm quite happy with how far I've come in my quest to change some things about myself and my life.  I just have to keep going.  :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What's on the drawing board?

I have several projects in the works right now.  If I had deadlines I'd be stressed out.  Well, I do have one deadline.  I have to finish two steampunk costumes by October 26th, 2012.  HAH!  That's over a year away, so I'm cocky now, we'll see how I'm doing in August.

The two costumes entails a lot of work to complete.  Between making a venetian style mask and a lot of sewing, it's going to be a bit grueling.  Thankfully, my father bought me a serger for my 25th birthday (almost 25 years ago, mind you, LOL) and I have two regular sewing machines.  One is a Kenmore from the 1940s and the other is a modern Brother with computerized stitches.  I'm thinking about buying another computerized sewing machine that I can actually program patchwork designs.  We'll see though.  The Kenmore is an awesome machine, very strong and hardy.  The Brother is a fast and precise machine.  The serger, well when you want rolled hems and tidy edging, that's the machine you want.  :-)

I just ordered a few books to help me with some of the more intricate production of period pieces, I'm not a costumer, so I will need a little help on some of the older sewing techniques. 

In other news.  I have started working on an oil painting.  Once again, I will attempt to embellish on a drawing by my also artistically talented husband.  My first attempt is a bust, it'd been too long since I'd sat in front of the easel and played with mixing colors for such a detailed piece.  So it's going on the back burner, I'll Gesso the canvas and start over later.  Actually, I'll be working on 2 paintings, but one of them is going to remain secret until it is finished and presented to the person for whom it is intended.

That's it for now.  I have some drawings I need to work on and I may even veg out a bit with some WoW or a bit of knitting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stuffy

No, not as if it's hot and stuffy.  A stuffed critter or some sort, is what I mean.  I have this bizarre NEED to knit and possibly felt some sort of stuffed animal to carry with me.  Weird, huh?  Yea, I know.  But I want something squishy and huggable.  I must be losing my mind. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!

The Pacific northwest is doing what it does best, being rainy and cold.  I'm amazed that the leaves have hardly turned yet.  It's already October and typically my yard is covered with maple leaves.  I have an obscene amount of maple trees on my property and we have this love hate relationship.  The leaves turn gorgeous colors but those little helicopters (the seed pods) are painful with their protective slivers. 

I'm ready to hunker down for the fall and winter months.  It's a time of healing and rejuvenation that I look forward to every year.  Every season has a purpose. 

I think tonight I may sit down and watch TV while knitting on my hoodie. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Shame on me! But subservient? NEVER!

That's what happens when I get too wrapped up in my fibro pain and po'd about my work schedule.

But I've had an near epiphany in the last 24 hours (thanks Christie) and part of that tells me to get my butt back to posting regularly to my blog.

Look, artists don't get anywhere by hiding their light under a bushel.  If I want to succeed at anything I need to get my ass out there and let people know I'm here.  Do I want to succeed as an artist.  Why yes, I do.

I have a lot of creativity bottled up in me that I stuff a cork in it that I call lack of energy and time.  But anyone who knows anything knows that art CREATES energy.  It's a circle of energy.  I have to start somewhere.  The biggest thing is to start concentrating my energy into creating.  I also need to FOLLOW THROUGH.

I need to believe in myself, too.

I have talent.

I have creative energy.

I need to apply it.

I can write.  Not as well as my friend and favorite journalist  Christie Keith.  But dammit I *can*.   I'll never be a journalist (not my cup of tea and I don't take criticism of my opinions well, I'm just not that tough) and I'll never write a book (I don't have that long of an attention...look a penguin!)  But I can jabber on a blog.

Here's my start back on the blog-wagon.  How'd I do?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Life is too short for practice.

That's what someone said on a Ravelry forum and I thought it was brilliant.  Looking back, I can see that was part of my problem learning to knit.  I was told over and over to "practice" and learn to knit making washcloths.  I hated it.  I hated the fact that I had to start with this horrid little squares with cotton yarn.  I made three, hating every minute.  I put knitting aside, I didn't know how much I was supposed to practice with these washcloths and I just wasn't going to do it, I wanted to knit socks!

Every time I expressed this the wizened ladies of the LYS would cluck at me and tell me how much I needed to practice, practice with washcloths before I tackled socks, other knitters would tell me the same thing.  I dug in my heels, folded my arms across my chest, stuck out my bottom lip and said, "NO, I don't want to!"  I know how to knit, purl, increase and decrease, I'm done knitting friggin' washcloths.

Stubbornly, I studied my first sock pattern that the LYS almost grudgingly sold me.  It took me a long time of studying, too.  So much of the pattern was foreign to me, but I read it over and over again.  I'd tuck it away for a while before pulling it out again.  I'd watch videos on Knitting Help dot com for casting on and working the heel.  This went on for several months.  No, I'm not kidding.  I was learning the mechanics of the sock, how the stitches turned to make the heel, it had to make some sort of sense to me first, that's just how I am.

Finally I cast on and started my first sock.  I learned patience.  LOL  I learned how take my time, go slow, think, knit, count, count again.  I learned how to "tink" or "knit backwards".  When I was done with the first sock I studied pictures and explanations of the Kitchener, it's a logical method and I had no idea I was supposed to be afraid of the Kitchener or that it was difficult.  I still wonder sometimes if I'm doing something wrong, as long as I have the instructions in front of me I can do it.  No, it's not committed to memory, I don't use it often enough to build up the muscle memory, but I have a dog tag with the instructions and a little card with it. 

So I learned to make socks, on my own and I've never knit another stupid washcloth.  I'm doing the same thing with my weaving.  I was going to just "practice" but as I was getting my loom warped I thought to myself, I cannot just practice, I need to make something.  I don't want to do that stupid placemat in my book that it says to start with, and going on like I am without a goal is boring... I want to make a scarf!  So that's what I've decided I'm doing, I'm making a scarf and if it sucks, I've got other ideas.  Because, ya know...life is just too damn short for practice.  :-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Once you start, you can't stop!

I had to push myself away from the loom.  I was having way too much fun. 

I didn't use the materials I had intended, which I had a feeling was going to happen. It's one of the reasons it's taken me so long to get started.  I couldn't decide what to use.  What I ended up using was the 2 of the 5 different colors of cotton 5/2 that I ordered.  When I first started weaving, I was using one of those colors for the weft and I wasn't pleased with the results.  I dug around in my yarn stash and found my Aslan Trends Class a sport weight that I was originally caught by its shimmery golden look, I never could figure out what to do with it.  It's working out well I think.



No idea what I'm making, LOL.  But I'm having fun doing it, so that must count for something.  It's got my mind running ahead onto my next project though.  I have a boat load of green yarn that I won in a drawing along with a pattern for a sweater that I'm truly not impressed with, now I think I know what to do with the green yarn. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

I did it!

On Sunday when DH asked what we were getting at the store he didn't even blink when I said, "soap, sandpaper and a rubber mallet."  Those were the result of posing my question to the RH group on Ravelry on how to get those dang pegs set. 

The soap and the mallet worked like a charm.  It took about 4 hours from start when I first got the pegs set into the warping board to finish the loom is dressed and ready to start weaving.  Problem is my hands are a mess and my back is achy, too.  I went to the doc this morning, I'm waiting for the results of the bloodwork.  Hopefully, we'll find the reason for every joint in my body being painful and feel swollen.  Anyway, tomorrow I'll start the actual weaving. 

Here's a picture of the warp on the warping board.  I was so tickled that I got it done.  


This here is a picture taken after I "dressed the loom".  It was rather tedious, but I learned a lot.  This is just the beginning.  I've never woven before and I'm anxious to give it a go.  I hope it's as much fun and creatively satisfying as I imagine it to be. 


Tomorrow I'll play with the different weft colors I bought.  I'm thinking this is going to be a scarf, but we'll see.  :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Project RH

I've been spending some time on the Ravelry group "Rigid Heddle Looms" what a great bunch of helpful people.  They've helped me quite a bit and I feel confident that when I try some of the advice I was given using my warping board that I have more trouble, they'll come to my aid.  I just can't say enough, they're great.

I've also spent some time looking at the projects these weavers have completed and I'm so blown away!  Gorgeous stuff to be sure!  I am so anxious to get started weaving and piling on the experience and learning new techniques.  Here are some samples of their work the links go directly to their Ravelry post so that credit is given as due.  :-)

A wedding shawl

Another shawl

Jeen's basket of towels

Faux Ikat Scarf

Tote

I'm positively beside myself with excitement to start my first project.  I'm going to purchase a bar of soap, some sandpaper and a rubber mallet Sunday.  Sounds odd?  Those are going to be my attempts at securing the pegs in my warping board.   I intend on warping my loom Sunday afternoon if I'm still awake or Monday after my doctor's appt.  Oh yea, gonna get checked out as to why nearly ever joint in my body is painful and swollen, before it gets so out of hand I can't do anything at all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Geeklectic and the Warp

I'm going insane trying to warp my loom.  From my Ravelry post on a RH forum:

Three times I’ve failed. The first time I only had a few rounds made on the pegs before I lost track of which way I was going around the cross pegs. The second time I inexplicably lost tension. The third time, I just about screamed like Marion Crane. The dadgumblastedsonofaguncottonpickinevil pegs collapsed and half my work fell toward the floor, the cross section was part of it.
It’s taken the last 2.5 hours for me to calm down enough to communicate my frustration and I don’t typically get this frustrated about anything that doesn’t involve my current employer, so this has really gotten to me.
I watched the videos on warping for the Harp. I have the written instructions, too. Which says, “The pegs fit tight so don’t insert them in any manner that will cause damage to the loom.” Yea, ok, but it’s more than just TIGHT, darned near impossible, my hands HURT from trying to force those stupid pegs into the hole, afraid to use a rubber mallet to pound those suckers into the holes that barely accommodate them for fear it damage my loom.

I've gotten some good advice, from sanding the pegs a bit to going ahead and use a rubber mallet.  I may just have to do that.  One or both, I imagine.  But I can't do much until next Monday since my work week starts tonight.

I've developed a few tricks to get through my 4 graveyard shifts, so they've been a little easier.  I'm also inexplicably happy not being exposed to the daily drama of the day shift.  I don't think I have much interest in working days at that hospital, IF I didn't have to work the weekends.  Oh well, things are what they are, nothing for it.

What do you think of my new word?  Geeklectic.  Think it will catch on?  I'm an eclectic geek, so the word just kinda formed naturally.  I like such a vast array of geekery and even my fiber hobbies make me as much a of a yarn geek as it does a fiber diva.  Can I be both?  Ah, a Geeklectic Fiber Diva.  YEA!  ;-)

About those podcast reviews.  I know I haven't gotten to them yet and I still want to do them.  Things were insane at work so getting a break to write a little, just didn't happen and the last few days I've had off have been spent doing other things.  I haven't forgotten, they'll happen.  :-)

UPDATE:  I'm sadden to say that my new word is not an original.  I should have Googled it first, but I still came up with it on my own, that should count for something, right?  *big sigh*  Oh well.  Reality is a bitch.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

On my way home from work this early Sunday morning I stopped at the post office.  Usually there isn't much in the box from the Saturday delivery, but you never can tell.  When I opened the box I squee'd.  Laying within was my first pair of the coveted and very expensive Signature Needles.  I had another stop to make and managed to resist opening up the mailing tube that held these sticks of heavenly knitting.

As soon as I got home, I told myself to at least change my clothes and put away my laptop, cellphone, and iPod.  Yea, right.  Riiiiiiip!  I tore into that tube like a kid on Christmas morning.  As I poured the knitting needles out of the tube into my anxious hands I heard nothing, not even my little dog Jaxx barking his fool head off for me to pick him up for his snuggles.  These needles have no equal.  I haven't even knit with them yet, but their heft is formidable, they're well balanced and dayyum they're classy looking.  Knitting with these compared to bamboo needles is supposed to be like comparing a Ferrari to a Subaru.  One is economical and practical, the other...well...isn't.  Not to mention that you'll get to your destination a wee bit faster.

I'll don the driving gloves and head scarf (knitted of course) and give these babies a test drive after I've had some sleep.

UPDATE:  oooh boy, I'm gonna get more of these!  The only thing I wish I had done differently is ordered them in 14" instead of 10".  But that's ok.  I knitted 2 rows, the first row to get my project on the new needles, the second row because it's the wrong side row.  Positively dreamy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

sometimes I just don't think

ho boy, I may have blown it. 
You see, I'm looking for a new job.  Now they're few and far between in my field in my area and the hours that I can live with. Currently, I'm waiting to hear if I even get an interview with the one place I *want* to work at.

So what did I do?  Well...I needed some uplifting and it's been about 10 years since I'd colored my hair.  So I bleached a front bit and then dyed it omfg is it PINK!  Yea, I love it.  But it may put a damper on my quest.  Then I thought about it a minute.  I have pierced nose and a tattoo on my neck.  How much is pink hair going to affect my chances.  LOL!


Well, need to take a nap before going to work.  I fucking hate working overnights. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I didn't do it.

Yea, I was supposed to dress my loom today wasn't I?  I got myself distracted by puffy eyes and the raw milk debate.  You don't want to know. 

That's ok, gives me more time to work on my podcast review. 

Stopped by Allyn Knits today, they had a clearance sale going on and of course my Jeep drifted into their parking lot.  I needed some new #8 straights anyway, so what the heck.  I bought some gorgeous green that I'm going to make some socks from and, get this, sugar cane yarn!  Yup, I'm really anxious to knit this up.  I'm pretty sure it's going to be a scarf, it feels like one.  The lady at AK said that you'd use it just like you would silk.  It's so soft and luscious that I have to have this around my neck.
This here is the sugar cane.


I was disappointed that they didn't have any metal straights.  I'm tired of my bamboo sticking and yet they  manage to sell me some "highly polished" bamboo that's supposedly more slippery.  I haven't tried them yet, but will in the next few days or so.

Tomorrow night, during my break at work, I'll be getting my first podcast review typed up.  Are you ready for it?  ;-)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Too Much Purple?

One of my favorite books from childhood is Harold and the Purple Crayon.   Armed with nothing more than a gigantic purple crayon Harold created his world.  If he needed a door, he drew a door.  If he was hungry, he drew a pie!  That purple crayon was awesome!  I don't know what came first though, my love for purple or coveting Harold's crayon.  I still love purple but I've grown to add other colors to my palette.  Green for instance.  Though I will always go back to purple, I'm currently having a love affair with green.  Unlike Harold, I don't like crayon green, you know the color.  The same green that, in grade school we made construction paper Christmas ornaments for the tree.  No, what I like are the various shades of sage and olive green.  Right now I'm dreaming of green.  Purple is just not giving me the satisfaction I desire at the moment.  The problem.  My CPH is purple.

I made a horrifying discovery this morning while unpinning the two front panels from the blocking board.  Actually, it was while putting away the pieces of the blocking board (I use the blocking mats by Knit Picks).  I put the panels on top of the plastic storage bin and while doing so, noticed the bag of purple yarn in bin.  Oh, I may have some left over when I'm done with the CPH.  I have the two sleeves, the hood and then the button band.  There was the bag of 3 skeins sitting next to the box, I had left it ther

I pulled the bin down and opened it.  Yup, there's 10 more skeins.  That's 13 left.  hmm  Uhm, wait a second.  I moved aside some green skeins and found yet another 10 skeins of the purple.  Yu-oh, 23 skeins left.  How much of this purple have I already used?  I had to dig a little to find out how much I had bought originally.  35 of the 109yd/50gPeruvian Highland Donegal.  THIRTY FIVE and I have 23 left!  I've used 12??? Number 12 was just started, too!  *banging head*  What was I thinking?  How can this be? I double checked my math.  I wanted to make this hoodie about 2 sizes bigger than I needed, as I like my jackets/hoodies baggy.  So, the pattern said 20 of 183yd/110g skeins.  I thought all I had to do was divide 3660yd by 109yd.  I guess I should have considered the weight difference as well.  I'm curious to find how much I will have left over when I'm done. 

BTW, I did make gauge.  I use my gauge swatch on top of my cpu where I set my iPod.

Which reminds me, I am going to try to bring my geekery and my love of fiber crafts together.  Stay tuned for future posts where I plan on reviewing knitting/fiber podcasts and apps.  If that goes well, I will be reviewing knitting gadgets, too!



Friday, August 5, 2011

Haven't Forgotten

I might post later today after I've had some sleep.  I've just been too exhausted or playing WoW again to post.  I forgot how much WoW helped me when I was thoroughly and utterly *pissed* at my job.  Anyway, I need to get some sleep. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

FRUSTRATED!!

Really?  Is it that hard to provide good customer service? 

I was relatively pleased that the response to my email to Halcyon Yarns about my back-ordered items was a notice that my substitute colors I had suggested was being sent.  An automated notice, mind you.  All well and good, but it would have been really nice if BEFORE they had sent me the auto notice, they might have sent me an email letting me know that they were going to be sending xy and z.  If they had done that, I would have been able to tell them, hey-o, you're only sending me 1 of the sub color for the color I ordered 2.  But no, just an auto email and when I get my order I excitedly rip into the package and find only one mini-cone of my warp color. *cry* 

So, I'm trying to decide if I should alter my project and just go with what I have.  I did send them an email about this additional problem.  But I don't think I'll be doing business with them again.  They're just not communicative and it would have taken care of some issues if they'd bothered to talk to me.  Oh, and they have my damn phone number, too.  As long as they're name comes over the caller ID I'll answer the phone. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reading Is Fun-damental

I have been a voracious reader since I first was able to read the rousing adventures of Dick, Jane & Spot.  I've enjoyed stories by well known authors as well as the obscure.  Really.  I mean not everyone has read the dusty tome that I read when I was about 14 years old called "A Dog's Head"by Jean Dutourd.  Just now I looked for it on Amazon and it was actually reprinted in 1998.  It's original print date was 1951 in Paris.  Translated to English in 1953.  By far, that was the weirdest book I'd ever read to date.

I've read an amazing glut of bad books.  I've also been known to label a book good, when the author stinks but the story was wonderful.  Sometimes it's hard to get through a poorly written book, but when the story is good, sometimes my mind can fill in the blanks left by the author.  But a bad story, cannot be saved by the best writer.  Trust me, I may not be able to write very well (look at my blog people, this is the best I can do, LOL) but I can read, I'm a dreamer and I'm an artist, I know a good book when I read it.

Is there such a thing as a bad story?  Oh, I don't know.  Maybe just a story that's been done so many times that only a gifted writer can pull me in.  I'm that way about bodice rippers.   Admit it they're all the same. Very formulaic.  Different spirited woman, different roguish man, an impossible setting be it a boat or a parlor room....need I go on?  Formulaic.  I'm not saying formulas don't work, they do!  Look at Stephen King, he most certainly writes by formula, but the formula is a fine thread, so fine you forget about the formula a get into the story.

A good story, though, can be bogged down by details (think Anne Rice) and over done characters (Anne Rice again).  It can also get lost when there are too many characters that the writer is trying to write about.  To me a book slices out a portion of life and tells that story, it doesn't care about the guy in the next car driving down the freeway UNLESS it's going to impact the main character(s) in some way.

It also seems to be a rarity these days to have stand alone novels.  Everything is a series it seems.  Seldom do I find a book and not think "oh, that sounds interesting.  What book 3?  CRAP!"  Sometimes I just wan to move from one book to another.  New characters, new settings, new stories.  But I can hardly look at the books on my Kindle or Nook and find one that is a stand alone.  Maybe it's just a talent I have to find series.

As I was saying though, I've read a lot of books good and bad.  One day, while flipping through a magazine, I saw a book review on a newly released novel.  I was intrigued and immediately downloaded it onto my Kindle.  It was, by and far, the VERY BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ to date.  No kidding.  Imagine my smugness as  it grew in popularity.  I had already read the book and was feeling pretty good about it.  I have no idea why. 

Oh, you probably are wondering what book that was, silly me.  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Today is my birthday!!

Ok, so it's the second time in my entire life that I've had work on my birthday, but after 49 years of walking this blue & green marble, it was bound to happen.

I cannot think of what I would like for my birthday either.  My mom asked me, my husband asked me...I have no idea.  The thing is, when I want something, I usually just go out and get it or save up my nickels for it.  I'd like an iPad, but would I really have a use for it after I got my droid, which I can't have until September.  Do I want a Nintendo DS even though I know I'm going to get a PSVita when it come out.  Do I want knitting stuff?  I pretty much have what I want right now, though a gift card to the LYS is usually fitting.  Do I want any jewelry?  After I got my gorgarific green amethyst ring last Yule, it's pretty much kept me satisfied.  I still get tingly when I look at it.  So I don't know.  Can ya tell I'm exhausted?  I'm chattering like a magpie!  Just got home from work and waiting for my breakfast before I zone and what do I do...blog.  Good grief. 

I do know is that after all this time of working on my CPH I need to start a quick and easy knitting project.  Holy moly am I sick to death of working on the CPH.  I haven't done anything on it for about a week, I wanted to step away from it for a while.  I think I want to make a pretty scarf, a little one, not a long one.  I think I'll spend this morning looking on Ravelry.com for a while before I nod off to sleep the day away.

Happy Birthday to me.  Next year is the big Five-O.  *cringe*

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dagnabbit!

Things have become so automated in the name of customer service that I think its actually become detrimental to customer service.  I like to order online and I know that the one on one customer service is non-existent there, but that's no excuse for a total disconnect.

Customers like to shop online.  To the brick & mortar shops, get over it.  If I regularly received decent customer service at B&M businesses, I wouldn't be as willing to forfeit that comfort.  But the fact is, most stores you go into, the employees know little to nothing about their products, they're surly and unpleasant.  The caveat to that statement, is the small business specialty type stores.  And I mean SMALL where the person who owns the shop is talking to you, showing you around and knows the products inside and out because he/she either made it themselves or knows personally the person who did.  I am not affected by appearance, though.  I don't care if the shop owner is covered in tattoos and has multiple piercings.  I've been judged by my appearance all my life and refuse to that to others.  As long as the individual is clean and doesn't smell like they need a personal introduction to soap and water, I'm good. 

But I draw the line at stinky customer service and for some reason online shops think that they're immune to that particular expectation.  News for you, you're not.  Just because I pick my merchandise from the website does not mean that I'm willing to accept customer slights.  Here's my expectations for online shopping.

1) The item should be well described.
Pictures should be large enough for young and old to see details.  The option for 360degree view is optimal.  Make sure your webmaster knows what they're doing, it's very aggravating to have a "click to enlarge" only to have the item showing on a bare webpage the exact same size as the original.  The magnifying glass thing...annoying!  I want to see the WHOLE picture large, not just bits and pieces.  If you have an item that comes in different colors, provide a picture of the item in EACH color.  (see Zappos.com)
Written descriptions should be COMPLETE.  Where it was made and what kind of material it is made from (especially clothing).  Is it dry clean only?  If I'm ordering tea for instance, I want to know where it came from, when it was harvested, how it was processed, information about the flavor and even what kind of foods it would compliment.

2) Ordering
A pop-up window when I click to order is a really nice option, I can choose the color, flavor, etc., and the quantity, click order and the window closes so I can continue shopping, no back and forth to the shopping cart like some shops.  See Keurig.com


3) Shopping cart
A shopping cart should be quick & easy to edit, people change their minds all the time and having a quick window pop up when you click on it instead of taking you to a new page is a appreciated, at least by me.  Edit, close window, back to shopping.

4) Filling out the billing & shipment
It annoys the living daylights out of me when I come upon a website that will not allow my billing address to be my PO Box.  I live in the sticks, I prefer the security of my POB.  If I had rural delivery my mailbox would be on the main road a mile away from my house.  It would be amongst many other mailboxes and guess what?  They get ransacked regularly.  So when a business gets all snotty about my POB address it pisses me off because a) they're assuming I'm dishonest  b) they don't care about me and my security.
What is worse is when they refuse to ship to a POB.  I don't mind using UPS or FedEx, that's just fine, I'll give my physical address happily.  But when UPS/FedEx aren't an option, I can't do business with them.  Which, exactly whose loss is this?  Oh yea...theirs.  Because I'll just find someone who WILL deliver to my POB or send via UPS/FedEx. 

5)  Shipping
Okay, that's pretty cool that you can fill out the shipping label from your office.  I like it, too.  But here's the thing, don't tell me my item has been shipped until it's actually been shipped.  I know, there's usually a little note that says it may not have actually left their warehouse, but still.  But that's really a small complaint.

6) Back-orders
Back-orders happen.  But for the love of all that is green, TELL ME.  I placed an order for a blouse that said it would be delivered in about 2 weeks.  After 3 weeks I realized it hadn't come.  I contact the company and they tell me the order was cancelled.  But they don't bother to tell me why.  By the time I finally got that answer, I just didn't care.  I won't order from them again.  Same thing with some work clothes from V.A.C.  a month later when my boss calls they THEN tell her that they were a discontinued item.  Exactly why did we have to CALL TO FIND OUT.  Unacceptable.  I won't be doing business with either of them again.

The thing about back-orders, is that there's a possibility that I'll just order something else, but if they don't give me the courtesy of a phone call or email, I don't want their damn products.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm just passing time.

I am so tired and achy.  Fibromyalgia has been with me for about 8 years, diagnosed.  I'm feeling it today. I'm stressed (job related) and not eating right (due to stress) and not sleeping well (due to stress) the big picture is a stress ball=fibro fire.  Fibro fog moves in as well, so thinking beyond the simplistic is very taxing. 

I've been spending my time on Ravelry and Etsy.  Just passing time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting there.

I can't believe that I'm actually going to start weaving.  I found the brown "kraft" paper at wally world today, so that was a bonus.  I'm really excited about this coming together.  I'm hoping my order arrives around the end of the week or even the beginning of next week so I can spend one of my days off warping my loom.  I'll take a picture of the process.  Hopefully, the pics won't include a pile of tangled yarn laying on the floor with me crying like a baby that just lost its pacifier.  I keep wondering if this undertaking is going to be my undoing. 

I've learned about patience while knitting and feel that I've come a long way since my days of temper tantrums that often included broken glass and other shredded material.  I'm also much older and simply do not have the energy to expend on such silliness, not to mention my appreciation for hard earned cash that I, quite frankly, did not have in my 20s.  I just spent $40 bucks at the online yarn store and I'll be damned if I'm going to go ninja on it. 

I do owe a lot to my husband, who rarely is rattled by anything.  He balances me out so well, that I don't want to rant like a maniac.  The internet has helped, too.  When I'm thoroughly pissed I can blog, tweet or update my status.  I usually tweet though, that's my secret squirrel place that I'm only "followed" by few people (less than 5) and mostly follow my idols (Wil Wheaton, Alton Brown, Felicia Day and Chef Symon, for examples).   I can scream to my hearts content and none of my co-workers are aghast and go running to my boss about what a negative, nasty bitch I am about work.  haha  Yep, cuz work is the only thing that truly pisses me off these days.  Anyway...

So, I've discovered that I'm not the only one that partakes in many crafts at once.  I don't feel quite so "out there" now.  Sure, we're still the minority as most of the folks I know have their ONE CRAFT that they do exclusively, but I'm not alone in my craft deviance. I hesitate to use the words attention deficit, because I don't believe that we're deficient in any way.  We simply need a multitude of crafts to express ourselves.  Here's my list of current crafts that I particularly enjoy and in no specific order:
Knitting
Beadwork
Leatherwork
Quillwork
Oil painting
Watercolor painting
Drawing
Sewing
Scrapbooking (sort of)

I want to learn:
Weaving (getting there!)
Pottery (thrown)
Silversmithing
Lapidary

Currently my attention has been on weaving, knitting and oil painting, but I'm hearing the call of beadwork again and I'm thinking about taking a pottery class soon. 

Either way, I'm grateful that my husband supports me in everything craft-wise.  My birthday is Saturday and I'm stumped on what I want.  Well, not really, I want an iPad, but that's not going to happen...yet.  I'm getting my Droid in September. So what do I want?  How about...a loom stool or a spinning stool.  I just don't know.  *sigh*

Monday, July 25, 2011

Game on!

I ordered the supplies I need, from Halcyon Yarn, to start my first weaving project!  I'm so excited!  I decided to order the colors I wanted and I'll figure it out when it gets here. I have an inkling of a pattern and I'll play with the colors a little more while I wait for its arrival.

I was so tired last night I didn't blog!  I was trying so hard to blog daily, but I was simply out of sorts.  I worked 4 overnight shifts and yesterday when I got home I slept for a few hours and then went to our gaming session.  Which I must say was awesome.  The game itself wasn't great, but I was so happy to be with my friends!  I never realized how important game day was to me until it was taken away.  Imagine how warm and fuzzy I felt when they all actually wanted to change to Sundays.  We'd been playing together for about 8 years, every other Saturday, with only a few times a year missed due to conventions, holidays and illness.  So I was happy, though exhausted.  Originally we were going to have an "Indiana Jones" gathering on my birthday next Saturday, but my job has totally screwed me out of that, so the highlight yesterday was when one of my friends sang "Happy Birthday" to the tune of Indiana Jones!  It was quirky but AWESOME.  Thanks Stevena!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gonna get warped!

Haha, some say I already am warped.  But in this case I'm referring to my loom and weaving.  DH is binding a booklet I downloaded from Interweave, so I can read it during my break tonight.  I think it's going to be the cherry on the top of my quest to understanding the different types of fiber to use.  Weaving terminology is quite different from knitting when it comes to determining how a particular yarn is going to work with any given project.  It's had me stumped for a few days and I want to get my cotton cones ordered. 

I started feeling really excited when I realized that if I like weaving as much as I think I will, then I came make some really nifty Yule gifts for friends and family.  Kitchen towels, place mats, scarves, the usual.  I think I will try to make a pretty shawl some time down the line, too.  OOhh, better yet, a ruana style shawl!  OH YES!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weaving

Finally, the loom is going to be getting used.  I'm starting to settle on my first project and getting ready to order the fiber.  I had to finally just bite the wool and just do it.  For the last few weeks I've been so concerned with "doing it right" that I have been stymied.  I wanted to follow the directions for the beginning project precisely in "Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving" by Betty Linn Davenport, order the same yarn included.  But, the yarns she recommends are no longer available and I went to the home websites of the makers.  That alone petrified me, what was I going to do, I wailed. 

Yesterday, while reading some of the weaving posts on Ravelry I decided that I was going to toss off my limitations and just "go with it".  So I'm going to order some cotton and knit a place mat or a table runner.  I'm going to choose my colors and when it gets here I'm going to follow the video directions for my loom to get it dressed.  Then I'm going to sit down and let my creativity take over.  No pattern, just get the feel for my loom and the colors. 

I'm really excited about learning to weave.  I have some designs in my head that I am hoping will come together when I get the hang of weaving. 

I'm anxious to get started on my new crafting adventure. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whinage

Because it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to, so there.

After being put on the shift of purgatory at work, I've developed a habit of whining.  LOL  Yea, sad, isn't it.  But I am not going to post about work and my shift, just in case those nosey nellies are spying on me.  No, I'm not paranoid, they monitor their employees outside online activity. 

My whines are on a different subject.  You see, I've learned something.  You know the saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"?  I've come to the conclusion it's not so much squeaky as it is pain in the ass.  If you're a jerk, a hater, a bitch and downright rude, you will get attention from people that are supposed to be superior* to you.  For example, Twitter & Facebook, I follow some well known names and one thing I don't expect is a response from any of my "mentions" of any of them.  They kindly live up to that expectation.  What bugs the hell out of me though, is that the people that are mean, hateful and rude, they respond to them!  Why is that?  I know I wouldn't like that kind of attention but some folks get pretty darned excited if someone famous gives them even negative feedback.  No, I haven't tweeted or responded on Facebook at any of the famous folk about this, to me that's just fishing for a response and I'd rather EARN it.  I also refuse to say something like, "my mom is sick, if you mention me it would make my day so much brighter." That's fishing, too.  I want to earn a SINCERE response.  So, for the time I've been following various people that I admire (and are followed by anywhere from 1,000 to 1,000,000+ people) all I've ever done is be friendly and respectful.  I'll earn a response eventually, but until then I'm going to be really pissed every time a hater gets air time from them. 

One thing about my job.  It's so depressing that while I'm working overnight, performing menial tasks like filling pen holders, emptying trash and doing laundry, I wish I could knit when I don't have patients to take care of, but I guess some poor sucker has to do the scut work.  But I can onlyknit during my break, which I tend to nod off during or fight falling asleep so I don't get in trouble for napping more than my break time. Oh well.  It's just that I'm getting so close to the end of my CPH.  Working on the first sleeve now.  I've gotten a few rows of the cuff done.

On the bright side.  I'm listening to podcasts while I work, such as Brass Needles and tonight I'm going to start listening to the Knitmore Girls.

End of whinage.   

*not in a royal way, but in the superior way of they being objects of admiration from us ordinary folk.  hehe  Guess that wasn't much better was it.  Oh shuddup and go with it, stop being such a PC prude. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I don't like stripes!

Wow, I had no idea I had such a strong aversion to stripes until someone suggested the new "Knit Noro 30 Designs in Living Color".  I really do not like stripes!!  So now that I've realized it I can look at patterns and decide if I don't like the style or if someone knitted it in stripes and I'd like it better without.  Every time I look at the 30 designs my stomach churns, LOL.

There's a lot of patterns that I see recommended on email groups and Ravelry that I just shake my head and wonder if their taste is all in their mouths.  Honestly, I do realize everyone has different tastes, I just think that when I'm in a snarky mood.  I think I'm just ultra-picky.  One thing I have realized is that I like a certain flow to the piece and I'm falling in love with lace work, do I dare venture into lace?  hmmm

Is there a certain pattern design you can't stand that everyone else seems to think is beautiful? 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bloggity blog blog

"Blog often." they say.  Really?  Why, and who the hell is "THEY"?  Should I be quoting someone that has such an abstract identity?  I'm not sure I can do it, but I'm going to try blogging daily, for grins.  We'll see if that resolve lasts more than 12.5 hours.  Haha

The Central Park Hoodie is coming along nicely.  It's been about 4 days since I finished the side panels and now it's time to tackle the sleeves.  I'm feeling a bit intimidated by the sleeves.  I keep telling myself that the sooner I finish the CPH the sooner I can move on to something else, like another pair of socks.  I have the full of awesomeness books by Cookie A "Knit.Sock.Love"and Janel Laidman "The Enchanted Sole".  I'll be knitting socks from each soon, I hope.

Speaking of things to knit.  I've gone a little crazy adding patterns to my Favorites list on Ravelry.  One in particular The Evangeline Tunic by Joan McGowan-Michael has my full attention.  It's gorgeous, isn't it?  Not sure I'm going to take on something like that right way after I finish my CPH, more likely I'll knit some socks first.  Another one that I love is the Heroine by Jennifer Lippman-Bruno very steampunk-ish, I love it. 

One more thing I need to mention before I sign-off.  I have been listening to the best darn PodCast I've heard in a very long time, Brass Needles.  Miss Kalendar is an awesome and engaging and though I'm not a sci-fi fan I still enjoy listening to her chatter on about shows like Farscape and the various mutations of Star Trek.  Sadly, I'm a little disappointed in the Brass Needles Ravelry group, it's a rather quiet group compared to my expectations.  Ah well. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

I found it.

On a whim, I Googled some keywords and actually found the pattern for the shawl that B.Guest crocheted. 
Giant Pinwheel Shawl

Now to figure out if I can alter this for knitting.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Flashbacks of the 70s

When I was just a little kid in 1972 in a Newport, OR "trailer park" my mother made friends with a very talented neighbor by the name of Barbara Guest. Barbara was amazing. But before we talk about Barbara I want to say something about trailer parks.

In 1968 I parents bought a "trailer" I remember it was blue and it was a "Van Dyke", lots of paneling, ugly green carpeting and weird looking cabinetry. Back in those days they were sold to home buyers as a home that you could take with you, change locations but not your home. Yea, didn't work so well though. The trailer was moved from its place of manufacture to the lot, from the lot to the Neah Bay, WA Coast Guard station lot; to the La Push, WA Coast Guard station property, then the "
Thunderbird Trailer Park" in Puyallup, WA. The last move was to the "Sportsman Trailer Park" in Newport, OR. That was the trailer's last move. Those things really weren't meant to move every 9 months to 2 years as ours did. The entire front face where the tow truck attached was tearing away from the body. My parents sold it where it sat and from what I understand our trailer entered the era that its inhabitants would be forever be known as "trailer trash".

In the 80's they became mobile homes, nicer but still destined for the shameful moniker 20-30 years later. Now I live in a manufactured home, basically the same thing but they cost buckets more and the chances of it ever being mistaken for a trailer non-existent. LOL

2011 and I'm dragging out those memories of Barbara and trailers. Weird. Anyway, Barbara painted a beautiful picture for my mother that to this day hangs in my parents home. She also made my mother a gorgeous pink shawl. When I was a teen I loved that shawl and on special occasions my mother would let me use it. The 70's was a time for ponchos and trust me I had more than a few, although my mother always had the luck of finding the ugliest damn thing for me and I just had to have a poncho so I settled. But that shawl was something I imagined wearing all the time. Back then it had a sparkle to it, it was magical, I swear. It would always turn the head of that special boy (Was I daft? Why would a guy care about a pink shawl? LOL) and the other girls would beg me to tell them which high end department store I found it in, which I would then look down upon their begging faces and with a toss of my head tell them in the voice of Tallulah Bankhead, "Dahling, this is a one of kind, you won't find it in one of your droll department stores." Wow, I was a strange kid.

As I gained more confidence in my knitting I thought of that beautiful shawl and so wanted to knit one just like it with colors and fiber of my choosing 40 years later. Finally, while visiting my parents I remembered to ask about the shawl and lo I even had my camera with me since my sister was visiting from
Texas for the first time in 10 years. When my mother brought the shawl out for me to snap pics of I was stunned. All these years I thought it was knitted, but no, it's CROCHETED!! I hate crochet, I'm terrible at crochet and crochet brings back bad memories of granny squares as well as a hideous pink vest that still haunts me because my panels were so wonky that I couldn't sew them together, the differences between the right and left was about 8 inches!

Quietly I laid out the shawl to take pictures, my mind racing, there must be some way I can knit this pattern, I think to myself. But I'm crushed, crocheted not knitted! So I need to figure out how to knit this, I think I can figure a way, what do you think?




Monday, June 27, 2011

Wow, summer already?

Okay, I suck at blogging.  My last post was before Yule 2010 and it's already summer 2011.  How pathetic is that?   I guess I have a problem with sharing?  LOL

I'm still working on my Central Park Hoodie, I have the back panel and the right side panel done and currently about 1/4 of the way through the left side.  Think I'm finish before September?  I'm hoping, that will make it a year long project.  Yikes!  It'll be a long while before I take on another big project. 

It's been a pretty good year so far, my sister is currently visiting from Texas.  Her first visit since my wedding 10 years ago!  It's been great seeing her again.  I took a few days off of work so I could prepare for a family gathering a few days ago, so glad that I did.  Today is the last day of my mini vacation, so I'll go to my parents and visit with them and sis for the last time before she heads back to Texas Wednesday. 

I've been working on getting my home in order using the online community Flylady it's been extremely helpful getting me organized and decluttering.  I've also been watching a lot of DIYNetwork for ideas.  Some of the projects have to be modified for a manufactured home, but doable.  Our roof is leaking and we're having that fixed as well.  Husband says that has to happen before we build our fence.  As much as that bums me out, I know he's right.  So things are looking up on the home front. 

Now that things are settling a bit I'm having more time to take care of myself and time to lend to my fiber hobbies.  :-)