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?