Sunday, September 23, 2007

A philosophy for life

I like this guy's approach to life. It reminds me very much of things my grandfather used to say. And I have found it to be very true in my own life.

Here is a quote from KnitterMan who is apparently in the midst of a struggle just now:

"...there is a spiritual principle in the Universe that has to do with times of stress and times of need. I have a choice to either get sucked into my own situation (and the inevitable downward spiral into doom-and-gloom negativity and depression), OR I can put my focus on the needs of others, create something positive for them, and thereby open the flow again for positive response in my own direction. Serving others is ALWAYS a positive release-valve. When you need something, give something away. Very simple (not complex) AND very easy (not hard to do). I have a very large and immediate need, and I’ve done all I can do (for now) on my own behalf (at least until Monday). So all I can do is turn my attention aside and press forward to help others."

He is in the middle of making a comfort shawl for a woman who is suffering from cancer. At the same time he is apparently financially very strapped. He makes really nice yarn. Dyes it himself I believe. Might just have to buy some. Never hurts to bring goods made by positive people into my home.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mead Meister

Well, I've almost finished my second felted figure. Part of his innards and his "skin" came from a kit I purchased from Taryn... the instructions for making the face and hands came in very handy. What's cool about these little guys is that no matter how closely you try to follow the directions, he or she will come out completely unique.

Ken named him the "Mead Meister" when I propped him up by wrapping his arm around a wine bottle. All he's missing is a glass in his hand (or perhaps a drinking horn or beer stein...I'll have to think on this).

In any case, here are photos:

Front and back pictures. "T" may recognize the hat from a felting workshop she gave.

Here is a closeup of his face. Surprisingly, from just a slight distance, the fuzziness is hardly noticeable.

My favorite picture. This reminds me a whole lot of the top of my beloved's head... in any case, the hat does come off. Isn't he cute?
Ken believes there are people out there who would pay to have this little guy (complete with empty wine/mead bottle and a mug (glass or horn... depending upon what I make for him).

I want to make a bunch of these folks. I plan to make the following:
  • A little lady spinning (drop spindle)
  • An elf
  • A fairy
  • A Santa
  • A guitar player (or maybe mandolin, or perhaps both)
  • A witch (of course)
  • A blacksmith
  • A knitter
  • A student

I'm sure other ideas will come with time.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wonky computer

I got into Ravelry on Monday evening when I got home from work. I was so excited!

I logged in and I realized this was really a very cool set up and decided to add some of my works in progress (wips). I got the pictures to upload through Flikr and everything was okay... but the pictures just weren't showing up on my computer. There were large expanses of white space. Nice for the eye but not what it was supposed to be.

My computer has had some weirdness issues ever since I had eye surgery and turned on something in accessibility and the type faces got really big and ... well, I got most of that straightened out but there were always some small elements that just would not show up. I have never figured out how to return the whole computer to my pre-eye surgery days. And since I could not afford a new computer, I've just lived with it.

But I wanted to see the pictures and the rating scales and a few other neat things that I KNEW were there but just could not see. So I went in and started messing with things inside again. No luck.

Finally Ken decided that I probably needed to reload Windows. We almost lost the computer altogether at that point because I accidently loaded the Windows disk from Matthew's computer and the whole thing locked up! Aaarrrgghhh! I panicked. All of my photos were in there. I could live without most everything else (although my resume would be nice to save, I guess). It's not like I'm writing a book or anything.

But Ken was able to get into the thing using DOS (talk about dark ages) and got it running again. The correct Windows disk was used but I still cannot see the pictures in Ravelry or the rankings or some other neat features.

I can see them on Ken's computer and Matthew's. Just not mine.

So I'm campaigning for a new computer. This one is old (by computer world standards). It's at least 3 years old. Ken's is seven so he has me beat but he has upgraded everything several times. And he got a new game on Tuesday that will not run on his computer and there is no way to further upgrade his... sohe wants to buy a new one.

I suggested we beg for a bulk purchase deal and just order five new computers (one for each of the family members); call Christmas done; and roll on and pay them all off over the next two years.... he vetoed that notion.

His is actually older than mine but has more ram and better video cards and just runs better. I'm wondering if there is a way to use our in-house network, transfer all the pictures and stuff I want to save over to his computer (I know there is I just have to sit down and do it), then switch my hosed-up computer out and take his and then he can order a new one for himself.

That would solve my problem and his.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wool Pictures

Here are the pictures of the washed locks I promised. This is just a sample of the whole fleece. There may be some parts that aren't as nice.

The first photos are of the white fleece.

These next are of the grey.

Pretty stuff, eh?

Ravelry Countdown

I signed up on Ravelry's waiting list back on July 4th.

A month later, I discovered the waiting list checker thing.

Seemed like things were moving along fairly well, but I wasn't really sure how fast. So starting on 8/24/07 I started writing down my current spot every once in a while (and now daily) just to see how fast this list is moving.

It is frustrating to be referred back to Ravelry by other bloggers when I can't get in to see what they are talking about. At least by reading about other's experiences, I am already well warned that it will suck up quite a bit of my attention and time for a while after getting in. More because it's a learning experience and opportunity to explore a very large web site than because it has problems.

So here is my count down so far:

8/24/07 #3466
8/26/07 3167
8/27/07 2990
8/29/07 2860
9/3/07 2348
9/5/07 2225
9/6/07 2098
9/10/07 1774
9/11/07 1540
9/12/07 1299

It seems like there are bringing in about 200 people a day. If that's the case, I should get my invitation in about a week.

Yes, I'm excited.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Shearing Experience

Well, I've participated in my first shearing. As did my husband.

Actually, it was my husband who arranged it and who paid for the shearer. Imagine that?

Anyway, here's how it happened: Ken and his buddy "Spider" have been patronizing a local farmer who, with his wife and daughters, raises goats and rabbits and chickens for meat. The quality of the meat is great and the cost is very reasonable. Ken and Spider also have arranged to purchase the goat hides and are working hard to perfect the art of naturally tanning the hides for cloaks, other garments and drum heads.

This summer, the farmer decided to purchase three wethered sheep for his daughters to use for a 4-H project. The three he got were Lincolns. He originally offered the hides, but I expressed an interest in the fleece. It was arranged that should we locate a shearer and pay for the sheering I would get the fleeces for no further cost.

Turns out there is a young lady who volunteers at the blacksmith shop where Ken is learning the art of forging who shears the sheep at George Washington's birthplace in the spring each year. Ken arranged to pay her $30 a head to shear the sheep. He figured that $90 was cheaper than having me go off to a festival somewhere and pay that much or more for a full fleece (or three). He's probably right.

When we arrived we found two sheep. One, had died recently -- that morning in fact, and while they offered to let us shear it; I declined as they had no idea why the sheep had died. A fourth sheep, owned by a friend, was not brought over as originally planned, so there were just two to shear.

Here they are: Larry and Curly. They are Lincolns.
Curly is the larger white one. The deceased sheep was called Mo. He was also a grey like Larry.
Here is the lovely, clean white wool under all the dirty stuff on Curly.
Here is Larry being shorn. Our shearer is the little red head and it was easier for her to have folks hold the legs of the sheep and cover it's eyes with a scarf and roll mid-way through the job.
What I liked best is that she took off the good stuff first, handed it over (basically lightly skirted) then she went back and took of the really nasty stuff and threw it away.
Here is Larry and Curly all shorn and having a snack.
I will post pictures of some of the washed and combed locks of both sheep another day.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Little People

A few weeks ago I talked about the new addiction: Felting small people.

I started making a little elfin man. He's still not completely finished. There are a few details I need to do. But here he is as of today sitting in my camp chair. The foam cushions are probably destined to become felting pads.

My favorite part of him are his little socks. These were knitted using the pattern for the sock blocker key-chains and a bit of left over yarn from the red socks I made for myself. (Before I found out about the Bloods Gang and became a Gang Investigator at work!) And, no, my little man is not showing his colors...

I also really like his little drum. The drum still needs the lacing and I think I'm going to make him a little strap (so he doesn't lose the drum while traveling). I might make it from some other sock yarn left over from a project my mom made some years back.
While happy with my first effort. I kept thinking that I had done something not quite right with his face. And I wasn't thrilled with how the commercially made sheet felt actually felted as the edges did not smoothly blend.
But, still, for a very first effort, I thought he was pretty good.

Then I got to talking to my friend Taryn. She offered a couple of felting workshops at the Gathering of the Tribes event over Labour Day Weekend at Blackwater Campground. I actually made the drum at the needle felting workshop. And she showed me how to make my own sheet felt in the wet felting workshop.

Then, THEN! I decided to purchase a needle felting kit from her. It's from the Blacksheep Designs Company. It had directions and a different kind of wool batt (stuff only a desperate spinner could love) and it had slightly different felting needles than I already had.

The day before yesterday I made this head.

Last night I attached it to the body.

I need to fix the dent in the top of his head which resulted from the long stitch that runs from the top of the head down through the skull and into the shoulders. I think the hair will help. And I will probably give him a hat. I'm thinking wizard or perhaps a Santa Figure.

But check out the difference in the faces side by side. The new guy is a little smaller in size (which makes a challenge for details) but I sure see real improvement.
Okay, so let me tell you the best part of all this. While at the campground, I handed off the elf (the first figure) to a friend who carried it up the hill in her arms like he was a little baby. A couple of people stopped her and asked where he had come from and one person told her and my husband, who was walking with her, that she had seen little figures like that and offered to buy it for $100 saying she could probably re-sell it for twice that amount.
Well, suddenly hubby is very interested in this new fiber adventure and is strongly encouraging me to make more little people. Suddenly fiber is an investment and not just a fling!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tired of Teens

I thought that having infants was tough and two-year-olds were just exhausting. But the teens are draining the life from me.

Wes, the oldest, was not raised by me.

John was challenging and ended up dropping out of school. He did get his GED and then joined the Army. But he got in trouble there and is soon to be discharged with less than honorable. He just called and will be home in a week or so and will stay here for about a week. Then off he goes to Wisconsin where he believes he can get a job working in construction. I just hope that he can.

Matthew is driving me bonkers now and is defiant and ignores me completely. He was grounded for a month due to total disregard for letting me know where he was; but when I got home tonight he asked if he could go to the football game at the high school. I reminded him he was still grounded and told him he couldn't go. I went into the kitchen to help with getting dinner on the table and when I turned around to call him, found that he had left the house. Just walked out. He was gone from 6:30 until 9:30 and claims he was just walking. But considering the dogs were unable to find him and track him, I know he arranged to have his friend pick him up down the road and he went off.

The surprise for him is coming, however, for come Monday, I'm calling the phone company and having our landline cut off and the keyboard to the computer he has been using will also disappear. His bike (and mine) will be chained. The other computers in the house are all password locked. And the only other phones are cell phones. The cell he has (the contract for which runs out in November) doesn't get a signal here.

Maybe he will be bored enough to do homework.