Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Insert bobbin here.

K asked if I would write a little something about my past life, back when I was somebody. First, though, since I have been sewing again, I thought I would share some snaps of my equipment.

This is my incredibly wonderful and ancient Bernina zigzag, which has a high speed motor. Most of the machines that I am showing, I have had for at least twenty years. She is my "go-to" machine. I think I paid $250 for her.

And the industrial three-thread serger, or overcast machine. This baby zips along at about 3000 stitches a minute. Love love love her. She cost me $400.

I bought this Brother for $120 back in 1989, and yes, she looks a bit forlorn here, but it's just because I haven't cleaned her up yet. If any of you all are in the market for a sewing machine, I can't recommend this brand highly enough. She doesn't have any fancy stitches, and most people don't need eleventy zillion stitches. She is also mechanical, not computerized, and so is easy to fix. Not that she needs fixing hardly at all. The current price is about $100. I did an incredible amount of production sewing on this baby.

This little bitch is a walking foot zigzag, meaning that the machine grabs both the top layer and the bottom layer of fabric and moves them under the needle evenly. I traded a loom for her several years ago, and only recently did any real sewing on her. (Recently as in yesterday.) I found her motor too weak and her zigzag stitch not wide enough. Also, the flywheel release broke off in my hand - it's that black plastic bit in the lower right. My friend bought this machine new, and so I am very disappointed in the durability aspect as well as the performance aspect. However, she may be just the thing I need for some other project.

My favorite machine leapt to her death coming home from my bricks and mortar store. She was an industrial straight stitch; that's all she did, and I loved her. If I keep on with this sewing thing, I will have to replace her. Her table and motor are intact, although they've been in the barn for five years.

So. This is my equipment. Next post will be about what I have been making with it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No bars held.

I am feeling so good! It's like some sort of election slogan, or mantra, because I must have said it 20 times today. I feel good!

My creative spark has returned and while it might not turn into a conflagration on every front, I am at least wanting to Do Things! Much different from how I felt a month ago.

The woozies are completely gone and I don't feel any more or less depressed than usual. I am swearing a lot more, in creative ways even. I have energy. I have been sewing. Photos to follow. I have ideas of things I'd like to sew. I have been knitting, but have nothing to show, as most has been ripped out once or twice, yet I am not discouraged. Just wait until the socks are photo worthy! They are beautiful, like stained glass.

The heat has broken; it was only 85º today. I left the air conditioning off and the low tonight is forecast to be 61º.

The thing is, though, that I have been doing things, thinking about projects that I would like to do, and even picking up that piece of trash off the floor instead of just looking at it. I am so glad to be off the medz, although it has been hard.

Princess, Zander, and Foxy are all well, and are getting better behaved. (Spending a couple of hours in my studio without canines underfoot has been a delight.) All of the chickens are okay, even the leftover Omelet, who I think is a hen. The sad news is that Smoky passed away on Sunday, along with one of Blue Jean's teenagers. Don't know from what, but it has been hellish hot here lately. These are outdoor bunnies who are not really pets, but just are part of our mise en scene. Smoky lived a great life, fighting and fucking and passing on his genes. Every male animal's desire, I think.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Seam allowances not included.

Hello and Good Morning! Guess who's feeling better? I have been actually doing things, and thinking about other things to do, and that is certainly different.

Yesterday, I created a pair of shorts for myself out of a worn and outgrown denim jumper. Took about twenty minutes, and this was after I finished putting back together the Betty Blanky, after taking it apart and washing the fleece covers (for maybe the first time ever? ewwww!) The Betty Blanky came to us four or five years ago from friend BettyBob, who made it using a sheep's wool batt made by Zeilwieger's using the fleece from Ewenice, Betty's sheep. (Her husband was, or became, allergic to it, so she gifted it to me. Really to Sweetie, though, the frozen chihuahua who is ever in search of a warm place.) The batt is encased in cheesecloth and in itself is not washable, but the fleece outer covers are. The whole sandwich, which is queen size, was then tie tacked together. In short, it is clean and sleep worthy again!

I also finished Little Autumn's Princess Socks last night. I used my Embellish-Knit I-cord maker to create the trim and ties. She'll be home from her dad's this evening, and I can't wait to see her in them.

Livestock is doing okay, even though our temps have been hot for June, and we are forecast to be in the 90ºs all this upcoming week. Omelet is making his solitary way, and seems fine. Henny Penny has another clutch to brood over. The new girls are also well, here are three of the six.

Oh! I ordered a George Foreman grill last Tuesday, the most recent 360 model, (which was on sale as they must be coming out with a new one,) and it arrived Thursday. I love it to pieces! It's red! It sports removable grill plates, and there is also a bake pan (for pizza, among many other things,) and plates for quesadillos. It makes great grilled onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes, to go with one's grilled brats. This morning, I made Sweetie's french toast on it, using no butter. I am so happy! I want to make grilled potatoes, pineapple slices, and carrots. Looks like I can remove some of the cast iron skillets from the stove top into pantry storage. (We don't have built in cabinets in our old-fashioned kitchen, so I store stuff wherever I can. Like the stove top.)

Now that the socks are done, I will most likely cast on another pair for me out of the new yarn shown in a previous post. I still have a hank of dyeable superwash, as well as a skein of alpaca sock weight, along with enough leftover bits from other pairs to make at least one other pair. I also ordered yarn from Webs to make the Wisteria Sweater.

Think I will spend a little more time sewing today, maybe another pair of shorts.

Oh, caught Zander and Princess in this pose last week, exhausted after tearing up the couch.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thing One and Thing Two

I may have said once or twice that I hate Cat Bordhi. Not everyone does, so therefore, the first person that PayPals me $3 to cover postage, I will send that person her New Pathways for Sock Knitters. (I would sell it to Cash4Books, like I did her second New Pathways sock book, but somewhere along the way I spilled a drink on it, and part of a dozen pages are water damaged, but readable.)

(The book is spoken for! Lady Euphoria loves Cat and can't believe her good luck. I am sending the book out today.)

Seriously. I have spent the better part of three days trying to figure this particular pattern out, and just when I thought I had it? I came up two stitches short on one sock and I just said fuck it. Ripped out the socks and most likely, I'll have a pretty pair knit for a four-year-old by tomorrow morning. Using some other pattern.

Sort of apropos to this, I investigated the side effects of Wellbutrin, as my wooziness is ongoing, as is the ringing in my ears, my stomach has been upset and all of these things are known side effects. Also, one can experience feelings of aggression and anger, and tremors. I call it a slam dunk. I am going off of this med immediately, because I am miserable and I am tired of feeling sick like this.

The stupid ass socks haven't helped.

However, I can't really hate Cat B, although I want to. I think she may have the sort of mind that can easily see how to knit a particular shape. She thinks in knitting. I imagine that she can run through the steps in her mind's eye, and then just do it, as they say. The problem, for me, comes when she tries to communicate that process to others, to write it down in a clear and easily understood manner. It may be her editor's fault, because the book is laid out in an incredibly chaotic manner, in my opinion. I had three pages of notes written out, and at times, five different places bookmarked, and I had to flip to and fro and check my notes, screw up, rip, swear, reknit and so on. I think I could have done a better job of organizing all of the information. In fact, a brain-damaged monkey could have done a better job. That being said, other people seem to have no problem whatever with her techniques. All I can say, is that I really, really tried to understand, and I just couldn't.

(Part of my problem is her use of letters as reference points, where a letter stood in for various stitch counts or measurements which one had to figure out beforehand, or locate some other place in the book. Her diagrams and instructions began to look like algebraic equations, where letters stand for numbers, and I just never got algebra, as it did not make any sense to me. At all. I learned much much later that algebra is, what?, concerned with the theoretical, and I have always been about the practical. I think I would have loved geometry and trig, but since I failed algebra, I wasn't allowed to take the higher courses in high school.)

Also? I get the "seeing the whole" in one's mind's eye. I can do that with costume construction. Show me a picture, a sketch, and in short order I can process tons of information and see how to make it so, as Capt. Picard would say. But if I had to write down coherent instructions for another person, it would be difficult to do. I know, I've tried.

Anyway. Time to move on.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Are you for reals?

Happy Hen Treats.

Only in America, folks.

May rupture under pressure.

I went to Luna's yarn shop in Elizabethtown, Kentucky almost a month ago, and brought home an expensive yet small bag of yarn. Not a difficult thing to do at all.

Luna's store is small, just two rooms, but it was tidy and a sensual delight. I went with a few ideas in mind, and found something for all of them. The fuchsia at the top is Cascade's 220 Superwash, and that ball will morph into a pair of socks for my little four-year-old princess who lives next door.
Out of the Regia and the Mountain Colors I plan to make socks for me, using both together for some sort of slip stitch pattern. The blue-green is Misti Alpaca laceweight; future shawl.

The mossy green is Classic Elite Portland Tweed. The unfinished hat thing is my gauge swatch, which I need to reknit as my tension is too slack in both directions. I do, however, really like the hand of the knit fabric and once I get more yarn, it will grow up to be Wisteria by Kate Gilbert. I haven't knit a sweater for myself in ages, and from an honest to goodness pattern for even longer.

This is enough to keep my needles going for the rest of the year or longer. Also? It will be so nice not to knit with angora for a change.

As for the other thing, yep, it's gonna just take time to get over my hurt feelings, and that is what it is all about, in the end. It's all about me. I am remarkably thin skinned. I have tried to grow a thicker hide for a long time, but it hasn't happened yet. I was apparently born a sensitive, since I have always been overly emotional and easily hurt.

One other thing, too, I realized last night, is that I am jealous of my niece. Not an attractive feeling, but there it is. She is so pretty and popular, she lives in a nice house, has her driver's license and use of a vehicle, she has super parents that love her dearly, and she's going to college. At age seventeen, she still has her mom around. And really? I am so glad for her. But, those things that I just enumerated? I didn't have at her age. I wasn't as pretty, and I certainly wasn't popular, I lived in rental houses, my parents didn't want to bother getting me my learner's permit, my father was hateful and intimidating, and my mother killed herself, after years of depression, a few weeks after I turned seventeen. College? Fugettaboutit.

I can't change any of my childhood or teenage years, and maybe it isn't jealousy that I feel so much, but sorrow over my own what-might-have-beens.

I am still fitting a little uncomfortably in my own skin, what with withdrawing from the anti-repressent. I'm a still a bit woozy of a morning, not wanting to move too fast since it feels that my head is following about a half beat behind the rest of me. I am trying to drink a lot of fluids that are not alcoholic. Just one more thing that will take time. Also? I am seriously limiting my time on fb these days and I am keeping my mouth shut and not writing comments.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Just let it go.

This blog is about as close to a journal as I can ever get. I know other people that journal religiously, and you know what? Good for them! I have always been too self-conscious or pretentious and unfocussed or undisciplined to write my deepest and darkest or whatever every night. When I blog, I most often have a little tale to tell, a tale that I try to tell succinctly and, occasionally, in a funny or light-hearted manner.

There are times that I have blogged more stream-of-consciously, and I guess this is one of those posts. (Although I have edited it before posting. I ain't stupid.)

This past week has given me some little bit o' insight into my inner workings. Maybe not answers, but reasons. Cause and effect. Does any one person ever figure this crap that we call life out? One thing happens, which causes an effect, which then triggers another action, and so on, until this complex Rube Goldberg thing is going on in one's life and one wonders how in the world it all happened. I have been trying to figure it out these past few days, and hence, the few minor insights.

The flapdoodle began with a comment I made about a photo on my niece's facebook, a photo showing five cute girls in daisy dukes and T shirts that read "Check It," as they posed with their back ends toward the camera. I thought it was a funny sort of comment, and my niece and my brother were cool with it. However, one of the friend's mother read my comment and it made her unhappy and so she proceeded to phone my brother and raise Cain. Sigh. My brother then asked me to just be more careful about what I wrote on niece's fb page.

The whole thing should not have gone downhill from that point, but it did.

Alcohol was involved, let me say that up front.

There was a little flurry of messages sent back and forth, as I was essentially trying to tell my niece that maybe she shouldn't post such, shall we say, provocative photos for all the world to see. (That is how I remember it, anyway.) All was fine, until a little friend of hers decided to check out my fb profile and learned that under religion, I had posted atheist. That little friend said a few things, and I answered back in what I thought was an adult manner. Then she told me I was going to hell because I am an atheist. I wanted to reach through the ether and slap her up side her childish little head. That was my gut emotion. Not that I believe in hell. That was not what made me angry. I don't believe that there is a burning cauldron of brimstone for my life hereafter. It was her insolence that got to me.

(I seldom get angry. I don't do angry well. I hope that my Faithful Ten Readers realize that I am a person that tries to do good things, (or at least I try not to cause harm,) and that I am a person who tries to act rightly, correctly, and truthfully always, a person that tries to be tolerant and accepting of all other people. Even though I fail every day, I still try every day to live according to these principles.)

That girl pushed my button when she said, with such a sense of holiness and self-righteousness, that I was going to hell. I replied to her that my religious beliefs, or lack thereof, had no bearing on the discussion I was trying to have with my niece, which was, watch what you place on facebook. What a person posts is out there for the entire world to see. My niece has almost 700 friends. (And they have two friends, and they have two friends….) What she posts is out there for future employers, spouses, deans, college administrators, neighbors, in-laws, for everybody and their brother to see. Your so called "friend" can forward your photos and information to all sorts of places and people. Does she really know almost 700 friends, personally?
All of whom have access to one's photo albums and personal info? There are consequences in posting suggestive photos, lotsof them at that, even if one's intent is innocent.

A few more messages were sent.

Then my niece called her dad, my brother, to essentially tattle about her friend and her aunt battling it out on facebook comments. (Anyone remember when tattling was considered wrong?) (Am I that fucking old?) Brother then calls me to say, wtf? I asked you to cool it! He defriends me, and he makes my niece defriend me. He told me that he was the dad and he would handle it, and why didn't I back off like he asked. He said that I was the adult in the situation, and I should have done better, known better. Phone calls, tears, sorrow, my tears, and in the end, after the tears, fences were mended with my brother and them, for the most part, but still? I seem unable to get this whole thing out of my head. The entire episode has been swirling around in my brain since Wednesday, like some perverse, Tim Burton inspired, merry-go-round.

Hence, the insights. I'm not perfect. That's a given, and I freely admit it. I like to be right. (Who doesn't?) I like to be acknowledged as being right when I am in the right. I hate being called on the carpet when I think I have done nothing wrong. I really, really hate to be fussed at, and that is why I can't work with the public except in a boss position. I. Hate. Being. Fussed. At. (This attitude goes back to a time before I can remember, I must have been around two years old, when my dad spanked me, and I was sick for days afterwards. My mother forbade him to ever spank me again. (Yet he backhanded me once, and there was always that threat of severe punishment if I misbehaved.)
I was wrong. (Although I am still trying to convince myself that I was. I keep saying it, and it still sticks in my craw.) I should not have engaged. True. Again, alcohol was involved. The fact that my little brother acted badly and unfairly towards me? Devastated me to my core. Yet when I consider his actions, I know that he was merely being a parent. A loving and wonderful and protective parent.

But on the other hand, I feel right to have spoken up.

Oh, and remember that I am going off of my anti-repressant and anti-anxiety pills? Add that to the mix. Not an excuse.

So in the end? I am doing my utmost to keep myself in check and my mouth shut. Family is important. If writing about this on my blog helps me to sort my shit out, it's all good.

If any of you can give some insight, some guidance? Please do so. I need help, that is for sure.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Man of Constant Sorrow [Instrumental]

Just a little extra treat for a Friday night.

Made in Italy

Well. So many things to write about; so little talent.

Let me start with my anti-repressent. I am almost totally weaned off of it, as I only have one more day on a quarter of a dose and then I am done. I no longer feel woozy when I wake up, but I don't know quite how I am affected yet. It's hard to notice, looking outward, subjectively and not objectively. I still have that low grade whine in my ears, so subtle that it takes complete silence to hear it. My fuse may be a little shorter, which has caused some misery to others this week and which I hope I have alleviated. Remember that book, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me? It's hard to tell if I am less depressed yet. I'll have to ask Sweetie in a few weeks.

Poor little Omelet. Oh, he's alive - although when I saw him all hunkered down in the middle of the neighbor's yard yesterday morning, I wasn't sure. He appeared stunned, in shock, and there were wounds around his little head. A cat! I assumed, and picked him and carried him inside. He sat in my towel-covered lap for over an hour, happiest when I pulled the towel over his head. I released him into the A-frame coop and closed the flap, supplied him with water and scratch, and didn't think too much more about it the rest of the day. Last night, I raised the flap and this morning, he was outside the coop . Okay, he's fine. And then, I saw him all alone later on by the side of the house, and it finally dawned on me that it wasn't a cat, it was the other chickens that had done the damage. He's a flock of one, and the littlest among all the other chickens, and his mom has figured he's old enough to not follow her around anymore. A flock of one. Put him back in the coop just now, where he will stay until he's bigger. And I'm saying He, but I don't have any idea whether Omelet is a rooster or a hen.

Yesterday, the reason that Omelet didn't stay on my mind, was that I took Zander and Foxy, plus Freckles from next door, to the vet to be spayed. Picked them all up about 5:30 and a woozier bunch of canines I have never seen. Today, they are better and able to be walked, but still not interested in food.

I have begun a new knitting project, for which I am making a swatch in hat form, with yarn from Luna's shop in Elizabethtown, KY. I'll write a separate post about her shop and my new project soon.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Not available in all areas.

Finally! The Hateful lengthy-to-complete and Totally Wonderful entrelac socks for my doctor are finished. Complete. Last end woven in and they are ready for delivery, which I shall do this afternoon after my dentist appointment.

Oh. Yes. The dentist. The first of many bags of gold will be for whitening, and the others will be exchanged for a root canal and crown on one front tooth, and a veneer on my other front tooth, and a cavity fill on the tooth next to that.

I went, initially, for whitening and because the one front tooth had chipped a bit, then a bit more and I was afraid that it do what other of my teeth have done; chip, crack, and then fall out. This was the tooth that took the force of the baseball back when I was ten. We had no money for fancy things like dentists, so mom pushed the loose teeth back into my bruised gums and I ate mashed potatoes for two weeks. That particular tooth has been discolored ever since and the doctor said it because the root was dead. Hence the root canal.

I have been told that I have a beautiful smile, and I do smile a lot, in spite my chronic depression, and I want to have this work done.

I guess I am lucky to have kept what teeth I do have for as long as this.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Now in Digital

I tried to post this on facebook, but it was too long. So you my friends, my ten readers, get it instead. I may have to actually watch some TV.

Science doesn't have a story that changes, there simply is no story. Science isn't entertainment or some folky tale like religion is, it simply exists to uncover facts and truths about how our universe works. When our science is updated with more detail or falsified by new research, our knowledge is increased and modified to reflect reality. This doesn't occur with religion. With religion, progress is resisted and words in the bible are ignored when they don't fit accepted societal norms. If it weren't for science, nearly all of life's modern comforts and spectacular medical breakthroughs would have never occurred.

Taken from the comment section on cnet news about Stephen Hawking's upcoming interview on ABC with Diane Sawyer. In speaking about science and religion, he says, "They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible."

Monday, June 07, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen -

- this is Rock and Roll. Crank it up!

Two very underrated artists - love 'em both.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

This time, use your signal.

Placed a poster detailing a Found Dog at the General Store and the Post Office, and I hope someone will come to claim her. In the meanwhile, despite Helena's suggestion of Ninja, I have taken to calling her Foxy.

She looks so much like Bonnie that I can hardly stand it.

Gave her a bath and flea and tick treatment yesterday, and she spent the night in our room, on the floor with Princess and Zander in the bed, as usual. She is so well behaved, so good natured. I can't imagine her previous owner not wanting her back.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Feed twice daily.

Look what followed me home this morning. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I remember.

This little memory of mine is a day late and a dollar short. But still.

I remember riding the school bus home one afternoon back in fifth grade, 1968, down along River Road in Huntington, Indiana.

I looked out the window and saw a burial taking place in a cemetery, with lots of red, white, and blue bunting and flowers. We passed by just as a bugler played "Taps" for some fallen Viet Nam soldier. I remember how sad that sound was, even though, at age eleven, I didn't totally understand what was going on.

Even today, I still cry at that mournful tune. Every single time.

Go there, come back

Here is a link to Yellow Dotted LIne's post about steam punk in Leipzig.