Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Magnet Proof

Socks don't really take much time to knit. I just haven't sat and knit often enough, apparently. Just kitchenered the toes and wove in the ends, after maybe 6 months since the first cast on. Now, I feel the need to have another project. It's rather like finishing a book that one has slogged through, and once the final page is turned, one cast ones eye toward the bookcase.

Speaking of which, I am reading about the Battle of Hastings. It's about more than just the battle, thank goodness. It's difficult to imagine just how hard life was for the average person back then. Not that being rich was much better - maybe just a better class of misery.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ten Years After

So, yeah, as if I don't already do too much useless stuff, I go to a basket class every month here in town. I started a slightly-scaled-down version of a quilters' basket, although it looks more like some sort of explosion in a wood working factory

It's nice to have a class with little thinking required. Ok, do this for nine rounds and so on. Pat Moore is wonderful and patient teacher who charges by the basket, not the class.

Nobody registered for my Baggie Dyeing Class. I had forgotten that it was Old Threshers', a three-day extravaganza that is more popular than the county fair. I had been secretly hoping that I could cancel - I didn't feel particularly well. Just tired, mostly. I worry that I won't feel well during my sewing machine tech training, but I will do my best to soldier on. It's too good of an opportunity to miss.

My friend Pat, (just Pat,) who has worked with Windows her entire career tried to turn towards the light by buying a Mac book, second hand, but she has thrown her hands up in defeat. Nancy, would you and Sweetie like to buy it? Even though we can't afford it, we said not yes, but Hell Yes. I'll be able to take it with me to class, but first I will have to get a mouse. I cannot bear using that touch pad thing - it drives me ca-razy.
Another purse. Gray gradient, with a lavender lining. I like the
gold and purple flower. It's the first one I made downstairs in my new basement studio, so it meant standing. (I made the table high enough that I don't have to bend over, using pvc pipe lengths on the legs.) I am used to sitting at the kitchen table. So anyway, I screwed up somehow and this purse has ridges at the sides. I made it a Design Feature and using dark gray wool, I stitched a line to accentuate  the mistake. 

And because I don't already do enough useless shit, I have been fiddling around with wire work jewelry. The Tree of Life looks as though it has been struck by lightning - more of a Tree of Death. But parts of it aren't bad. Click to embiggin.

The little things made with flattened marbles make me happy. Left to right - side view pendant, back view earring, front view pendant, front view earring (on another piece of glass for stability,) and front view pendant-to-be. Those are cats from a Booth cartoon from the New Yorker.  For scale, that one is about 1.25 inches.

The weather has turned lovely. It was 62ยบ when I walked the dogs this morning. I needed a light jacket.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Made by Professionals

Simple little flowers. They make me happy. Teaching this class in a couple of weeks.

Applied the vinyl lettering to this sign today. Ordered it online, and when I received the package, I relealized that CENTER straight across wouldn't fit, so I had to futz with it a bit to make it work. Sweetie added a handle to the top and two locking casters in order make hauling it to the street corner a bit easier. We already had the frame with blue plexiglass, but we weren't using it. The Art Center is actually on a state highway, but just off the busier road that passes through town. We are trying to give us more of a presence.

Copperplate is our font and blue is our color.

I'm supposed to be teaching at this art center tomorrow, the class about baggie dyeing cotton. I only have one student signed up, but she really wants to dye some wool fabric. Had a couple of people who couldn't make it this Saturday, and asked if I could teach the class again. I am out nothing - everything I planned to use, I already had - dye, fabric, baggies.

I'm very tired today. I have a 3/4 felted purse on the table in the basement, but I don't think I have the strength to deal with it. My feets hurt, too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Act Now and Save

The last time my fortunes converged in such a way was 1991. Then, I left my first husband and then met Sweetie, I was hired to work on a TV show, and there were other good things.

This year, my life is good. Mostly healthy? Check. Being creative? Check. Teaching? Check. Learning interesting things? Check. Having my fiber art in not one, but two, galleries? Check.

And then I serendipitously found out about an old guy who teaches an intensive 3-day course on Sewing Machine Technician Training. And he lives in Missouri. And there was a course coming up the first week of September. And he had one opening left.

I sent my deposit check in on Monday.

So why am I so excited? Because I sew and I have kept machines in good repair for a long time and I occasionally repair them for others. If I learn more, I think it is something I can really do and do well, on a very part-time basis. It's not strenuous or hazardous and I can do it sitting down.

The class is not cheap, but this is disappearing knowledge and worth learning. Repair technicians are hard to find anymore. This guy has been repairing machines for 30+ years and teaching for 15. And he is only 150 miles away!

Let's face it - I can't do sales of my work or anyone else's. I like to make things, but I make what I like and I don't pander. Sometimes my work sells in spite of myself. I don't like to sell. I am not a salesman. But repair work like this? I think I could actually do it and make a little bit of money, too. Did you know that repairmen in Columbia or St. Louis ask for something like $75 just to look at your machine? I'm not saying I would or could charge anywhere near that. I am saying that I have an aptitude and a willingness for sewing machine maintenance and repair.

Who knew?

Also, as if all this wonderfulness weren't enough, I have found my favorite care-giver who moved away a couple of years ago. I've thought about her frequently, so after that little spell I had last week, I thought I would look her up. Get this - she moved back to my area just a month ago to work and I was able to see her yesterday. It was so good; she even hugged me and then spent time talking to me and catching up on my personal and medical history. I like her and I like her style and attitude and the fact that she really does care. I am happy.

So, the vampires took some blood and the numbers are all good. There is no overt cause for what happened, except maybe just an unfortunate convergence of events. Combine low blood sugar with low blood pressure with some atrial flutter with some allergens with maybe a little heat. I've been mostly fine since, save for Saturday when I felt just plain tired about midday. I had to come home from the Art Center and I slept all afternoon. So. It's just one of those things.

That's why I can't work at a so-called regular job anymore. In addition to allergies, I now have atrial flutter along with atrial fibrillation. (I can see me having to get a pace maker within 10 years.) These things make me tired sometimes, too tired to remain upright. I look fine, but I ain't. And I have neuropathy in my feet. Caregiver thinks I have lost about half the feeling in my feet, but in spite of how that sounds, they still hurt all the time. Sometimes more than others. Summer is hard for my feet, for some reason. So, yeah I'm happy that it is forecast to drop to the low 50s tonight. The AC is turned off and some windows have been opened and I can wear something besides sandals.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

We are here to serve you.

A new experience today; I almost passed out from low blood sugar. Usually, it's high blood sugar that is the problem, since I have type II diabetes, which is well-controlled with metformin. I mean, my last blood work numbers were spot on.

But today, I was outside lopping a few pesky branches from the osage orange trees, when suddenly my vision became jumbled and I felt sick and weak. I've never had my eyes do anything like this before - not blurry at all, but I was unable to focus on anything. It wasn't hot enough for it to be heat related. I came inside and ate something. I had eaten some fig newtons already. I still didn't realize what was going on, so I carried on and cooked some burgers for Sweetie's lunch, but then I had to lay down.

It was Sweetie who recognized what was going on. I ate my lunch and checked my glucose level, which was 101. Very low for just having eaten. An hour later, it was 120.

So what I think caused this was eating an entire little carton of ice cream over a 2 day period, then having pizza last night. My blood sugar must have been really high then for some reason, it plummeted. No more guilty comfort foods for me, no matter how much I want them. This was truly scary.

Sunday, August 09, 2015


I can look at today in two different ways. The first way, it was a disaster. Half a day working on a nuno scarf on which I did everything wrong, apparently. This, on top of the blue bunny purse, is two flops in a row.

On the other hand, I reminded myself that I spent a lot of time in the basement, tidying up and re-arranging tables and lighting. I figured out how to get reception on the Sirius radio down there. I took a shower and washed my hair. The scarf isn't great, but I learned some of those vaunted "hands on" lessons.

I shouldn't beat myself up so much. Today was really fine.
Orange, red, and brown print silk with orange-red wool. 

Friday, August 07, 2015

Learn Lock Smithing at Home

I feel better today. Yesterday, my body ached as though I had been in a small car wreck. Small as in wreck, not as in a wreck in a small car. I slept most of the day. Today I feel well enough to actually clean house a bit, and be the Domestic Goddess.

I hate housework.

I did not stop at 20 of those cup carpets. I may stop at 35. They are so soothing and satisfying to make and done in 15-20 minutes. They need to be fulled yet, but I will do that all at one time. I could see making a baby blanket out of washable wool from these squares; that is the sole project included with the instruction booklet.

I will be teaching a baggie fabric dyeing class at the art center in two weeks, so one thing I did get done yesterday was a trial run. It has been years since I have used procion x dyes. I learned my technique from this book over 15 years ago, and it is still a good reference.

I seldom dyed solid colors. These seem more interesting.

In September, I will give a talk about natural dyes on wool, although I will have a little bit of hand-on experience, too. I'm looking forward to that one. Really.

Sorry not to be more interesting. Like I said last post, I feel pulled in too many different directions lately. I have to be thinking about my guild's sale in November. I've done it once, so that part of my nervousness is gone, but I will be putting in my felted hats and purses, and they're a new thing and will have to be juried and priced and I need to make new and better hang tags and I need to make more flowers because I will be teaching that next month and my ears won't quit ringing and my feet ache from the neuropathy and I need to prepare for the board meeting next week and we need more board members and I need to warp the rigid heddle loom for a Community Weave project at our library and Autumn Fest is September 26 and some days it's all I can do to drag my sorry ass out of bed. 

That's what my head feels like. Too full and too scattered. It makes me tired.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Safety First

I have been doing stuff. Only most of it is not blog worthy.

I went to see a talk by Pam de Groot at The Foundry Centre in St. Charles  just this side of St. Louis on Sunday. She is a 'famous' felt maker and she is teaching a couple of intense workshops there this week. I like her work, but she is not a good public speaker, being unable or unwilling to project her voice in a small space. I learned a few things anyway.

There is also a felt maker in one of the upstairs studios, and through her, I have sent in my membership to the St. Louis Weavers' Guild. They have recently formed a felt study group, and she invited me to attend. Her work was lovely; delicate silk and wool nuno pieces with interesting design and use of color.

I made the large bag I wrote about in my last post, which turned out to be denim blue. A learning experience, that. It's a bigger project than I am comfortable doing just now, and a lot of work for a piece that didn't turn our entirely as planned. Oh well. I will think of it as a very large sample.

I ended up tucking those little feet to the inside, which was an improvement. It is not stiff enough across the top to hold its shape, and I am wondering if I should add something there - make it a 'design feature.' The rabbit turned out okay, but the handles I ended up cutting down and adding a rope strap. I made the flap separate and felted it on later, maybe too much later because it was a bear and it doesn't look very polished.

So. I wanted to do a little something totally not felting for a few days. Can I tell you how much I don't like Martha Stewart? This was a knitting and weaving loom I found at the Art Center, a donation. Not that well made, the instructions are poor, and it costs too much for what it is. On the other hand, it has been pleasant enough to sit and rather mindlessly weave a bunch of mug rugs, or cup carpets out of old bits of my handspun wool. They end up between 5 and 6" square when filled, depending. I think I will stop at 20.

I've been feeling kind of beat lately, and it seems that there are too many things tugging at my sleeve, all at once. I need to put on pants and walk the dogs right now.