Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Slow Times

Filed under: Daily Life,Games,Gryphon,Rats! — folkcat at 7:23 pm on Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sorry I don’t post very often these days. Truth is, things are pretty slow here in lots of ways, and very busy in others.

Marbles is as cute as ever. He had his surgery and is recovering well. We expect to be able to integrate him with the rest of the ratties in a couple of weeks.

One of my readers suggested calling the nine ratties The Ennead (en-ee-ad). It’s an ancient Greek term for a group of nine Egyptian deities. I like it. Rats almost look more Egyptian to me than cats do. I can picture them going around being pharoahs, building pyramids, and so forth. Not sure if they’d worship cats and dogs, but I’ll bet they could make an interesting Egyptian society.

I’m knitting a lot. We don’t use my knitted rat rugs as rugs anymore, they don’t cover the larger cage floors as well. But we do give them to the rats to use for nesting in. So I guess they’re more blankets than rugs now. Anyhow, the rats do chew them up, and when they get too ragged we have to toss them. Since supplies were dwindling, I needed to get back to work. The stock of new blankets is growing, slowly, but it’s growing.

We’re still somewhat in limbo on Gryphon’s situation, though there is progress. Still can’t talk about it much here, but know that he’s doing well and we think we can see, if not light at the end of the tunnel, at least a glow-in-the-dark sign pointing in its direction.

I enjoyed the first episode of ABC’s The Unusuals last week. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like Amber Tamblyn as a New York cop after Joan of Arcadia (a series I still, sadly, long for more episodes of). But it worked. I’ve got the second episode in the Tivo, waiting for me to get around to it.

I’m playing lots and lots of EverQuest II these days as well. It’s just really working for me at the moment. I’m hoping to start into Free Realms as well, a new Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) game that’s currently in beta testing. Both Gryphon and I made it into beta. Free Realms looks to be built on more of a Japanese model of an online game, more cute graphics. It’s also designed to be a very family friendly game – young children could play this without any issues. Sure, you fight creatures. But you don’t get killed, you get knocked out.

We pick up our next foster ratties this weekend, and may also be providing transport for another pair of girls to get to their new adoptive home. Still waiting for details on that.

Just Putting This Out There…

Filed under: Daily Life,Games,Gryphon,Holidays,Rats! — folkcat at 5:28 pm on Tuesday, November 18, 2008

…since I know several family members now read this blog, at least on occasion.

Here’s the link to my Amazon Wishlist .

In case it matters, I’d say the most desired item on that list is the three copies of the new EverQuest II expansion, The Shadow Odyssey. With Gryphon currently on at least temporary disability from work, and without cable television, EQII is our number one entertainment source, and the only one we’re still paying for in this tight budget. We derive so much pleasure from it, and the cost-per-hour for the value we get from it is dirt cheap compared to what a lot of people spend money on, so we consider it a totally worthwhile expense. We’d need a separate copy of the expansion for each active account – between us, that’s three.

We can still play and enjoy the game without having the expansions right away, but The Shadow Odyssey does add a lot of content that will enhance our online reality.

For What It’s Worth. No obligations, no worries. Just putting this information out there for anyone who wants it.

In other news…

Gabby and A.J. went to their new foster home on Saturday. Caitlin has already had such success with them that I’m calling her the Rat Whisperer. Within 24 hours, she had handled them multiple times without a bite, and had them hanging out on her lap.

I am humbled, and in awe. And simultaneously immensely pleased that the girls have such a wonderful place to live now, and totally curious how we managed to get off on the wrong foot with them.

To use a phrase I really hate, but which seems appropriate, “it is what it is.” I’m really glad that it’s all working out for the best for them, at last.

Gryphon

Still out of work. Still waiting for disability insurance to kick in. Still immensely grateful to my family for all the help they’ve been able to give us.

We are closer to answers regarding Gryphon’s health. He has, apparently, more than one lung-related problem. We’ve begun treating for the one, the other still has some tests needed to determine how bad it is.

Meanwhile, we passed a threshold today. We went to the DMV and picked up temporary disabled parking tags for him. Given that he can hardly walk from the living room to the kitchen and back without stopping to catch his breath, he needs them.

We’re still wrapping our brains around that.

How I Smote Scorch, the Burning Wizard

Filed under: Daily Life,Games — folkcat at 1:27 am on Thursday, June 12, 2008

Household chores as a dungeon game – Chore Wars

I’m terribly unmotivated when it comes to housework. I stumbled upon Chore Wars while passing by a blog the other day. Gryphon and I are trying it out. So far, it’s fun! If you want to see how I’m doing specifically, you can visit my character page here: Woolgatherer

Chores are Adventures or Quests. You earn XP for them, as well as (virtual) gold and random treasures. You might encounter monsters. Scorch, the Burning Wizard is one of the denizens of the kitchen that I might run afoul of when I am Baking Bread or Cooking Food, for instance.

So far, so good. We’ll see how well it works in the long run!

Lolah Nimbletoes

Filed under: Games,Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 4:23 pm on Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Slow and steady, the Adult Surprise Jacket grows. Here’s the latest look:

ASJ: 4/30/08

That would be the right sleeve of the jacket on the upper left of the photo, with the center front line to the right. I folded the rest of the jacket underneath to help you see how the shape is developing.

I recently added in a touch of a pink/orange/yellow/green acrylic worsted, just one garter ridge worth. It’s a hot colorway amongst all the cool. I like surprise contrast accents like that, they really pop and bring out the colors. I’ll probably add another small stripe of the hot in the body of the jacket, and when I add length to the sleeves later, I’ll be putting more of the hot colors there, too.

I continue to make good progress in EverQuest 2. Lolah, my Ratonga Ranger, has now reached level 20. This is a significant threshold – there are many rights and abilities that you earn once you make it to 20. For instance, a last name. Lolah is now officially Lolah Nimbletoes. I also decided that the 20th birthday deserved a present, and bought her a nice Misty Mustang horse to ride. She looks pretty spiffy in the saddle, I’ll have to get a screenshot one of these days.

If any of you are also EQ2 players, Lolah’s server is The Bazaar. I don’t usually care to chatter much while I’m in the game – I go in for immersion in my virtual surroundings, quests, and travel. But I don’t mind saying a quick “hello!” and expanding my friends list.

Gryphon and I are also hoping to start our own guild one of these days. Since there’s a minimum requirement of six separate accounts present at the registrar’s office simulatneously to form the guild, and only two of us, getting to know some other people in world will be essential.

Ours will be an extremely casual, non-raiding guild. Which is not to say that if you want to raid and can pull the group together to do so that you can’t. It’s just that Gryphon and I have neither the temperaments nor the schedules that allow us, personally, to raid. Primary focus of the guild will be in-world companionship, crafting, and helping each other out when and where we can.

The guild name we’ve come up with is “Companions of Karma.” We envision this as a group of people who have come together by the whims of fate – karma – and feel a kinship and comfort with each other. Membership will be solely determined by Gryphon and myself. We will not be actively recruiting, but will allow those same whims of fate to introduce us to new friends as we go. We’re not anti-growth – we just like to get to know people ourselves before we declare them a member of our “family.” Guild mates can nominate friends for membership, but the final decision will always rest with Gryphon and I.

Basically, we’re looking to form a guild that the two of us would be comfortable joining. We’re both the sort who form new friendships slowly, but once you’re in with us, you’re in. You’re our family, and family sticks together.

All we’ll ask of members is that they respect their guildmates, enjoy the game, and do what they can to support the status and reputation of the guild as they are able. Working writs that will lend status to the guild will always be encouraged. At the same time, we want everyone to experience the world of Norrath in the way that suits their own play style and the story of their characters, and never let the casual needs of the guild interfere with their enjoyment.

The preceding paragraphs are the simple seeds that have been sprouting in my brain as I try to define what it is we want a guild to be. It is subject to change, though I would be suprised if we altered any of the basic principles outlined here.

If you’re in EQ2, and on The Bazaar server, and feel interested in our vision of what a guild can be, look around for me. I’ll most often be present as Lolah, though I could also be found as any of several other characters:

  1. Boris, Ratonga Bruiser in Timorous Deep;
  2. Clover, Halfling Fury in Qeynos;
  3. Dijon, Halfling Troubador in Qeynos (and Clover’s brother);
  4. Kureyon, Kerran Guardian in Qeynos;
  5. Mazhenta, Gnome Defiler in Timorous Deep;
  6. Twixt, Arasai Troubador in Neriak

Some of these characters may vanish as I refine my play style and find the concepts that work best for me. But that’s the list for the moment. Look for Lolah first, though, if you’re trying to find me – she’s definitely developed as my main character, and the most fun of all of them. She’s an intrepid explorer, not afraid to run through lands filled with dangerous creatures. (I just learned that the Griffon Towers quest in Butcherblock Mountains is recommended for at least level 25, because of the mobs in the zone – Lola did it at around 14 or 15, and didn’t even die once!)

Of course, considering the Real Life inspiration for Lolah, I suppose she comes by her energy and fearlessness honestly!

Lola the Explorer
Lola – Seeking New Territories to Conquer, New Stuffs to Chew…

Rainy Monday Random Bits

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Daily Life,Games,Gryphon,Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 3:24 pm on Monday, April 28, 2008

Pretty cold and dreary today. It’s been raining for goodness knows how long, certainly since sometime last night. Good thing I don’t have anywhere else to go today, I wouldn’t enjoy going out.

No progress to report on any of the knitting. Weekends are turning out to be mainly for EverQuest 2. That’s when Gryphon has time to play, and we really do enjoy playing together. We’ve given up on trying to play the regular servers on the weekends, though, because enough people are online that the lag in the cities gets unbearable. So Saturday and Sunday are for running characters on the test server, and what play time we have during the week can be on our regular server.

The Ratties have accepted the Ruffled Rattie Nest, but I can never seem to get the camera in at a good angle to take a picture of them in it without someone (*koff*Lola*koff*) wanting to come sniff the lens. So no pictures yet, but I am watching for an opportunity.

We baked a large loaf of the Honey Nut Oatmeal bread from the Donna German book over the weekend. That’s become our current go-to loaf. We’ve also been gathering the heels of various loaves in the freezer – one of these days, I’ll be making bread pudding again.

I finally cut my hair last night. It’s been over long for, well, too long. I like it at a length that’s too short to pull back in an elastic, which seems to be the only way I’ll wear it when it’s long enough to do so. Since I don’t go anywhere to have it cut for me, it was just a matter of getting around to grabbing the scissors and chopping away. I must have hit some threshold last night as I watched television before bed, because I decided at 2 a.m. to do exactly that.

In other news, the part time job that Gryphon started at two Thursdays ago ended last Friday. The owner of the company decided a couple days in that he really wanted someone full time for the position. In spite of the fact that the department head he was working with really liked Gryphon and felt the job was adequately covered by his part time presence, the owner ultimately had the power to make this change.

Gryphon’s co-worker/direct boss is quoted as saying, “lessons will be learned.” ‘Nuff said, I think.

So the search is on, again, for the next job. Whether another part time gap-filler, or the full-time replacement job we really hope for. Fingers crossed, everyone!

Decreasing and Betrayals, Finely Chopped

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Games,Knitting — folkcat at 12:51 pm on Wednesday, April 2, 2008

No progress on the Adult Surprise Jacket the last couple days. I’ve been mindlessly knitting away at the Ruffled Rat’s Nest instead:

Ruffled Rat's Nest - Into the Purple

I continue to work K8, K2Tog. Even though I’ve done many rounds of this – decreasing about 10% of the stitch total with each round – the stitches still bunch up on a 60″ cable needle.

I don’t think I want to decrease any faster, and this is turning out to be a decent stash-buster project. So I’m going to keep going until something tells me it’s enough. I may decided to join the edges together at one or two points when I bind off, to make more of a pocket. We’ll see.

EQ2

My Ratonga assassin, Lolah, reached tenth level in EverQuest 2 last night. She’s of an age where she can now, having questions about the values of the city she lives in and about her own career as an assassin, work towards improving her life. This will begin by betraying the city of Freeport, her current home, and eventually trying to convince Qeynos that she’s turned her back on her old life and would be a decent citizen of that good city.

While she works on this, I’m going to continue luceteering during the natural pauses of the game cycle. Here’s the current cord in progress:

Rainbow Sockotta Lucet

Yes, I’m unraveling a sock. One of the early prototypes of my Barefoot Diva socks (the ones with no toes or heels). This was a version that didn’t fit well, but taught me much that refined my ultimate pattern.

Since knitting it, I’ve also decided that I don’t care for the feel of the Sockotta yarn on my feet. On the other hand, a yarn that is almost 50% cotton is perfect for a nice, sturdy, colorful braided cord. I should get a good length of braid from this, too.

Kitchen Notes:

Yesterday I bought the ingredients to make Spanish Rice from scratch. The recipe came from a food supplement that appears in our local newspaper. There will be much chopping of onions, peppers, and celery, then time spent stirring it all as it cooks. Fingers crossed that it comes out tasty!

Today I’ll also be baking the next loaf of our basic, daily-use white bread. Tomorrow, another attempt at the Honey Oatmeal loaf for a friend.

ETA: Oh, yes…I also made a nice dinner for myself last night. Steelhead trout and sauted vegetables. Heat a non-stick pan on medium, add a bit of vegetable oil (I use peanut). One clove’s worth of minced garlic (I have the pre-minced jar) goes into the pan. On one side, place the trout filet; on the other, I put a large serving of frozen stir-fry vegetables. Put the lid on the pan, and walk away for a couple minutes.

Come back, turn over the filet, stir the vegetables. Cover the pan and walk away again. (I have sudoku on the computer that normally takes me about two minutes to play a game.)

Check the fish – the thicker parts of the filet are likely not cooked through yet. Move the vegetables into the middle of the pan to make a bed, place the filet on top. Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and go play another sudoku game.

When you come back this time, the fish is probably cooked through. This is when I put the coins of frozen lemon-dill butter on top of the filet, then re-lid the pan while I get out my plate and fork and such. When I serve up my dinner, the butter has started to melt all over the fish and vegetables alike.

Yum!

Ruffles, Ratongas, and Multi-tasking

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Games,Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 12:35 pm on Monday, March 31, 2008

It was an odd weekend for knitting. I didn’t work much on the Adult Surprise Jacket because my hands needed a rest.

The Ruffled Rat’s Nest, on the other hand, grew nicely.

Bigger Rat's Nest

I’ve actually started decreasing the number of stitches slowly, by working K8 K2Tog. I don’t know how many I had at the maximum, but this is on a 60″ Options needle, and even after two rounds of decreases (which reduce about 10% of the stitches each round), the needle is pretty crowded.

I also played a fair bit of EverQuest 2. Gryphon got me suckered in to this one when he played the free trial a few weeks ago. Now, I am so hooked that I even cancelled my EverQuest 1 account altogether. I just never wanted to go into the old game anymore.

I have several characters at the moment: a half-elf Guardian named Honneur (a re-imagining of my main character on EQ1); a Kerran Guardian named Kureyon (had to play a kitty!); a halfling Fury named Clover; and her brother, a halfling Troubador named Dijon.

I’m still feeling my way around the game, really. None of these characters is beyond 10th level yet. They’re all exploring tradeskills of one kind or another. Honneur will be a woodworker, Kureyon an alchemist. Clover is training to be a tailor, and Dijon, a chef.

EQ2, unlike EQ1, has a playable race based on rats. The Ratonga are an evil-aligned race, which made me hesitant about playing one. After all, I know rats to be good, loving creatures.

On the other hand, every good or evil city has lengthy quests you can perform that make it possible to change your alignment and defect to the other side. This means you’re not stuck with your starting alignment, even if it’s the only option offered to your race.

Obviously, I wanted to play a rat – er, a Ratonga. How could I not? So I decided to create one last night, with the intention that, as soon as I’m able, I’ll have her forsake her starting alignment and prove allegiance to Qeynos, the good city.

Her name is Lolah. I couldn’t get Lola without the “h”, but Lolah works for me. She’s a gray Ratonga, with large ears placed low on her head. That she’s something of a rebel is demonstrated by the lip ring she wears.

Her class, for the time being, is Assassin. She’s proven herself a kick-ass killing machine so far.

Her trade, in the long run, will be Harvester. Most people would consider that only half a trade, since it’s normally done to obtain the materials to use in tradeskills. But this is Lolah, after all, and she’s modeled on a real life Rattie who’s dearest wish is to take anything edible or useful she finds, and drag it back to the nest.

Lolah will probably sell most of what she finds. Or pass it on to others among Gryphon’s and my characters to use. Unlike Lola, who would hide the goodies away for her own use and then go hunting for more.

I discovered while playing Lolah last night that I can do a lot of luceteering while playing EQ2. Every time I had her harvesting something, I picked up the lucet and some leftover sock yarn. Three stitches, then click the mouse button to start the next harvesting round. By the time the evening was over, I’d done all this:

Luceted Sock Yarn

The finished length of braid at the front is a full yard long. The piece on the lucet is about six inches. All accomplished while playing the game.

I think I’m going to be making a lot of cords. They’re simple, and luceteering is obviously a good companion for other activities. If there’s a market for them, I may put them up on etsy. Or make drawstring bags. Or something.

We’ll see where my whims take me!

Kitchen Notes, March 31, 2008:

  • Baked a loaf of honey oatmeal bread last Thursday that came out badly – I accidentally set the machine to “Medium” when it should have been “Light”.
  • Made a batch of bread pudding in the crockpot Friday from half the loaf of failed honey oatmeal. Over-measured the bread – the pudding came out extra thick and dry. Still edible, but less than ideal.
  • Made a new batch of bread pudding yesterday (Sunday), measuring the bread more carefully. Creamy, custardy, tasty.
  • Baked white bread yesterday for general use.

Knitting Updates, and a Rattie Birthday

Filed under: Games,Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 3:56 pm on Monday, February 18, 2008

First, a confession. There hasn’t been as much knitting as there used to be. The reason? I’ve gotten back into EverQuest after a five-year absence, and I’m enjoying it a lot. Gryphon and I played EverQuest starting from the original release, and were even beta testers for some of the expansion sets. We left when my bead store ate up so much time we couldn’t spare any to play.

But we’re back, on the Cazic-Thule server for anyone that means anything to. (Our original server was Brell Serilis, but they were merged a while back.) And the best surprise? After being away for five years, our highest level characters were still there, including my 20th level warrior, Honneur Wayfarer.

I’m also still spending time in Second Life, where I’ve got four avatars now. We no longer own land – we sold it about two months after the purchase, because of the change in Gryphon’s income. But I still enjoy creating new looks for my avatars, shopping for bargains on clothes, hair, and shoes. Shoes! The Barefoot Diva that I am in Real Life, and I’m developing a passion for well-designed, fashionable shoes in Second Life. Of course, in virtual reality the high heels don’t hurt to walk in!

Still Knitting, Though

All that being said, I have been knitting. I’ve told you precious little about it since before Christmas, I know. At the time I was planning to knit a Noragi from the book Knit Kimono. I wanted to be able to wear it in Syracuse for Christmas, but didn’t actually finish it until the first week of January.

It’s been hard to find time where Gryphon can take a good picture of me in good lighting – he’s been too busy, the weather’s been too crappy, it’s always something. So today I finally just had a go at it in the bathroom mirror. The picture isn’t great, but you can get a general idea of how it came out.

Jen's Noragi

I made a number of changes from the pattern in the book. First, the yarn I worked with had a very different gauge. So the plan became to knit a reasonable fabric, figure my gauge, then knit to the dimensions of the schematics for the pieces.

Of course, I also had to size it up for my body. This meant adding about 10 inches to the circumference of the body. Not too difficult, since all the pieces are rectangles. I also remembered to adjust so the neck opening was wider. Once I’d calculated all the new dimensions for the schematics, I was good to go.

I knit the front and back just as directed in the pattern, and to the length they specified. Three-needle bind-off at the shoulders to join them – easy-peasy.

The pattern then has you knit a long, narrow garter stitch strip to form a neckband from hem to hem all around the front opening, and sew it on. Following their scheme, the garter pattern on both body and neckband would lie horizontally.

I wanted the garter stitch on the neckband to be perpendicular to the body. That would lend more stability and help prevent stretching. To accomplish this, I picked up stitches along the front edge, all around the back of the neck, and down to the other hem, then worked garter stitch in a color pattern to match the stripes at the hem of the body.

A couple of rows into this, I realized that the collar area, with no shaping, would hug my neck and tend to bind and stretch along it. This could be uncomfortable. So I put stitch markers at the shoulder stitch on either side of the neck. On every right side row, I worked an increase on either side of that stitch on both shoulders. This gave me a pointed collar that lays down at the back of the neck, but can still be flipped up for extra warmth.

The sleeves were written to be straight garter stitch in a pattern matching the body. I wanted more movement and interest there. So I dug out that old Internet standard, the Multi-directional Scarf (MDS). Using a color sequence to match the body hem and the neckband (10 garter ridges, or 20 rows, before changing colors), I followed the MDS pattern to create a rectangle of the appropriate size. Then, for the other sleeve, I managed to make the diagonals a mirror image of the first.

The Noragi didn’t quite come out as what I expected. I was aiming for a sweater that I could layer over other garments to make a winter outerwear ensemble. I realize now that I should have made the circumference even larger for that purpose.

Also, the original pattern Noragi was knit to the length it was because the yarn they used – a cotton/rayon/linen blend – was going to stretch in wear. My yarn is 100% wool, and the final hand of the fabric is very different. So my Noragi has wound up shorter than anticipated.

But you know what? That’s okay, because this sweater has become my go-to garment when I need a sweater to wear in the house. The shorter length is perfect for sitting in my armchair. And those kimono sleeves have been declared a favorite place ever by all three of the rats! When they come out of the cage, if I’m wearing the Noragi they make a beeline for the closest sleeve, where there’s plenty of room for all three to squirm around, fluffing the space and generally enjoying the wooly goodness.

I’ve made good progress on my socks, too, but I’ll save that for next time.

Final Note

A very Happy Birthday to our girl, Lola! She turns one year old today.

Lola on her First Birthday

We don’t know exactly what day she was born. When we adopted her in mid-July last year, we were told she was five months old. When you counted back, that put her birthday right around the same time as Star’s and Sable’s, which we had placed as February 18th.

With Gryphon’s broken ribs (still paining him a lot, but he’s getting by), we’re not making as much of a fuss as we did with Star & Sable last year. Lola’s big present yesterday was that she got to drag as many old TV Guide magazine pages into the nest as she wanted to. She likes Kleenex like Sable did, but the crinkly crispness of the magazine paper gets her every time.

Real Knitting, Virtual Gardening, And An Upcoming Book Review

Filed under: Books,Knitting,Second Life — folkcat at 4:19 pm on Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Finally, here I am with pictures of the current Scarf In Progress!

Linked Rib Scarf

Pattern: Linked Rib, from the book Knitting New Scarves
Yarn: Plymouth Boku, Color #7
Needles: Bryspun dpns, size 8 (6 needed for project)

My best advice to anyone who wants to knit from Knitting New Scarves – follow the instructions carefully, and have faith in them! When in doubt, don’t be afraid to frog back to the beginning and start over. Ultimately, just trust in the pattern and your intuition.

The first trick to the Linked Rib is that you’re knitting a three-lobed shape, but knitting flat. Trust me, it works. Just pay attention to the photos in the book, and the instructions, and you’ll get there.

Linked Rib Scarf - Needle End
Detail of working end at beginning of transition back to three lobes

The second trick is that you then take those three lobes that you’re knitting flat, and convert them to a tube that you’re knitting around. Then, several rows later, you switch the stitches back to knitting three lobes flat. But now, your lobes are offset to sit between the lobes of the previous section.

It seems like magic, until you’ve done it once or twice, and then you go A-HA! and don’t need to refer to the instructions again.

Linked Rib Scarf - Cast On End
A look at the cast-on end

I am loving the process, and the yarn is very nice to knit with. Plymouth Boku is 97% wool, 3% silk. It’s fairly soft, and the colors are nice. I think it’s meant to compete with yarns like Noro Kureyon and Silk Garden. The Noro colors are better, but at only $5.99 for a 50 gram ball, I have to confess the Plymouth Boku is a reasonable substitute.

I don’t know how many balls I’ll be using, or how long I’ll knit the scarf. I bought four in the same color, and feel I should have enough to make a useful neck wrap. What I’ve knit so far – what’s in the top picture – is about 15 1/2 inches long, and I still have enough of the first ball of yarn to get a few more lobe sections. I’m guessing 3 balls of Boku would give me maybe 60 inches – 5 feet – of scarf.

Second Life Gardening

I went in and took an aerial shot of our land in Second Life today.

Landscaping in SL

Just out of sight at the bottom of the screen is a canal. At the left, you see a little woodlot – that’s wild mountain pine and birch. The pale gray blob in the middle is what’s visible of a Native American sweat lodge.

On the far right, there’s a gray line – that’s the fence at the edge of our neighbor’s property. I expect to plant more trees along our property line there. The row of structures you see before that are a tiny one-room Japanese house, a cherry tree in bloom, a Turkish-style tent, and finally, a small pavilion. Each is considered the “home” of one of my or Gryphon’s avatars.

There’s a lot more landscaping to do. The woodlot needs underbrush – I’ve got wildflowers and grasses to plant. I need a firepit of some sort for the tents. The Japanese house needs a little bit of a garden, and maybe a koi pond again.

I also need to decide if I’m going to do anything along the shore of the canal. I could cut into the land a tiny bit, make a little inlet, and perhaps have ducks there or something. Haven’t decided yet.

Best thing of all – there’s no dirt under my fingernails, it’s perpetually temperate weather, and I can plant the tallest of trees without any assistance!

Coming Soon

I’m hoping to have my review up this week of the new book, The Yarn Lover’s Guide to Hand Dyeing. The quick take – generally, it’s very good, but I’ve found something I consider a glaring oversight, and I’ve contacted the publisher for their input before I post. Hopefully, we’ll have a good resolution to the matter!

Out of Focus

Filed under: Knitting,Rats!,Second Life — folkcat at 4:26 pm on Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wow…haven’t blogged yet today. Let’s see what I’ve got to say…

Ratties

All is still peaceful on the Rattie front. Lola and Sable are still getting along. This is the longest we’ve been worry-free about that matter, so I think I can confidently say that it’s sticking this time. Yay!

Knitting

My knitting is in a restless phase. As the Rusty Entrelac Bag creeps to a conclusion, I’m trying to think of the next project to cast on for, and finding myself unable to focus. I did swatch about 6 inches of one of the scarves from Knitting New Scarves, by which time I had readily grasped the unusual topology of the process.

I then decided that I had picked a random yarn in an idle moment that I didn’t really want to use for a scarf, even if I knitted that particular pattern, which I was no longer sure I wanted to. So it’s been frogged.

I don’t know what will take its place. I do have a remaining supply of assorted feltable yarns, maybe it’ll be another random entrelac bag.

Or maybe not.

Second Life

Regan Blackburn spent something like two hours in Second Life yesterday. He started by shopping for textures (the graphic images you can put on the surface of an object you build, so that it will look like something). Then he built an easel, suitable for displaying art.

In real life, you’d grab a few pre-cut pieces of wood, some bolts and screws, and whip the thing together in no time. In Second Life, I had to build my own pieces of wood from scratch, choose a texture to map onto the surfaces, then take the pieces of wood and painstakingly manipulate them until they all came together at the right angles.

The end result is crude, but not bad for my first multiple part build. Sorry there isn’t a picture yet – by the time I was done, I didn’t have a chance to set them up in the shop so you could see how they look and function. Soon.

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