Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Without Exception

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin — folkcat at 4:26 pm on Monday, September 22, 2008

Any and all e-mails that I receive that are politically themed will be deleted without reading. This includes forwarded newsletters, statements of support for any candidate or cause, and even humorous material about the campaign or politicians.

I realize that politics is part of life. But I consider it a highly personal and private matter, and not one for discussion.

Clearing the Air – or, at least, the shelves

Filed under: Announcements,Daily Life,Movies,Uncategorized — folkcat at 5:41 pm on Sunday, May 25, 2008

I’m still alive. Life is stressful. Costs are rising, and Gryphon is still looking for that extra income we need. The rats continue to do well. I continue to enjoy EQ2, also. Lola’s Ratonga doppleganger, Lolah, is now level 25 and climbing.

I continue to craft, slowly. The sock I was working on has been started over. The smaller gauge on the size 1 needles wasn’t working out, so I went back to my old reliable size 1.5’s. The new sock is about 6, maybe 7 inches along the foot, which is about an inch or two more than I’d gotten to on the first try.

The Adult Surprise Jacket is on hold for the moment. The weather has been warm enough not to want the bulk on my lap. That’s okay – I’ve got the socks to work on, and I’ve started knitting a small supply of dish rags again, too.

Video De-Cluttering

VHS. VCR. I still have a VCR, and multitudes of VHS tapes. Since DVDs and TiVo entered my life, however, the VCR gathers dust, and the tapes take up space on shelves and in boxes.

I’ve actually started weeding out my less viewed DVDs by putting them up at www.half.com. If you want to see what’s for sale there, you can look for the seller folkcatart. The movies are generally good ones, viewed once and kept nicely. They’re just not movies I want to have available to watch over and over again.

Half.com will also list VHS tapes. But from what I’ve seen, I’m not sure how well those move there. So it occured to me to wonder – would any of you be interested in an opportunity to acquire my VHS tapes? I was thinking I could offer them once or twice a week, for the cost of shipping. Maybe I’ll put them in sets like theme packs, tapes all of a similar genre in a bundle.

What do you think? Any potential takers?

Vacation

Filed under: Announcements,Blogfriends — folkcat at 5:10 pm on Monday, May 5, 2008

I’m feeling that familiar blogging slump again, not wanting to write anything. I think it’s time for another break.

As with last time, I won’t go away forever, and I will still be answering e-mails and reading comments. I’ll post again when I feel I have something to say, and you won’t miss out on any major news. I promise!

Enjoy yourselves while I’m gone, be crafty, and play nice! See you soon!

Surprise!

Filed under: Announcements,Blogfriends,Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Knitting — folkcat at 4:45 pm on Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wow…it’s three years since I started this blog. Not sure where to go with that otherwise – I’m not doing contests right now or anything. So I don’t think I’ll do much celebrating beyond saying how very much I appreciate every single one of you! I never anticipated when I began a blog that I’d make so many – and such good – friends. Thank you!

Knitting

I hinted on Monday that I might start on the next pair of socks, and that’s exactly what I did last night. The yarn is SRK’s On Your Toes, a standard 75/25 blend of superwash wool and nylon, with aloe vera.

SRK On Your Toes, Color # ON223818

The colorway you see is ON223818. I bought this ball of yarn while visiting my family in Syracuse over the holidays, and ever since, it’s been sitting on the corner of a crafting table in the living room, taunting me. I love the colors, they’re so happy! I’m glad I’m finally knitting with it.

This pair would be, in my jargon, Socks for Folkcat: Pair 5 (SF:P5).

Edited to add: Correction! I was just looking at my projects on Ravelry, and realized I skipped a number above. These would actually be SF:P4.

SF:P5 - The First Toe

I decided to cast on yesterday, and pulled out my KnitPicks Harmony DPNs. I grabbed the needles I usually use for sock yarn – the equivalent of US 1.5 – and was immediately struck by the feeling that they were huge. Go figure! So I went to the next size down, the US 1’s, and worked a gauge swatch.

A couple of calculations, the results plugged into my plain vanilla sock formula, and I began. I’m getting 10 stitches to the inch, making these the tightest knit socks I’ve ever worked. And yet, the resulting fabric doesn’t feel all that tight. I wonder if the On Your Toes is a little thinner than most yarns? Or if I’m just knitting differently?

In the Kitchen:

The Honey Oatmeal bread from the Donna German recipe (in The Bread Machine Cookbook) was a success. Tasty, nice texture, a little chewy, and full of flavor. The loaf size for the medium recipe was a little small to our taste, so I just pulled out of the machine today’s baking – the same recipe in the large size. It looks great, I can’t wait to try the bigger slices for a sandwich.

Wag The Dog

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin,Blogfriends,Books — folkcat at 4:33 pm on Monday, November 26, 2007

First things first – I’ve posted a review of the new Potter Craft Book, The Yarn Lover’s Guide to Hand Dyeing, over at Shopping Jen. Do go read it – there were some, um, interesting developments in the process of examining this title.

Second – over the Thanksgiving break, I’ve had a chance to think about the place that blogging holds in my life. I originally created my blogs with the intent that they would support, and help me to explore, my crafting.

I have generally really enjoyed the process, writing blog posts, making connections with so many people who have become friends. Which is why I was really surprised to find last week that I felt relieved not to have to blog. That had never happened when I’ve taken breaks before.

I had plenty of time to think about the why and wherefore of that discovery. The conclusion I came to was that the blog was no longer being driven by the crafting – the crafting was being driven by the blog. I had reached a space where I would alter my crafting choices so I had something to blog about, make myself work on projects when I didn’t feel like it, and more.

I had become a blogger, not a crafter. And Crafting Jen is supposed to be about my development as a person who crafts. Not as a blogger.

Clearly, the blog has started to get in the way of me doing what I really want to be doing. It makes sense, then, to change that.

I’m not saying I’ll never blog again. But it will only be when something really noteworthy happens, like whenever we finally get a new pair of Rattie babies to add to the family.

As for Shopping Jen, I had already pulled that back to a “when I have something to review” basis, and I think I’ll leave it there. So it won’t go away, either.

I realize this choice will make it difficult for my readers who don’t use a news aggregator like Bloglines or Newsgator to read. I’ll understand if you can’t keep checking back to see if I’ve posted something new. But I have to do what I have to do.

As a corollary to the above, I’m also going to stop reading the vast majority of the fiber blogs I follow. There are some that are genuinely entertaining that I will continue reading. And of course, there are some of you that I feel a special connection to whose blogs will stay on my roll as well.

If I am known to have read your blog in the past, and I disappear, please know that it’s not you. I just can’t keep reading all the blogs that I do, and writing a blog daily, and continue to pursue my crafting in a way that is meaningful to me.

Freebie Fridays will also disappear, though I may offer a freebie on random occasions where I come across something to good not to give away. I won’t promise anything – we’ll just have to see what develops.

It’s been a long, strange ride, and I’ve learned a lot from my blogging, and from all of you. Maybe I’ll come back to this one day, maybe not. Meanwhile, I’m leaving the blog up so the information it offers will still be available to all who want it.

Thank you to all my friends and readers, and have a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Freebie Friday Hiatus, and Thanksgiving Break

Filed under: Announcements,Contests,Holidays — folkcat at 3:53 pm on Friday, November 16, 2007

Sorry, folks – I know how some of you look forward to Freebie Fridays now, but I’m afraid it has to take a bit of a break. I’m having one of those days.

Those of us in America will be celebrating Thanksgiving next Thursday as well. I know that Turkey Day itself isn’t until Thursday, but planning and preparations will throw off every day between now and then, and on until the following Monday, too.

Crafting Jen, then, will be taking a break until November 26. Freebie Friday will return at the end of that week, on November 30.

Don’t be surprised if you see some short messages here over the coming week. Depending on what I wind up doing, I may not be able to resist posting now and then.

The somewhat beleaguered book review that I’ve been promising all week may pop up on Shopping Jen in the meantime, too. I really do want to tell you about this title – once the publisher fixes some problems, it could be an essential reference for many fiber artists.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, however and wherever you celebrate it! Gryphon and I are planning a quiet meal for two at home, with special snacks for the Ratties.

Happy Thanksgiving!

And the Bead & Button Magazine Tote Bag Goes To…

Filed under: Announcements,Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile,Contests — folkcat at 2:38 pm on Monday, November 12, 2007

Sarah! With four kids – three of them boys girls (my error!) – I’ll bet she’s got lots of stuff she could be carrying around in this roomy bag. Congratulations, Sarah!

While I watched your comments and links trickle in this weekend, I was busy myself. I’ve made good progress on a scarf from Knitting New Scarves. And in Second Life, I’ve been landscaping our property. There’s a nice little woodlot developing, as well as small homes in various styles for a number of our avatars. Pictures of everything, knitting, landscaping, and all, Real Soon Now!

Entries Closed for Freebie Friday, Nov. 9th.

Filed under: Announcements,Contests — folkcat at 1:00 pm on Monday, November 12, 2007

It’s noon, Eastern time, on Monday, November 12th. Entries are now closed for this week’s Freebie Friday drawing. I’ll announce the winner later!

And The Heishe Beads Go To…

Filed under: Announcements,Contests — folkcat at 3:45 pm on Monday, November 5, 2007

…blogless Heather! Congratulations, Heather, the beads are yours. I’ve sent you an e-mail as well, asking for your mailing address.

Wow, you guys really go nuts over the natural material beads, don’t you? This week set records for Freebie Fridays – we had a total of 18 entries from 15 different contestants. (Three people earned a second entry by posting a link at their blog.) Our previous high count was 13 entries for a beaded bracelet on the Oct. 19th Freebie Friday.

Many, many thanks to everyone who participates in these giveaways. They’re a lot of fun for me, because I get to make an even more personal connection when I send packages out to the winners. And clearly, a lot of things that I have gathering dust around the house are going to good homes where they’ll be well loved.

I’ve got a busy day ahead of me – look for a post tomorrow about my knitting and crafting progress. And once again, Congratulations, Heather!

Entries Closed for Nov. 2nd Freebie Friday

Filed under: Announcements,Contests — folkcat at 1:00 pm on Monday, November 5, 2007

It’s Noon, Eastern time on November 5th – entries are now closed for this week’s Freebie Friday drawing for the buffalo horn heishe and Job’s Tears beads. I’ll announce the winner soon!

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