Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Friday Frivolities

Filed under: Daily Life,Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 6:30 pm on Friday, August 31, 2007

It’s been a slightly Freaky Friday here. Assuming one defines “freaky” as “exhausted, frazzled, worn-out.”

I’ve been up since 7:30 this morning. Normal wake-up time in this house is 10 a.m. But that was not to be today.

They’ve been working on the road all up and down Main Street here in Wilton, and this morning, they decided to be doing this right under my bedroom windows:

Roadwork Under My Bedroom Window
New Curbing and Dug-Up Sidewalk

I mean, literally right under my windows. This photo was taken just before noon, but what you see was going on since early this a.m.

My bed sits in the corner of the house that faces that spot, with a window by the head, and a window along one side. I got up at 7:30 to go to the bathroom, and stayed up because of the pounding, scraping, back-up beepers, and more that were happening within 20 feet of me.

All in all, the roadwork hasn’t been nearly as bad as we’d expected. So far, anyway. (And I’m making sure my foot touches wood while I type that!) And they have kept the work to normal daylight hours, which is all we asked for.

So I’m not really complaining. Just explaining why I’m a bit off my usual form today.

Now, if I’d noticed what was happening on the left side of the image above, I might have felt a little more revitalized. I’d at last have taken a better picture. I did crop and enlarge it as best I could. Dave, this one’s for you – enjoy!

A Construction Worker for Dave

Knitting News

In spite of the early start to the day, crafting and other tasks are proceeding apace.

The new Chief Fiber Inspector took on her first big assignment today.

Lola's First Official Fiber Inspection
Lola Does a Thorough Job

Lola really gets into her work, doesn’t she? That’s a two-for-one bonus picture, too, since it’s your first look at my Christmas 2007 knitting. I’ve decided this year that I have a number of things I can make on speculation, without knowing yet who among my listed recipients they will go to. So even if the giftee sees them on the blog, they won’t have a clue.

If you guessed that’s another entre-lac bag, you’d be right. I do so love knitting those! They work up quickly for me, and somehow it seems even faster when you work one little square at a time.Plus, I’m starting with a mix of stash yarn and new acquisitions, so it will help reduce my overall stash at least a little.

And a Happy Little Note

Sable seems to be a little more cheerful each day. She’s lively and eager when she hears a tub of treats being shaken, and she’s taking interest in pulling tissues from the box again. Since that’s a favorite pastime of Lola’s, too, I’ve had sessions of alternately handing tissues to first Lola, then Sable, then Lola, then Sable….well, you get the idea.

And today, I heard Sable’s happy little chirping noise, and looked up to see this:

Sable & Lola Cuddle Happily

Lola looks a little uncertain there, but Sable is comfortably cuddling on top of Lola, eyes partly closed and chirping up a storm! Yay!

Long Weekend

I’m going to declare Monday a blogging holiday, both here and on Shopping Jen. Until then, I hope you have a great weekend. And don’t forget to enter the new giveaway!

Freebie Friday, Aug. 31, 2007

Filed under: Announcements,Contests — folkcat at 11:38 am on Friday, August 31, 2007

Hi there, and welcome to the First Folkcat Freebie Friday!

Each week, I hope to give away something crafty. It could be:

  • Something I made
  • Supplies to make something yourself
  • A crafty book, or
  • Any combination of the above.

This week, the offering is a handmade beaded bracelet. I made this at least 3 years ago, but it’s never been worn. It was offered for sale in my bead store, but never found the right buyer.

Click through for larger images.
Double Layer Netted Bracelet

The pattern is the Double Layer Netted Bracelet, from the book Netted Beadwork by Diane Fitzgerald. I used Czech and Japanese 11/o seed beads. The colors are various shades of blue, transparent, and transparent silver-lined.

Double Layer Netted Bracelet - Closure

The clasp is a button-and-loop closure. The buttons are a faux opal that I’ve had in my stash for years, ever since a huge sale at a fabric store in Syracuse at least twenty years ago.

Double Layer Netted Bracelet Measurement

Why don’t I just keep it myself? I’ve mentioned before I’m a large woman. When I made bracelets for sale in the store, I never made them to fit me, because they’d just fall off most women’s wrists. So this Double Layer Netted Bracelet measures only 7″ long – suitable for most, but too tiny by at least an inch for me.

What does your wrist measure? Would the Double Layer Netted Bracelet fit you? Would you like to have it for your very own jewelry box? Just comment to this post, and it could be yours!

The rules, as always, are simple:

  • Enter by commenting to the contest post before the date and time specified. This week, because of the Monday holiday, we’ll give you until noon (Eastern time) on Tuesday, Sept. 4th, 2007. Only one entry per person for commenting.
  • Earn a second entry by posting about the contest on your own blog, and linking to this post. E-mail me at fiber AT folkcatart DOT com to tell me you’ve done so. Don’t forget to post soon enough that your own readers have a chance to join in the fun!
  • Have you won a prize at Crafting Jen before? No worries, you can enter again!
  • The winner will be chosen by a random drawing from all entries received before the deadline.
  • I’ll announce the winner on the blog on Tuesday, and will also e-mail them for their mailing address.

That’s all for the moment. I’ll post later in the day about my knitting last night – I seem to have found a groove that spares my hands, and is a true joy to work on. Stay tuned for progress pics!

Arachnophilia

Filed under: Announcements,Crafting Miscellany,Folkcat's Fotos,Holidays,Knitting,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 1:56 pm on Thursday, August 30, 2007

…aka, Wayback Wednesday comes on Thursday this week.

I’ve got no crafting to show you, because I didn’t do any yesterday. A few of the fingers on my right hand are objecting to the amount of small work I’ve been doing.

I can’t entirely blame them. My crafting has been alternating between hand stitching 1/2″ hexagons together using a tiny little quilting sharp for a needle, and knitting socks on US size 0 double point needles.

So yesterday I gave my hands a rest. Not my body, though – I wound up doing the major portion of our grocery shopping for the week, involving 2 1/2 hours spent at an Asian grocery and two supermarkets. My legs ached last night, too, but we won’t have to pick up anything but odds and ends the rest of the week. Plus, I found a few interesting items to review at Shopping Jen in the next few weeks.

I started thinking about my Christmas knitting, too. I think I’ll avoid doing a project as ambitious as the Monk’s Travel Satchel that I knit for my brother last year. I haven’t finalized exactly who’s getting what yet, but I think I have a general idea of some things I can start knitting now, then assign to recipients later. The knitting involved is larger scale than the socks, too, so it’ll give my hands a good rest.

In the meantime, so far we’ve got a post without a picture. So I dug back in the photo archives to September of 2005 to come up with this photo of a spider that had built its web over the side surface of Gryphon’s gas grill.

Spider on BBQ Grill

I know many people are frightened or disgusted by spiders, but I find them amazing. Especially these orb weaver types, with the patterns they spin into their webs to draw in their victims. Spiders, and their webs, are among my favorite things in nature.

Coming Friday:

Today is Thursday, and that means Knitting Around at Panera tonight. So I’m likely to have some knitting to show you.

Also, tomorrow I’m going to debut Folkcat’s Freebie Fridays – a weekly giveaway of some cool prize or prizes. It could be something I made, or a collection of craft materials, or cool books. This week, I haven’t made the final choice yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a hand beaded bracelet, made by yours truly. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for your chance to win!

Blogfriend Blessings and Blog Beginnings

Filed under: Announcements,Blogfriends — folkcat at 2:54 pm on Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One of the many, unanticipated benefits of having this blog has been the good friends that I’ve discovered online. One of those is Sara, a scrapbooker out in Utah who blames me for her new addiction to knitting. (To which I say, hey, I never held a Double-Point to her head! LOL)

Out of the blue a week or so ago, Sara asked me for my mailing address. And lo, over the weekend, this arrived in our Post Office box!

Maneki Neko Fused Glass Pendant
Maneki Neko pendant from squidglass’ Etsy shop

Sara did a good job of noticing things I like – kitties, Japanese things, glass art – and picking a gift that I will wear with joy for years to come. I’m still deciding what to do for a cord – bead a necklace? Tie a simple waxed linen cord? Find a chain?

In the meantime, this little kitty waves up at me from the desk in front of my computer, bringing me a “forever” greeting from my friend Sara. Thank you, Sara!

Shopping Jen

The new review blog is live, though a little barren so far. You can find it at http://www.shoppingjen.com. I hope you’ll bookmark, subscribe, and visit it often – I plan to post content fairly regularly.

I still need to write the About and F.A.Q. pages, and add an e-mail link. I’ve put up a “Welcome!” post, however, and have began seeding Shopping Jen with updated versions of reviews I’ve written over the last couple of years.

Today’s re-visited review is the book The Art of Beadwork, by Valery Hector. I originally wrote it in June of 2005, and it appeared on the now-vanished beadwork blog, Confessions of a Chantraphile. (All of Chantraphile’s posts were imported here – no worries about lost material!)

Later this week…

I’m planning to do another giveaway over the weekend! Be sure to stay tuned – I think it might just be handmade bead jewelry this time!

Now There’s a Show I’d Watch

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 11:03 am on Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Close to Home by John McPherson

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Hard At Work…

Filed under: Blog Admin,Folkcat's Fotos — folkcat at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, August 28, 2007

…but little I can show you yet. I’ve been busy working on the new review blog, Shopping Jen. It takes a long time sifting through blog templates! There are hundreds to choose from, but not all have good “bones” – meaning I like the layout and functionality and can easily change the graphics and colors to suit me.

Then, once you’ve got some candidates, you have to figure out banner graphics. I seem to have settled on this:

Shopping Jen Banner

That’s cropped from a photo I took in a shopping mall in the Syracuse area. You can’t really see the stores, but it evokes the ambience of a mall, the ultimate mecca of shopping. And it doesn’t hurt that the colors in the photo are really pleasant, and will make a good color scheme for the blog.

So, yes, I’ve been hard at work, but enough of it’s been for the new blog that I really don’t have noteworthy crafting progress to share. Tonight is craft circle, though, so keep your fingers crossed! I might just make it to the heel of my current sock!

FO, WIP, QIP

Filed under: Announcements,Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Knitting,Sewing — folkcat at 4:05 pm on Monday, August 27, 2007

It’s been a strange weekend here – an odd mix of relaxing at home, and getting out to do errands. More like zonking at home, really – Gryphon has been very tired, what with two jobs and all, so as much as possible we let him just sleep the weekends away to catch up.

We did, finally, do something on Sunday we’ve been meaning to get around to. We visited a local farm stand, and bought some newly picked Paula Red apples, and fresh, local raspberries. I made a wonderful apple-raspberry cobbler last night, and we’ve already consumed over half of it. But it just tasted that good!

I did get back into my crafting groove over the last several days as well. First of all, at long last I have a picture of the most recently FO’d Socks for Gryphon:

FO: Socks for Gryphon, Pair 3

They don’t actually have black cuffs – he’s just wearing them over his black support socks in the photo. We’re both really pleased with the fit, and Gryphon has just been ga-ga about how much he likes the color and pattern.

As for my own socks, I’m about halfway through the foot on the first sock of this pair (SF:P3S1).

WIP: SF:P3S1, Half a Foot

I’m still loving the colors, especially the way some splotches just scatter around the sock, and some form spiral stripes, but then break up. Very unpredictable yarn! I can’t wait to see what happens next…

A lot of work this weekend went into the handpieced hexagon quilt tablemat. Since I recently got an extra package of the Quilt Patis, I can make more hexagons ahead. This lets me get longer stretches of quick and easy whipstitching them together.

QIP: Hexagon Table Mat, Column 6

It’s still not a fast project, but it finally feels like I may see the end of it someday!

In other news, the new review blog is under construction. I have a lot of template-tweaking to do, as well as writing a new “About Me” and even a FAQ. But it’s possible it might be live by next week sometime. Which is good, because I’ve got a few more review copies of books coming already…

And the Winner is…

Filed under: Announcements — folkcat at 2:09 pm on Monday, August 27, 2007

Christine! Congratulations!

I made a list and assigned numbers to everyone who commented (2 for those who posted to their blogs about the contest), then went to www.random.org and had their generator pick the winner.

Christine, I’ve e-mailed you for your choice of The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Knits for All Seasons, or a set of my own handmade stitch markers. Which would you like? Just reply, and I’ll get your prize right out to you.

Thanks so much to everyone who played! I think I may start doing giveaways more often – I actually have a fair amount of surplus craft supplies – and even books – that I could pass along to someone who can make more use of them. Keep watching for your next opportunity to win!

Entries Now Closed

Filed under: Announcements — folkcat at 12:00 pm on Monday, August 27, 2007

Entries are now closed for the giveaway of The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Knits for All Seasons (or the stitch markers, depending on your preference). I’ll announce the winner later – stay tuned!

Giveaway Update!

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin — folkcat at 8:46 pm on Friday, August 24, 2007

LOL…okay, count me as new and clueless at this review and giveaway thing. Did I really just, basically, pan the book, then ask if any of you wanted it?

Even though I did try to find nice things to say about it, that was pretty lame. So how about this – the winner of the drawing will get a choice of either

  • The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Knits for All Seasons, or
  • A bundle of my own handmade beaded stitch markers, valued at up to $30.

All other parameters of the giveaway will remain the same, i.e.:

  • Enter by commenting on either this post, or the previous one, before noon Eastern time on Monday, August 27th, 2007. Only one entry will be granted for commenting.
  • An additional entry can be earned by mentioning this giveaway on your blog and linking to it. Be sure to tell me in e-mail or comments that you’ve done so.

Does that make for a better prize offering? And I promise, next time, unless I gave a glowing rave review, I’ll save the book for some future occasion!

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