Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Charting Rocks; Juggling Everything

Filed under: Daily Life,Games,Holidays,Knitting — folkcat at 2:11 pm on Thursday, September 20, 2007

I did get my desert-themed entrelac bag charted yesterday. It helps a lot to have already decided where the squares of different colors will be going.

WIP - Christmas 2007 #3, Desert Bag, Chart

The bag is knitted from the top edge down to the bottom, so the chart actually shows the rim of the bag at the bottom. The rocks are arranged so that there will be at least one good outcropping on each side of the bag.

There are more tiers of squares in the final bag than are shown here, but most of those I didn’t chart will be less visible on the bottom of the bag. I’ll probably use the variegated, desert-floor color until it runs out, then alternate colors that remain from the other balls of yarn. And maybe I’ll finish up with one more little patch of sky, with a sun in the middle.

Juggling

The knitting itself probably doesn’t look like I’ve done much since yesterday’s photo. And that’s the absolute truth, I haven’t. I’m finding things just a little more difficult to juggle at the moment.

My active day usually starts with Gryphon and I doing chores and errands together before he goes to his job at 3 p.m. After that, I focus on getting blog posts written, spending time evaluating products to review for Shopping Jen, and doing any shopping I need to take care of by myself.

I take a break for something to eat now and then. I don’t eat three big meals – rather, I might have a salad at one sitting, then sometime later I’ll have an entree-like item, and so on.

After I’ve finished the blog work for the day, I try to squeeze in a little Second Life Time. Or Knitting Time. Of course, often enough, I’m finding that the instant I sit down for either of those activities, the Rattie Sisters are awake and clamoring for Mommy Time. Which, of course, they have to have separately, since Lola doesn’t play nice with Sable.

So Second Life and Knitting wind up waiting until I’ve fulfilled the Rattie Sisters’ needs. By which time, I’m probably ready for another installment on the day’s meals, further delaying me from getting to the crafting and virtual reality.

Television Time is a haphazard thing at the moment, and the Tivo is starting to feel clogged, even though the season has barely begun. I can watch television while I eat, or craft, or play with the rats. I can’t watch television while I do anything else. And since I’m trying very hard to spend time doing those other things – blog-writing, reviews, Second Life – Television Time is suffering.

It’ll all work itself out, I’m sure. Second Life is a new component in the equation, as are the review blog and the separation of the Rattie Sisters. I’m aware that the current imbalance is mostly because I’m in a transitional phase, as my daily schedule shifts to accommodate these new elements. One thing I may wind up doing is having concentrated, longer Second Life sessions on the weekend, so that I won’t feel so much need to go in on weekdays. (Not that such a plan ever slowed me down when I played EverQuest or Star Wars Galaxies…)

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep tossing all these balls in the air, one at a time, and try not to drop any. But if I do, and any of them roll over by your feet, could you do me a favor and just gently throw them back?

Pleaseandthankyouverymuch!

Second Lives; Sixth Bags

Filed under: Games,Holidays,Knitting — folkcat at 3:49 pm on Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Okay, I’m going to come clean. One of the things that is sometimes taking me away from the knitting is Second Life. If you don’t know what that is, it’s an online, virtual world. People can interact, create virtual objects, own land (if you have a paid account), build houses and decorate them, attend live concerts, and much more – all online.

I’m not entirely new to Second Life. I originally created my account back in December of 2005. I think I may have logged on all of two, maybe three times back then. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with it, so I just never went back.

Until recently, that is. I have a First Life friend now who is an avid CG artist, and who has been playing in Second Life for a number of months. I’ve been hearing her stories about the house she built, the objects she created, and the fun she has in there for all this time. Finally, she guilted me into logging in to actually see what she’s been talking about.

I think a big part of why I didn’t do much with it before was that I was learning the interface entirely on my own, trial-and-error pushing buttons and clicking on options and not having a clue what I was doing. This time, having my friend Arondelle as a guide, I felt like I could get some control over what was happening.

And I think I like it. Gryphon and I used to be very active in EverQuest – I was even a guide for a short time – and we were beta testers for Star Wars Galaxies. What I loved best was exploring the virtual worlds, and making use of the crafting skills available in each game.

Unfortunately, the most important part of most such online games is getting together in groups and going out to kill critters and monsters. Which is fine. But I really, really wanted a world I could just wander around in, discovering and doing cool things.

I think Second Life may be that world. For me, it’s all the best parts of EQ and SWG (the well-detailed world to explore) and the offline game The Sims (a virtual dollhouse), without the annoying parts like being obligated to spend time killing things to make any progress, or having to monitor your Sims’ health and social activities when you’d rather be decorating the house.

If, by chance, you’re a Second Lifer as well, my online name is Probably Perhaps. Yeah, you heard me right. It was, back in Dec. 2005, the best I thought I could do with the choices of last name I had to pick from, and I wasn’t too happy with it. Now that I’m going into the game more often, I’ve been receiving a lot of compliments on my name, and I think I’m glad I picked it. Anyhow, feel free to look me up and add me as a friend. And one of these days, I just might pay for that Premium Account so I can own a piece of land, and invite you to my housewarming!

If you’re not a Second Lifer yet, but think it sounds interesting, it’s absolutely free to try. That’s right – free. If you ant to, you can play forever in the game without ever having to spend a First Life penny. So what’s to stop you from checking it out? If you decide to come in, look me up!

The Sixth Bag Grows – Slowly

Sixth bag because this is, in fact, the sixth time I’ve knit the Market Squares pattern from Bags – A Knitters’ Dozen. It doesn’t look much different from yesterday. But I did pick up the rest of the yarns that will be used in this desert-themed bag.

Christmas 2007, #3 - Desert-themed Bag

What you’re seeing is two shades of a rusy-looking red for the rocky outcroppings, and a variegated brown/green/gray for the scrubby brush on the desert floor.

I started this bag with the intention that every color would run for an entire round of entrelac squares, in a straight row around the bag. Then, I thought it might be more interesting if the lines were irregular, suggesting outcroppings of rock at various heights. I began to wing it for this plan by doing a few squares on Tier Three in the golden yellow color.

Now, though, I’m thinking I need to plan the pattern a bit more, so I’ve gone to the Graph Paper Generators link on the sidebar of this blog, and created a sheet of Axonometric Perspective graph paper to draw my entrelac bag out on. No, I don’t know what that means, either. What I do know is it produced nice, diagonally-placed squares all over the paper for me, perfect for plotting out my entrelac pattern.

I’m not sure what this will look like when it’s done, but I’m having a lot of fun creating it!

Drive-By WIPing

Filed under: Holidays,Knitting — folkcat at 1:19 pm on Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Not much time to write today – I’ve got to clean the house for craft circle tonight, then I have to leave early to pick up a friend and get to the yarn store.

I’ve made some progress on the desert-themed entrelac bag (pattern: Market Squares from Bags – a Knitters’ Dozen). I decided to carry the sky into a third tier of squares, but to start to introduce the highest outcroppings of rock on that tier as well.

WIP - Christmas 2007, Desert-themed Entrelac Bag

Trust me, those pieces that look orangey-red are actually a nice golden yellow. Like sun-kissed rocks on the desert.

Since I’ll be at the yarn store, I’m going to pick up the next two colors for the bag while I’m there – two different shades of red rocks.

The Winner is; and, Other Matters

Filed under: Announcements,Contests,Knitting,Rats!,Television — folkcat at 1:56 pm on Monday, September 17, 2007

The Random Integer Generator has spoken. The winner of the book, Suss Design Essentials, is Lee. Congratulations, Lee! I’ll be e-mailing you shortly for your address.

Don’t forget, Freebie Friday happens every week – be sure to check back this Friday to see what I’m offering!

Emmys

Generally, this award-show slut was pleased with the Emmys last night. This must have been a tough one for the voters – every nominee was truly deserving, if you ask me. I can’t say I was disappointed with any of the results.

The show was also well paced, with entertainment spots as often being comedy bits as song and dance numbers.

The only jarring note for me was the hand of the censor on the proceedings. I was puzzled when the show suddenly cut away from Ray Romano in the middle of his speech, leaving us without his voice, and looking at an odd view from somewhere around the ceiling that didn’t even show the stage.

The same thing happened two more times, proving it wasn’t just an error in the control booth. The consensus in the news reports is that the performers who were censored used expletives, and were cut for those. Since individual stations could face fines if such words get out on the air, I can almost understand that. But why, then, didn’t they just bleep the sound and leave the actor on screen, so we’d have a clue what happened? Why the odd, static shot from the ceiling somewhere?

Okay, stepping off my little soapbox now. Thank you for indulging me.

Knitting

The latest entrelac bag, with the desert theme, looks much like it did the last time I showed it. So, no new picture there.

The reason for that is simple. I spent most of the knitting time this weekend working on a project I can’t blog, because it’s a Christmas gift for someone I know reads here. I finished that project, with great results. But, of course, I can’t show you a picture of that, either.

There should be photos real soon, though, as I’ll be getting back to the entrelac bag now. And having finished one Christmas gift, I need to start planning the next one…

Ratties

The Rattie Sisters are learning to cope. It’s kind of nice to have Sable requesting intense cuddle time now. She’ll just lay there on my chest, eyes closed, while I stroke and stroke her whole back with my hand in a way that no Rattie could ever duplicate for her. You know it’s feeling especially good when she can’t help but make little chirping noises.

Lola is getting more Daddy time, and she loves it. I don’t think I’ve mentioned before how she loves crawling around under fabric. Any fabric. Even the fabric that you’re wearing.

She got under Gryphon’s shirt yesterday while hanging around with him, and didn’t want to come out. He decided to get his supper anyhow, and simply went to the kitchen with her in his shirt, crawling ’round and ’round him.

This led to a re-enactment of a scene from Alien. You know the one, right?

Lola Belly Buster
Belly-Buster Lola

Can’t see what I’m talking about?

Can you see her now?

Belly Busting Lola Detail

Sept. 14th Contest Entries Closed

Filed under: Announcements,Contests — folkcat at 12:00 pm on Monday, September 17, 2007

It’s Noon on Monday, Sept. 17th – entries for the current Freebie Friday giveaway are now closed! I’ll announce the winner later.

A Book for Freebie Friday, Sept. 14, 2007

Filed under: Announcements,Books,Contests — folkcat at 4:00 pm on Friday, September 14, 2007

First, an announcement. I knew I had readers all over the place, but it was really brought home in the last two weeks, when the winners of my Freebie Friday giveaways hailed from Denmark and Italy. Wow!

It’s expensive to ship overseas, but I don’t want to completely exclude my international readers. So I’ve decided that, when the prize is something larger and heavier, I’ll have to limit entries to mailing addresses in the United States and Canada only.

Don’t worry if you’re overseas – when the prize is light and small, as the bracelet and the beads of the last two weeks were, I’ll allow international entries.

I’ll always tell you clearly in the contest posts who is eligible. If you miss that, however, please don’t be offended if I must disallow your entry based on geography.

And so, this week’s giveaway!

Freebie Friday this week is open only to mailing addresses in the United States and Canada. My apologies to readers overseas – you’ll get a chance again soon!Suss Design Essentials: The Ultimate Collection for a Classic Handknit Wardrobe

This week’s prize is the newly-released book Suss Design Essentials by Suss Cousins. I reviewed this book on Wednesday, both here and at the Shopping Jen blog.

How can you win this book for your very one? The rules, as always, are simple:

  • Only mailing addresses in the United States and Canada are eligible for entry to this drawing.
  • Enter by commenting to the contest post before Noon, Eastern Time, on Monday, Sept. 17th. 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 Monday, and will also e-mail them for their mailing address.

There we are…let the comments begin! I was really torn between keeping this great book, and giving it away. But then, I figured that if I was ever ready to do something with one of Suss’ designs, I’d find a way to acquire it again. So, drop me a comment, post to your blog, and it could be yours!

Good luck, and have a great weekend!

Knitting a Desert Sky

Filed under: Daily Life,Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 3:34 pm on Friday, September 14, 2007

My thanks to everyone who listened to my lengthy discussion of the Rattie situation yesterday. I know the rats aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I seem to have even lost a Bloglines subscriber over it. That’s okay – you’re still here. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that!

ETA – I said “seem to have…lost…” I could never say for sure if the Rattie talk was what caused my Bloglines numbers to drop by one. It just happened to occur on a day when the Rattie content in my post was more intense and even scientific than usual. They could just as likely have unsubscribed because they have too many feeds to read, or something.

This blog is called Crafting Jen, and that’s not just because I make things with my hands. It’s about the crafting of a life as well, one that includes a husband, New Hampshire, budget woes, neighbor issues, some handcrafts, and, yes, rats.

As for those very rats, Sable seems to be calming down today. She’s coping by taking lots of time out of the cage, and has even specifically come to me and made clear signs that she wanted to cuddle, something she seldom did before. I think we’re going to be okay.

Lola is a bit depressed, I think, because she liked having companionship. It’s a struggle to fit in time for two individual rats to have separate time out of the cage with their people, but we’re working on it.

We are going to wait a few days and see how it goes. Clearly, this is a dynamic situation that is not the same from moment to moment. I’ll let you know if there are significant changes.

Meantime, thank you so much for listening.

Malabrigo Entrelac

I began work on the next entrelac Christmas 2007 bag last night. This one will resemble an abstract – very abstract – desert landscape. Since it knits from the top edge down, I’m starting by knitting a desert sky.

Christmas 2007, desert entrelac bag

I think the intense sky blue of the Malabrigo suits the theme well, and the variegation of shades gives the bag a depth, without looking too much like clouds. One of the things I noted in the images of desert landscapes I looked at was the lack of clouds. Which makes sense – clouds are, after all, water vapor.

I’ll decide soon whether I stop the sky at two tiers, or continue it for another tier of squares. Then I get to start knitting the rocks!

This week’s Freebie Friday post will be up shortly, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Extreme Rat Issues, and My First Malabrigo

Filed under: Holidays,Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 3:22 pm on Thursday, September 13, 2007

Things are not as well as I’d like in the House of Rattie. We tried putting Lola and Sable back together, but the aggression from Lola continued. Then, Tuesday night, we had a frightening experience.

The cage was peaceful, both rats sleeping. My friend Anne and I were sitting and knitting together in the living room. Suddenly, Sable came to the door of the cage, clinging to it with all four paws and gnawing at the wires. She was desperate to get out of there.

I opened the door, and she shot across my lap, the end table, the ottoman, up onto Anne’s chair, across her chest and shoulder, and onto the back of her armchair. There, Sable sat and panted, staring back in the direction of the cage.

What inspired this terror? I have no clue. My best guess was that Sable was getting as far from Lola as she could, but Lola was sleeping so soundly she didn’t even react to Sable’s sudden exodus.

Sable crawled into one of the nesting boxes outside the cage, and remained there for the rest of the evening. Meanwhile, I did some research on the web. I found this site, www.ratbehavior.org, and an article that discussed aggression in rats. This section about Offensive and Defensive Tactics, and the next one after about Subordinate Strategies, shed much light on our situation.

Some of Lola’s behaviors that I’d been interpreting as submissive were, in fact, not that at all. When she flopped herself belly up under Sable’s nose, I assumed that, as in dogs, she was exposing her belly and showing her submission to Sable. In fact, in rats it’s a whole other matter.

Dominance in rats involves nipping the opponent on the rump. Defending your dominance includes putting your rump where your opponent can’t get to it. What Lola was doing is called a belly-up roll, and it’s specifically designed to put your belly between your opponent and your rump.

Since losing Star four weeks ago, the dynamics of our little Rattie family have clearly changed. Lola has, in Sable’s grief, achieved clear dominance. Her massive nest structures are probably a manifestation of her position as Queen Rat, and her aggression towards Sable is meant to maintain that position.

As for Sable, there are two strategies that subordinate rats engage in – either staying close to the dominant, or avoiding them. Sable is clearly an avoider – she attempts to get away from Lola whenever she can. The bad news here is that, even if Sable accepts Lola’s role as dominant, as an avoider she’s at more risk from increased violence from Lola, possibly even leading to her death.

We separated the girls Tuesday night, and it looks like we’ll have to keep them that way. Lola’s not happy with the isolation. I’m not happy with Lola for beating up on my girl Sable. Sable just plain isn’t happy. She’s seeking safe, cozy places to hole up, and isn’t eating as well as we’d like.

Sable has also had a couple more incidents of terror and fleeing the cage, even without Lola in with her. I’m beginning to think she’s having the rat equivalent of night terrors, and running from something unnameable that has frightened her.

I feel so powerless to help Sable. She clearly misses the company of a rat, but is scared now of Lola. Lola, meanwhile, is back to being a solitary rat.

When we get the new pair of rats, we’ll have to see who they get along with. We can’t afford the space to have three separate cages – they either have to go with someone we already have in the large cage, or we must give up one of the existing rats. And I have to confess, the way I’m feeling about Lola right now, I think she’d be the one finding a new home.

And I hate to go that route, because we took Lola in, and we made that commitment to her. But I don’t know what else to do if things don’t work better.

If anyone out there has suggestions for how to comfort a solitary rat who has lost her lifelong companion, please feel free to comment or e-mail me. I’d love to hear what you think.

Knitting

On a happier note, I found that I did, in fact, have enough of the light green yarn to knit both straps for the Christmas 2007 entre-lac bag.

WIP - Christmas 2007 All Knitted

Now I just have to weave in ends, felt/full it, and sew the straps on.

I’ve begun knitting a second Christmas gift, but I can’t blog that one until it’s been given. I did, however, buy the first two skeins of yarn for another entrelac bag today.

Malabrigo

This is two skeins of Malabrigo. Three more skeins – two Manos del Uruguay, one Malabrigo – are waiting at the LYS for me to pick up in coming weeks. The orange skein on the right is actually more of a golden yellow. The theme for this bag is an abstract desert landscape. This will be my first time working with either Manos or Malabrigo. I knew, though, when I went into the store with this theme in mind, that those yarns would have the vivid, yet slightly variegated, colors I wanted.

I was forced to make this purchase today, because the other current knitting project is one I can’t take to Thursday night Knitting Around at Panera. This way, I’ll have something I can work on. Don’t you have it when you have to buy yarn?

Over at Shopping Jen:

I posted my review of Archer Farms Wasabi Mustard Potato Chips today.

Tomorrow:

Don’t forget to check back for this week’s Freebie Friday!

Suss Design Essentials

Filed under: Books,Knitting,Reviews — folkcat at 12:30 pm on Wednesday, September 12, 2007

suss design essentials book jacket.jpgSuss Design Essentials by Suss Cousins

Published by: Potter Craft (Random House)

Acquired by: Free copy from Publisher

List Price: $30.00

Available: Sept. 11, 2007

Suss Cousins grew up in Sweden, and learned to knit as a child. When she became a fashion designer, it was natural that she included many pieces of knitwear in her collections. Her latest book, Suss Design Essentials, gathers the thirty patterns that Suss herself considers the best knitwear designs of her ten years in fashion.

First Things First

Let’s clear the air about one point right away – sizing. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m a large woman, and if you don’t have patterns that fit my body, your book starts at a disadvantage with me.

The sweaters, tops, and dresses in Suss Design Essentials come in several sizes, but the largest tend to be about 40 inches at the chest. So for me, there would be a lot of work to re-size and re-write the patterns.

That being said, I had mixed feelings about the designs offered in this book. A number struck me as beautiful; a few as outright ugly; and one or two as impractical or ill-conceived.

Target Audience

Although a couple of patterns are fairly easy, most of them are at least a little more involved. Finishing and seaming are important elements in most designs in this book. Some patterns knit in sections might be convertible to knitting in the round, but to my eye, it appears that Suss has usually created seams that are important to the final look, fit, and drape of the garment. I’d be reluctant to change that.

In the introduction, Suss herself calls this “a book for those who have knit a sweater or two.” I’d place the average skill level required for these patterns at Intermediate and above, but I also think it would be worthy inspiration for an adventurous beginner.

Instructions

The style of presentation for the instructions supports this assessment. Materials lists are thorough, even specifying every last notion you might need while working. Gauge instructions are very precise – if you should measure while the swatch is stretched flat, Suss not only tells you that, but tells you why.

Schematics are offered for all pattern pieces, with full measurements in both metric and English.

Sizing is a bit more vague – Small, Medium, and Large, mostly, with measurements given for the finished knit, but not for the body that pattern size is expected to fit. No reference is offered for how much ease was designed into a garment.

Actual step-by-step instructions are given in a style that more experienced knitters will be able to cope with, but that beginners may need help understanding. “Bind off 4 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows.” “Maintain cable-10 pattern when shaping armhole and shoulder.” The expectation is clearly that the knitter following these instructions has an understanding of how they go together to achieve the desired results.

I wouldn’t warn beginners away from this book completely, but I would recommend they enlist the support and aid of a more experienced knitter before committing to a project.

Yarns

In 2006, Suss Cousins released her own line of premium knitting yarns. Her own products are called for throughout this book. A full substitution guide is offered at the back, however, listing several alternative yarns by brand name for each of Suss’ own selections. And where the yarn needed is specified in the pattern, full weights and lengths are given in both metric and English measurements.

The Good

Click on any picture to view a larger version.

The designs themselves run the gamut from gorgeous, to indifferent, to outright ugly. Most of the designs I really liked had classic lines and a simple elegance.

Embroidered Dress
Embroidered Dress

I so wish I had a body that could wear this dress! Alas, it looks better when your curves are concave, not convex. Maybe one day, if I can ever get the idea of dieting to work.

Button Tee
Button Tee

Simple raglan lines, with a whimsical detail in the buttons at side seam and sleeve. I like that the model isn’t a waif, either. I may not be able to knit the pattern as written, but I can take inspiration here and re-work it to make one my size.

Deep V-neck Cable Vest
Deep V-neck Cable Vest

This has a very 70’s feel to it. I like it. It’s preppy without being preppy. I like that it’s a longer, tunic-length vest – I think that’s very flattering on many figures.

Fuzzy Scarf Coat with Bell Sleeves
Fuzzy Scarf Coat with Bell Sleeves

Suss is pretty straightforward with the names for her designs. And it works – you don’t have to wonder what this coat looks like, do you? Again, we have a design that is very 70’s in feeling. I can see myself wearing it. But then, I’m a child of the 70’s – those were my teen years. I think we always have a fondness for what we liked in our teens.

Believe It Or Not, My Favorite

Open-front Pullover
Open-front Pullover

I know – it surprised me, too. This is clearly a gimmicky design, but for some reason, it resonates with me. It looks comfortable to wear, and awfully sexy.

The Bad

Half-Moon Bag With FlowersShirtdressSoft Fringed Shawl

Let’s just say that not every design in the book was appealing to me. The bag on the top left made want to say, “I do not like it, Sam-I-Am,” even though it’s clearly not green, nor eggs, nor ham. The white shirt dress almost worked, but I felt the fabric looked a bit stiff. And then the sleeves were left so long, but with functional snaps, but which you weren’t meant to snap closed at all. Huh?

And then there’s the orange shawl. Knit on size 50 needles. I just don’t think that the results here look like anything I’d want to claim I made myself!

The Why?

Asymmetrical Buttoned Sweater
Asymmetrical Buttoned Sweater

Why would one design a carefully tailored, asymmetrical, sweater, and then photograph it in such a way that you’ll never know it’s asymmetrical? Asymmetrical details can be fun, if handled correctly. But we’ll never know if Suss achieved that here, because the model is twisted and contorted until the button line – which actually goes at a slant towards her right hip – is straight up and down from our point of view. The only other photographs offered show the back – which looks absolutely symmetrical – details of the collar and button band, and one front view that doesn’t show the full length of the sweater. You get a hint of the assymetrical line of the button band from that last photo, but not the full impact.

The Final Assessment

I actually liked enough patterns in this book – and my skill level is within the range of the target audience – that if I had the body for it, I’d probably have a struggle over how many to cast on for, and how soon.

As I prepared to write this review, I did some research on the Web to bring myself up to speed on the author. I’ve learned that Suss Cousins is something of a controversial subject, with many people feeling she has an attitude that she’s God’s gift to knitting. I can see their point – many of the descriptions in Suss Design Essentials contain casual mentions of the film stars who bought this design or that, and she frequently talks about how she’s designed for movies. As she describes how luxurious the yarns are, it’s as if she were a devoted fan gushing, and not the person who designed them.

Arrogant, or showing a proper pride in her accomplishments? I wouldn’t try to judge that unless I had a chance to spend time in Suss’ company.

The overall style sense in this book is a bit retro, harking back to the 70’s and 80’s, with a hint of punk thrown in now and again. Many commenters I found on the Web call her unoriginal – I felt that she brought her own perspective to the styles she chose, adding details that made them different from what came before.

Bottom line – not all designers, books, or patterns are for all people. I liked what I saw in this book. Others may have an issue with how she presents herself. Me – I’m content to enjoy her talents as a fashion knit designer, and to consider creating some sweaters in a Suss-like style for my goddess-size body.

Related Links:

I won’t link to any of the anti-Suss sites I found. That would just be spreading negative gossip, without having any knowledge of where the truth actually lies. If you really insist on seeing it, just Google Suss’ name.

Four Weeks Later

Filed under: Gryphon,Rats! — folkcat at 12:00 pm on Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It’s been four weeks to the day since we let go of our Star Rattie. It feels simultaneously like a lifetime, and the span of a heartbeat.

This past weekend, Gryphon told me he wrote a poem about her passing. He composed it during stray bits of time at work, the night of the day we lost her.

He expressed beautifully what those last moments were like. If you’d like, you can read it at his blog, here.

We have Lola and Sable still, but we’ll always miss Star.

I’m pleased to tell you for the first time that we’re already planning to bring in yet another generation of Rattie Sisters. We’re on a waiting list for a litter right now, with a breeder in the Manchester area. It should be early to mid-October that we’ll be bringing home another pair of Rattie girls.

Three Rattie Sisters

Once Ratties get a hold of your heart, you never want to be without them again.

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