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In the Temple of Spin
the leaning tower of peapod
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http://www.blotchandthrum.com/blog

yep.

prolly not posting here anymore.

yep.

see you on the flip side of whatever side...
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I'm moving on, I guess, from LJ.

I'm not sure how smooth or whatever, the transition will be. I may still read your stuff, I may not. I'm getting a wordpress blog connected to my business site, and seeing as I can't keep up with one blog, let alone two, I'm considering winding down this identity and...
and...
and...
and...

hell.

I dunno. I kinda like the idea of abandoning it? Like my AIM account has been just left, rotting... I kinda want to drop my email account, too. Well, just the one (seriously, I've now got four!). Everyone I've met this last year I've been giving a different address to, than the one I used in Illinois. Just you know, what am I saving all these emails for? I don't look back.

I suppose I could just stick around with an unpaid account and comment, I still want to read what people post, but dudes, you've been posting less and less and some of you not at all. (Except for a very few exceptional exceptions!) And, I guess, I'm super serious about being professional, or at least looking professional! which a stand alone blog will do.

And LJ is getting kinda squalid? or something? :P

Anyway, I'm here for a bit, at least, and I don't know if I'm going to try and migrate content or start over, and my account is paid for here until December, so. so. so.

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Blotch and Thrum

We're lagging a bit behind on the photography end of things, hence all the blank space.

Also, if someone could send me an email at blotch (at) blotchandthrum (dot) com. I'd like to check my email routing system?

:D

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Very slowly. I've got most of the legal stuff done (I think). A website is in process, and I'll link to it when it's up. I've got a bank account though the bank is sending me conflicting messages about starting up online banking? I got two letters saying contradictory things, one agrees with the person who helped set up the account (though, her method doesn't work!) And my call to the bank resulted in someone saying a third thing. well, whatever. Hopefully that will be settled in a few days.

What I need to do is I need to set up my bookkeeping system! *cough*

Anyway, I thought I'd set down my goals for the business:

1. That it pay for its own overhead - that is website, business cards, price tags, etc.
2. That it pay for materials when I run out of all the stuff I've got or need things beyond what I have.
3. That I can (eventually) pay back my start up money (which should see me through two years, provided I make something at this)
4. That (when 1-3 are taken care of) I can use the profits to buy a nice big four+ harness loom.

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it's a car covered with singing, dancing seafood!

We went to Maker Faire today, because our friend who has written a book was a speaker and one of the perks was a pair of free tickets for guests. So, having earlier said that it was too expensive an event to drag a baby around at (because, a baby often requires sitting in one place for long periods of time, which makes one think one is not getting the whole value from one's ticket price) it is precisely the thing to go to when free.

Except parking was terrible (because, for one thing, the faire was set up over half of the Herny Ford's parking lots). We literally got the last legal spot, and then people started parking on the medians to the boulevard.

And, it was cool. And worth going to if free... :P It's a bit heavy on electronics and robotics, and the craft booths, while awesome, were crammed into a tiny corner in the farthest side of the lot from the entrance gate... is what I would say. Anyway, didn't intend this to be a post reviewing maker faire Detroit, but to point you to my favorite booths:

Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studios (she has two other etsy stores, so, look around!)
Tracie Lampe of Radical Recycks
Tiffany Threadgould of RePlayGround
(I'm especially enamored of her business cards, info is stamped onto a roughly cut rectangle (the one I have is a part of a cereal box))

And I bought some fiber from Hands and Notions; her yarn is gorgeous, too! And something else, from someone else, but I can't be more specific because it's a gift (also, she managed not to give me her business card, so, actually, I'm not really sure who I bought it from...)
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socks are done!

Despite my concern that the second red stripe would not be in the right place for the toe (I figured, the toe would be too far along, there would be a red stripe and then the toe would be yellow!) it worked out perfectly.







I'm not sure you can see it, but there's a cable running down the sides of the gusset, my attempt at fanciness.

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the bottom is some merino odds and ends carded and pulled into roving and spun dk weight.
the top one is one ply that and the other is a ply left over from this purple yarn.


This is something old, I did this over the winter, before Alligator was born, but never took a picture. it's superwash merino and nylon, and sockweight. It should be self striping but we won't know until it's knit!

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been thinking about the business again. I... didn't get much sleep last night. The baby was tossing and turning and kept running into the sides of the crib and waking herself up. I think.

sigh.

Anyway, have a name I like, I think. Have to figure out what I'm doing. I think I'm just going to sell at the guild sale (or sales! if I join the spinning guild, too), for now, just to reduce my backlog of dyed fiber. I don't particularly want to sell dyed fiber, though I might... I'm keeping my name fairly vague so I'm not limited to a specific product. As I can never stay interested in the same thing. I have some things in mind, but I guess I must be vague?
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Last week, before the plague descended upon us, we went to Greenfield Village, which is this crazy town that Henry Ford set up, collecting houses and other buildings from hither and yon, and set it up as a school, but now it's more of a living museum, though I believe there is still a school. It's neat. But pricey, as it was nearly $50 (including parking) though our kids are young enough to get in for free.

Seriously, the only viable way to go if one wants to go back is to get a season pass and go often to offset the sticker price. Actually, a two person pass is only $90, which is what you'd pay for two visits? So, anyway, maybe next year?

We tagged along with my weaving group to see the Jacquard loom in action, a machine so complex it boggles the mind even when it's been explained twice. :P So, that was cool, and there was a demonstration of silk reeling (though, I've seen other demos of silk reeling, most of the rest of the group apparently hadn't.) Then we wandered off on our own. That day we saw demos of tin work, glass blowing, pottery, as well as the weaving, and silk reeling. I know the weavers only work a few days out of the week, so I'm sure the others rotate as well.

It's neat, but a lot of it is selling, selling the chance to dip candles or ride in a steam locomotive or ride in a tin lizzie, or looking at the glassblowers and then going over to the shop to buy souvenirs? (of course, we didn't buy anything but food!) And some of it is just strange, and a lot of it is just looking at empty houses. And that's not entertaining enough for our three year old.

But:



dude. <3 The carding mill!

Note: I talked to a woman today who suggested the two person pass idea, and also bringing a lunch, as the food is pricey (though we agreed the desserts at Taste of History (which is a cafeteria with fairly standard food, apart from the desserts!) are amazing). I asked her about the tavern which we had passed up, and she said it is a three course sit down meal, so I suppose we made the right choice (at least, from those two, there are several food places in the village.)
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Anyway, it's summer, which means, although no one has mentioned it yet to me, it's approaching time to re-up guild memberships!
meaning it's time to decide what to join and what to drop!Collapse )

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well, I've been thinking about it, and looking at the other entries, I wouldn't have given myself third place... maybe fifth. ;)

I'm so end result focused, that I like the ones that produce the most interesting socks!

my favorite and socks

second and socks

third and socks

fourth and socks

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gusset is done on socks, now just boring foot to knit...


I finally finished spinning these yarns:

the long ones were done in November! The batts were carded in November of '08... yes, I have a project backlog!


I made a skirt out of a large square of cloth that a friend gave me. very simple - gathered at the top to a width that will fit over my hips, then with elastic to tighten that to hold on my waist. this is to preserve fabric against when I lose baby weight... then I can redo it.

there's also enough fabric left for a skirt for Ebug, but I've not started that yet.

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So, when I saw in the knitpicks catalogue that there was a dyeing contest for sock blanks, I thought, I'll totally win that!

Then I saw that other people were also competeing and downgraded my chances to "not likely".

But, apparently, I got third place.



So, that's awesome. If I don't get seduced by the thought of new needles, I'll probably buy a book with the proceeds.

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So, seriously. We've had this groundhog in our backyard, living under our deck, and last year, when we moved in we're all like "how cute," but in the intervening time, he turned into a monster and the week before last week, he was lounging about in the yard day after day looking all of twenty pounds and not at all afraid of us, and I was refusing to let Ebug out into the yard to play.

So. We called a "humane" service* (as one of the members of my knitting group suggested; they have the same issue) and live traps were set up and last week they caught the monster and away he went, but we still had traps and last night we caught a raccoon. But my husband and Ebug were out checking on our garden and noticed it, and when they came inside, he was prompting her to explain what they'd seen. "There's a cocoon!" she said. "They put it in one of our traps!" She seems to have gotten the idea that the people who brought the traps were also the ones who supplied the animals?

Anyway, today both raccoon and traps are gone (and I never went to look at the raccoon... I just didn't want to; being both sympathetic because of children's books and terrified of them in reality.) We think we just had the one groundhog, but we'll see. Now, hopefully, we're just down to the bossy chipmunk and a handful of those massive red squirrels.

* though, we couldn't bring ourselves to ask what they did with the animals they catch!

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musings on sock design

yes, seriouslyCollapse )

Anyway, here's my general purpose sock recipe:
1.25- 1.5" ribbing (generally 1/1 or 2/2)
four inches of pattern stitch
work heel:
row 1: k3 *k1, sl* to last three stitches, k3
all even rows: k3, purl to last three sts, k3
row 3: k3 *sl, k1* to last three stitches, k3
pick up stitches for gusset, decrease at edges of sole side every other round, work top of foot in pattern
at toe, work all sts in stockinette, decrease at edges of both sides of foot every other round until half the stitches are gone, work decreases every round until down to 8-12 stitches, graft.

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The first yarn spun since Alligator was born. Merino from rovings I tore up and carded, green with a hint of yellow.

Started last week at knitting group and finished yesterday while I demonstrated spinning at a local girl scout camp. That was fun, although the baby made it a bit more of a hassle than it should have been (truth be told, she spent the last hour crying in her usual terrifying manner because there were too many people around for her to fall asleep). Also, spinning is so... basic (fiber + twist = yarn!) that it's hard to find much to say about it without getting too technical. Anyway, the most fun bits were when the girls were off and the weaver and the bobbin lacemaker just got to talk to each other, about knitting and weaving and how we got into fiber arts and how people underestimate how difficult this stuff is.... Not that I don't love demonstrating, I do.

Anyway, turns out there's a local lacemaking guild (actually, they may not be a guild, their card says "group"), so I'm going to contact them presently, it is one of the many, many things on my to do list today.


and here's a terrible picture of my in progress socks (not only is there sunlight on them, but the flash as well, but today, I can't get it together to do a proper picture). I've turn the heel and and doing the second row of the gusset. I'm doing my gusset decreases in a nonstandard place, so as to run a cable between the sole and the top of the foot, so we'll see what happens!

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and I finished my washcloth prototype and it needs work. I've got some ideas, and luckily it's a quick knit. pics of that are on Ravelry if you're curious.

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My late great aunt was a lace maker, and as my aunt has cleaned out her house prior to selling it, I've inherited a small fortune in lace making supplies. Actually, I received a number of craft supplies and crafted items, but the lace stuff is the largest and most impressive bit.
pics!Collapse )

this one has a turning bit for making long strands. The lace on it was obviously made by my great aunt.
and moreCollapse )
I don't know when I'll get around to trying it (lace making, not the bobbin winder). The concept still seems pretty amazing to me...

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I was saying this took forever, but apparently, less than two weeks. I have been doing tiny things and become impatient, I guess. (although, there were a ton of ends to weave in!)
yay!Collapse )

descriptionCollapse )

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I'm working on this thing for Science Officer Alligator, and it's taking forever, because I only have about ten minutes a day to knit.

Anyway, it's a gansey sweater, except, I'm not using gansey patterns on it, though it is in form (that is, being knit in the round, in the way the front and back are connected, in the way the sleeves are knit from the top down once the body is complete) a gansey.

And I just realized after 12 rows of the sleeves, that I've been doing the mirror image of the pattern. so. It doesn't help that I charted it upside down. sigh. learning curve. (Also, I've decided not to fix it, I mean, who is going to notice that it's k3p1 instead of p1k3?)

And I haven't taken any in progress pictures of it. In my defense, I generally only get to see it late at night or very early in the morning.

Seriously, I love the gansey methodology, I had been saying I wanted to knit an Aran sweater for myself, but really, I want a gansey with cables (as ganseys tend to be made with fine yarns!). I have the yarn, but it would have to be dyed, and I haven't the wherewithal to manage that... But I am super inspired by the most fascinating detail: the shoulder strap - which is essentially a technique to join to pieces of knit fabric while knitting a strip going in the perpendicular direction. I have this idea to make socks that you would knit both up from the toe and down from the heel and then graft with a two inch wide strap around the instep. hee. I think that would be cruel and yet funny, and very impractical, in case one desires to wear shoes. I may still do it. I have a great longing to knit socks.

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Restless Malcontent
Name: Restless Malcontent
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